My Batang Pinoy Finals Journal: Day One, August 24, 2019

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PUERTO Princesa, Palawan – Shortly after we arrived at the Puerto Princesa International Airport, Christian Maningo and I was promptly whisked into a van assigned by PSC to fetch us from the airport to our hotel, our residence for the next 7-days, City State Asturias Hotel Palawan.

 

Christian by the way, is a photographer, videographer and webmaster/designer for iNews.Ph. He is responsible for posting all the news stories, photos, and ads at our news site. He used to work as a Photographer at the Cebu Daily News.

 

They say that you can tell a city by the looks of its airport. My first impression of Palawan, it is NICE! Being a prime tourist destination, the city is well kept and hospitable, no traffic!

People from all over the world come here to enjoy the beautiful and pristine white beaches, the underground river which was named new 7 WOW (wonders of the world), the safari park, etc.

 

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see any of these places because I am here to work, and not for pleasure. And this Batang Pinoy National Finals just added the domestic tourism for Palawan.

 

In my years as a sports journalist, I have developed this habit of checking first – the prices of gasoline per liter. I don’t know why I do that? Probably to compare the prices with Cebu City’s or maybe to determine if their foods and commodities are cheaper, or maybe both.

 

My eyes are always plastered on fuel prices when I passed by a gas station. Two months back, I discovered that Bayugan City sells fuel P5 lower than Cebu in April Davao City sell gas P7 cheaper. Here gas prices are P10 higher. There, I’ll offer no more argument.

 

Since it is already noon time and our tummies are starting to complain, we decided to scout for a nice clean carenderia in the vicinity of our hotel. We settled at Jollibee which is just 50-meters away.

 

After taking a nap, we decided to go to Puerto Princesa Coliseum to pick up our accreditation. Since the van is no longer available, we decided to commute. Thanks to google map we learned that the city coliseum is just 1.3Kms from where we stood.

 

A trike driver approaches us and asked us where we’re going. After telling him the place he told us fare is P50. WHAT!!! So I said “Thank you, sir! but that is too much for a 1.3km ride. We’ll just take the jeep. Jitney fare is just P10 each. P10 is the fare from Bulacao to Cebu City proper which is around 9kms. So that’s the consequence of higher fuel cost.

 

After telling the driver of our destination, a few minutes later, a lovely lady told us that we should get off now because we reached our destination. After disembarking, I quickly noticed that Pedestrian Lanes were manned by 2 or 3 traffic enforcers.

 

You can’t just cross the streets at your pleasure here, you have to cross at the designated Pedestrian lanes, and traffic enforcers will help you cross the street by stopping the flow of traffic to let you cross.

 

Hey! Attention CCTO, CTTODA, TEAM can we do this in Cebu? I don’t know if it is done regularly here but it is just right to avoid jaywalking!

 

Puerto Princesa City Coliseum is enormous, I wish Cebu City would build one. It is air-conditioned and according to my estimate, it would seat around 10,000-12,000.

 

In front is a huge fountain which I believe would spew dancing colored lights at night. The plaza is well-kept and people put their trash at the designated bins. Littering is not tolerated here. Or in any parts of the country, in particular, people just enjoy too much freedom that even made our rivers as dumpsites.

 

From the city coliseum, we decided to walk to San Pedro Central School where Team Cebu City was billeted. It was just around 550meters. I found out that it was relatively empty since the boat that carried the bulk of the delegation was yet to arrive.

 

I heard that the ship has to find a longer route in order to avoid the LPA that hits northern Luzon. The amiable executive director of the Cebu City Sports Commission Kap. Ami Lopez and the advance party had set up the quarters, mattresses and beddings ready to embrace the travel-weary bodies of the Cebu City athletes.

 

From the San Pedro Central School, Christian and I decided to walk back to our hotel since it was only about 700-meters away. Along the way, we passed by a small eatery, and decided to sate our grumbling tummies, but not much because we still have a welcome dinner that awaits us at the hotel.

 

We reach the hotel at a time when policemen were already deployed to secure the premises. Guests and those who were attending a cotillion, the birthday party for a boy who is turning one year old and the welcome dinner thrown by Puerto Princesa LGU must be feeling pretty safe.

 

After the three-course meal and greeting old acquaintances that includes Commissioners Charles Maxey,  Arnold Agustin, former congressman Monico Puentebella, Master Ekin Caniga, PEKAF EVP Gerald Cañete among others we decide to retire to our room and recharge our phones, laptop and camera batteries and our tired bodies as well for the opening day tomorrow, August 25, 2019.

 

That’s where I felt the urge to write this journal.

 

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