Finding a Home at Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn

Being on the road for almost 8 hours from El Nido has taken its toll on us. I and my companions were all looking forward to arrive at our accommodation in Puerto Princesa so we can have a decent rest before our flight for the next day.

I found Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn months ago when I was looking for our home base while in Puerto Princesa. And while the rates are slightly higher than the accommodation rates I was used to, I fell in love with the place and immediately booked a night with them.

Since there were 5 of us, Purple Courtyard gave us the family suite which cost Php 3,740 per night. I inquired and confirmed our reservation through email. There was a bit of back and forth as I had several questions but the staff patiently answered all my queries within 24-48 hours. I paid the downpayment through Paypal and they immediately sent me a confirmation of our reservation.

Purple Fountain is a few minutes away from Puerto Princesa International Airport. It isn’t hard to miss as they have a large signage in front of the establishment. Upon arriving, we were directed to the front desk to register and the staff promptly took our bags to our room. I was so happy to discover that the place looked exactly like the pictures they have on their website. The place was so colorful and felt so relaxing that I immediately felt at home.

view from the receiving area

view from the receiving area

these are the standard rooms I think

these are the standard rooms I think

When I entered our room, my heart was a goner. If I ever have a room of my own, I’ll use Purple Fountain’s design as my inspiration. My friends even told me that it fits my personality 🙂

Our room consisted of 1 double bed, 2 single beds and a sofa bed. The room was spacious enough that we didn’t bump into each other whenever we go around the room fixing our things. I wanted to sleep in the sofa bed but Shiela was there first. I just borrowed one of her pillows for the night.

the view from the door. I took the bed on the leftmost corner - well away from the aircon

the view from the door. I took the bed on the leftmost corner – well away from the aircon 😀

I absolutely love all the details in our room – the window shades, paintings, picttures, wall paint colors and even the flooring. Can I have a room like this pretty please? It’s definitely different from the usual hotels. I love that it has its own quirkiness.

the view from my side of the bed. Now you can see the sofa bed here

the view from my side of the bed. Now you can see the sofa bed here

I also love our bathroom (I accidentally deleted the pictures though). It was clean and the shower was equipped with a water heater. The only let-down was that the toilet didn’t have a bidet. Aside from the clean bathroom, our room also had a TV, microwave and refrigerator. So convenient if we wanted to order take out and eat in our room 🙂

our TV, microwave and mini ref

our TV, microwave and mini ref

During early evening, one of the staff knocked on our room to ask for our preferences for breakfast. We had a choice among American, Continental and Filipino breakfast. For drinks, our options were coffee, tea and chocolate. I decided to go for hot chocolate and a Filipino breakfast of baconsilog. The staff also asked for the time when we would take our breakfast and we specified 7:30 AM to give us time to prepare for our flight the next day.

After resting for a bit, I went out of our room and explored a bit.

that gazebo is a perfect place to relax, don't you think? :)

that gazebo is a perfect place to relax, don’t you think? 🙂

this is what our room looked like on the outside. But ours was located at the corner.

this is what our room looked like on the outside. But ours was located at the corner.

We wanted to go out for the night but we were all still tired so we decided to eat at their restaurant – the White Fence Country Cafe. We actually saw a picture of one of their dishes when we arrived that made our mouths water. It was a big factor that convinced to eat dinner there.

It was hard choosing from their menu because everything looked and sounded so delicious. The are many choices and having to pick just one when you’re very hungry is tough. We helped out each other in choosing our meals and waited for our orders. Each table is equipped with a bell so the waiters can attend to our needs promptly.

We were seated near the entrance. Guests immediately see this when they arrive. I adore the knicknacks.

And this is what the restaurant looks like. There is another section just behind the door on the right. Aircon was too cold there so we stayed where we are.

And this is what the restaurant looks like. There is another section just behind the door on the right. Aircon was too cold there so we stayed where we are.

Once our food arrived, all my concentration was focused on plate. Everything was so yummy! Jella ordered the Tomato Basil Parmesan pasta and she said that it was the best tomato-based pasta she has tried.

Tomato Basil Parmesa - Php 235

Tomato Basil Parmesan – Php 155

Shiela and I ordered the Taco Rice Plate. I bathed mine in hot sauce. The rice was heaven. I wanted to order an extra serving of it.

Taco Rice Plate - Php 165

Taco Rice Plate – Php 158

And the star of our night – especially for Rhan and Jema who ordered this – was the Smoky Backyard Burger with bacon and cheese. The serving was huge so it was bit messy to eat but I can see Rhan and Jema enjoying every bite. I’ll definitely order this when I return. This was also the picture we saw when we arrived. It definitely lived up to our expectations!

Smoky Backyard Burger (with bacon & cheese) - Php 248

Smoky Backyard Burger (with bacon & cheese) – Php 248

For dessert, we ordered Churros Con Tsokolate and asked the staff if we can eat it at the gazebo. They said yes and we stayed there until late at night just talking about random stuff. At about 9:30 PM, one of the waiters approached us and asked if we had anything else to order. The restaurant was closing and they were taking the last orders. It reminded us that we haven’t asked for our bill yet 😛

Tsurros Con Tsokolate - Php 125

Tsurros Con Tsokolate – Php 125

dessert at the gazebo <3

dessert at the gazebo ❤

After a good night’s sleep we woke up near 7:30 AM to grudgingly prepare for our flight. A staff knocked on our door to remind us of our breakfast and after a few minutes headed to White Fence to find that a table has already been laid out for us. It didn’t take 5 minutes before our breakfast was served. They are so prompt and efficient!

After going back to our room and preparing for the trip back to Manila, we informed the front desk that we were ready to check out. The process was a breeze and their driver was already waiting when were done to take us to the airport. And that ended our El Nido + Puerto Princesa trip. But we promised that we would return soon 🙂

Discovering El Nido, Palawan (2014)

El Nido, Palawan has been a dream destination for me ever since I started travelling. I had the impression that El Nido was a wonderful paradise and an expensive vacation. Going on this trip, I can attest that El Nido is really a magnificent paradise. I didn’t want to leave. I had to drag myself back to Manila when our trip ended. I can also attest that going on a trip to El Nido doesn’t have to be so demoralizing for your wallet. 🙂

My Companions:

We were an all-female group for this trip. Rhan, Shiela, Jella and Jema are all dear college friends to me. They are usually game for trips like this and I love going on food trips with them.

Jella, Ruby, Rhan, Jema, Shiela

Jella, Ruby, Rhan, Jema, Shiela

The Flight: Cebu Pacific

Our flight to Puerto Princesa was at 3:40 PM. We all decided to meet at the airport at 2 PM. I already checked us in through Cebu Pacific’s Web Check-in option 3 days before our flight (excited lang). We only had to go to the counters to have our boarding pass printed because my printer ran out of ink.

We still had plenty of time before our flight so we decided to eat at the airport. We were expecting a long travel to El Nido and we didn’t want to feel hungry. Hahaha! We arrived at our gate just as our boarding call was being announced. The flight was only an hour and 15 minutes long. I still haven’t settled into my seat when the pilot announced that we were about to land. Everything was right on schedule.

I just wish that our flight back to Manila was the same though. Our flight got delayed by 6 freaking hours! Our ETD was 10:05 AM but we were informed that there was an aircraft situation and the mechanic still had to fly from Manila. Shiela was supposed to go to the office that day and I had to work when I got home. The delay ruined our plans. Typhoon Luis was still inside PAR and I could understand if the delay was due to bad weather. We were told that our flight would leave at 12 noon instead, but it didn’t happen.

We were given a Chickenjoy meal for our lunch but what we wanted was to go home. We asked to be transferred to another flight as our right but the ground personnel told us that the mechanic would be arriving in the next flight and we didn’t have long to wait. 2 PM came and we still weren’t inside the plane. We were then told that they were waiting for clearance. It was 4 PM when we flew. But the time we arrived in Manila, it was already rush hour. I live in Quezon City so I had to travel from south to north. Nakaka-stress!

If only the ground personnel granted our request to be transferred to another flight. The time spent waiting could have been spent on more important things. I ended up working until midnight that day.

The road to El Nido:

I contacted Northern Hope Tours to arrange for our van transfers from Puerto Princesa to El Nido and vice versa. We paid Php 500 for each way. We could have taken a bus and paid for a cheaper fare but I read that their are several stopovers for the trip. We didn’t mind paying more if it meant getting to El Nido sooner and more comfortably.

the van that took us to El Nido

the van that took us to El Nido

When I payed the downpayment and Northern Hope confirmed our booking with them, I was told that the driver would be waiting for us at Puerto Princesa International Airport. I didn’t have time before the trip to call them up and confirm the arrangement but our driver was already there when we exited the airport. We were told that he had to pick up more guests and we will be on our way. We requested to stop somewhere so we could buy snacks for the trip and the driver obliged. There were only 9 of us for this trip and it was a comfortable fit. I liked that Northen Hope didn’t fill out all the seats 🙂

The trip to El Nido takes about 6 hours from Puerto Princesa. We started the road trip at 5 PM and the road was a little creepy. There were no lights and houses were few and far in between. I was afraid to look out the windows in case I see a flash of white or something. Hahaha! The road was smooth and there was no traffic. I felt that the driver was driving a little too fast but I was confident at the way he drove.

At 8 PM, we stopped at Halfway Cafe to have dinner. We were the only guests at the time so it didn’t take long to find seats and order. Food was delicious! I ordered Bicol Express, cup noodles and a large bottled water all for Php 150.  And the restrooms are very clean which was a pleasant surprise.

it really is located halfway between Puerto Princesa and El Nido

it really is located halfway between Puerto Princesa and El Nido

simple but clean interiors

simple but clean interiors

About 1.5 hours before reaching El Nido, the roads alternate between rough and smooth. There were road construction sites that we passed by so I guess the road will get better when these are finished.

On our trip back to Puerto Princesa, we left El Nido at past 10 AM so we were able to see the views – mountains, trees, farms and seas. But we were stuck on the road for more than an hour because there was an accident between two vehicles that blocked the road. We had to wait until they moved the vehicles to the side before we could pass.

We were looking forward to a delicious lunch at Halfway Cafe, but instead we stopped at Bacuit Grill Restaurant. Food was also delicious. I paid Php 95 for the nilagang baka and Coca-cola I ordered.

Bacuit Grill Restaurant

Bacuit Grill Restaurant

Bacuit's colorful and homey interiors

Bacuit’s colorful and homey interiors

Our Accommodation: Telesfora Beach Cottages

Me and my companions wanted a beachfront accommodation so I searched for somewhere that wouldn’t hurt our wallets too much. I found Telesfora Beach Cottages while browsing through blogs. Ms. Chat was very prompt in answering my emails and it was a factor that made me decide to confirm our booking with them. She gave us the barkada room which cost Php 500 per person per night.

our home in El Nido

our home in El Nido

I also didn’t have time to confirm our arrival time on the day of our trip. I just mentioned in my earlier emails that we would be arriving at night. I was so thankful that our room was ready when we arrived at 11 PM. One of the staff was also there to welcome us. The room was built for 8 people so it was very spacious when we were only 5 in the group. Blankets, towels and soaps were laid out on the beds for all of us when we arrived. I love the way they folded the towels.

first glimpse of our room

first glimpse of our room

and the rest of the beds. we didn't occupy the upper decks

and the rest of the beds. we didn’t occupy the upper decks

I love the creativity :)

I love the creativity 🙂

Besides these, our room also had air conditioning, a TV and a toilet and bath. No water heater though. But the water was not so cold for shower so I didn’t mind. The water in Manila is colder if you want to have a basis for comparison.

When we woke up the next day, I got a chance to see the rest of Telesfora.

the rooms located just across from our room

the rooms located just across from our room

the entrance to Telesfora from the beach side

the entrance to Telesfora from the beach side

And this breathtaking view was what greeted us early in the morning ❤

a glimpse of El Nido's beauty

a glimpse of El Nido’s beauty

The breakfast that came with our room is a simple continental breakfast. We also had the option of taking tea or coffee in the morning. I loved the bread and pineapple jam that they served. We thought that it wouldn’t last us until lunch, but the bread felt heavy on our stomachs.

more butter and jam please

more butter and jam please

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Throwback: Puerto Princesa (2012)

I was one of the many who voted for the Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan for a spot on the New 7 Wonders of the World List. Ever since the voting started, I wanted to go there and see what made it so special. Then came Airphil Express’s seat sale and the chance finally came for me to go to Puerto Princesa. One of the 7 Wonders of the World was only a short plane ride away… why not make that trip? 🙂

My Companions:

Originally, I and 4 of my college friends were supposed to on this trip but a Facebook status changed everything. Suddenly other friends were commenting that they wanted to go too. I thought they were kidding but I was so wrong. I wasn’t able to book them in 1 go. I think 3 seat sales passed by before I could get cheap tickets for everyone. By everyone I mean around 20 people. 🙂 Of those 20, 14 of us really made the trip. Parang class field trip lang! I was the “link” – my companions were a mix of my college friends and high school friends.

Class picture!

Class picture!

The Flight: Airphil Express & Cebu Pacific

I was able to book myself and college friends when Airphil Express had a seat sale. I was able to book round trip tickets for Php 1,200 for each person. For my high school friends, they were booked when Cebu Pacific had their trademark piso fare promo. The cost of the tickets are about the same.

Our group would arrive at Puerto Princesa in 3 batches. I was among the first batch flying with Airphil Express. There were no delays at all and the flight was smooth. The same could be said for the second batch flying with Cebu Pacific. They arrived three hours later so we were able to rest at the pension house while waiting. The third batch would also be flying with Airphil Express and their flight was super delayed (if I remember correctly) by four hours. Rhan and Stef were very tired by the time we picked them up at Puerto Princesa and disappointed that they already missed half a day.

For the return flights, the Airphil Express group experienced another hour-long delay. The folks flying with Cebu Pacific departed Puerto Princesa and arrived in Manila on time… So if this was a contest, Cebu Pacific would have won 🙂

Our Accommodation: Jamp Pension House

I discovered Jamp Pension House through Agoda. It was relatively new at that time and the prices were reasonable so I made the reservations for all of us. Once I made the payment, I contacted Jamp directly and the staff asked for our flight details so they could pick us up at the airport. We didn’t have to pay any additional fees for this.

One section of Jamp's facade

One section of Jamp’s facade feat. Jhodan

We had no trouble looking for our shuttle service to Jamp Pension House because the driver was holding a signboard with my name on it. We waited for 2 other guests to arrive and we headed off to the pension house. Jamp was 30 minutes away from the city center and the location was in a quiet but somewhat remote neighborhood. I didn’t know this when I booked our rooms and was starting to regret my decision. But when I saw the place, my uneasiness disappeared. There was a guard stationed at the entrance and the place was secure. Our rooms were clean and basic but we had what we needed. Each of us paid Php 1,300 for a 3-nights stay inclusive of breakfast at their roof deck.

A peek inside our Barkada Room

A peek inside our Barkada Room

Our first breakfast at Jamp

Our first breakfast at Jamp

View from the roof deck

View from the roof deck

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