Where I Was
If I may ooze a bit of cheese, a lot has changed but a lot has stayed the same after 11 years. Despite the increase in commercial activity along the main thoroughfare (Rizal Street), including a 24-hour Dunkin' Donuts and a supersize Budget Home Depot building, the atmosphere hasn't changed much. The area where my grandma lives still has that quaint Batibot -like charm.
I plan to go back later this year by myself, just to go around and get reacquainted with the relatives. Can't afford to go to the famed El Nido, Amanpulo, or even Dos Palmas (where, as you may recall, young actor Rico Yan passed away, and tourists were kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf). But there are a lot of other places where the Palawan experience can be most had. My companions were bitten by the "come back come back" bug, that irrepressible feeling of wanting to return for more.
As for me, it was like coming back home, a feeling I had pushed aside for a long time. If there's any downside to living in Palawan, it would be the power outages. Unfortunately, the people of Palawan don't readily enjoy the fruits of the Camago-Malampaya oil and natural gas project, which sits at the province's backyard. Oh, and there's the malaria, too.
However, if there's one thing I really worry about, it's having to stay in grandma's place. It's a great house, no doubt, with a nice view of the sea from the veranda, but I don't intend to have my brother's bone-chilling spook experience in the middle of the night as part of my itinerary.