Kalui, Puerto Princesa (Palawan)

While it may sound like an exotic location somewhere in Hawaii, Kalui is actually a restaurant located in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It’s really not much to look at from the outside, but wait till you get inside. The paintings and art installations, coupled with the cool lights and local-themed interior, create a perfect ambiance. You could choose to sit on the floor and eat with your hands, which we did, and you won’t even notice that there are also other people eating there. Everything else is immaterial — just you, the place and the food.

Crabs, clams, kinilaw and other fresh seafood, cooked to perfection and beautifully served just like in any first-class restaurant. Fresh fruits, naturally sweet. But please, don’t believe me, because the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

I need not tell you the exact location of Kalui, because you simply have to ask the drivers of Puerto Princesa’s usual mode of city transportation, the tricycle, to bring you there. They will do so with a smile and also act as your “unofficial” tour guide, pointing to places of interest along the way.

It may not be a good idea to generalize, but gauging from the attitude of our driver and other people from whom we asked for directions while in Palawan, they seem to be genuinely proud of their place and are greatly helpful to “tourists” like us. Maybe the warm treatment is simply consistent with the Filipino’s hospitality or maybe this is the fruit of the local government’s effort of promoting a tourism-friendly environment. Whatever the reason is, we just want to express our appreciation for the warm hospitality of the Palawenos.

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