Centro of attraction
Igan D’Bayan (The Philippine Star) - September 1, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - You should try cave-spelunking,” suggests Martin Aguilar, Hotel Centro guest service manager, once the weather clears up. “It’s basically rock-climbing. Once you reach the top, you go down via zip line.”  Do impressions of the Man of Steel while at it.  

We are on a tour of the hotel premises. One of the best hotels to stay in when in Palawan.

Hotel Centro is in a sprawling 1.2 hectares at the heart of Puerto Princesa. Dig the tale of the tape: 111 guest rooms, five conference venues, a gym, a grand ballroom, a pool and an outdoor Jacuzzi, plus there is the Verde Garden, Sicily Club Lounge, Expressions Café and the Soul Pool Bar.

The poolside bar is my favorite hangout at Hotel Centro. Aguilar explains, “We are aiming for a resort feel. Since Centro is a city hotel, and we don’t have a beachfront, what we offer guests are good food, cocktails, happy hour and grill nights.” Guests can gorge on seafood fare such as the lamayo — similar to the danggit of Cebu but meatier, plus beer, beer and more beer. It’s the beer bundle for me — P300 for five bottles of Light and an appetizer.

The Centro offers basic tours to the Underground River as well as Honda Bay island hopping and such.

“We also promote community-based sustainable tourism packages. These are alternative tours in support of the city tourism office — dolphin-watching, firefly-watching, river cruise similar to the Loboc River Cruise,” explains Aguilar.

Centro has a sister property, Kamia Bay Resort. “It’s actually 15 to 20 minutes away from here. You could go snorkeling or diving. Maganda ‘yung dive site dun since there is a wreck of a sunken Japanese ship. You could partake of jellyfish kilawin (abet kinilaw) — it’s something unique and exotic.”

The stinger is removed, of course, and only the cup remains. Comes diced and doused in vinegar. Grab a cold one, while partaking of this bad boy.

“You should try the tamilok also, which is a kind of woodworm” Aguilar recommends. “It’s part of the Fear Factor experience. Take it kinilaw or even raw (laughs).”  

Afraid of trying tamilok, abet kinilaw or crocodile sisig? Remember what Yoda said about fear being a path to the Dark Side?

* * *

Hotel Centro is at San Pedro National Highway, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. For information, call 556-5656 in Manila or (6448) 434-1110 in Palawan,  e-mail customercare@hotelcentro.ph, or visit www.hotelcentro.ph.           

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