Several days after its soft opening at the Puerto Princesa Freedom Park (City Coliseum), the “Barakalan ig Tarabiangan” trade fair formally opened on November 20 with an estimated 85 merchants and retailers participating in the event to promote their goods and products.
We scoured some of the retail destinations at the park recently and we listed the booths with interesting food and snacks, excellent handicrafts and artworks, and other must-get-items for souvenirs for you to consider when you visit there next.
1. Kadiwa Producers’ Market
The City Agriculture Office (CAO), in partnership with GoPalengke, an online farmers market, started this program in April 2020 to help various farmers’ associations in Puerto Princesa to distribute their produce to the consumers. Through the Kadiwa Producer’s Market, PPCAO supports farmers to become their own “agripreneurs”. Since the products are directly sourced from farmers, i’s guaranteed that they are cheaper and fresher.
According to the booth staff, everything they offer are bestsellers but something that they would like to boast about is the locally-grown snap beans, known as “Baguio beans.” Snap beans are commonly found only in cooler places like in Mt. Province and other highland regions, but through the efforts and technological advancements made by our local farmers, they are now able to produce the vegetable in the city. Snap beans are available for P100 per kilo. Enjoy a wide range of produced farmer goods while helping in the promotion of our local farmer’s association.
2. Binuatan Creations
For 18 years now, Binuatan Creations has been synonymous with woven products made from wild grasses and fibers, crafted with love by women. Since the lockdown, although the showroom located at Brgy. Sta. Monica is still open, the number of tourists who visit and staff who manage has been limited. Available in their booth at Barakalan are woven bags with denim textiles, pouches, wallets, pencil-cases, bookmarks, and a lot more delicately crafted, perfect as presents for the upcoming holiday seasons. Prices start at as low as P10 to P999.
3. Amblegan Handicrafts
It was started by homemaker Cecile Tisado in 2001 as a bamboo crafts business. Amblegan Handicrafts eventually expanded to El Nido and MCA Pasalubong Center in Brgy. San Miguel. They sell wood carvings, handmade accessories, bamboo pots for plants, souvenir shirts, and their special bamboo lampshade complemented by colorful crystals. The lockdown has prompted them to close their physical stores while hoping that tourism will once again boom in the province,
4. Neva’s Pizza Delight
“Traditional wood-fired oven pizza restaurant in Puerto Princesa that’s been serving up sumptuous food since the year 2000.” When in Puerto Princesa, a definitely must-go-to place is Neva’s. Visit their booth and enjoy their famous pizza that’s “masarap na, mura pa!” Enjoy cheesy-and-meaty-goodness pizza for only P35 per slice and P350 per plate.
5. Kakanin ng Ina Mo and DeliCris
It’s almost Yuletide season, and one food that Filipinos enjoy during this time, is puto bumbong, a purple rice cake steamed in bamboo tubes. Puto bumbong is Kakanin ng Ina Mo’s specialty. Their regular puto bumbong is topped with desiccated coconut and your sugar of choice: brown or muscovado for only P30. On the other hand, the special order, apart from desiccated coconut, is partnered with condensed milk and cheese, which you can get for only P50. Aside from rice cakes or kakanin, they also make crepes and other sweet delicacies. Kakanin ng Ina Mo stands with its slogan “Primyadong uri ng kakanin na hinulma mula sa dekalidad at purong sangkap gamit ang tradisyonal na paraan at sinaunang metodolohiya”.
DeliCris also offers traditional kakanin such as bibingka, black kutsinta, also puto bumbong, and other special Filipino snacks.
6. Takoyumi Takoyaki
One of the most visited food stall in Barakalan is Takoyumi’s Takoyaki. Overloaded with fillings and toppings, their takoyaki is indeed a must-try. Available is their Supreme Takoyaki filled with octobits, cabbage, onion leeks, and cheese, while topped with a generous amount of takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, and Bonito flakes. Savour the rich smoky and cheesy flavor of their takoyaki for only P70 per four pieces. If you’re craving for real Japanese goodness, hurry and grab these big balls before they go get sold-out.
7. Spicy Sisig
“Presyong pang masa, lasang pang mayaman,” is Christian Lagan’s slogan for his food cart business, Spicy Sisig. He said his business only started because of the lockdown. Since everyone needed livelihood especially during that time, he thought of putting up a food cart business offering something that people would enjoy for a cheap price. People line-up to their cart because apart from it is affordable, one can get the best of both worlds with their special spicy sisig, a combination of pork and chicken meat, topped with special sauce and ingredients. Just a gentle reminder, when they said “spicy”, they really meant it.
8. Sam’s Succulents
This one is for the plant parents out there who never gets tired of adding more collection to their green sanctuaries at home. Sam Maute, the owner of Sam’s Succulents and president of this year’s Barakalan, said that their business boomed after the rise of plantitos and plantitas during the pandemic. If you’re a beginner to the plant world, you may try collecting first these cute succulents perfect for indoor setting. Their cacti start from P50 to P350 while air plants range from P150 to P15,000 for large Xerographica species. Sam’s Succulents is also located at their farm in San Carlos, Bgy. Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City.
9. Balay Kalipay’s Kombucha
Balay Kalipay offers options for those who follow the vegan lifetyle. Available are raw vegan food and vegan food preserves such as plant-based sweets and delicacies. Bootza Kombucha, a fresh and frizzy fun probiotic drink, is one of the must-try for their customers. Kombucha is a fermented, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea drink claimed to have health benefits. The drink helps in cleansing the body’s systems since it has antioxidants and aids in fighting infections, as well as burning calories and balancing sugar in the body. Bootza Kombucha contains 3% alcohol and is for those who want to get the “healthy frizz”. Available flavors Turmeric, Mango, Banana, Pineapple, Dragon Fruit, Lemon, Coffee, and Chocolate for P150 only. Balay Kalipay also released Bootza Kombucha for kids, available in Ternate, Lomboy/Duhat, Spirulina Mint, and Indian Mango flavors, for the same price.
10. Farmbihira’s Blue Ternate Halo-Halo
You may have heard of the blue ternate tea which is made from the Clitoria ternatea’s flowers, extracted through boiling. Many have attested to its health benefits claiming that it is effective as an antioxidant, antipyretic, promotes a healthy complexion, and heightens one cognition. FarmBihira offers a fresh take on the common blue ternate tea. Their blue ternate halo-halo is made even more Filipino and pleasurable even for the young ones. Similar to the ordinary halo-halo, its ingredients include milk, coconut strips, sweetened red munggo, and nata de coco but its crushed ice is poured with extracts of the Ternate flower, which make its color blue. To top it all is the actual, ready-to-eat Blue Ternate flower. Get to satisfy that sweet tooth while enjoying the benefits of the plant at a very affordable price of P50. FarmBihira also offers other products such as pepper jelly, a sweet-tasting jelly with a spicy kick aftertaste that’s perfect for bread or similar snacks.
For all these businesses, Barakalan has helped them to gradually recover from the losses they have had from the pandemic. According to the owners, it made way for better promotion and exposure of their products and services. They are hopeful that in the coming days, more locals would come to appreciate their businesses.
Barakalan is open to residents of Puerto Princesa, as well as locals from neighboring municipalities in Palawan, every day from 4:00 pm to 9: 00 pm until November 30. Visitors are advised to wear face masks and observe social distancing and health protocols when in the venue.
Visiting Barakalan would be so much better with friends and families. What are you waiting for? Come and enjoy the best of Puerto Princesa and Palawan in this year’s Barakalan ig Tarabiangan sa Banoa, and all together, let’s #SupportLocal! | All images courtesy of Pamela Gayle Domingo