The island of Palawan is clearly the Last Frontier of the Philippines. It is known for amazing white sand beaches such as El Nido, Honda Bay and the Amanpulo luxury beach, as well as two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Underground River Park and Tubbataha Reef Marine Park. These wonders of Nature truly are among the best in the world, but they are many kilometers away from Puerto Princesa, the capital city and mostly accessible only on board hired vehicles. Is there a tourist destination right inside the city? There is one: Baker’s Hill.
Baker’s Hill is exactly what its name says. It is a place on top of a hill where a number of bakers and bakeries work together to cook deliciously baked goodies for tourists and visitors. Together they form a baker-based theme park that is complete with Disney character sculptures made from fiberglass. The place exudes a Disneyland-type feeling but without the rides. There is also a playground for kids while Mom and Dad go through the many choices of bread. The most popular items are chocolate crinkles, brownies, and hopia or bean filled pastry (specifically purple yam flavor). A box of purple yam hopia with 10 pieces costs PHP35 (US$0.79). A number of visitors bother to come all the way just to buy a box of hopia.
What used to be just a usual bakery, Baker’s Hill, is now regularly receiving so many guests and tourists that it seems as though every Puerto Princesa visitor has been checking it out. All tourists going to the many world renowned tourist destinations in Palawan pass by Puerto Princesa and stay at hotels there. It is most likely that they will be told about Baker’s Hill and would want to check it out. Tricycle drivers normally recommend Baker’s Hill to every tourist they give a ride.
What more is in Baker’s Hill?
Aside from the delicious and inexpensive assortment of home-made breads and fiberglass Disney characters, there are interesting houses straight from the pages of fairy tale books, but visitors cannot picnic near them. There is a comfortable area specifically where people can eat their bread. For those who want to get their fill from more than the baked goodies, there are two restaurants in the theme park serving full meals. Those who do eat at the restaurants normally still buy boxes of hopia on their way out.
Other than food vendors, a number of mobile vendors litter the place selling cultured pearl earring, bracelets, and necklaces. The park is made more beautiful with the clean landscaping of well-kept plants and flowers. There are also unusual and exotic plants and flowering vines creeping along several trellises. Also, there are a number of birds chirping and freely moving around in the aviary, including Palawan-native peacocks.
Baker’s Hill is located near Mitra’s Ranch, just a tricycle ride away. This is not a normal route, though, and so a tourist will pay a little extra. It is usually on the way to other tourist destinations such as Butterfly Garden, Crocodile Farm, and Iwahig Penal and Farm Colony, which are all further away. Admission to Baker’s Hill is free.