Some people say that the Philippine map is like an old man holding a walking stick. Let’s take a look at the map below:
You see the walking stick right there? That my friend is the provincial island of Palawan. The capital is Puerto Princesa, it’s the second largest city in the Philippines with 253,982 hectares of land stretched over 106 kilometers. It lies between the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. Our tour guide said you can scuba dive and land in Malaysia coz it’s just near. But expect a bunch of Malaysian navy waiting for you at the border. So good luck mate! 🙂
There so many things to do in Puerto like diving, hiking and many more activities. But the most popular is boating through the cave of Puerto Princesa Underground River.
It is accountable to the large amount of tourists that come to visit the Philippines. Ever since it won the title of the world’s New Seven Wonder of Nature, the economy growth increased over time.
How to get to Puerto Princesa?
They have an international airport so major cities in the world like New York, California, Vancouver, London, Paris, Sydney etc. You can fly directly there if you want to skip the air traffic in Manila. (premier gateway of the PH)
If you’re coming from Manila, you have two options;
There are direct flights via Cebu Pacific, PAL Tiger Airways or Zest Air. Travel time is approximately 1 hour from Manila. The airport is less than 10 minutes away from the city proper, you can just walk or take a Multicab (roomier version of tricycles in Manila) to your hotel.
It’s not advisable coz it’s time-consuming. But if you have plenty of time, why not? It would take you approximately 18-22 hours via 2go Travel Express.
Sample Itinerary in Puerto Princesa
12:00NN – Arrival in Puerto Princesa. Check in at the hotel
1:00PM – Half day “City Tour”
5:00PM – Back at the hotel
7:00PM – Night out
6:00AM – Breakfast
6:30AM -7:30 AM – Pick up for Underground River Tour
9:00AM -10:00 AM – Arrival at Sabang Wharf
11:30 AM – 12:30PM – Lunch at Sabang
5:00PM – 6:00PM – Back at the Hotel
6:00 AM – Breakfast
7:00 AM – Pickup for Honda Bay Island Hopping
12:00NN – Lunch at Honda Bay
2:00PM – Check out at the hotel
Where to stay in Puerto Princesa?
There are many hotels in Puerto Princesa but here are the top 3 hotels that have good reviews from Agoda.com
Address: Sabang Beach, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines
Phone: +63 48 434 1448
Address: Arreceffi Island Resort Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan, Philippines
Phone: +63 48 434 3118
Address: The Emerald Playa Beach & Nature Park, Puerto Princesa, 5300, Philippines
Phone: +63 917 628 8935
Where and What to eat?
Kinabuch’s- I like to try exotic food like Andrew Zimmerman. In this restaurant, you can try the famous delicacy which is a “wood worm” or as the locals call it, “tamilok”. It is a specie of saltwater clams, some of my friends say it tasted like oyster. I didn’t try that one coz it looks slimy but I will try it out for sure when I get back there. I ordered the hot and spicy sizzling crocodile sisig. It taste good but the meat is a little chewy and rough.
Balinsasayaw – The birds nest soup is a must try in this restaurant but it’s quite expensive. The waitress said it’s made of a bird’s saliva. Yuck! I don’t know if that’s true or she’s just joking around, but I don’t care. It taste good. They also have delicious budget meals worth Php80 ($2).It’s a pretty good deal I must say.
Ka Lui – The interior design of this restaurant is so Filipino. Bamboo, chairs, antique wood, dim light, no shoes policy, so pinoy! It was selected as one of the best Asian restaurants in the prestigious Miele Guide 2013. They don’t serve pork here, just seafood, veggies and fruits. Perfect for health-conscious people like me. I just like the ambiance in that resto.
Things to do in Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park – Be careful not to look up at the stalactites with mouth wide open coz black bats are everywhere and they might drop something like fruit, worms or poop!
Iwahig Firefly Watching Tour – this is the second best on my list, first was the Underground River of course. But this one, gosh! It’s so amazing to see how the fireflies lit up some trees and make it look like a Christmas tree. They glow so bright and they lit up at the same time, synchronize man! Don’t take pictures though coz it will blind them and they will die according to the awesome tour guide. He is very articulate and knowledgeable about the fireflies. Look at the picture below, I was walking towards the boat to see the fireflies when my smart friend took this picture. Two fireflies died coz of him! Don’t worry he learned his lesson after the tour.
Rancho Mitra – there’s really nothing to see here but the nice view of the city and horses. You can also try the zip line but it’s just short.
Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center – I got to spend time with this adorable bearcat named Ella. You can feed her with bananas but be careful coz she’s a little feisty too.
Irawan Eco-park– This is Asia’s longest canopy zipline. It’s not the longest in the world but much better than the one Rancho Mitra. They also have activities like river trail, carabao cart, bee farm, fish and bird feeding, art gallery etc.
Baker’s Hill – This place is full of life-size statues. You will see Marilyn Monroe, Looney Tunes cast, Johnny Depp and some dinosaurs. I like it here coz of the brick oven pizza, hopia and fruit shake. Food makes me happy! 🙂
Butterfly Garden – It’s nice to bring kids here coz you can show them the butterfly life cycle and other insects like scorpion,bugs, etc.
Honda Bay Tour – For those who like to swim and get a tan, this tour is perfect for you. You will get to different islands likes Pandan, Snake, Starfish and Pambato Reef. My favorite is the Snake island coz of the island’s “S” shape and you can snorkel there just by sitting and merging your head into the ocean. There’s a lot of fishes there I swear.
Have you been to Puerto Princesa? If so, what’s your favorite part of the tour? Let me know and leave your comments below. 🙂