Any dialog about Palawan is very incomplete with no point out of Puerto Princesa, its capital and solely metropolis. Adventurers and seashore bums flock to the towering karst cliffs of El Nido. Divers and nature lovers are drawn to the lakes of Coron. However lengthy earlier than they made a mark on Palawan’s tourism map, Puerto Princesa was already giving vacationers of all kinds just a little style of what the province has to supply.
Positioned in the course of mainland Palawan, Puerto Princesa serves as the most important and essentially the most handy gateway to the province. Though a extremely urbanized metropolis, it retains its pure magnificence and has been constantly among the many cleanest and greenest cities within the nation, one thing that any traveler would instantly discover inside minutes of their arrival. It’s no surprise it’s additionally touted because the Eco-Tourism Middle of the Philippines.
Nevertheless it’s not all the time butterflies and unicorns for town’s tourism over the previous years. Like in lots of locations all over the world, the pandemic introduced numerous challenges. Then, in 2021, the province was ravaged by Hurricane Odette (worldwide identify: Rai), leaving virtually P8 billion in damages. However lately, not even a 12 months after, we had been invited to affix a latest tour organized by the Division of Tourism (DOT)-MIMAROPA. We bought to see for ourselves what it’s wish to journey round Puerto Princesa now. On this article, we’re sharing with you an inventory of vacationer sights within the metropolis (not in any explicit order) and what it’s like immediately.
Be aware: Puerto Princesa is large! The truth is, it’s the second largest metropolis within the Philippines by land space, subsequent to Davao. You’ll discover locations on this record that could be one or two hours away from town heart, however they’re nonetheless a part of Puerto Princesa.
WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
Formally named Puerto Princesa Subterranean River however generally merely known as PPUR, this 8.2-km-long underground river is town’s principal tourism draw. This pure surprise which was acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Website in 1999 and as one of many New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2012.
Tucked within the northern nooks 76 km away from town correct, it may be reached after round one and a half to 2 hours of land journey. The tour’s jump-off level is Sabang Wharf, and solely a restricted variety of guests are allowed per day. Vacationers are required to register upfront in the event that they need to go to. To keep away from coping with this course of, it’s best to ebook a packaged tour with a tour operator to allow them to register in your behalf. Packaged excursions often embrace roundtrip land and boat transfers, audio information for the underground river tour, and buffet lunch.
One other beauty of reserving with a tour operator is in case of inclement climate, you gained’t need to spend time touring to Sabang solely to seek out out that the excursions have been canceled for the day. In case this occurs, they will additionally make preparations to maneuver your scheduled tour to the next day.
Just a few minutes away from Sabang Wharf, Cacaoayan Forest Park is an superior lunch cease after your Puerto Princesa Underground River tour. True to its identify, being right here will make you are feeling such as you’re in the course of a forest. Additionally, you will discover a good view deck right here together with Instagram-worthy spots harking back to these in Bali.
Their lunch buffet gives a wide range of Filipino dishes from fish to pork to hen to greens and recent fruits. When you’re taken with attempting tamilok, the favored unique mollusk, you can even order it right here. Reservations are required for the lunch buffet, however some tour operators embrace a cease right here of their underground river tour packages.
Buffet charge is P350 per particular person.
Location: Brgy. Sabang, Puerto Princesa
Working hours: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Buffet Fee: P350/particular person
Sabang Seashore could also be identified primarily because the jump-off level to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, however additionally it is an attraction by itself. This beautiful seashore with the backdrop of the mountains is a pleasant place to swim and calm down. From right here, you can even see the beautiful St. Paul Limestone formation the place the underground river is flowing beneath.
When you’re in for extra journey, one other exercise you are able to do right here is the Sabang X Zipline. This thrilling trip will deal with you to the beautiful view of Sabang Seashore and its surrounding space from above. Measuring 800 meters, it’s among the many nation’s longest ziplines that cross a physique of water. To succeed in the start line of the trip, you’ll want to go on a brief 15-minute hike.
Tickets value P550.
Island hopping is likely one of the commonest actions in lots of locations within the Philippines, and Puerto Princesa isn’t to be omitted. Right here, seashore chasers go to Honda Bay, which isn’t too removed from town heart.
Honda Bay is peppered with a number of isles, however island hopping excursions often embrace simply three stops. When you’re a DIY-er and also you’re becoming a member of a bunch tour, these three islands shall be mounted. However if you would like extra flexibility or when you’re a giant group, you could ebook a ship and organize a non-public tour.
The jump-off level is Sta. Lourdes Wharf, roughly half-hour away from town correct by tricycle. One-way fare is round P400-500 per tricycle.
At current, solely 3 islands are open for public island hopping excursions:
- Cowrie Island
- Luli Island
- Starfish Island
Boat charges fluctuate relying on the kind used. Listed below are the newest charges, good for six passengers.
- with 4-cylinder engine: P2100 per boat or P350 per particular person
- with 3-cylinder engine: P1800 per boat or P300 per particular person
Except for boat rental price, you additionally must pay the ENTRANCE FEES:
- Cowrie Island: P100
- Luli Island: P70
- Starfish Island: P50
Different islands could also be accessible, however most of them are personal and gather a lot increased entrance charges. We’ll talk about them intimately under.
Listed below are different bills to count on when you’re doing a Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour:
- Environmental Payment: P150
- Terminal price: P5
- Goggles & snorkel rental: P150
- Full face masks rental: P200
- Aqua footwear rental: P150
- Fins rental: P150
When you don’t need to cope with all these funds by yourself, you could ebook a tour package deal provided by journey businesses. Honday Bay excursions often value P1750/particular person, inclusive of lunch, entrance charges, boat rental, tour information, and roundtrip transfers.
Under are extra detailed description of every island.
Of all of the islands dotting Honda Bay, Cowrie Island is the closest to Sta. Lourdes Wharf, making it a really perfect first or final cease. When you ebook a packaged tour, Cowrie Island can also be the same old lunch cease. You can too order drinks from their bar and restaurant. For particular person meals, the meals is served in bilao (winnowing basket tray). For teams, it’s served boodle-fight-style.
Whereas ready for lunch to be served, you may get pleasure from swimming within the clear waters, stroll alongside the seashore or simply lay on the sand. Kayaks and stand-up paddle board can be found for lease. And when you’re with a bunch and you want taking part in sports activities, they’ve an space for seashore volleyball too!
Entrance Payment: P100
Cottage Rental: Spherical Desk (good for 4 pax) – P100; Spherical Desk (good for 8 pax)- P200; Kubo (good for 15-20 pax)- P500
Kayak: Single, P100/hour; Double, P200/hour; Triple, P250/hour
Honda Bay is adorned with numerous sandbars. One among them is Luli Island, brief for lulubog lilitaw, a playful shoutout to its disappearing act at excessive tide.
Up to now, it was the same old lunch cease. However the buffet restaurant right here was destroyed by Hurricane Odette and has not been rebuilt since. There’s nonetheless lots to get pleasure from right here, although. The fantastic thing about the sandbar itself stays. You’ll be able to nonetheless get pleasure from strolling on the sand, take photographs, or chill on considered one of their many overwater hammocks. The water is crystal clear too so you may see little fish swimming round as you go into the water.
Entrance Payment: P70
Round 25 minutes away from the wharf, Starfish Island is the snorkeling cease on Honda Bay excursions. It bought its identify from quite a few starfish that decision its clear, shallow waters house. Even when you don’t know tips on how to swim, you may nonetheless see the small fish and different marine animals frolicking round.
Take into account that there’s a designated swimming and snorkeling space marked by a line so make sure that to remain inside that space to your security.
You will see that many tables and chairs and even cottages for lease right here. When you’re hungry, there’s a small retailer on the island the place you should purchase snacks. Seafood “paluto” can also be accessible. You should purchase seafood — crabs, lobsters, fish, sea urchin or uni, and rang-ranga (spider shell) — and have them cooked.
Entrance Payment: P50
Cottage Rental: Kubo, P150; 2 tables (for giant teams), P300
In contrast to the opposite Honda Bay tour stops, Pambato Reef is just not an island. It’s a well-liked snorkeling spot, marked by a platform floating in the course of the ocean. Earlier than leaping into the water, vacationers are given a brief lecture about marine and reef ecology and conservation.
Nevertheless, this too was closely broken by Hurricane Odette and stays closed to today. However as soon as Pambato Reef reopens, don’t miss out a possibility to discover considered one of Puerto Princesa’s most visited underwater web site!
As of this writing, Pandan Island stays closed and has but to announce after they would reopen.
One of many extra developed islands in Honda Bay, Pandan Island is now occupied by a non-public resort, Isla Pandan. It isn’t among the many normal stops of the widespread three-island or two-island excursions.
It has an unbelievable, cream-colored seashore and clear emerald waters the place you may swim, snorkel, or simply bask within the solar. A buffet lunch can also be accessible on the island in addition to cottages and completely different water sports activities and seashore actions. You’ll be able to go kayaking, stand-up paddling, jetskiing, and banana boating when you’re into water actions or play volleyball and frisbee on the seashore. You can too go snorkeling, diving, or helmet diving.
Their day tour charge is inclusive of the doorway price, cottage, buffet lunch, and use of kayak, stand-up paddle, volleyball, frisbee, and board video games.
Day Tour Fee: P1000/particular person
Dos Palmas Island Resort
Located in Arreceffi Island, Dos Palmas is an island resort and spa good for many who need to have an opulent island trip. Their lodging are proper by the seashore, dealing with the tuquoise waters.
When you’re on a restricted finances, you may have a style of the posh island expertise by happening a day tour. You’ll be able to discover the 20-hectare island and the facilities of the resort. Except for spending time on the seashore, day trippers can take a dip on the swimming pool, play volleyball, or go snorkeling.
Day Tour Charges: Grownup, P1800; Little one (2-11 years previous), P900
*Day tour charges are inclusive of land and boat transfers and lunch.
For reservations & inquiries, you could contact the administration.
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Cellular Quantity: 09175904442 / 09175000154 / 09298132360
Except for its pure magnificence, you may admire extra of Puerto Princesa by exploring town and studying about its historical past by happening a metropolis tour. Don’t go away with out shopping for souvenirs and pasalubong from Binuatan Creations, Baker’s Hill, and pasalubong heart.
You’ll be able to constitution a tricycle to take you to the completely different cultural and historic spots for P800-1000 per tricycle, good for as much as 3 passengers.
However if you would like a extra comfy and extra insightful tour led by a educated information, ebook an organized tour!
Though there are some variations, listed below are the same old stops included in metropolis excursions.
Palawan Wildlife Rescue & Conservation Middle
Beforehand often called the Crocodile Farming Institute or Crocodile Farm, the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Middle is a 10-hectare property the place they breed two species of crocodiles, the Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) and the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).
Each quarter-hour, an academic tour is finished, which begins by the doorway the place the skeleton and pores and skin of a large crocodile are on show. After that, you may be led to the nursery of the infant crocodiles after which to the realm the place the grownup crocodiles are saved. Don’t fear, you’ll be strolling on an elevated walkway, out of attain.
A portion of the property is a nature park the place the rescued wildlife are housed. You’ll additionally see varied species of uncommon birds right here and a wide range of wild fauna.
Opening hours: Each day, 8:30 AM to five:00 PM
Entrance Payment: Grownup, P40; Senior Citizen, P30; Little one, P30
Mitra’s Ranch is owned by the household of the late Senator and Home Speaker Ramon Mitra Jr. Positioned in Barangay Sta. Monica, the home sits atop a hill and has a view deck, permitting a very good, stress-free view of town, Honda Bay, and the verdant surroundings in between.
Mitra’s Ranch is open to the general public. You solely must pay the doorway price if you wish to go inside the home.
Working Hours: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Entrance Payment (to enter the home): P20
Not too far-off from Mitra’s Ranch, additionally in Barangay Sta. Monica, stands Baker’s Hill.
Baker’s Hill is a straightforward bakery that developed right into a household vacation spot. While you cross by means of the gate, you’ll be greeted by massive, colourful statues of well-liked characters, including life to the gardens and playground surrounding the bakeshop. The location can also be wearing varied decorations, the theme of which change relying on the time of the 12 months.
Most vacationers who come right here go pasalubong purchasing. You should purchase completely different baked items like cookies, brownies, and naturally, their well-liked hopia in numerous flavors. In addition they promote different snacks like cashew nuts, polvoron, and pastillas. When you’re on the lookout for extra than simply snacks, you may dine at their restaurant known as Baker’s Kitchen.
Working Hours: 7:00 AM to eight:00 PM
Weaving is a large a part of the tradition and humanities in lots of elements of the Philippines. Right here in Puerto Princesa, handloom weaving is showcased at Binuatan Creations. It additionally serves as a livelihood program to the group particularly moms and college students.
Watch how the expert weavers make colourful materials out of native fibers like buri, ticug grass, and amumuting. These materials are then made into completely different hand-loomed merchandise like luggage, equipment, placemats, and desk runners. To get extra appreciation on how intricate it’s, guests are welcome to attempt their hand on the method. The weavers would fortunately information you as they clarify tips on how to use the loom.
After this expertise, drop by the memento store to purchase a few of their merchandise for your self and for pasalubong to your family and friends!
Working Hours: 7:00 AM to six:00 PM
Plaza Cuartel seems to be like your peculiar park lined with benches and bushes immediately, but it surely has a grotesque previous. On 14 December 1944, on the top of World Battle II, 150 American prisoners of battle had been burned alive by the Japanese in a garrison that stood on the web site of the place Plaza Cuartel is situated immediately.
Tunnels the place the prisoners the place saved and the ruins of the previous garrison are saved as a reminder of this darkish second within the metropolis’s historical past. A memorial marker can also be put in to commemorate the troopers who died throughout the bloodbath and acknowledge the 11 who survived.
Puerto Princesa Cathedral
Adjoining to Plaza Cuartel stands Puerto Princesa Cathedral, also called the Immaculate Conception Cathedral Parish. On the web site the place it stands, the primary mass in Puerto Princesa was held on March 10, 1872 by Saint Ezequiél Moreno who was then an Augustinian Recollect Fray.
The cathedral has been rebuilt just a few instances together with after it was destroyed by Japanese bombing throughout World Battle II. The construction that you just see immediately took virtually a century to complete and was solely accomplished in 1961. Its facade and interiors are clad in Neo-Gothic architectural model, just like the church buildings in Medieval Europe.
Palawan Butterfly Backyard and Tribal Village
Because the identify suggests, there are two elements to this attraction: the butterfly backyard and the tribal village. The butterfly backyard homes numerous species of butterflies which you can see flying round contained in the net-covered backyard.
Other than these stunning flying creatures, you can even see some endemic wildlife of Palawan right here just like the Palawan Bearcat, bearded pig, and Palawan peacock-pheasant which is the hen that seems on the official seal of town of Puerto Princesa. These species are smaller in measurement, however just like the peacocks, the male has colourful feathers and vibrant wings that exhibits after they unfold it, often to draw peahens or the feminine birds.
On the Tribal Village, you’ll get a peek into the lifetime of the indigenous folks of South Palawan known as Palaw’an. Right here, guests are handled to a cultural present the place they’d see how the Palaw’an tribe historically lives within the mountains. The Palaw’ans exhibit how they hunt, make fireplace, and carry out a brief musical quantity utilizing a string instrument known as kudyapi. There’s additionally just a little cafe right here the place you may attempt civet coffe or kopi luwak.
Working Hours: 8:30 AM to five:00 PM
Entrance Payment: Grownup, P60; Little one (4 to 12 years previous), P50; Senior Citizen & PWD, P50
When you’re touring to Puerto Princesa with children and youngsters at coronary heart, Palawan Water Park bought you coated. You’ll be able to get pleasure from sliding down the water slides along with your family and friends or splash round of their swimming pools.
The primary and solely water park in Palawan, it’s owned and managed by Astoria, however it’s open to everybody and NOT unique to Astoria’s resort visitors.
Every ticket to the water park is inclusive of a lunch buffet.
Entrance Payment: Adults, P1200; Youngsters (4ft and under), P950; Youngsters (2 years previous and under), FREE
Working Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Journey awaits north of town correct! In Barangay Tagabinet, you will discover one of the thrilling sights in Puerto Princesa —- Ugong Rock Adventures, a community-based sustainable tourism vacation spot.
Be able to get bodily as a result of you may be climbing Ugong Rock and go rappelling and spelunking on its caves. Reaching the highest would reward you with a panoramic view of the forest and the encircling limestone formations. After taking within the views, you gained’t be climbing again down as a result of the descent is by using a 71-meter zipline!
Whereas Puerto Princesa seashores are synonymous with the islands of Honda Bay, you’ll additionally discover a number of coves that may be accessed by land. One among them is Nagtabon Seashore.
Nagtabon Seashore is located lower than an hour away from town heart, so it’s considerably indifferent and never often included in normal Puerto Princesa itineraries. It was a sanctuary for many who need to escape the crowds, but it surely has been getting the eye of extra vacationers. Those that go to are welcomed by a picturesque view of the mountains and cerulean waters.
Just a few years in the past, there are just a few cottages accessible for lease right here, however there at the moment are resorts and eating places within the space.
Location: Barangay Bacungn, Puerto Princesa
The right way to get there: From town heart, take a bus going north (Taytay/Roxas/El Nido) to Bacungan. Then, constitution a tricycle to Nagtabon Seashore. When you’re a bunch, renting a van for a roundtrip transportation is an choice too.
If you’d like one thing a bit extra offbeat, attempt firefly watching and get that magical feeling! Even when you already deliberate out your actions in Puerto Princesa, you may in all probability squeeze this into your itinerary since this tour occurs at evening. While you be part of a firefly watching tour, you’d hop on a ship and exit into the water the place you could possibly feast your eyes with the blinking lights from the fireflies and the twinkling of the celebs within the sky.
There are three completely different firefly watching areas in Puerto Princesa:
- Iwahig River. That is the unique location of firefly watching in Puerto Princesa. Utilizing a paddle boat, you’d cruise alongside Iwahig River as your boat man and tour information present you the fireflies. Sadly, Iwahig firefly watching is currenly closed, however fear not as a result of there are different firefly watching spots in Puerto Princesa.
- Sicsican River. That is the place we went firefly watching on our latest journey. Town’s baywalk space serves because the jump-off level for this tour. From right here, you’d hop on a ship after which switch to a smaller boat, which might take you to Sicsican River the place fireflies abound. Tour guides make the firefly watching exercise entertaining by “speaking” to the fireflies in numerous languages. The tour features a scrumptious dinner on the boat, which we loved after cruising on the river and seeing the fireflies that appear like Christmas lights by the facet of the river.
- Nagsaguipi River. This tour features a buffet dinner at a restaurant simply earlier than you begin your firefly watching journey. After making your stomachs full, you’ll get on a paddle boat and sail on Nagsaguipi River the place you’ll see the fireflies glow by the mangrove bushes.
With a top of 350 meters, Mt. Magarwak is a pleasant place to go to if you wish to see Puerto Princesa from above. The trek to the highest of this mountain is appropriate even for freshmen and takes round an hour and a half, relying on the tempo. It’s best to start out trekking early within the morning round 5:00 AM so you may attain the highest earlier than dawn. When you get to the highest, you may calm down, have some espresso and look forward to the spectacular dawn over Puerto Princesa. From the height, you can even admire Honda Bay and Puerto Princesa Bay.
Mt. Magarwak is situated in Brgy. Bacungan, about 15 kilometers from town heart.
Kamia Bay Resort lies in Brgy. Luzviminda, lower than an hour away south of town heart. The waterpark covers about 4 hectares of the property in Binusalian Bay and options one of many largest inflatable parks within the nation. Friends of all ages can get pleasure from bouncing round and happening the slide of various heights or attempt wall climbing on the inflatables.
Different actions provided listed below are eco-tours and bike trails. The resort additionally has a buffet and many areas the place you may chill whether or not you’re household, pals, or your particular somebody.
Be aware: We’re unsure if Kamia Bay Resort is closed or open. We didn’t get to go to on our latest journey, so we couldn’t affirm. However their social media accounts have been inactive since 2021.
In 1979, after the autumn of South Vietnam, numerous Vietnamese refugees discovered themselves in Palawan and arrange a camp. In 1993, the camp was moved to Barangay Sta. Lourdes. Through the years, some have left and returned to Vietnam however some selected to remain.
Right now, this group in Puerto Princesa is named Viet Ville. Historical past buffs will certainly discover a go to right here fairly attention-grabbing. You can too have a style of the Vietnamese delicacies on the restaurant right here that bears the identical identify. Viet Ville restaurant serves pho, banh mi, and Vietnamese espresso, amongst others.
Ask anybody in Puerto Princesa the place they recommend a first-time vacationer ought to go for a meal, and there’s a giant probability they are going to level you to Ka Lui.
KaLui is maybe essentially the most well-known Pinoy restaurant in Puerto Princesa. Fostering a homey Pinoy environment, it’s with picket furnishings, ceramic items, and work. Ka Lui serves principally Filipino seafood specialties. In addition they give a complimentary fruit salad served on a halved coconut.
This restaurant is extraordinarily well-liked so it’s extremely really useful that you just make prior reservation to safe a desk.
Tackle: 369 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa
Opening hours: Mondays-Saturdays, 11AM-2PM (Lunch), 6PM-11PM (Dinner)
Contact quantity: (048) 726-6217
This isn’t someplace to go to however one thing to get pleasure from! Er, provided that you’re an adventurous eater.
Indulging in native meals is all the time a fantastic a part of any journey. If unique meals doesn’t faze you, don’t miss out on Palawan’s delicacy —- tamilok! It’s sometimes called a woodworm as a result of it’s discovered inside mangroves. However it’s, the truth is, a sort of marine mollusk with lengthy and mushy our bodies. Yep, a distant cousin of oysters and mussels! Its style profile and slimy texture are similar to the extra widespread bivalves too, albeit with a robust woody aftertaste.
When in Puerto Princesa, you may do this unconventional deal with at some eating places within the metropolis. I used to be in a position to attempt tamilok after we had lunch in Cacaoyan Forest Park in Sabang. They serve it with a facet of vinegar the place you may dip it earlier than savoring it.
One other restaurant that gives it’s Kinabuch’s Grill and Bar situated throughout the metropolis heart, the place our teammate Yosh had his first style of it.