Balabac is a second class municipality and it’s located at the southernmost tip of Palawan province, approximately about 50 kilometers from Sabah Malaysia. The island is said to be the home of the distinctive mouse-deer as locals may call it “ Pilandok”. The place is […]
Astonishing seascapes, rock formations, lagoons, powder white beaches, jungles, diverse marine, and wildlife may it be under the sea or in its forest. It is a dream destination for all of us. There’s so much to do and I know that this article won’t be able to do justice, but I will share what I know and my experience of Palawan. Every year I make sure to return because I want to be reminded of that such place does exist. Living in the city can be numbing and will leave you lifeless if you stay too long. There are 3 parts to this Palawan Series. Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and Coron. Today we will focus on Puerto Princesa- We’ll show you Where to Go, What to Do and What to Eat. Should you want to know our full Palawan guide clicks here.
Puerto Princesa is a coastal city and the capital of Palawan. The main town already has a lot of developments and buildings that leads to congested traffic in most parts of the city. Now, going a bit farther away outside the main town never fails to amaze me. To explore Puerto Princesa you may need to take 4-5 days to really enjoy the place. The Department of Tourism (DOT) has various international promotional campaigns hyping it as the eco-capital of the country. It has a thriving restaurant scene and on its outskirts, there are various outdoor activities that you’d definitely enjoy.
Flight: On an average, there are 13 flights that go in and out of Puerto Princesa by local commercial flights coming from Cebu, Manila, Caticlan, and Davao. Make sure to keep an eye on promo fares as there are plenty to choose from.
If you are coming outside The Philippines, your kick of city can be Manila or Cebu. Quick and easy way to book your flight
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How To Go Around: Popular and one of the cheapest way to go around the city is thru their unique tricycles or you may take jeepneys.
Every time I’m in Puerto Princesa I always stay in a quaint bed & breakfast called The Green Space. It’s just 5 minutes away from the airport and walking distance to good restaurants around the city. It’s very clean, nice and spacious. They only have 10 rooms and their beds are perfect! They make sure that each linen that they use has 400 and above thread counts. Each room comes with a set breakfast which is fairly reasonable. A room will cost you around 1,900php-2,200php (40USD) that can accommodate up to 3-4 people. I highly recommend this place.
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Popular for its subterranean river tour in Sabang or underground river tour known by most, it is considered as one of the 7 Wonders of Nature. The underground river is flooded with many tourists but you cannot blame the hype because its limestone formations is an incredible sight. However, the actual boat ride thru the caves is quite short. The boatmen serve your guide as well. They’d tell you random corny yet quirky jokes during the ride but nevertheless, it was fun.
You’ll go thru a forest reserve prior to embarking on your tour boats and there are a lot of monkeys around the island and thru the forest. Be vigilant as they tend to steal bags that contain food. This little fellow stole our bag and we actually have all our money and phones inside. Good thing he dropped the backpack.
Cost is 1,000php-1,500php (20-25 USD) depends on the agency or how you can frugally organize this tour.
Logistics and prerequisites: Go to Sabang Port which is 2 hours drive from the city. Make sure to rise up early and book a van or jeep to go to Sabang Port. From the kick-off port, you will ride a boat going to the underground river Park. The average travel time is 45 minutes or so.
Book at least 2-3 weeks advance prior to your flight to Puerto Princesa as I have mentioned that there is a high influx of tourist for this tour. You may opt to coordinate with local tour organizers.
The Sabang Beach is beautiful in the morning as the forest background creates this mist of fog during sunrise.
Island Hopping in Puerto Princesa
The best bet is going to Honda Bay. Made up of numerous smalls islands each is unique and rare.
Starfish Island, Luli Island, Cowrey Island to name a few. You may do snorkeling, go free diving or play beach volley or take as much selfie as you want.
The whole day trip can last the whole day so make sure to plan early and return back to the city before dusk.
Logistics: Boat rentals are normally 1,500php (30 USD) then split it among your group. Don’t forget to tip the boatmen as well.
6 years ago as a first-time visitor, I asked my tricycle driver if he could bring refer a 1st-time tourist to any of the restaurants in the city that could best represent Puerto Princesa. Confidently he smiled at me and said: “Okay ma’am ako bahala alam ko na po!” (Okay sure, I know where to take you!). He drove me to this Restaurant called Badjao, at first I was reluctant coz’ he was driving thru a secluded place to my surprise there’s actually this serene restaurant. A floating restaurant actually built in a mangrove area offering picturesque views of Puerto Princesa’s seascape. Perfect for lunch to mid-afternoon venues. Serves fresh seafood and other local Filipino dishes.
There are a lot of restaurants and eateries to choose from so make sure to talk and ask the locals which ones are their recommendations. Below are some of my other recommendations;
- Captain Ribs (Continental)
- Kalaui Restaurant (Southeast, Asian, Filipino_
- La Terrasse (Filipino, Asian)
- Kinabuch Grill & Bar (Asian)
- Ka Inato (Filipino, BBQ, Inasal House)
- The Gypsy’s Lair Art Cafe (Continental)
- City Baywalk (Dampa, Paluto Style)
Puerto Princesa has a lot of activities to offer although it could get crowded with tourist, it does not yet tarnish the experience and enjoyment of the place. You’ll get the convenience of the city and nature that co-exist well together as one.
Go forth and wander. Experience and tell its story when you return home.
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