Any dialog about Palawan is very incomplete with out a 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 every type a bit style of what the province has to supply.
Positioned in the course of mainland Palawan, Puerto Princesa serves as the biggest and essentially the most handy gateway to the province. Though a extremely urbanized metropolis, it retains its pure magnificence and has been persistently 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.
But it surely’s not at all times butterflies and unicorns for town’s tourism over the previous years. Like in lots of locations world wide, the pandemic offered plenty of challenges. Then, in 2021, the province was ravaged by Storm Odette (worldwide title: Rai), leaving nearly P8 billion in damages. However lately, not even a 12 months after, we have been invited to affix a latest tour organized by the Division of Tourism (DOT)-MIMAROPA. We obtained to see for ourselves what it’s wish to journey round Puerto Princesa now. On this article, we’re sharing with you a listing of vacationer points of interest within the metropolis (not in any specific order) and what it’s like at the moment.
Be aware: Puerto Princesa is large! In actual fact, it’s the second largest metropolis within the Philippines by land space, subsequent to Davao. You’ll discover locations on this checklist 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 referred to as PPUR, this 8.2-km-long underground river is town’s essential tourism draw. This pure surprise which was acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Web site 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 wish to go to. To keep away from coping with this course of, it’s best to e-book a packaged tour with a tour operator to allow them to register in your behalf. Packaged excursions often embody 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 received’t need to spend time touring to Sabang solely to search out out that the excursions have been canceled for the day. In case this occurs, they’ll additionally make preparations to maneuver your scheduled tour to the next day.
Only some minutes away from Sabang Wharf, Cacaoayan Forest Park is an superior lunch cease after your Puerto Princesa Underground River tour. True to its title, 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 quite a lot of Filipino dishes from fish to pork to rooster to greens and contemporary fruits. In case you’re excited by attempting tamilok, the favored unique mollusk, you can too order it right here. Reservations are required for the lunch buffet, however some tour operators embody a cease right here of their underground river tour packages.
Buffet price is P350 per particular person.
Location: Brgy. Sabang, Puerto Princesa
Working hours: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Buffet Price: P350/particular person
Sabang Seashore could also be identified primarily because the jump-off level to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, however it is usually an attraction by itself. This gorgeous seashore with the backdrop of the mountains is a pleasant place to swim and chill out. From right here, you can too see the gorgeous St. Paul Limestone formation the place the underground river is flowing beneath.
In case 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 gorgeous 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 price P550.
Island hopping is likely one of the most typical actions in lots of locations within the Philippines, and Puerto Princesa isn’t to be neglected. 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 embody simply three stops. In case you’re a DIY-er and also you’re becoming a member of a bunch tour, these three islands can be fastened. However if you’d like extra flexibility or when you’re a giant group, you could e-book a ship and prepare 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 sort 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 charge, 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 non-public and gather a lot larger entrance charges. We’ll focus on them intimately beneath.
Listed below are different bills to anticipate when you’re doing a Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour:
- Environmental Price: P150
- Terminal charge: P5
- Goggles & snorkel rental: P150
- Full face masks rental: P200
- Aqua footwear rental: P150
- Fins rental: P150
In case you don’t wish to cope with all these funds by yourself, you could e-book a tour package deal provided by journey companies. Honday Bay excursions often price 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 an excellent first or final cease. In case you e-book a packaged tour, Cowrie Island can be the same old lunch cease. You may also 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 possibly can 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 enjoying sports activities, they’ve an space for seashore volleyball too!
Entrance Price: 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 plenty of sandbars. One in every of them is Luli Island, quick 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 Storm Odette and has not been rebuilt since. There’s nonetheless a lot to get pleasure from right here, although. The great thing about the sandbar itself stays. You’ll be able to nonetheless get pleasure from strolling on the sand, take photographs, or chill on one in every of their many overwater hammocks. The water is crystal clear too so you possibly can see little fish swimming round as you go into the water.
Entrance Price: P70
Round 25 minutes away from the wharf, Starfish Island is the snorkeling cease on Honda Bay excursions. It obtained its title from quite a few starfish that decision its clear, shallow waters house. Even when you don’t know how you can swim, you possibly can 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 ensure to remain inside that space to your security.
You will see that many tables and chairs and even cottages for lease right here. In case you’re hungry, there’s a small retailer on the island the place you should purchase snacks. Seafood “paluto” can be obtainable. You should purchase seafood — crabs, lobsters, fish, sea urchin or uni, and rang-ranga (spider shell) — and have them cooked.
Entrance Price: P50
Cottage Rental: Kubo, P150; 2 tables (for large teams), P300
Not like the opposite Honda Bay tour stops, Pambato Reef will not be an island. It’s a in style 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 Storm Odette and stays closed to today. However as soon as Pambato Reef reopens, don’t miss out a possibility to discover one in every of Puerto Princesa’s most visited underwater web site!
As of this writing, Pandan Island stays closed and has but to announce once 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’s not among the many typical stops of the frequent three-island or two-island excursions.
It has an unbelievable, cream-colored seashore and clear emerald waters the place you possibly can swim, snorkel, or simply bask within the solar. A buffet lunch can be obtainable 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 may also go snorkeling, diving, or helmet diving.
Their day tour price is inclusive of the doorway charge, cottage, buffet lunch, and use of kayak, stand-up paddle, volleyball, frisbee, and board video games.
Day Tour Price: P1000/particular person
Dos Palmas Island Resort
Located in Arreceffi Island, Dos Palmas is an island resort and spa excellent for individuals who wish to have an opulent island trip. Their lodging are proper by the seashore, dealing with the tuquoise waters.
In case you’re on a restricted funds, you possibly can have a style of the luxurious 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; Youngster (2-11 years outdated), P900
*Day tour charges are inclusive of land and boat transfers and lunch.
For reservations & inquiries, you could contact the administration.
Electronic mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cellular Quantity: 09175904442 / 09175000154 / 09298132360
Except for its pure magnificence, you possibly can recognize extra of Puerto Princesa by exploring town and studying about its historical past by happening a metropolis tour. Don’t depart 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’d like a extra comfy and extra insightful tour led by a educated information, e-book 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 can be led to the nursery of the child crocodiles after which to the world 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 quite a lot of wild fauna.
Opening hours: Day by day, 8:30 AM to five:00 PM
Entrance Price: Grownup, P40; Senior Citizen, P30; Youngster, 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 great, enjoyable 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 charge if you wish to go inside the home.
Working Hours: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Entrance Price (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 an easy bakery that advanced right into a household vacation spot. If you cross by way of the gate, you’ll be greeted by giant, colourful statues of in style characters, including life to the gardens and playground surrounding the bakeshop. The positioning can 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 buying. You should purchase completely different baked items like cookies, brownies, and naturally, their in style hopia in several flavors. In addition they promote different snacks like cashew nuts, polvoron, and pastillas. In case you’re in search of extra than simply snacks, you possibly can dine at their restaurant referred to 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 neighborhood 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 how you can 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 appears like your unusual park lined with benches and timber at the moment, nevertheless it has a grotesque previous. On 14 December 1944, on the top of World Conflict II, 150 American prisoners of warfare have been burned alive by the Japanese in a garrison that stood on the web site of the place Plaza Cuartel is situated at the moment.
Tunnels the place the prisoners the place saved and the ruins of the outdated garrison are saved as a reminder of this darkish second within the metropolis’s historical past. A memorial marker can 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, often known as 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 occasions together with after it was destroyed by Japanese bombing throughout World Conflict II. The construction that you simply see at the moment took nearly a century to complete and was solely accomplished in 1961. Its facade and interiors are clad in Neo-Gothic architectural type, just like the church buildings in Medieval Europe.
Palawan Butterfly Backyard and Tribal Village
Because the title suggests, there are two elements to this attraction: the butterfly backyard and the tribal village. The butterfly backyard homes plenty of species of butterflies which you could see flying round contained in the net-covered backyard.
Other than these lovely flying creatures, you can too see some endemic wildlife of Palawan right here just like the Palawan Bearcat, bearded pig, and Palawan peacock-pheasant which is the chicken 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 once 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 referred to as Palaw’an. Right here, guests are handled to a cultural present the place they might 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 referred to as kudyapi. There’s additionally a bit cafe right here the place you possibly can attempt civet coffe or kopi luwak.
Working Hours: 8:30 AM to five:00 PM
Entrance Price: Grownup, P60; Youngster (4 to 12 years outdated), P50; Senior Citizen & PWD, P50
In case you’re touring to Puerto Princesa with youngsters and children at coronary heart, Palawan Water Park obtained you lined. 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 lodge visitors.
Every ticket to the water park is inclusive of a lunch buffet.
Entrance Price: Adults, P1200; Youngsters (4ft and beneath), P950; Youngsters (2 years outdated and beneath), FREE
Working Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Journey awaits north of town correct! In Barangay Tagabinet, you will see that some of the thrilling points of interest in Puerto Princesa —- Ugong Rock Adventures, a community-based sustainable tourism vacation spot.
Be able to get bodily as a result of you can 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 received’t be climbing again down as a result of the descent is by driving 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 in every of 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 typical Puerto Princesa itineraries. It was once a sanctuary for individuals who wish to escape the crowds, nevertheless it has been getting the eye of extra vacationers. Those that go to are welcomed by a picturesque view of the mountains and cerulean waters.
A couple of years in the past, there are just a few cottages obtainable for lease right here, however there at the moment are resorts and eating places within the space.
Location: Barangay Bacungn, Puerto Princesa
The 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. In case you’re a bunch, renting a van for a roundtrip transportation is an choice too.
If you would 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 possibly can most likely squeeze this into your itinerary since this tour occurs at evening. If you be part of a firefly watching tour, you’ll 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’ll 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. The town’s baywalk space serves because the jump-off level for this tour. From right here, you’ll 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 several languages. The tour features a scrumptious dinner on the boat, which we loved after cruising on the river and seeing the fireflies that appear to be Christmas lights by the aspect 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 timber.
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 novices 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 possibly can attain the highest earlier than dawn. When you get to the highest, you possibly can chill out, have some espresso and await the spectacular dawn over Puerto Princesa. From the height, you can too 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. Company 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 possibly can chill whether or not you’re household, mates, 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, plenty of 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.
At present, this neighborhood in Puerto Princesa is named Viet Ville. Historical past buffs will certainly discover a go to right here fairly fascinating. You may also have a style of the Vietnamese delicacies on the restaurant right here that bears the identical title. 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 ambiance, it’s with wood furnishings, ceramic items, and work. Ka Lui serves largely Filipino seafood specialties. In addition they give a complimentary fruit salad served on a halved coconut.
This restaurant is extraordinarily in style so it’s extremely really useful that you simply make prior reservation to safe a desk.
Handle: 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 at all times an important a part of any journey. If unique meals doesn’t faze you, don’t miss out on Palawan’s delicacy —- tamilok! It’s also known as a woodworm as a result of it’s discovered inside mangroves. However it’s, in reality, a sort of marine mollusk with lengthy and comfortable our bodies. Yep, a distant cousin of oysters and mussels! Its style profile and slimy texture are akin to the extra frequent bivalves too, albeit with a powerful woody aftertaste.
When in Puerto Princesa, you possibly can do that unconventional deal with at some eating places within the metropolis. I used to be capable of attempt tamilok once we had lunch in Cacaoyan Forest Park in Sabang. They serve it with a aspect of vinegar the place you possibly can dip it earlier than savoring it.
One other restaurant that provides it’s Kinabuch’s Grill and Bar situated throughout the metropolis heart, the place our teammate Yosh had his first style of it.