Any dialog about Palawan is terribly incomplete and not using a point out of Puerto Princesa, its capital and solely metropolis. Adventurers and seaside 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 slightly style of what the province has to supply.
Situated in the midst of mainland Palawan, Puerto Princesa serves as the biggest and probably 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 marvel it’s additionally touted because the Eco-Tourism Middle of the Philippines.
But it surely’s not at all times butterflies and unicorns for the town’s tourism over the previous years. Like in lots of locations all over the world, the pandemic offered a lot of challenges. Then, in 2021, the province was ravaged by Storm Odette (worldwide title: Rai), leaving nearly P8 billion in damages. However just lately, not even a yr after, we had been invited to affix a latest tour organized by the Division of Tourism (DOT)-MIMAROPA. We acquired to see for ourselves what it’s prefer to journey round Puerto Princesa now. On this article, we’re sharing with you a listing of vacationer sights within the metropolis (not in any explicit order) and what it’s like right now.
Notice: Puerto Princesa is big! Actually, it’s the second largest metropolis within the Philippines by land space, subsequent to Davao. You’ll discover locations on this listing that could be one or two hours away from the town middle, however they’re nonetheless a part of Puerto Princesa.
WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
Formally named Puerto Princesa Subterranean River however typically merely referred to as PPUR, this 8.2-km-long underground river is the town’s primary tourism draw. This pure marvel 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 the 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 embody roundtrip land and boat transfers, audio information for the underground river tour, and buffet lunch.
One other wonderful thing about reserving with a tour operator is in case of inclement climate, you received’t should spend time touring to Sabang solely to search 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.
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’re feeling such as you’re in the midst 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 provides quite a lot of Filipino dishes from fish to pork to hen to greens and contemporary fruits. For those who’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 embody a cease right here of their underground river tour packages.
Buffet fee is P350 per individual.
Location: Brgy. Sabang, Puerto Princesa
Working hours: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Buffet Fee: P350/individual
Sabang Seaside could also be identified primarily because the jump-off level to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, however it’s also an attraction by itself. This beautiful seaside with the backdrop of the mountains is a pleasant place to swim and loosen up. From right here, you can even see the beautiful St. Paul Limestone formation the place the underground river is flowing beneath.
For those who’re in for extra journey, one other exercise you are able to do right here is the Sabang X Zipline. This thrilling journey will deal with you to the beautiful view of Sabang Seaside 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 journey, it is advisable go on a brief 15-minute hike.
Tickets value P550.
Island hopping is among the most typical actions in lots of locations within the Philippines, and Puerto Princesa isn’t to be overlooked. Right here, seaside chasers go to Honda Bay, which isn’t too removed from the town middle.
Honda Bay is peppered with a number of isles, however island hopping excursions often embody simply three stops. For those who’re a DIY-er and also you’re becoming a member of a gaggle tour, these three islands will probably be mounted. However in order for you extra flexibility or when you’re a giant group, you might ebook a ship and organize a personal tour.
The jump-off level is Sta. Lourdes Wharf, roughly half-hour away from the 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 most recent charges, good for six passengers.
- with 4-cylinder engine: P2100 per boat or P350 per individual
- with 3-cylinder engine: P1800 per boat or P300 per individual
Except for boat rental payment, 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 beneath.
Listed below are different bills to anticipate when you’re doing a Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour:
- Environmental Payment: P150
- Terminal payment: P5
- Goggles & snorkel rental: P150
- Full face masks rental: P200
- Aqua footwear rental: P150
- Fins rental: P150
For those who don’t need to take care of all these funds by yourself, you might ebook a tour package deal supplied by journey businesses. Honday Bay excursions often value P1750/individual, 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. For those who ebook a packaged tour, Cowrie Island can also be the same old lunch cease. It’s also possible to 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’ll be able to take pleasure in swimming within the clear waters, stroll alongside the seaside or simply lay on the sand. Kayaks and stand-up paddle board can be found for hire. And when you’re with a gaggle and you want enjoying sports activities, they’ve an space for seaside 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 a lot of sandbars. One in every of them is Luli Island, quick for lulubog lilitaw, a playful shoutout to its disappearing act at excessive tide.
Previously, 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 lots to take pleasure in right here, although. The great thing about the sandbar itself stays. You may nonetheless take pleasure in strolling on the sand, take photographs, or chill on considered one of their many overwater hammocks. The water is crystal clear too so you’ll be able to 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 acquired its title from quite a few starfish that decision its clear, shallow waters residence. Even when you don’t know how one can swim, you’ll be able to nonetheless see the small fish and different marine animals frolicking round.
Understand that there’s a designated swimming and snorkeling space marked by a line so be certain to remain inside that space in your security.
You can see many tables and chairs and even cottages for hire right here. For those who’re hungry, there’s a small retailer on the island the place you should buy snacks. Seafood “paluto” can also be accessible. You should buy 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
Not like the opposite Honda Bay tour stops, Pambato Reef is just not an island. It’s a common snorkeling spot, marked by a platform floating in the midst 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 at the present time. However as soon as Pambato Reef reopens, don’t miss out a chance to discover considered one of Puerto Princesa’s most visited underwater website!
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 personal resort, Isla Pandan. It isn’t among the many normal stops of the frequent three-island or two-island excursions.
It has an unimaginable, cream-colored seaside and clear emerald waters the place you’ll be able to 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 seaside actions. You may go kayaking, stand-up paddling, jetskiing, and banana boating when you’re into water actions or play volleyball and frisbee on the seaside. It’s also possible to go snorkeling, diving, or helmet diving.
Their day tour fee is inclusive of the doorway payment, cottage, buffet lunch, and use of kayak, stand-up paddle, volleyball, frisbee, and board video games.
Day Tour Fee: P1000/individual
Dos Palmas Island Resort
Located in Arreceffi Island, Dos Palmas is an island resort and spa good for individuals who need to have an opulent island trip. Their lodging are proper by the seaside, going through the tuquoise waters.
For those who’re on a restricted price range, you’ll be able to have a style of the posh island expertise by occurring a day tour. You may discover the 20-hectare island and the facilities of the resort. Except for spending time on the seaside, 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 might contact the administration.
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]
Cellular Quantity: 09175904442 / 09175000154 / 09298132360
Except for its pure magnificence, you’ll be able to recognize extra of Puerto Princesa by exploring the town and studying about its historical past by occurring a metropolis tour. Don’t go away with out shopping for souvenirs and pasalubong from Binuatan Creations, Baker’s Hill, and pasalubong middle.
You may 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 in order for you a extra snug and extra insightful tour led by a educated information, ebook an organized tour!
Though there are some variations, listed here are the same old stops included in metropolis excursions.
Palawan Wildlife Rescue & Conservation Middle
Beforehand referred to as 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 completed, which begins by the doorway the place the skeleton and pores and skin of an enormous 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 stored. 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: Each day, 8:30 AM to five:00 PM
Entrance Payment: 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. Situated in Barangay Sta. Monica, the home sits atop a hill and has a view deck, permitting , stress-free view of the town, Honda Bay, and the verdant surroundings in between.
Mitra’s Ranch is open to the general public. You solely must pay the doorway payment 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 distant 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. Whenever you move by the gate, you’ll be greeted by massive, colourful statues of common 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 yr.
Most vacationers who come right here go pasalubong buying. You should buy completely different baked items like cookies, brownies, and naturally, their common hopia in numerous flavors. Additionally they promote different snacks like cashew nuts, polvoron, and pastillas. For those who’re on the lookout for extra than simply snacks, you’ll be able to dine at their restaurant referred to as Baker’s Kitchen.
Working Hours: 7:00 AM to eight:00 PM
Weaving is a big 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 baggage, 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 one 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 peculiar park lined with benches and bushes right now, however it has a grotesque previous. On 14 December 1944, on the peak of World Struggle II, 150 American prisoners of struggle had been burned alive by the Japanese in a garrison that stood on the website of the place Plaza Cuartel is situated right now.
Tunnels the place the prisoners the place stored and the ruins of the outdated garrison are stored 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 in the course of 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 website 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 a couple of instances together with after it was destroyed by Japanese bombing throughout World Struggle II. The construction that you simply see right now took nearly a century to complete and was solely accomplished in 1961. Its facade and interiors are clad in Neo-Gothic architectural fashion, 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 a lot of species of butterflies that you would be able to 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 the town of Puerto Princesa. These species are smaller in measurement, however just like the peacocks, the male has colourful feathers and vibrant wings that reveals 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 show how they hunt, make hearth, and carry out a brief musical quantity utilizing a string instrument referred to as kudyapi. There’s additionally slightly cafe right here the place you’ll be able to attempt civet coffe or kopi luwak.
Working Hours: 8:30 AM to five:00 PM
Entrance Payment: Grownup, P60; Youngster (4 to 12 years outdated), P50; Senior Citizen & PWD, P50
For those who’re touring to Puerto Princesa with children and youngsters at coronary heart, Palawan Water Park acquired you lined. You may take pleasure in sliding down the water slides together 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 company.
Every ticket to the water park is inclusive of a lunch buffet.
Entrance Payment: 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 the town correct! In Barangay Tagabinet, you can find one of the crucial 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 received’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 in every of them is Nagtabon Seaside.
Nagtabon Seaside is located lower than an hour away from the town middle, so it’s considerably indifferent and never often included in normal Puerto Princesa itineraries. It was a sanctuary for individuals who need to escape the crowds, however 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 number of years in the past, there are just a few cottages accessible for hire right here, however there are actually resorts and eating places within the space.
Location: Barangay Bacungn, Puerto Princesa
The best way to get there: From the town middle, take a bus going north (Taytay/Roxas/El Nido) to Bacungan. Then, constitution a tricycle to Nagtabon Seaside. For those who’re a gaggle, renting a van for a roundtrip transportation is an choice too.
In order for you 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’ll be able to most likely squeeze this into your itinerary since this tour occurs at night time. Whenever you be part of a firefly watching tour, you’d hop on a ship and exit into the water the place you would feast your eyes with the blinking lights from the fireflies and the twinkling of the celebrities 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. The 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 seem like 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 bushes.
With a peak 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’ll be able to attain the highest earlier than dawn. When you get to the highest, you’ll be able to loosen up, 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 the town middle.
Kamia Bay Resort lies in Brgy. Luzviminda, lower than an hour away south of the town middle. 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 take pleasure in bouncing round and happening the slide of various heights or attempt wall climbing on the inflatables.
Different actions supplied listed here are eco-tours and bike trails. The resort additionally has a buffet and many areas the place you’ll be able to chill whether or not you’re household, buddies, or your particular somebody.
Notice: We’re undecided if Kamia Bay Resort is closed or open. We didn’t get to go to on our latest journey, so we couldn’t verify. However their social media accounts have been inactive since 2021.
In 1979, after the autumn of South Vietnam, a lot of Vietnamese refugees discovered themselves in Palawan and arrange a camp. In 1993, the camp was moved to Barangay Sta. Lourdes. Over time, some have left and returned to Vietnam however some selected to remain.
Right now, this neighborhood in Puerto Princesa known as Viet Ville. Historical past buffs will certainly discover a go to right here fairly attention-grabbing. It’s also possible to 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 counsel a first-time vacationer ought to go for a meal, and there’s a giant probability they may level you to Ka Lui.
KaLui is maybe probably 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 largely Filipino seafood specialties. Additionally they give a complimentary fruit salad served on a halved coconut.
This restaurant is extraordinarily common so it’s extremely beneficial that you simply make prior reservation to safe a desk.
Deal with: 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 take pleasure in! Er, provided that you’re an adventurous eater.
Indulging in native meals is at all times an amazing 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, actually, a kind of marine mollusk with lengthy and delicate 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’ll be able to do that unconventional deal with at some eating places within the metropolis. I used to be in a position to attempt tamilok once we had lunch in Cacaoyan Forest Park in Sabang. They serve it with a aspect of vinegar the place you’ll be able to dip it earlier than savoring it.
One other restaurant that provides it’s Kinabuch’s Grill and Bar situated throughout the metropolis middle, the place our teammate Yosh had his first style of it.