Puerto Princesa: Discovering a Princess in an Island

13 Oct


Where will you go if you have been given a chance to travel out of town in five days and have 10,000.00 pesos to spend? Where else but Puerto Princesa Palawan.

Today I’m sharing a DIY Budget Travel and some tips about this Island. Sabi nila you’ll miss half of your life if you haven’t visited this place, and for me that is very very true. For indeed Palawan, Puerto Princesa to be exact is a mystical and magical place where you can forget all your worries, relax and just be one with nature.

Tip #1: Look out for Cebu Pacific Promo. I’ve managed to booked my flight MNLA-PPC vise versa for 2,500 pesos only. If you’re lucky you’ll even get cheaper rates.

Tip #2: Hunt the best hotel/lodges which offers good services, and room. Among the hotels at Puerto Princessa I recommend these two.

Puerto Princesa Palawan

Lola Itang’s Pension House & Restaurant  (http://www.lolaitang.com/). A resort Style Room located at Roxas Street. A Twin Room with two single bed good for 2 pax with aircon and a cable TV cost 650.00 per accommodation per night.

Puerto Princesa

La Charica Inn (http://www.lacharica.com/). If you’re looking for brand new facilities, cosy rooms and good service try La Charica. All rooms are with air-conditioning, cable television, private toilet and bath, hot and cold shower and intercom. If you’re on a group tour consist of 10 pax I highly recommend their Dormitory A  which cost 3,500.00 per accommodation per night or 350.00 per pax. Check out hotel photos here.

Tip #3 Plan your trip.  Ok you’ve already booked your flight and your stay. The next thing to do is to plan your activities. Here are the list of where to go? where to eat? where to shop? and what to do?

Sample Activities
Day 1 (Night Flight) – Arrival and check in, Resto Hopping
Day 2 – City Tour
Day 3 – Island Hopping Honda bay,
Day 4 – Mediterranean River Tour
Day 5 – Crocodile Farm, Iwahig Colony and Shopping for pasalubong / Departure

Day 1 - Resto Hopping for your dinner. Always remember to look for foods you don’t regularly eat in Metro.  I’ve listed Puerto Princesa fav restos where you can explore.

Badjao Seafront & Restaurant, A. Abueg Sr., Puerto Princesa City.
Baga Baga Grill & Restaurant, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
Balinsasayaw Chicken Grill & Restaurant, Manalo Extension, Puerto Princesa City.
Bavaria Club 54 Music Bar & Sing A Long & Restaurant, Malvar Street, Puerto Princesa City.
Baragatan Inn Restaurant, Junction I, Puerto Princesa City.
Bilao at Palayok Seafoods & Native Restaurant, 353 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
Bavaria Restaurant, Malvar Street, Puerto Princesa City.
Café Arturo, North National Highway, Puerto Princesa City.
Cafe Loreto Trihaus and Garden, Libis Road, San Pedro, Puerto Princesa City.
Casa Selena, Manalo Street, Puerto Princesa City.
Century Bar & Grill Restaurant – Royal Oberoi, South National Highway, Esteban Road, Santa Monica, Puerto Princesa City.
Chez Andre The Pizza Gourmet, 26 San Juan Road, Puerto Princesa City.
Chowking, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
Coffee Exchange Café – Asturias Hotel, Km. 3 National Highway, Tiniguiban, Puerto Princesa
Dunkin’ Donuts, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
Edwin’s Food Palace, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
Gardini Dang Maria’s Cafe, Manalo Extension, Puerto Princesa City.
Haim Chicken Inato, 249 Manalo Street, Puerto Princesa City.
Jollibee Food Express, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
Jollibee Food Express, Malvar Street, Puerto Princesa City.
Island Palawan Hotel Restaurant, Rizal Avenue Extension, Puerto Princesa City.
Itoy’s Coffee Shop, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
Kalui Restaurant, 369 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
Kamarikutan Kape at Galeri, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
Kampochea Restaurant and Sing-Along, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
Kinabuchs, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
King’s Court Food Parlor, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
La Paragua Restaurant, Solid Road, San Manuel, Puerto Princesa City.
Lola Itang Restaurant, Roxas Street, Puerto Princesa City.
Neva’s Place, 48-A Taft Street, Puerto Princesa City.
Nokinocs, Lacao Street, Puerto Princesa City.
Pescados Restaurant – Asturias Hotel, Km. 3 National Highway, Tiniguiban, Puerto Princesa
Pool Bar – Royal Oberoi, South National Highway, Esteban Road, Santa Monica, Puerto Princesa
Sari’s Baryo Restaurant, 365 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
Scenario Bar – Asturias Hotel, Km. 3 National Highway, Tiniguiban, Puerto Princesa City.
Shakeys, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City.
Suma Ching Hai Vegetarian Restaurant, 79 Burgos Street, Puerto Princesa City.
Tanglaw Restaurant – Legend Hotel, Malvar Street, Puerto Princesa City.
The Coffee Shop – Hotel Fleuris, Lacao Street, Puerto Princesa City.
The Poolside Courtyard – Hotel Fleuris, Lacao Street, Puerto Princesa City.
Tom Tom Club, Manalo Extension, Puerto Princesa City.
Vietville Restaurant, Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princesa City.
We Be Sushi Bar & Restaurant – Hotel Fleuris, Lacao Street, Puerto Princesa City.

Bilao at Palayok

Serving really great food but in much cheaper prices. Bilao’t Palayok Seafoods & Native Restaurant located along Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa town proper. The resto serves classic Filipino dining experience as it has a country-style ambience complete with bamboo cottages.

An art gallery design on one of bamboo cottages that is mostly ethnic in origin. Guests and tourists can sit inside the cottages for a more private setting and enjoy Palawan’s cool fresh air. Bilao’t Palayok serves and specialize in grilled Filipino dishes, mostly pork, seafood and chicken dishes that is being served in a bilao or palayok.

If you’re on a tight budget try their Boodle Dish”, one of the house specials, which is good for 6-7 persons already, “Boodle” is consist of  pork sisig, laing, chicken adobo, steamed shrimp, grilled squid, baked tahong, grilled tuna, grilled tilapia, grilled liempo and steamed crab together with grilled egg, atchara, bagoong, salted eggs, tomatoes and green mangoes on the side and last but not the least and most important one is the rice, a choice of java rice, garlic rice and plain rice.

e- Republic

For Night Bars lovers we highly recommend e-Republic Resto Bar, located along Rizal Ave. corner Baltan St. Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.(infront of Veterans Bank).  Beside from serving great but affordable dishes, liquors and beers you can enjoy your dinner while listening with Acoustic Bands. For 70.oo pesos you can order a bowl of tempura with rice plus a glass of icetea (they also serve breakfast and lunch).

Day 2 – City Tour. Usually City Tour packages tru Travel Agency is 600.00 – 700.00 pesos but you can save big bucks when you personally plan your tour. On your second day at Puerto Princesa you should start your trip at a.) Baywalk, b.) Cathedral Church, c.) Plaza Quartel, d.) Palawan Museum e. ) Mendoza Park and f.) White Beach which is from end to end of the island where you can just walk or ride a tricycle. The g.) Mitra’s Ranch, h.) Baker’s Hill,  i.) Comodore Hernandez House j.) Butterfly Garden can be done after because you have to travel north to get here.

Puerto Princesa PalawanPalawenio or Palawan locals do their daily morning routines of walking and jogging usually at around 5 to 8am at the bay. The Best thing I can recommend to do here is to rent a japanese bike which only cost 40.00 pesos.

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The church was repainted but inside the structure will remind you of its old and original look.

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At the left side of Cathedral is Plaza Cuartel, a barracks turned to a park located near Puerto Princesa Seaport. It is a restored ruin of an old garrison wherein the evening of December 14,1944, Japanese soldiers burned around 150 American prisoners of war in a tunnel found beneath the park’s portal which nowstands as a grim reminder of World War II atrocities.

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Located at the back of Mendoza Park, entrance fee is 20 pesos. my favorites here are the different kinds of sea shells.

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Location of this beach is near the airport of Puerto Princesa 5kms away from the wet market. You usually see local people swimming here, I don’t recommend this area because it wasn’t maintain well.  Beach entrance fee cost 30 pesos per person.

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In Mitra’s Ranch you’ll see the magnificent view of Sta. Monica. The ranch located in the hill of Sta. Monica Heights, and owned by the family of the late Senator Ramon Mitra, called Rancho Sta. Monica, but popularly known as Mitra’s Ranch. Today it is the residence of Congressman Baham Mitra, son and heir of the former senator.

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Going to the Sta. Monica hill we passed by this mansion, Mang Weng our tricycle driver ask his friend (the mansion guard) to let us take a picture of MY dream mansion ^,^.

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The Baker’s Hill is a  Bakeshop slash  Theme Park known to have delicious baked goodies such as Chocolate Crinkles, Hopia, Brownies and many more Favorites are brownies and fudge which only cost 35 pesos for 1 box (6pcs.)

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Beside from the opportunity to touch a group of butterflies I also had fun seeing a group of Tuko eggs in a wood at this farm. Entrance fee cost is 20.00 pesos.


Day 3 – Honda Bay Island Hopping.
If you will be traveling in pairs I highly suggest that you look for other groups whom you can share the transpo (van) and boat rental (call a travel agency, they will be happy to help you). The van is by schedule so you should booked the day before.  Honda Bay is comprised of several islets, and has several wonderful fine sandy beaches. Among which are named Pandan Island, Snake Island, Starfish Island, Lu-li Island, Bat Island, and Cowrie Island.

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Lu-li Island is a private island with Honda Bay Islands. Lu-li got it from “Lulubog-Lilitaw” . The islet cannot be seen when high tide and surfaced only when low tide.

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The island is private, you’ll be ask to pay 50 pesos for the entrance fee. Pandan Island is snorkeling and fish feeding spot. If you want fish gets near you, feed them. Have some small bread and feed them slowly.

Puerto Princesa Palawan

The best of your island hopping tour. Why? Because it’s public meaning free of entrance fee, where you can also snorkel and play with bunch of fish. When you’re tired of feeding the fish feed your self with halo-halo, their are several stores where you can buy various snacks that will fill your belly while enjoying the beauty of the Island. Snake island is called as such as the place is shaped like a snake.

Day 4- Subterranean Underground River Tour. The Subterranean Underground River in the River National Park is one of the most visited places among tourists. Who will not get mesmerized by the beauty and splendor found from this amazing underground river? Most tourists express their description of the Subterranean Underground River to be an enchanting place. The underground river is an excellent scenic spot to visit. The resembling religious-like images of stalactites and stalagmites are all breathtaking views. Cove dwelling faunas also dwell in the underground rivers and are eye catchers as well.

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You should book your tour via travel agency because the tour is scheduled (must do or you’ll be sorry!) this will also save you paying expensive transpo fee because the travel agency will definetly find someone to sare your expenses.

The van will bring you to Sabang Bay where the Underground River Tour Office is located  so you can get your permit. Their are two trip options: 1.) via boat which is 15-20 minutes ride or 2.) via treking tru Monkey Trail or Jungle Trail. which will take you 2- 3 hours. If you’re into adventure the hike is worth it when you see monkeys, frogs, snakes and lizards along the way (don’t forget your rubber shoes when you chose this option).

Puerto Princesa Palawan

Stop over area before you reach Sabang, enjoy viewing the beauty of Buenavista here. People usually stop over at Buenavista Viewdeck to take a washroom break.

Puerto Princesa Palawan

The Sabang Beach. It is a visually beautiful place. The beach is good for not only for swimming but other activities as well as it offers fine gray sand. The sunset here was spectacular.

Puerto Princesa Palawan

The view is so magnificent…. hmmm i really don’t know if the boat guide is joking when he says that there is a crocodile here. And I think I have seen one errr…

Day 5 - Iwahig Colony, Crocodile Farm,  Dophin Watching or Hot Spring and Shopping for Pasalubong / Departure. This will be the last day of your trip, before going out make sure that your things are packed so you will not rush your self to the airport at the end of the day.

Puerto Princesa Palawan

This is my first time to visit a prison where inmates are walking around with visitors to offer their hand made artworks (keychains, crafts and everything) most of them came from different part of the Philippines and had spent half of the life at Iwahig.

Puerto Princesa Palawan

The Crocodile Farm is located at National Road, Brgy. Irawan, south of Puerto Princesa, about 30-40 minutes from the city proper, formerly known as Crocodile Farming Institute. It was established in 1987 with the help of the Japan International Cooperative Agency.

Puerto Princesa Palawan

We are intended to go for “Dolphin Watching” unfortunately the weather doesn’t agree with us, Manong tricycle driver recommends this place which is located at the north part of the Island near Honda bay. But to our dismay we found out that the pool was not constructed to hold running water (I don’t know how’d they manage to change the water).  The biggest pool cost 1000 pesos and the single bath tub is 400 pesos.

Puerto Princesa Wet Market
Never ever leave Puerto Princesa without buying some seafoods for pasalubong.  With 700.00 pesos on our pocket we manage to take home lobsters, curacha (alupihang dagat), sikad-sikad and clams. Plus 70.00 pesos pesos for packaging (carton).

Puerto Princesa Pearl
For your girlfriends I recommend Palawan pearls, elegant but inexpensive they will surely love this. Other options are: Cashew nuts, bamboo rain makers, hats, capiz shell products and bags. There are the perennial key chains too, fridge magnets and of course, shirts.

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One Response to “Puerto Princesa: Discovering a Princess in an Island”

  1. gelaikuting July 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    Lovely photos! Hope to visit Puerto Princesa next year :)

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