WANDERING AROUND PUERTO PRINCESA: City within paradise island | Palawan | 2022

Despite being hounded by the severe effects of the current pandemic on our tourism sector, the City of Puerto Princesa Government is able to maintain its eclectic charm and classic island elegance. It is a city , as they say, where nature begins, and seemingly, never ends. Being the second-largest city in terms of land area, the paradise city has much within its borders more potential services and destinations that visitors of all walks of life will surely enjoy. After Puerto Princesa City has reopened its borders for tourism activities, let me show you what can be done on a three-day exploration around the city. Here is a three-day sample itinerary if you wish to explore Puerto Princesa City with your family and friends:

DAY ONE ITINERARY (ISLAND HOPPING)

Locations of sites for Day 1 and Day 2 Itinerary
  1. Early Morning: Travel to Honda Bay Port
  2. Morning to Midafternoon: Island Hopping Activity at Honda Bay inclusive of lunch

HONDA BAY is located on the eastern shores of Puerto Princesa City.

We have to opportunity to visit the islands of Honda Bay, thanks to the city of Puerto Princesa Tourism office for the arrangement, accommodation and welcome.
Starting off from downtown, we travelled conveniently about an hour to the main Honda Bay port.
Ms. Michie Meneses made sure we truly enjoyed our Honda Bay tour.

View of Honda Bay from my window view via Philippine Airlines flight

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • You have to register at the Jump-off Point
  • You can rent snorkelling equipment and aqua shoes of your size at the registration area
  • The earliest dispatch is at 7:00AM
  • All tourist boats are required to return at 4:00PM
  • Please practice the Clean As You Go Principle, don’t leave any of your trash on the islands.
HONDA BAY ISLAND HOPPING DESTINATIONS

Starfish Island – known for its dubbed name because of its starfishes’ presence in multitudes. But their numbers dwindled probably effect of the typhoon.

Luli Island – a long stretch of cream-coloured sand beach with huts and hammock stands perched on it. It is where famous sandcastle and various photo effects are located. Since of its low altitude, it is where you can witness the changing of ocean tides, hence, the nomenclature – LuLiLulubog-Lilitaw in Tagalog. Translated in English as Sink-Rise.

Cowrie Island – this is a privately owned beach that features a much wider beach area with tourist development amenities such as a mini-covered function hall area, toilet and shower stalls, and abundant huts that you can rent for the day. This is where you can enjoy lunch if you wish to have more space. Thanks to the Puerto Princesa Tourism Office, we have a hearty island-inspired lunch at Cowrie Island.

DAY TWO ITINERARY (LONG DRIVE TO SABANG)

  • Early morning: approximately 2-hour drive to Sabang
  • Morning: CLEOPATRA’s NEEDLE Roadside Viewpoint – it is famed by a reality game, “Amazing Race” as one of its pitstops. It’s a roadside viewpoint where you can enjoy a clear view of towering karst mountain walls and picturesque foliage. This is one of the quick stops either on the way or from the underground river.
  • Mid-Morning: UNDERGROUND RIVER: One of the Seven Natural World Wonders – This is the poster destination of Puerto Princesa, earned its global fame as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, truly as a testament of Pinoy pride.
  • Around Noon: Cacaoyan Restaurant – it is a Bali-themed restaurant owned by Mr. Matthew Mendoza, that features many picture points and instagrammable sites. Best to try Tamilok, a local delicacy woodworm here.
  • Afternoon: PYAMALUGUAN FALLS – it features a picturesque main cascade leading to a manmade basin for visitors to swim to. It requires a 15-20 minute hike on the coastal area that features pebbly, sandy to rocky shores.

OTHER DAYTIME DESTINATIONS:

OTHER NIGHTTIME DESTINATION:

DAY THREE ITINERARY

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY TOUR

Since there are many options for your city tour, it would normally take the whole day. Here are the common options you can try:

PLAZA CUARTEL – a historic World War 2 site known for the attack of the Japanese forces against the American soldiers which led to the deaths and others fleeing from the site.

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CATHEDRAL – features twin spires looming above the Puerto Princesa skyline. It already reached its 2nd-century mark.

PLAZA EULALIA – it is a public park right beside Rizal Park (Fronting the Immaculate Conception Cathedral) where you can see a memorial of Puerto Princesa’s founders.

BAYWALK PARK – a long stretch of boardwalk featuring amenities that the public would enjoy. There are many eateries dotting the park and a long pathway for pedestrians and bikers. It is one of the best in the city to witness the sunset.

BUTTERFLY ECO-GARDEN & TRIBAL VILLAGE– these site features a shrouded garden area with multiple species of butterflies fluttering freely. Included is a Tribal Village that showcases the Palaw’an culture, heritage and music. This is one of my favourite destinations on the City Tour circuit because I learned a lot about the local culture and history.

BAKER’S HILL – With many picture points, this pasalubong buying centre is one of the destinations perfect for family and friends. Must try is the Ube Pastillas Hopia which sells faster than pancakes. There are peacocks inside enclosures where you can marvel at their seasonal mating dance. Baker’s Hill produces daily fresh supplies of their pasalubong stables in a limited cap to ensure quality. They have floating flower displays on water basins along walking paths. It also features an ascending winding pathway leading to a viewpoint that has a commanding view of the nearby bay. There are food kiosks too inside the mini-park for your convenience. Operating hours are from 7:00AM to 8:00PM.

MITRA’s RANCH – a stunning pyramidical structure that would welcome you along with the amazing panoramic view of the bay. There are horse rides that will bring you around the ranch. Mitra’s Ranch also lets you marvel at the portraits inside a residential building featuring the late Senator Ramon Mitra’s family. There are exquisite vases, antique furnishings and a wide balcony where you can lounge and enjoy the fresh air. There is a Php20.00 entrance fee if you wish to go inside the building and removing your footwear is a must.

CROCODILE CENTER – if you wish to learn more about the endemic crocodile species of the Philippines, this is the best place to be. The tour starts per batch, where the tour guide will explain the details and history of the conservation area. Included in the walking tour is the chance to see 1-5-month-old baby crocodiles and also, the monstrous adults. There is a walking ledge above the crocodile enclosure where you can see the adult-sized crocodiles. Be careful not to drop anything on the enclosure since retrieval would be almost impossible. After the crocodile portion, there are cages where you can see rare bird species, the philippine porcupine and bearcats.

SANDIWA FLOATING COTTAGES – located in a cove, Sandiwa Floating Cottages features a dining experience surrounded by amazing scenery, fresh air and solace. Ms. Adelfa, the owner, utilizes the local community to run the facility. They also have their own Bangus enclosures where they started breeding milkfish for more than three months. Imagine dining on fresh catches each and every visit. The Sandiwa Floating Cottages will soon open its door to the public.

EATS AT PUERTO PRINCESA

Travelling will not be complete without gastronomic explorations and culinary excursions. With so many choices you can check at the city, here is a quick rundown of homegrown restaurants in Puerto Princesa City:

BALAY BUKID – it is a buffet farmer’s restaurant featuring Filipino dishes and open-air dining with a garden area at its centre. Per head costs at Php299 on weekdays and Php349 on weekends. For reservations, please contact them at 0916-570-5522 or 0930-589-6464.

CACAOYAN RESTAURANT – located at Sabang, it is the recommended place to dine after your subterranean river cruise tour. It features Bali-inspired instillations and a wide array choice of dishes. Best to try also the local delicacy, Tamilok.

JORY’S – it is one of the new homegrown restaurants in Puerto Princesa City, owned by partners Joyce and Ryan, and opened during the pandemic. It is a recommended chill spot in the city to enjoy booze and finger foods. Additionally, although not included in their menu, Sir Ryan served seafood dishes that are truly exquisite and flavour-packed at our request. Their open-air dining area features tropical flora and fauna wall art with a huge aquarium. Their menu prices are indeed not expensive and the dishes served will certainly satisfy you. Operating hours are as follows: Tuesday to Saturday 11:00AM to 11:00PM, Monday 5:00PM to 2:00AM. Must try its Japanese-Filipino fusion like the Dinuguan Ramen.

KA-INATO RESTAURANT – apart from the enticing dishes they are known for, Ka-Inato is famed for its unique diverse workforce, they have deaf employees serving you. Hence, they have a poster guide should you need to interact with them. The restaurant features also an open-air dining area with a unique ethnic design dotting the restaurant. Operating hours is from 7:00AM to 10:00PM.

KINABUCHS GRILL AND BAR – owned by motorcycle enthusiast legend Edward “Butch” Chase, the restaurant features open-air dining and exotic dishes, some made from crocodile meat. It is located along the main highway and strategically near to many establishments. Operating hours are from 4:00PM to 12:00AM.

KA-JOEL’S RESTAURANT – a unique restaurant that is indeed a jaw-dropper, thanks to its striking artsy facade and wide picturesque garden that would welcome you soon as you enter its halls. With the usual Pinoy hospitality rules, footwear should be left in the restaurant lobby before proceeding to your seat. The dining area features different sections that include amazing art installations and cool ceiling decors. Surely, both your stomach and your eyes will be filled with nothing but quality food and truly remarkable art. Operating hours are from 4:00PM to 10:00PM.

AIRPORT

The Capital City of Palawan is served by the Puerto Princesa International Airport with thrice daily flights from Puerto Princesa to Manila. Book your flights with Philippine Airlines and experience heartfelt service and comfort.

Our Heartfelt thanks to the City Tourism Office of Puerto Princesa for making the tour possible. Thank you, especially to Ms. Michie Meneses, Senior City Tourism Operations Officer of Puerto Princesa, for ensuring that we enjoy the trip and that all our queries are attended to.

Ms. Michie Meneses, seating center, with content creators from Luzon and Visayas, and TPB Representative Mr. A. Gadia

Puerto Princesa City Tourism Office Contact Details:

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