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Puerto Princesa Itinerary, Philippines

Palawan "The City In A Forest" 

I got the chance to book a promo flight on Cebu Pacific Airlines bound for Palawan, usually this kind of deals is available when the clock strikes at 12 midnight, so prepare your credit card and high speed internet to avoid any hassles. People will prey for this promos especially during holidays. 

It was months ahead so I had much time to save up some money- that's what I thought. I and my cousin along with his friends were excited for our trip. Unfortunately one of his friends had missed his trip going to Cebu, while the other two guys were still at work in Cagayan. I was still on the go- as usual; my cousin asked me if it won’t bother if it's only the two of us -certainly not. It's Palawan for crying out loud and I’m already expecting this trip and nothing can stop me. 
Let's go!

For flight tickets snatch a good deal by comparing prices in Skyscanner.

Check out hotel deals with Booking. com for low prices.

Puerto Princesa  3 days Itinerary

First Day

When you arrived in the airport there are travel agencies offering accommodations with city tour packages. If you've already booked a place to stay then just go get the city tour package. It's a convenient way to see Puerto Princesa because there are limited vehicles to take you there.

Complete package with 3 days stay in a Pension House with City tour: 3,300 php  ( I forgot the name of the pension house, getting old eh?!) 
Lunch at Balinsasayaw Inato Grill and Restaurant  
Dinner at the famous Kinabuch Grill where I had the exotic tamilok soak in vinegar

Second Day

Complimentary breakfast and was ready for our tour before 6 Am.

Hired Van for City Tour inclusive Entrance Fees and Lunch Buffet.

Tourist Spots: 
1.Crocodile Wildlife Rescue and Conversation Center where we saw breeding grounds for crocodiles and see them devour meat during feeding time.

2.Pass by Palawan's Fire Trees which were beautiful and the tour guide told us to wait till summer where the tree lights like the sun.

3.A one of a kind experience was being inside Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm where prisoners lived in peace and roams around the place like it's just another ordinary village.

4.Overlooking scenery at Mitra Ranch.

5.Snacks at Baker's Hill and played along with funny statues in the area. A great stop to buy pasalubong/souvneirs too!

6.See the islands of Palawan in Buenavista Viewing Deck and be amazed with the grandeur beauty of the Philippines.

7.An interesting site was the St. Paul Mountain Range where an image seemed to be carved in the mountain.

8.Lunch at the Beach with a fresh coconut on hand.

9.The highlight of the trip, the amazing, bewitching, captivating and I can just go on and on with all 'ing' to describe the magical Underground River.

10.Experience to do weaving and see world class works in Binuatan Weaving Creations.
An authentic souvenir shop where you can buy triple the price in the market stuff at a very affordable price.

Dinner at the oh so famous Kalui Restaurant, a restaurant who doesn't allow footwear to used when dinning, a barefoot experience you'll never forget.

Nightlife and Chill time at Tiki Restobar to grab a few drinks and listen to good music.

Third Day

Half day city tour on our own. A tricycle ride will take you to the city proper:

Visit the Immacualte Concepcion Cathedral to give gratitude to such a wonderful and safe trip in the island.

I walk in Puerto Princesa City Baywalk and see the locals do their everyday life and bade the city goodbye.

Power outlets: are commonly type A, with standard voltage 220 V and frequency 60 Hz.  Be sure to bring a universal plug adapter!
Money matters:  We recommend getting your currency exchanged via Western Union (WU) since you'll get a better rate than at the airport.  You can send your travel budget to yourself and pick up the exchanged amount at the local WU.
Convenient phone apps:  Grab for transportation.

Suvival Terms
CR is the term for the toilet
Salamat means "thank you"

What to do in Puerto Princesa

Welcome to Paradise! Now what?!

First Day

Palawan is an island province of the Philippines. It's capital is Puerto Princesa City, "The City In A Forest" and it is the largest province in the country in terms of total area of jurisdiction. We arrived at Puerto Princesa, and we we're clueless: with no place to stay, no exact idea what places to go to- well, except for the Underground River which is famous for being chosen as a candidate for the 7 wonders of the world. 

Great thing is when you arrived at the airport you are welcomed with travel agents, you can choose from table to table. Everything is laid out in a silver platter, hotel rates and travel packages. We got to stay in there for 3 days and 2 nights, and yes they have a certain package tour for those dates- perfectly planned out. We took their 3,300 php package that includes airport transfer to hotel vice-versa, hotel accommodation with breakfast, City tour, Underground River with Lunch Buffet. What a great deal- you have to take this kind of packages if you want your money back's worth.

We found a small booth that sells my-oh-my street foods and they have my favorites. You've got to try their street foods and they even have a Mayor's permit posted on their carts. I had their Botsi -bot-chi (chicken's large intestine ), TinaE -tee-na-eh (chicken's small intestine) and my favorite kwek-kwek (quail's egg), you can have the small sized or the bigger one- me? Well of course I chose both. A perfect appetizer for my growling stomach. Just my thing to start up my day in the island of Palawan.

We had a Yummy Grilled lunch at  a Filipino restaurant named Balinsasayaw Inato and Grill Restaurant (Balinsasayaw means Bird's Nest) located at Manalo Extension, Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Any kind of transportation will get you to this restaurant, it's a popular place and one of Palawan's Best Restuarants

A few observations I've noticed while roaming around the city:
The means of transportation: tricycle, private vehicles and vans usually for travel tours. You'll notice right away that they don't have any Taxi's or cab - except for travel tours only. 

Comparing to Cebu when it comes to traffic lights they have timers for each post: one for the vehicles to stop and go, and for the pedestrian lane that signals walk and stop - they have this at Singapore too. I was amused as how they organized and maintain right amount of traffic time with each lane and yet we don't have it in Cebu.

Puerto Princesa is a very clean city their rules and regulations is specifically strict when it comes cleanliness. If you're caught with a cigarette on hand and you throw it anywhere- you'll just end up in jail. They have trash cans everywhere, no reason for you to mess around.

Palawan's Special Exotic Treat the Tamilok, a special wood-worm mollusk that nest inside the Mangroves, and the place to be is at Kinabuch Bar and Grill at Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City,Palawan. A walking distance away from the Capitol building. Don't be afraid to explore and discover new things and most especially trying exotic delicacies. This is one of the famous grill at Puerto Princesa, a tricycle driver can take you there, you won't get lost because that restaurant stands out especially for these mollusk dish. 

Tamilok: Classic style recipe price: 115 php 

Breaded Tamilok: 125 php, good for 6-8 persons.

Second Day

Crocodile Farm-Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conversation Center

I had a good laugh when I took this shot, such a great coincidence to have that guy place his foot in the perfect spot. The Center is run by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (DENR-PAWB).Formerly it was  known as the Crocodile Farming Institute. The  breeding grounds for the crocodiles where they grow and multiply. Feeding time for crocodiles is every Monday and Thursday afternoon. The trees inside the Conservation Center really help especially protecting us from the heat of the sun. 

We came along beautiful scenery of trees, Fire Trees and it was said that during summer it blossoms with orange flowers and the road looks brilliantly amazing. Tree's are a common site all over the island, every year all individuals are encouraged to join their tree planting program - a round of applause for that project. These are common sites here in Palawan, they're maintaining their reputation as the City in a Forest.

Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm: Prisoners Haven, No Walls,No Guards

We headed to a prison where they're are no bars; the prisoners lived a harmonious lifestyledefinitely a prisoners dream come true, the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm. Located just 30 minutes away from the capital of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. They were taught to plant rice along the fields and it's a good thing because it makes them productive - it's hard to believe such prison policies existed. We were almost there and what a coincidence when we passed by a group of detainee's who were walking along the streets after a day's work, and head's up they were only escorted by one officer. 

Our American companion even said they should have these in their country instead of detainees working out.Before we leave the vicinity we saw another group and it's great to see their smiles. I've waved my hand, they waved back and one guy suddenly showed his bare chest and all his upper body was covered with ink, and then all his pals cheered and laughed. It's was interesting,different and I liked it, compared from what I've seen in other prisons here in the country. There are Handcrafted Souvenirs made by prisoners and they personally do the transactions. They are group according to cases, those that came in contact with you has friendlier cases and lesser years they'll be staying in prison. Our tour guide told us, the prisoners will not be thinking about escaping there is only two exits: city-not really a good choice and the mountains- you'll surely get malaria, he added "why try to escape when you're already living a productive life others dreamed about".

We visited Mitra Ranch which is a known spot for its fascinating overlooking scenery. The ranch is owned by the late Philippine Senator Ramon Mitra. It is open to the public for sight seeing, more likely TOP's in Cebu.

Baker's Hill 

Once you get inside you are greeted right away with the gang, I had a great time with them: Little Fella doing his own thing right at the corner- better not disturb him his seriously concentrating on someting, Madame Vavavom here has all the icing laid out while Naughty Missy allows you to wrap your arms around her with no strings attached, and of course Uncle Baker will not forget to greet you- let's say with a really confusing smile.


Olala boys! please fall in line..

I bought one of their famous baked products (pasalubong) like Hopia (ube/mongo) and more pastry goods, for my snack I bought my all-time favorite kwek-kwek. I was tempted to try their Pica Pica booth selling street foods too I had mushroom meatballs and crab claw.

Buenavista Viewdeck

The van drove along the mountains,trees and the wind felt great outside. During our road trip we’ve got to see a lot of amazing sceneries. It's a four hours travel going to our destination which is the town of Sabang, and 15 minutes before reaching Sabang you'll stop by to get a chance to see an overlooking place at Buenavista Viewdeck. A breathtaking view of Ulugan Bay. This is where the Vietnamese refugees landed to escape the war. Beside the viewing deck is shop where you can buy some souvenirs, freshen up and do some stretching.

St. Paul Mountain
Sabang town is almost at the farther end of the City and they have solar panels for their lights- thumb's up! , and has their very own generator powered at night. Along the way we saw Limestone Mountains and the famous St. Paul Mountain Range where the cave opening for the Underground River is located. Look closely and you'll see a side view of a man's face- they named it after someone important in the history of Palawan. 

Lunch at the Beach side

A Fantastic view for a sumptuous Lunch buffet at Sabang before we head straight to the Underground River ,which already includes in our package too. The island of Palawan lies between the South China Sea and Sulu Sea, and here was a great view of South China Sea. At the very last minute we came along this guy who was doing an artwork using henna and I would love to have a butterfly painted on me, but the van was already warming up. Just some heads up when you’re nearby the beach ,look for some locals who does henna work's- that would be plus points for your vacation checklist.

Palawan's Underground River tour: Subterranean River National Park

Paddle boats will bring you to Palawan's jaw-dropping 45 minutes Underground River tour. It was a smooth ride entering the cave, motorized boats were discouraged for tourist and actually you won't be able to hear each other, the sound would create such a noise. It was an amazing tour no wonder it was a nominee for the 7 wonders of the World, everything I saw was spectacular, the rock formations with it's astonishing formed-images, they even have rocks named and classified like vegetables , fruits and the meat section. The boat guides were well trained and knowledgeable about the different kinds of rock formation in every corner of the cave.

It was pitch black and the only source of light we have was maneuver by the front row tourist. When I tried to get a glimpse of my back view- wow! expect nothing but pure brewed coffee, having your eyes closed and opened seemed no different at all. All sorts of bats were seen, we were provided hats for falling debris- joke, you just never what will fall on you, it could either be fresh water or fresh bat urine- also called as something b? I'll make sure to get back to this.

If it's cold then you're in good luck but then if it's hot expect more, you're luckier than you think, just think about it of all the passengers on board you were chosen- just look the brighter side. Besides you wont mind for sure you'll have full attention with what you see, that felt like being caught in a spider's web. Sit back and Relax, let your mind dance along the tour guides words and let the wonders of nature sings its song of lullaby in your ears. It was significantly eye-catching, a sight everyone should see that is truly world-class, and it's just right here in the Philippines.

The official nominee of the Philippines and a finalist to the Search for the New 7 Wonders of Nature. 

They have divided the caves sections into different categories, they have a fruit and meat section. I guess this part belongs to the vegetable section because this appear to looked like a corn.

We visited the Binuatan Weaving Station,located at Pajara, Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. They taught us how to weaved different kinds place mats, which was quite easy if you do it in slow motion. I was quite challenged when I saw them worked and seen how fast they moved , they we're liked machines- in a gentle feminine way. The Binuatan Creations became popular when a few years ago the world famous Calvin Klein ordered placemats for their market, by then locals and tourist mushroomed to see their world class products.

Nightlife in Palawan

Kalui Restaurant  " Barefoot Style Restaurant "

Our appetite for adventure was soaring high and our faces were beaming with excitement for our next activity- searching for Puerto Princesa all-time famous favorite restaurant. We've found  Kalui Restaurant located at Rizal Avenue, it was the perfect spot for our food craving. They are quite famous for their unique style which is every guest and staff inside the restaurant are encouraged to walk barefoot- yes I definitely type that right. 

Now that I think about it I guess everyone is or required to leave their shoes/slippers/sandals at the entrance. Most importantly which we were clueless at all is that you have to have a reservation. Sounds fancy right? But they have affordable and reasonable prices. You just have to call before you go there to make sure they have available seats for you. You can reach Kalui by tricycle the drivers are very familiar with almost all the famous hotel and restaurants in the City. They also have sort of an Art Room which showcased beautiful works of Art and furniture, this is one place you shouldn't miss when you visit Palawan.

After a fantastic dinner head straight to Tiki Resto Bar, one of the newest attractions in Puerto Princesa. The restobar is located at Rizal Avenue, the opposite side of Palawan's Provincial Capitol building, along the busy Puerto Princesa Junction. It has an amazing atmosphere I was pretty amazed with their carved maskara columns with lights that illuminates each hole in the wood carvings. 

A popular bar for foreigners and locals who wants to have a good time in the city. Relax with the beat of the band and have yourself a cold beer is definitely a relaxing way to end the night.

Third Day

The century-old Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral located along Rizal Avenue in Barangay Liwanag across Plaza Cuartel.  We just can't get enough of Palawan and we had to stroll around the City one last time. This was a small church during the Spanish occupation. The pointed arches of the churhc reminds me of those I found in my textbooks and encyclopedias about Rome's rich architectures.

Puerto Princesa City Baywalk

It is formerly Palawan's Seaplane 1 & 2, just a 10 minute walk away from Immaculate Conception Cathedral. Palawan's own version of Manila's Baywalk, it has a great view of the mountains and the pier. 

Palawan is such a great place to unwind, there are lots of places where you can go to. Fantastic Beaches, One-of-a-kind Restaurants, Natural Resources and Exotic Foods, these are just some of the things that makes Palawan such an interesting place to visit. And of course the Underground River is one of the highlights of my trip -absolutely one of my favorites.

I've never got the chance to go to Honda Bay, Dos Palmas and El nido, the pride and pure beauty of Palawan. I wished I had leave my marks on those islands- maybe next time. I left a part of my heart at Palawan, someday I'm going to take it back with me. I longed for their pristine white, crystal clear beaches -never let money pull you back from what you want, that's what I learned. Still I felt fortunate to be able to get to Palawan, I've never expected to set foot there in my own expense -sort of, my mum was kind enough to donate a few bucks,thank's mama! 


Itinerary Reminders:

1. Flight Details
Make sure to write down your booking reference number, be at the airport two hours before your flight and allocate time for your travel to the airport.

2. Accommodation Details
Write down your hotel/motel/resort/bnb booking number. Contact your place to inform them around when you'll be arriving — it really does help.  Also, ask if your accommodation has any discounted activities.  You'd be surprised!

3a. Transportation
List possible times your bus/train/boat arrives and leaves so you don't miss an activity.  Always give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes in case you get lost, get stuck in traffic, or are looking for parking.  Better early than late.  Of utmost importance: check for the last trip and fares!  So you still have time and money to get back.

3b. Car Rentals
Take note of your pick-up address and time allotted.  Our last car rental told us to bring the car back by a certain time with a certain amount of gas.  Allot money for fuel and parking.

4. Budgeting
Set aside a minimum and maximum spending amount for: meals, transportation, entrance fees, activities, souvenirs and emergencies.  3 meals a day + snacks adds up quickly, so keep track!  As well as tips for restaurants and activities.

5. Activities
Call to confirm your booking(s) a day or so beforehand.  Set alarms and/or calendar reminders for things you plan to do (i.e- bungee-jumping, river-rafting, or even city / food tours).

Do you want more adventure?
If you still have more days to spare why not go to Coron Island and explore the waters of Palawan.

Where am I going next?
My next adventure is to check out the Beaches in Cebu City and have a relaxing weekend by the beach.

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