Discover Palawan: Seven Things You Can Do in Puerto Princesa
Palawan has always been one of the touristy places in the Philippines that welcomes locals and travelers from all over the world all year round. With limestone rock formations, turquoise-colored water, white-sand beaches, and a laid-back vibe complemented with friendly locals, Palawan is often hailed as a tropical paradise.
Of its cities, Puerto Princesa has remained quite a favorite among tourists for its blend of urban and natural setting. As a first-class and highly urbanized city, travelers are in for a real treat if they are looking for the right mix of island vibe and the convenience of city life. While mostly known for its beautiful and picturesque white sand beaches, Puerto Princesa is also home to diverse flora and fauna best represented by the world-renowned Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
Hailed as the Eco-Tourism Center of the Philippines, you can expect a lot of exciting activities to do in Puerto Princesa, which includes sustainable and community-based tours such as the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour and Jungle Trekking Tour, which are both done in Sabang found on the western coast.
To have a memorable and enjoyable experience in Puerto Princesa, here are some of the activities you might want to add on your itinerary:
1.) Cruise Through an Underground River
Touring the Underground River has always been one of the main highlights of Puerto Princesa that has attracted tourists from all over the world. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (or popularly known as the Underground River) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. There are two ways to get to the river: Either by boat ride of a 2-hour hike jump-off in the town of Sabang. Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort, one of the best hotels in Puerto Princesa, offers tours at special rates to their guests. Apart from the standard Underground River tour, their rate covers everything from the tour permits, environmental fee, government taxes, audio guide, travel insurance and a sumptuous meal at their Pawikan restaurant to cap it off. To elevate the experience, guests may even opt for an optional free tour of the Sabang Waterfalls.
2.) Chill at the beach
As Palawan is a tropical island, chilling at the beach is one of the activities undoubtedly enjoyed by both locals and international tourists. Aside from the various islands you can explore through island hopping, you may also opt to head to Puerto Princesa’s secluded beaches such as Nagtabon, Talaudyong and Sabang, which are ideal for day trips, picnics and swimming. If you wish to escape the crowd, Nagtabon and Sabang Beach are ideal places to relax. Travelers who are looking for a more relaxing and secluded stay may opt to stay in Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort, a 4-star luxury hotel located 80 kilometers away from Puerto Princesa City. The hotel’s surroundings boast of a picturesque beachfront with the majestic St. Paul Subterranean Mountain Ranges as its backdrop – truly a relaxing getaway for those seeking to get away from the tourist crowd.
3.) Go island hopping around Honda Bay.
Island hopping around Honda Bay is a popular activity in Palawan. Located in the mid-eastern coast of the city, Honda Bay’s island hopping day tours include three stops: Starfish Island, Luli Island and Cowrie Island. Luli Island is named as such as it is short for “Lulubog-Lilitaw”, which are local words that mean “Sink and Rise.” The island was given the moniker as it disappears during high tide and reappears during low tide. Cowrie Island is named after the sea snail called cowrie. The island has several cabanas, a pavilion and thatched-roof spa huts, which make it the ideal stop for lunch. Lastly, Starfish Island is aptly named as such owing to the large population of starfish found around the island.
4.) Explore the city
Puerto Princesa may be known for its gorgeous beaches but the capital city has a lot to offer as well. History enthusiasts and culture buffs who wish to learn more about the historical side of the city can spend half of the day on city tours to visit several sites of historical significance. Some of the various sites you should include on your city tour itinerary are the Palawan Heritage Museum, Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village, Mitra’s Ranch and Baker’s Hill, Binuatan Creations, World War II Museum and a running tour to the City Baywalk, PPC Cathedral, and Plaza Cuartel. Participating in these tours is as easy as booking through a travel agency or asking your hotel to arrange it for you. .
5.) Take a look at one of the most idyllic penal complexes in the country
The Iwahig Prison is a model penal colony that allows prisoners to roam around a vast area with ponds, shelters, fields and natural surroundings in lieu of being behind bars. You may find people in color-coded shirts who are farming, fishing and selling souvenir items, and handicrafts available for sale.
6.) Try the local specialties
Palawan is also an excellent destination for food enthusiasts. Puerto Princesa has some of the island’s best food establishments with homegrown restaurants to try such as KaJoel’s Restaurant, which offers. Palawan-inspired specialties.
7.) Go kart racing
Another activity you can try in Puerto Princesa is trying out kart racing at Sta. Monica’s Palawan International Circuit, which offers fun kart and racing kart rentals from Tuesday to Sunday anywhere between 9AM to 6PM.