I will remember Puerto Princesa, Palawan as my first-ever legit travel destination some years ago. I was with friends from college and we did most of the tours that this wonderful island offers. From city and island tours, to the amusing firefly watching at Iwahig, this place is more than just another beautiful island of the Philippines. It is also home to one of the New 7 Wonders of the World- the UNDERGROUND RIVER!
Just recently, I had the opportunity to visit Puerto Princesa again. This time, I was set to do a project with a luxury resort there. One of the perks of having a solid social media reach and quality content now is that brands are tapping me for commissioned works and even collaborations. This trip was totally free! All I ever paid for was my pre-booked airline ticket for this opportunity just caught me by surprise.
I still can’t believe how my passion for travel and adventure photography led me to priceless experiences now. I was just a traveler who’s out to share the best perspectives of the world and now I am partnering with top brands. To those of you who’s following my journey, I hope I am able to fuel your drive to never stop chasing for what your heart desires. Anyways, back to the travel guide now. Hahaha!
THINGS TO DO IN PUERTO PRINCESA
1. UNDERGROUND RIVER TOUR
This is a MUST! Going to Puerto Princesa without experiencing the underground river tour is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. Makes sense? What I loved about the whole new experience now is that the tourism department stepped up their game! Instead of having boatmen do the talking while paddling on a pitch dark cave, you will now have an audio device with a voice recording which will do all the talking. It’s very informative and the sound effects complete the entire experience!
2. IWAHIG FIREFLY WATCHING
You will be paddling on a small “bangka” on a pitch black mangrove plantation. At first, you’ll get scared with the uncertainty in this body of water but you’ll get the hang of it a few moments later. Then be prepared when your boatman/guide turns on its pen light for a very brief moment. WAIT FOR IT! And tell me what happens next. 🙂 This was an eye-opening experience for me because of our boatman. He was from Metro Manila and was raised by an affluent family. However, he left his comfortable life and with the uncertain; followed his calling and served as a volunteer for Iwahig Firefly Watching. It’s people like him who I look up to and have the utmost respect! I was in moved by his story.
You can book tours from your hotel/hostel to Iwahig. Make sure to place your reservations to avoid waiting during peak season. You may contact Sir Fidel at 0917-555-8840 for reservation/inquiries. I don’t suggest hiring a tricycle for this activity since the area is far from the city center and remember the tour might end at almost midnight.
3. HONDA BAY ISLAND TOUR
Philippines is home to the most diverse islands that I can hardly pick a favorite. Honda Bay is perfect to those who love to bask under the summer sun and also ideal for snorkeling. It is best to go there when it is low tide.
4. ZIPLINE, SPELUNKING and ADVENTURE TOURS
For adrenaline junkies, there are a lot of activities for you here, too! I tried spelunking for the first time and once at the peak of Ugong Rock, I ziplined my way down the base. It was craaaazy and definitely one of the best ziplines in the country! There are also ATV tours and other activities for you to try there.
5. CITY TOUR
Personally, I am not a fan of “touristy” stuff like this. However, city tours will give you ample information about the city and details like their culture, heritage and history as well. The Puerto Princesa city tour will also bring you to exciting spots like Baker’s Hill, Mitra’s Ranch and Butterfly Gardens.
There are a good number of backpackers’ hostels and inns available in the city. Also note that the city center is just one tumbling away from the airport! hahaha! If you were to ask me though, I’d rather stay in Sabang Beach area. The sound of the raging waters is lullaby at night. Of course, save up and reward yourself at SHERIDAN BEACH RESORT and SPA, no less!
Check out the AGODA plug-in on this site for room options now!
Thanks to promo fares, I was able to snag a roundtrip ticket to Puerto Princesa for only ₱219 roundtrip. YES! You read that right. Dasal lang talaga, bes! 🙂
For the purpose of doing a 3D/2N budget travel guide, here’s what to expect if you’re in a group. If you travel solo, MAKE FRIENDS and join a group or carry the burden of having to spend a lot of money. It’s your choice. Again, spending will totally depend on every traveler.
Room: ₱600/head – (2 nights) your choice of backpacker inns (Blue Bamboo or Puerto Bay Backpackers)
Honda Bay Tour: ₱450/head/group of 4 pax – RT tricycle and pump boat rental (₱1300)
Underground River Tour: ₱1800/head – *NEW RATE inclusive of tours and buffet lunch
City Tour: ₱150/head/group of 4 pax – Do-It-Yourself by chartering a tricycle
Airfare: ₱219 – Roundtrip promo fares from AirAsia. Book months or even a year ahead. Hahaha! I got mine at this insane price!
Food: There are cheap finds in the city for budgetarians. Carinderias will be your option. Fine restaurants like Kalui and Kinabuch’s is a must-visit, though.
TOTAL: ₱3,219 PLUS food and miscellaneous
*Note that expenses will depend on your desired activities, accommodation options and food allowance.
*If you’re on a tight budget, you’d have to sacrifice some of the activities and know what to prioritize.
*For discounted rates and best tour package deals, contact Sir Fidel at 0917-555-8840. He can arrange everything for you! If DIY is not your thing, Sir Fidel is available to assist you flawlessly. We availed of his package services and all we ever did was just show up and everything just unfolded before us. Stress-free! 🙂
*You may also inquire at Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa at 0917-306-6984 for the best hotel option.
*Be on the look out for airline promo fares. You may book even a year ahead of your travel date! Without even knowing, your travel schedule has arrived and say hello to PALAWAN!
*Schedule your trip on a weekday if you don’t want to rub elbows with a lot of people! Expectations VS. Reality bes.
*Bring and apply insect repellents. There are sand flies and mosquitoes in some parts of Palawan. Prevention is better than cure.
*Be with a group to save huge money on tour expenses. You may also opt for a DIY.
*But for convenience and a hassle-free tour, I STRONGLY SUGGEST that you book with Sir Fidel at 0917-555-8840!
Puerto Princesa just #gotMARKed!
I will blog about El Nido next.
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