Happy Monday! I’m starting the week fresh by reminiscing about my trip to Palawan. Here is the third installment of my travel series this time around all about what to see and do in Puerto Princessa. It was my first time there and I was so excited about it. I did research myself and than had my uncle who lives there and is sort of a tour guide to suggest what we should do. It was a nice mix and I got to see what I wanted and find new things I didn’t hear about. I discuss everywhere I went, a little about each place and the cost to give you an idea. I hope this guide is helpful to anyone who is planning on visiting Palawan as it is so beautiful and there is so much to see and do. So grab a snack as this is going to be pretty long and picture heavy so be warned now. Let’s go to Puerto Princessa, Palawan!
This guide though is for those who want to do things themselves. I searched online and there are so many packages that you can avail and the travel agency will do everything for you. All you have to do is pay for the package and you follow your tour guide all throughout the city during the various activities your package came with. I however, did everything with my family. There are a few pros and cons of doing it this way but I do recommend it if you want to pace yourself and save a bit of money than this is the way to go.
Be the boss of your own time
Choose where you want to go
Pay everything yourself
No tour guide
Bare in mind, I had my own transportation because my uncle had a van to drive us around with. If you don’t than maybe a tour is best for you. However, there is public transportation like tricycles to take you places and you can rent yourself a motorcycle if you are feeling adventurous. There was one like I own back in Manila so if I didn’t have a choice I would have been fine with that. It’s totally your choice what you want and these are just tips and suggestions.
Roma Pension House
First off, I stayed at Roma for the whole 10 days. It’s about a 20 minute drive from the airport without traffic. For three people it was 1,200php a night. I did a whole review and room tour in a separate post so you can see that here to learn more if you are interested in an affordable place to stay.
A pension house is sort of like a motel or a mini apartment. It is like a hotel and has some hotel amenities. They also book trips as well if you request and take care of that for you. They have their own van too so you probably would take that on your tour.
I started with the city tour. It depends on you when you want to do it. Sometimes it can be early like the day after you arrive or you can leave it last minute to a day before your flight or even the day you leave right before your flight leaves in the afternoon. What is nice about the city tour is you get to see a lot of what they offer and just look around. There are a few stops we went to and we did it half one day and half another day. I think with the actual tour you fit everything in one day which you can and it is not stressful but we obviously took our time and with me taking outfit pictures with each one it took us a bit longer getting to places. This is my version of the tour of course and the official ones may vary depending on where you go or not.
The first place I went to was the Crocodile farm. It was recommend to me by my uncle and a lot of my relatives who went there before. It’s a habitat for rescued crocodiles and they offer a tour for the park. We accidentally went right when they close for lunch so we had to wait an hour in the parking lot. There last tour is at 11:30am and they resume again at 1:00pm. There was a gazebo we could sit and wait and a snack store beside it. They also offer a unique delicacy which was a worm but we didn’t try it even though my cousin was daring me to do it for the vlog. If you are adventurous and want to eat new things then totally go for it. Once the ticket booth was open my uncle bought us tickets were priced at 40php a person. Then the tour guides came back from lunch and we then proceed inside to start the tour. I won’t spoil it in case you go but it is quite short. There were quite a few crocodiles hanging out in their habitats.
Right after the crocodile tour you then can go to the nature park in the back. It is connected but the tour ends right after the crocodile. You can go hike and explore it yourself. We made our way around and searched for the various animals and then that is it. There is a lot of souvenir places to buy you a keepsake as well as a place to take a picture with a crocodile. We didn’t as we just went on to the nature park and looked around.
Next we drove to Mitra’s Ranch which was about a 15 minute drive from the Crocodile Farm and Nature Park. As soon as we got to the place it had horses roaming around and I thought it was so cute and it is a ranch so of course it would kind of be obvious. The views are amazing and since it is on top of a hill you can see the ocean on one side and then on the other side is mountains. There is a zip line but we didn’t go on it but it looked epic through the forest. To enter the actual house it costs 20php per person to go to to the deck and look out. As you enter you are required to take of your shoes as they aren’t allowed due to the wood being polished daily. They have chairs on the side to easily take them on and off. I had sandals on so it wasn’t too hard. Then you can look around the previous senator’s house like his desk and learn a bit about him with his stuff. There is a mini coffee bar on the deck. Again, amazing views and such a nice place for a photo op.
Last stop on that same road is Baker’s Hill which was one of my favorite place to visit. It was like I was in a small fairtale land. There are so many places to take pictures and you will end up with tons. There is no entrance fee so you come in and walk around. As you enter you see the bakery and you can buy bake goods that are made right there in the factory. The most famous baked good is hopia which is 50php a box. There is ube (purple yam), mongo and baboy (pork) to choose from. There are other baked good if you don’t want their traditional hopia so you are good. I bought marble brownies and they were quite yummy. Further more in, you can find a few snack places, playground for the kids and amazing views. Also there are peacocks and one opened up for me so I got a fun picture with that. There is more to explore so it really is fun to walk around and look at everything they have there. I do recommend visiting and be prepared to take many pictures of this picturesque place.
Then you travel to the other part of the city. We visited the Plaza Cuartel which is a historical site and has a lot of story behind it. We didn’t stay there long but look around, take a few pictures and then read all the info about it there. It’s really a nice place to go and reflect on history.
Beside that is their cathedral and square. I just went over to pay my respect and took a few pictures since my dad has been enjoying me go out and taking photographs of various churches. He sends them to his friends and stuff and I love taking pictures of the architecture they have. I’m not sure if this is part of the city tour officially but I saw a lot of people visit it and take pictures of it.
Last stop on the city tour is the baywalk or what they call the “baybay.” It is like the Manila one but on a smaller scale. It is gorgeous especially if you go in the late afternoon and sunset. There are so many things to do while walking around. You can rent a bike to bike around the place or a toy car for kids. There are also food stands and restaurants open up at night. A lot of them have bars to drink alcohol and just sit and hang. It has a really chill vibe and we ate at a place called “Princessa sa Baybay” and we ate there twice as the service was great. If you want a tower of beer it is 350php and it has a free plate of a pork dish which I don’t personally eat or drink so my cousin and uncle enjoyed that. As for the food they offer different sets to choose from. Plus since it was by the ocean there was so many seafood that you can choose from and they grill and cook up for you. We ordered a set and it was 300php which came with a big bowl of steamed rice, grilled squid, buttered crab, grilled eggplant and shrimp soup. I ate the eggplant as I am vegetarian and I just bought some egg rolls across the way for 5php a piece and they had potatoes and another had vegetables inside. There is so many food choices that you can just take your pick. I quite enjoyed nights when we stayed at the baywalk to eat and walk around.
If you can only go to one thing while in Palawan then I suggest you go to the famous Underground River. If you don’t go it would be like not going to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Coliseum in Rome or the Statue of Liberty in New York and I think you get what I mean. Did you you even go if don’t visit that famous landmark? This was recently added to the 7 wonders of the world and I can see why as it is so memorable and so pretty. Now the price to go is quite up there. It is an hour and thirty minute drive down a windy road so be prepared. I got a bit car sick and I am used o the car so be prepared if you get motion sickness quite easily. It worried me as we would be on a boat but I was fine it was the road that did me in. Once we got to the warf we went to go present our paperwork. So the permit to go is 500php a person which you buy at the Palawan Coliseum. You just present your I.D and they issue you a permit with your name and date you want to go. Be warned they charge more for forigners. Then you pay again at the warf before you get on your boat the environmental fee which is 175php a person. Right as you get on the boat you pay 1,200php for the actual boat which stays at the island while you are at the river. It’s about a 30-45 minute motorized boat ride to the island where it is located. You are provided life jackets on the boat and registered with the coast guard if you are worried. When you get there you hike for a bit and then you receive your audio device that is included in your permit. Then you get on to a paddle boat which takes you on the tour which is almost an hour long I think according to my go pro footage. I’m not going to spoil it but it was indescribable and worth the money. There are photographers on site to take your picture when you arrive. before you go in the cave and when you exit the cave. We paid 180php for the print out picture as a souvenir. Also we saw a monkey on the island which was so cool. We can stay for a while but then we head back to the warf again. Once we were back there are so many snack places and ate at a buffet there. It was 200php a person and there was some Filipino dishes and a lot of choices for a lot of people. This is what we did so I’m not sure what happens on a tour but with one you get a tour guide to escort you and you learn more. I still enjoyed our way and we got to take our time and picked when to eat and when to go. I definitely think it is a must see when you go and worth it.
One of the last things I did was island hopping. This was really fun and something I never imagined doing. My uncle suggested instead of us traveling to El Nido we could just visit the nearby island since we had limited time left. We ended up going 2 days before we had to go to the airport. First, we stopped by the sign at a little store to rent water shoes, snorkel gear and buy bread for the fish so they can come close to us. The shoes and snorkel gear were 150php a piece and the bread was only 15php. We got there around 8am so there was a lot of sizes to choose from. Be aware if you don’t return the gear you borrowed there is a penalty fee of 1,500php a piece so we paid close attention to ours and didn’t lose them. After that, we proceeded to the warf to check in.If you went to the Underground River already and paid the environmental fee you can use it again here but it has to be 5 days from availing it and using it at the Underground River or else you pay another 175php. There are different packages to choose from but we went with the 3 island experince and picking the three islands we wanted. You pay 250php person for the boat and we were lucky to share it with a couple on their honeymoon so the expense goes down for us both. Not only do you pay that but each island you pay an entrance fee for the following: 50php per head Starfish, 50php per head Luli and 75php Cowrie. Then you can pay for a cottage at each island if you need one.
This is where you start off and get the boat. This is the starting point and you travel to the islands from here and go back here in the end. The boat man was really helpful and was really friendly to us.
The first island we went to was Starfish and you can suspect this has many starfish to explore. While I was on google this is where I wanted to go and see starfish and swim with them. I took outfit pictures quickly as they have more of a time limit and we had to follow schedule. This is what I didn’t want but the boat had a time limit with the coast guard and we needed to go to three islands so we had to manage our time. I did get to have a quick photo shoot with my outfit and then I was in my swim suit and wore my snorkel gear and shoes. I forgot the bread with my aunt so we didn’t get to throw it at the fish but we still got to see them. Our boat man helped us and took a flotation device and had our life jackets on so we could go to the deep side. The ocean was so clear and blue and so warm. It was perfect but as soon as I put my face in I got salt water in my mouth. I saw so many fish and I never thought I would go snorkeling so it was a great experience. Then we saw starfish and my cousin got to hold it. The under water footage is insane and can’t wait to get that vlog edited. Before we left this island they had this sandcastle and I’ve seen them online but never in real life so it was so cool seeing it and admiring how creative it is.
The second island was Luli and it was a quick visit. Out of the three this was the most picturesque. It was the smallest I think. I love the history behind the name and I won’t explain it as you can read it in the picture but when I first saw it I thought that was so cool. Again, it has a sandcastle which I think is so nice.I took outfit pictures here and it was so beautiful and the flags went so well with the outfit. This had a deck where you can jump off of it into the water. It was something I wanted to try on the trip but as soon as we were there and the opportunity was already in front I didn’t but next time maybe. You can snorkel and swim in the ocean. Something new is there is a buffet and a bar there if you fancy.
The last island we went to was Cowrie and was the closest to Honda Bay. It was a pretty big island compared to the others. Unlike the other two they have water sports. Since this was the last stop and we made it the last stop so that we can tire ourselves out and that is where the buffet restaurant was located that my uncle told me. The water was so incredibly clear and blue and you can just walk through it and see the bottom. It’s magical and was so warm that day. That was the kind of beach I wanted and could swim in without being scared. Of course there were so many palm trees and huts to sit in. I obviously didn’t do any water sports like the jet ski or the banana boat but I really wanted to. If there was more time I would and this was my second favorite island we visited. This is where we had lunch and we ate at the buffet which was 200php a person.
Here is where I am going to list the cost of each in US dollar just to give you an estimated cost of each of the places we went to. I thought it would be helpful just in case you needed info to plan a trip like I did.
$1.20 for Crocodile Farm & Mitra Ranch person.
$35.00-$40.00 for Underground River per person.
$15.00-$20.00 for Island Hopping per person.
Overall I think you would need $60 for everything listed. It’s just my estimation of everything I did. It may vary with the season and stuff like that but I went in the middle of summer so that was the peak season.
For the food I spent $15.00 as an estimation when I was out at these places and not including every day.I hope my guess of the prices were right and that is what I converted to be. I asked my uncle again all the fees as he is here in Manila with me now and he gave them all to me of the activities we did. Just be warned sometimes they do raise the price if you are a foreigner so that might affect the total.
That was all the tourist things I did while I was in Palawan. I’m hoping this was helpful and if you do visit you have an idea of the place. I really enjoyed where we went and I have so many pictures and memories and since I do a photo diary of some of the pictures will be there so be sure to check it out. There are some other places we ended up not going as we ran out of time like the Firefly Tour and the Butterfly Garden but hopefully if I ever go back I will and I can add it in here. I loved writing this and hopefully I can travel more to start doing travel related blog post like this. Let me know if you ever been or a place you loved visiting. I would love some inspiration for my next travels. I hope you liked this and have a wonderful week lovelies!
What was the most memorable place you traveled to?