72 HOURS IN PUERTO PRINCESSA: WHAT TO DO IN PUERTO PRINCESA

Okay, let’s continue my still-fresh Philippine trip diary and since I still manage to have the diligence to edit the photos and blog about them (which I normally don’t), let’s keep this going!

For the first part, I am going to share you stories from Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan island, it’s my first destination of this one week trip. I spent 3 days in this island – what proclaimed as the biggest in Philippines - and for me, it’s more than enough to really tour around Puerto Princesa, and that’s what this post is about. How to spend 72 hours in Puerto Princesa and fill them with fun activities!

I am going to start with the general information and slowly make our way to the itinerary. This post is going to be photo heavy like any other travel diaries of mine because I just love sharing photos, and I am confident enough to showcase the photos because they’re most likely *ahem* good!

REACHING PUERTO PRINCESA

To reach this island, the best and most effective way is to take the connecting flight from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Puerto Princesa Airport. There are a lot of airlines offering flights to Manila, but I guess the affordable, if not, cheap ones should be Cebu Pacific Air. I flew with Cebu Pacific Air and they have four flights from Jakarta to Philippine weekly, even better, FREAKING CHEAP FLIGHT! As I am typing this, they’re currently having this promotion, only $30! Well just click on that Cebu Pacific Air banner on the right side of my blog for more info.

I flew from Soekarno Hatta to Puerto Princesa using Cebu Pacific Air arriving in NAIA first. I took the earliest flight possible and you should too because when you're travelling, the cheapest flights are always the earliest ones or the late ones so I suggest you to. I departed from Jakarta on 00:30 and arrived in Manila around 05:30 AM (that's four hours flight after the time difference), right after that I would have to issue my baggage and transfer it to the connecting flight counter to Puerto Princesa. My flight to Puerto Princesa was at 8 AM and it took only one hour and twenty minutes to arrive in Puerto Princesa (I arrived at 9:25).

Both flights were pleasant, comfortable and the stewardess are really polite, helpful and coordinating. This pic below is not the most relevant thing but I just wanted to show you how nice the Pinoys were as they greeted us with musics and handmade necklace from the sea shells. I will keep this as an unforgettable gift!

CURRENCY AND ECONOMICAL TRANSACTION
Just like the rest of the Philippines (except the southern part close to Malaysia where they most likely use ringgit), Philippine Peso (PHP) is the main currency here. It’s better to bring more cash instead of cards because most spots here only accept cash. Yes you can bring USD but just in case you need to exhange it to PHP when you’re running out of cash.

Additional info: 1 PHP = IDR 280, 1 USD = PHP 48

COMMUNICATION
Here in Puerto Princesa, you can find simcards with local numbers to keep you in touch with the world, I highly recommend Globe, it’s like the most famous provider in Philippine because I saw its logo almost everywhere. For tourist package, there’s this 5-day data usage for PHP 275 (PHP 75 for the card, and 200 PHP additional mobile data charges), that’s relatively cheap because it’s just around IDR 100k/$10! Pretty much the same price here in Jakarta.
Unfortunately, for an iPhone user like me with the Nano sim cards, you would have to be prepared with your own the sim card cutter because to the contrary, the “maximum” simcard size here is micro and they have no nano simcard cutter, so I was left with NO internet connection along my trip to the Philippines and I have to rely myself fully on WiFi or shamefully begging friends to tether their internet connection with my phone. Talk about being smart!

Initially wanted to purchase it in Manila but it’s just three days left before going back to Jkt, so I guess it’s kind of a waste and besides, travelling with no distrubance (work) was fun! 

TRANSPORTATION
For the transportation, most locals in Puerto Princesa would prefer using this public transportation like buses, Jeepney – Philippine’s very own public transportation and also the symbol of this country -, and Tricycle, motorcycle vehicle with seats.  Just so you know, there is NO taxi in Puerto Princesa, but that doesn’t necessarily translate Puerto Princesa as this medieval village, if you come in groups, better use the charter vans with personal driver to take you anywhere.

WHERE TO STAY IN PUERTO PRINCESA?
There are quite a few hotels in Puerto Princesa, but I would most likely recommend you guys to stay where I went to: Hotel Centro and Sheridan Resort and Spa. These two hotels are well known for its reputacy, classy service and if not, two of the best hotels in Puerto Princesa, isn’t it good to include a little glamazon to your trip just like what I always do! ;).

Hotel Centro
Puerto Princesa North Rd.
Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan, Philippines
+63 48 434 1111




Hotel Centro is a five-star establishment in Puerto Princesa, frankly speaking, the hotel might not be exactly large like city hotels but that’s not a problem for me because I just love the service and the petite but comfy room. I am so going to make a separate post only for this hotel review, but generally it was quite complete: lobby area, a humble restaurant, large beautiful swimming pool, gym station, 300 rooms, airport transfer.
Staying at Hotel Centro would cost you starting around PHP 3700 (IDR 1 mil/$100) and up/night.

*I am going to do a separated post about the overall review of the hotel, stay tuned for that*

Map for Hotel Centro



Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa
Sabang Beach, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
+63 48 434 1448


Hotel Centro is more of the city hotel but if you are more of a beach person and want to blend along more with the nature, I highly suggest you to stay at the Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa! Just the perfect huge hotel with direct access to the beach, humongous swimming pool (super love the swimming pool) with floating bar on the center, top class service. Basically a photogenic place for you to take pictures and Instagrammed them like I did ;).

Staying here would cost you starting around PHP 5200 (IDR 1,5 mil/$150) and up/night.



Map for Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa



DAY 1
Let’s imagine this, you took the morning flight to Manila and connecting flight to Puerto Princessa, I have done the math and you’d arrive around 10-ish, oh wait, I am talking about myself actually LOL!

Lunch at Badjao
Badjao is one of the most popular seafood restaurant in Puerto Princessa, especially for its relaxing ocean view. I took some decent pictures here to show off! Most people go here for the view more than the food! The food was decent, on my visit actually nothing fantastic but not bad. Pinoys are heavy on rice just like Indonesians or maybe Asians :).




Badjao Restaurant
Abueg Sr. Street
Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines
+63 48 433 3501

Map for Badjao Seafront Restaurant



Visiting Palawan Eco Garden and Tribal Park
I visited Palawan Eco Garden and pay a visit to the Tribal park to add in a little sense of nature and humbleness to my trip! Hey, I like nature you guys, maybe I just don’t look and sound like one you racist! It’s actually like the mini version of zoo where you could see some aves (birds) and butterflies. The butterflies were pretty and gracefully flirting around with the greens <3. Here, you can also see Palawan’s existing tribe playing their traditional music items, dancing and “flirting” with the ginormous Phyton (of course the tamed one) as a traditional welcome ritual. It was an experience because it’s actually the first time for me to see the original local tribe.












Palawan Eco Garden
Bunk House Rd, Santa Monica
Opening Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM (daily), ticket price: PHP 25

Map for Palawan Eco Garden



Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center
This conservation center located in Barangay is actually more well known as the crocodile conservation area, the whole area is at approximately 10 ha in total. I had mixed feelings about my visit here because I think I love crocodile but in a way I am kind of afraid of them because of how angry they look, how tough they are and how A LOT larger they are, but they’re actually very exotic! I finally touched a crocodile (and I mean the baby one) for the first time of my life and they have the softest freaking skin! It’s actually not as rough as I imagined before. Love or not love crocodile, visiting this area was one unforgettable experience.




Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center
Barangay Irawan
Opening Hours:
1.30 PM – 5 PM (Mon-Fri, Sun)      
9 AM – 12 AM, 1 PM – 5 PM (Saturdays)
Ticket price: PHP 40

Map for Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center



Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm




Now this is not where most people go during their trips, Iwahig is actually the name of a prison, but wait, this is not your regular prison or even look like one. Iwahig is a beautifully designed prison (even prison is not the word, it’s more like the “home for the one time big sinner) and it’s now one of the top tourist destination. The prisoners here are free to go around the area without the staff’s fear of escaping prisoners and even concrete walls.
Iwahig is not far from the Wildlife Conservatory Center, basically the area was this huge field with a greens, almost like the way to the hills with mountain views around, not bad at all!

They also have this area where they sell handmade accesories crafted by the prisoners. The prisoners here were “equipped” with craftmanship lesson.
Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm
Barangay Iwahig
Opening Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM (daily) – no entrance fee

Map for Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm


What’s for dinner? How about MANG INASAL?
Before I went to the Philippines, few of my Instagram followers actually recommended me to try Mang Inasal, I didn’t know what that is nor did a little research because I got the notifications on the last minutes before my flight. I noticed there’s this packed restaurant located in Robinson’s Place (which by the way very close to Hotel Centro) and not until I looked at the signboard that it’s actually Mang Inasal. They only sell grilled chicken and pork here, but they’re most well known for their grilled chicken, Inasal is the term for (grilled items) so whenever you’re in the Philippines and read the word “Inasal”, most likely you’re getting yourself into the grilled cuisine. Mang Inasal was good, I love the smokey aroma, the tender and juicy chicken (even after grilled, it’s still juicy considering chicken is one freaking tricky protein) and the seasoning was decent! One comfort eatery you should visit when you’re here.

Chowking’s Halo Halo for Post-Dinner Sweet Treats!

Halo Halo is Philippine’s traditional ice dessert, it’s a mix fruit dessert with shaved ice and condiments like purple yam, kidney beans, sugar palm, jackfruit, tapioca, nata de coco, milk pudding all drenched in evaporated milk and topped with purple yam ice cream. My friend told me that Chowking has yummy Halo Halo so I decided to give it a try, came with a friend and we ordered the large one. The large one was actually VERY BIG, even for two, it’s more like four people portion! – should’ve gone with the regular size instead!

I didn’t happen to be Halo Halo’s biggest fan, well you know me, I don’t like milky stuff and this stuff was super milky: contains milk and dressed in condensed milk with milk pudding: three jackpots in one, but I must admit, the condiments in this particular Halo Halo (Chowking) was really good! Perfect balance of sweetness, generous and worth it. The large one was around PHP 97 or almost IDR 28k, not bad at all!

DAY 2
Enjoying the Gorgeous Landscape at Tribu Restaurant Observatory Deck
This was actually a pleasant-coincidence! While we were on our way to the harbour to reach where the Underground River is, we stopped by at this place to take a pee-pee and this particular area offered such amazing view of the lake and the mountains! Spent 10-15 minutes here to bond with the pleasant gift nature offered you. It was humble but memorable!

Puerto Princesa Underground River and Cave Tour (must experience!)
We went to St. Lourdes harbour and rode the speedboat to reach the island where the underground river was located. It took approximately 30 mins to reach here from the harbour and since I love boat rides with winds blowing along, it didn’t feel like 30 freaking minutes! The island was not big, but it was decent looking with green and clear water! Before proceeding to the underground cave, you’d have to walk through the forest with wild monkeys (be careful with your stuff) and do not try to feed the monkeys because it’s prohibited and you could be charge with penalties!





The whole underground cave tour would cost you more or less 30 minutes (approximately 8,2 km in length) and one boat could accomodate up to 1o people! So if you don’t come in groups, you’re going to have to share the seats with other people. It’s regulated that the person sits in front would be the one handling the lights, so if you’re not interested, better pick other seats ;).



It was such an experience because again, nature impressed me much! FYI, Puerto Princesa underground river is one of UNESCO’s new 7 nature wonders of the world! Did it worth the title? Of-reaking-course! The inside part was beautiful with active stalactite and I happened to get the very informative and humorous guide! The formation created these shapes that looked like regular stuffs we see in real life like shapes of fish, legs, humans, faces, and there’s this one that looked identically like The Last Supper ritual and a bloody chicken wings LOL! Too bad I couldn’t show you many pics because it was literally dark and the only lighting was the flash, but what I could tell you that it’s filled with hundreds, or maybe thousands of bats, birds but the overall experience wasn’t scary at all, it was more like charming in the most mysterious way!

Puerto Princesa Underground River
Sitio Sabang
Barangay Cabayugan
Ticket price for Underground River Tour: PHP 900 for each person

Map for Puerto Princesa Underground River


Honda Bay Island Hopping
Honda Bay is one of the most popular islands in the Puerto Princesa for island hopping destination! It’s where people go to chill, do snorkling and swimming, not to mention, the crystal clear water around the mini harbour. It is also the home of some of the most luxurious resorts in Palawan. It took around 20 minutes of boat ride from the St. Lourdes harbour.



Map for Honda Bay 


Dinner at KaLui Restaurant


KaLui is one of the must visit restaurants in Puerto Princesa! It’s another seafood restaurant, seafood seemed to be the main menu served in Puerto Princesa, again, it’s an island with ocean so that should make sense! I must admit the food in KaLui was good! I love the fish courses here as they were fresh, lightly seasoned and tasty! Philippine food is not complete without the Sisig! Sisig is actually the local term used for randomly chopped meat served in hot plate! The pork sisig was seasoned perfectly and imagine that aroma coming from the hot plate, wokhei-ish, fragrant and just lovely <3.

KaLui Restaurant
369, Rizal Ave, Lungsod en Puerto Princesa
Palawan, Philippines
+63 48 433 2580
Opening Hours: 11 AM – 2 PM, 6 PM – 10.30 PM (daily)

Map for KaLui Restaurant


DAY 3

I believe most of you would agree that after all the slightly more adventurous activities, we need something that for some, even more adventurous! I’m talking about shopping time!!! LOL!!!

Robinson’s Place
When in Palawan, make sure to pay a visit to Robinson’s Place and I freaking did! Robinson’s Place is one of the most popular joints in the Philippines and you could see it often, especially in Manila. Luckily, since the Robinson’s was really near my hotel (Hotel Centro), I could walk there and just cost me around 8 mins. The mall was quite spacious and inside you’re going to find mostly eating outlets, and there’s also a huge supermarket and department store.

I mentioned Mang Inasal earlier and they have it here, if you love fried chicken then you should try Jolibee as it’s Philippine’s very own fried chicken chain.

I had this obsession about trying a country’s delicacy, and I mean instant noodle (lame) and luckily there’s this huge Robinson’s Supermarket inside, they have so many flavors even the Sisig! I of course tried them and brought back some of them home. I noticed that the instant noodles in the Philippines were generally smaller than the ones here. Flavor wise, I still love my good old Indomie <3.

Craftmanship Shopping
When in Palawan, shop for local stuffs like local snacks and merchandises like bags, keychains, fridge magnets as they have quite a few places to go, but one of the most famous must be Tiangge Tiangge (read: Jianggu Jianggu). They generally have pretty good range of local stuffs for you to bring back home. Philippine is highly popular for their Cashew Nut and you could easily find tons of it here and in two flavors: salted and unsalted! Other personal recommended stuff to bring back: dried mango candies, fruit candies, Potong Ube (Purple Yam chips), Popcorns and Camote chips.

Aside from Jianggu Jianggu, generally most local craft shops have merchandises like keychains, fridge magnets, postcards starting from as low as PHP 5 (that’s a bloddy IDR 1,5k/piece soooo cheap!) and for the ladies, they also have accesories made with pearls like earrings, necklaces, rings starting from PHP 50 (IDR 15k/USD 1,2). If you’re looking for Vietnamese craftmanships, then Viet Ville is where you should go to, or for wider selections, New City Commercial Center Mall for souvenirs. This mall actually looked more like a huge supermarkets.

Another place to buy souvenirs and craftmanship as I mentioned earlier was the Iwahig Penal Colony Souvenir Shop featuring impressive handmade crafts.

Viet Ville
Puerto Princesa North Rd, Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa,
Palawan, Philippines

NCCC Palawan
Lacao Street, Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa
Palawan, Philippines
Opening Hours: 10 AM – 9 PM

Map for NCCC Palawan


Robinson’s Place
Puerto Princesa North Rd.
Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines
Opening Hours: 10 AM – 9 PM

Map for Robinson's Place


Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm
Barangay Iwahig
Opening Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM (daily)

Tiangge Tiangge
Lacao Street, Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa
Palawan, Philippines

Map for Tiangge Tiangge
There you have it! That’s my first part of the trip and boy this post is long fiuuuuuh! I don’t want to be any tardier with my travel posts as I have so many things to write, so many pics to share, just don’t really have the time! I hope this guide helps you and is complete enough for reference. I might skip some basic information, and if you have anything more to ask and  know, please don’t hesitate to drop your comments below or email me personally!

Special thanks for Cebu Pacific Air for making this trip possible. It was memorable and unforgettable!!! One of the best holidays in my life!

Ending this post with this pic of uber gorgeous Puerto Princesa sunset! Such an effortless beauty <3.


The Philippines’ largest airline, Cebu Pacific Air flies from Jakarta to Manila four times weekly, and from Denpasar to Manila  twice weekly. Lowest year-round fares to to Manila start at USD 99. From the same Manila Airport Terminal 3, passengers can easily connect to any of three daily Puerto Princesa flights.  For more details, visit www.cebupacificair.comor follow @CebuPacificAir on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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