Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Puerto Princesa

Underground river puerto princesa philippines palawan

              Puerto Princesa, located in the center of Palawan Island, is known as the greenest (due to the fact that they have four annual tree planting festivals) and cleanest city in the Philippines.  Whether you are in the mood for floating down an underground river, having a chill night walking the Bay Walk, or visiting a local craft brewery, Puerto Princesa should be your port of call.  

dinner bay walk puerto princesa philippines palawan
Dinner on the Bay Walk

              There are many ways to get to Puerto Princesa.  If you're stressed for time you can always fly from Manila, but be prepared to spend a little more.  The second method would be to take a direct ferry from manila.  This option is the most cost efficient and the ferry has beds for you to sleep on while you take the long journey.  The best option in my opinion, if you have the time and are wanting to visit other great islands along the way, is to island hop to Coron and El Nido, then take the bus to Puerto Princesa.  Though not exactly the most cost or time effective way, it’s not that expensive and you get to see far more awesome places.

crocodile sisig puerto princesa philippines palawan
Crocodile sisig
              Puerto Princesa has an array of both cost effective and higher end hotels to meet whatever your fancy might be.  Being on a budget we were able to score a hotel for 446 pesos ($8.92) outside of town and then one in town for 500 pesos ($10).  Both had air conditioning and wifi; the one in town was close enough to everything that we were able to walk.  While walking around I didn’t see much options as far as street food goes, but that doesn’t mean that the food scene here wasn’t good.  In the evening, after the sun sets, the Bay Walk starts to flourish and there is an array of both street food and restaurants that pop up.  I also recommend trying the Crocodile Sisig (a stir fry served on a hot plate) in Puerto Princesa.

underground river entrance puerto princesa philippines palawan
Underground River Entrance

underground river cave puerto princesa philippines palawan
Inside the Underground River Cave

              The main reason most people visit Puerto Princesa is of course to see the Underground River, one of the Philippines many UNESCO Heritage Sites.  Most of the hotels will set up the excursion for you and have a van to pick you up and drop you back off at your hotel.  You should expect this all day excursion, with a great lunch buffet included, to cost you around 1800 pesos ($36).  The ride to the port is about two hours away with a stop over at a scenic overlook/souvenir shop; ours also had a stop over at Ugong Rock which had a zipline over the rice fields and a bamboo bike on a high wire.  Once at the port you will eat lunch and sit waiting for your boat number to be called.  The boat ride to the cave is short, but once you arrive you will have to wait again for another boat to take you through the cave.  This wait can be a little long since there are so many people (it’s been the busiest tourist attraction I’ve seen in the Philippines so far), but during this time, you can take pictures on the beach or watch the monkeys look for food to steal from the other tourists. During the tour, a guide paddles you through the cave pointing out the different sights while you listen to an audio recorded tour.

palaweno brewery puerto princesa philippines palawan
Palaweño Brewery

              Another stop worth making while in Puerto Princesa is the Palaweño Brewery.  Palaweño Brewery is Palawan’s first craft brewery and the Philippines first female led brewery as well.  The brewery offers tours of the site and also has a taproom where you can try many of their beers or rhum that they make.  They have an array of beer types, with some of them being seasonal, so you are sure to find one that you will like or you can do what I did and just try them all. 

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