Puerto Princesa is one of Palawan’s three main islands, the other being El Nido and Coron. If El Nido is known as “Heaven on Earth,” Puerto Princesa is nicknamed “The City in a Forest.” It is because the island is actually a sprawling city, at least by the standards of acreage in Palawan. Apart from its turquoise waters, Puerto Princesa offers breathtaking views, starting with the esteemed underground river. But there is more to the place than the river.
Places to visit in Puerto Princesa
Honda Bay tops the list of must-visit places in Puerto Princesa. Honda Bay is home to several small islands you can visit through an island hopping tour. In addition, boats are available for rent to travel to other islets, most of which are less than 45 minutes away from the bay.
One of the best islands to visit is Starfish Island. You can also go snorkeling while here.
Iwahig and Irawan rivers
Puerto Princesa is visually appealing during the daytime but more so at night. The island offers activities that are not present in other parts of Palawan. For example, Iwahig and Irawan rivers are famous for firefly watching. If not this, you may go plankton watching or star gazing.
At sunset, tourists typically go on a cruise or board paddle boats toward the mangroves, where they can wait until nighttime. Fireflies are seen abundantly in these mangroves. Here, you will truly appreciate the best that Mother Earth has to offer.
Palawan Rescue and Wildlife Conservation Centre, or simply Crocodile Farm, is a research center that houses various species of crocodiles, including the endangered ones like freshwater and saltwater crocodiles. Inside is a museum where the crocodile skeleton exhibit is located. There is also a hatchling house to see baby crocodiles. The farm allows guided petting of these cute baby crocs. If you are more adventurous, you can feed adult crocodiles while standing on a hanging bridge.
Crocodile Farm does not solely caters to these creatures; it also has a wildlife park where you can see birds, reptiles, mammals, and other animals endemic to Palawan.
Baker’s Hill is famous for its location, where you can see the breathtaking view of Puerto Princesa. So the place is best for early morning or late afternoon strolls. You may linger in the garden, where several fun statues are displayed for photo ops. There are also peacocks roaming around.
A bakeshop, the place sells the best-tasting ube hopia, though other flavors are available. These are perfect for pasalubong. However, if you are looking for tastier, more filling treats, Baker’s Hill also has a pizza kitchen and restaurant. In addition, it serves tamilok (woodworm), a local delicacy. That is if you are up for it!
Palaweño Brewery is the ultimate destination if you want to experience the nightlife in Puerto Princesa. Palaweño Brewery is a pride of the locals since it is the first female-owned and operated brewery. Nonetheless, its line of craft beers is equally a source of pride among the locals. Theirs are made from local ingredients such as mangoes, coconuts, honey, and spices.
Aside from brewing on their own, they also hand-label cases that are sold in the entirety of Palawan. So do not be surprised to see a bottle of Buko Loco Coconut Cream Ale or Mango de Palawan in any of the resto-bars you visit in the province. It is that famous! However, there is nothing like the microbrewery experience that Palaweño Brewery offers those who visit their site. So if you are a craft beer enthusiast, you might as well be here when you visit Puerto Princesa.
Ugong Rock Adventures
Last but definitely not least on this list is the destination that is said to complement the underground river: Ugong Rock Adventures. Ugong means reverberating sound or a resounding echo. Once you are up to the 75-foot rock formation, you will understand why it was called such.
As a part of the UNESCO World Heritage, Ugong offers activities for the adventurous. Some things to do here include spelunking, rock climbing, base jumping, zip lining with a 71-meter drop, and zip biking. Spelunking will give you access to the inside of the rock formation. Nonetheless, this place is a community-based tourism project. So guests are also expected to observe ethical tourism practices.
Of course, people go to Puerto Princesa to explore the underground river. Yes, please, but after paddling your way inside and out, you should visit other places, too, including the places mentioned above.