Let us first have a short recap about Puerto Princesa. Puerto Princesa has been formally declared the Cleanest and Greenest Component City in the Philippines. Home of the country’s pride, the PPUR (Puerto Princesa Underground River) being one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
A dear friend Chell booked us (we were five actually) at Cebu Pacific a promo round trip ticket going to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Travel date was December 2011, last year. Chell did her homework very well. From hotel bookings, tour guide contacts etc., a couple of months before our travel date (love you mama!).
Ate Rose, our tour guide fetched us from Puerto Princesa Airport.
This was our ride, a Toyota Hiace.
Btw, our tour package includes round trip airport-hotel transfers, land and boat transfers, entrance fees, Honda Bay island hopping, Underground River tour and buffet picnic lunch (2D); all for P2,200 per head.
We were all on a tight budget that time. Rengel Hotel was the obvious choice.
What would you expect? Air con was functioning but not that cold. There was no hot water or shower in the bathroom, just use a deeper or tabo when taking a bath. It is not advisable to bring laptops or valuables although it’s safe in Palawan according to Ate Rose (tour guide). There was an unpleasant smell on the hallways.
In every pros, there are cons or vice versa. The hotel’s location is near the market, fast food (Jollibee), banks, drugstore (Mercury Drug); stores, stalls and food carts (Master Siomai, Dunkin’ Donuts) at the ground; walking distance (2-3 blocks away) to capitol or kapitolyo, bar and restaurants.
Puerto Princesa is at the center of a folded umbrella like Palawan map. A statement I got from Ate Rose. She was absolutely right by just looking at this photo. I found this frame hanging on the wall in the hotel lobby.
From the airport, we dropped and left our things and backpacks to the hotel, except for our cameras, mobile phones, wallet and swimming outfit because the first place on our itinerary was..Honda Bay!
Honda Bay: Snake Island
There are cottages made of bamboo where you can sit, relax and eat. This is where we had our buffet picnic lunch. Activities in Snake Island are swimming, snorkeling and fish feeding. You may bring your own snorkel or rent. There’s a snorkel rental for P150 (more or less) along the way (going to Honda Bay). If you can’t swim (like me) there were kind divers who can assist you. Well in my case, though I was wearing a life jacket, kuya helped me go to 10 feet and was able to see and witness with my own eyes those beautiful and colorful fishes.
Honda Bay: Pandan Island
You can do the same activities in this island. But we didn’t in our case. We just had picture taking, walking and viewing. In my opinion, Pandan Island is quite nicer than Snake Island.
Honda Bay: Pambato Reef
There are abundant fishes that swim and live around the living coral of the reef. Snorkeling again? Yes, you should. But I didn't. I was so anxious; the water there was deeper (of course) than at Snake Island.
Dinner is not always included in tour packages. This time, tourists have the option to choose or decide where to eat. There is a famous restaurant in Puerto Princesa and a must visit place among tourists named KaLui. Ate Rose told us that we need to make table reservations earlier or a day before since a lot of people and tourists dine there. Too bad, we weren’t able to have dinner at said restaurant.
While we were walking from Valencia St. (hotel’s location) to Wharf Road to look for a place to eat, we spotted a restaurant named Balinsasayaw Restaurant. It was a little late for dinner; my order of grilled chicken (their bestseller, daw?) was not available so I ordered grilled tuna (set meal) instead for P80-90. Reasonable price (remember we were on a budget), yet delicious and fresh.
After we had our dinner, we walked again, this time going to Kapitolyo. I can’t remember what the occasion was or maybe because it was month of December (Christmas was near) but there were lots of tiangge (stalls selling different items on bargain, food etc.) at the Kapitolyo that time. There was a band performing live on stage and plenty of people as well.
Returning to our hotel, we took a tricycle. Their tricycles are different from those found here in Metro Manila. It’s bigger and can accommodate 6 persons, I think (I’m not sure). Sorry that I forgot to take photo of it. Our day 1 was so tiring yet we had fun indeed.
Sorry for the late post. It was only last month that I started to write/blog. Our Puerto Princesa experience, for me is just something I shouldn’t miss to share. Till next time!