Posts

pal11

Puerto Princesa is a tropical haven located at the southwestern part of the Philippine archipelago. It stands firm and proud with its lush greenery and teeming wildlife and marine life- thus the name “the City in a Forest.” Considered as the second largest city in the entire country, but also the most sparsely populated, Puerto Princesa is definitely a place of beauty and serenity.

The city’s name has two etymologies; the first is because of the geographical advantage of the city as a royal haven for vessels hence, Princess of Ports. Second is when Queen Isabella II of Spain named the Island “Puerto de la Princesa” after her daughter’s death. No matter what the name’s origin is, the truth still stands that Puerto Princesa is a paradise on earth.

Where to Stay

Since the city is flooded with tourists every day, there are a lot of hotels here that can definitely fit your budget. For the backpacker or the budget-conscious traveler, Hibiscus Garden Hotel is a wise choice. They have 14 spacious, Mediterranean-inspired guest rooms for a very reasonable price. But if you have the money to spend a night on a plush resort in this tropical paradise, try booking a room at Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa.This newly-opened beachfront resort offers only the best for its customers, starting from their stunning rectangular outdoor pool down to the very polite and accomodating staff.

Where to Eat

Dinner with friends at Ka Lui

Dinner with friends at Ka Lui

Gastronomic Treat at Ka Lui

Gastronomic Treat at Ka Lui

Every visitor of Puerto Princesa has to agree that the most visited restaurant in the city is Ka Lui. The restaurant is a native wooden house with well-polished floors so when you dine inside you will be asked to leave all foot wears in small lockers. Once dinner is served, you’ll feast on their sumptuous dishes.

Bona's Chao Long

Bona’s Chao Long

If you are opting for something new for your taste buds, you can try Bona’s Chao Long. Palawan has been home to Vietnamese refugees since 1975, so it is not a surprise the city has some of the best Vietnamese cuisine in the house. If you’re up for the challenge you can try their yummy sweet and spicy Chao Long (rice noodles) and pair it with their Mango Yakult Shake. You’ll have a happy tummy without spending too much cash.

Where to Go

Inside the Puerto Princesa underground River

Inside the Puerto Princesa underground River

A day in Puerto Princesa is absolutely not enough. You have to have two days minimum. First stop would be the world famous New Seventh Wonder of Nature, Puerto Princesa Underground River. And once you’re inside, words are not enough to describe the beauty of the limestone cave full of amazing figures formed by stalactites and stalagmites from millions of years ago.

I'm not so happy to get my pic taken with this guy!

I’m not so happy to get my pic taken with this guy!

Former World's Largest Captured Crocodile

Former World’s Largest Captured Crocodile

After the refreshing trip in the underground river, visit the Crocodile Farm where you can see a lot of real salt-water and sea-water crocodiles roaming around (not in the farm) but in their respective cages. You can even picture the former-world’s largest captured crocodile.  You’ll definitely thank the heavens it has been captured already!

Iwahig Penal Colony's Recreational Hall

Iwahig Penal Colony’s Recreational Hall

A pretty prisoner!

A pretty prisoner!

You can drop by Iwahig Penal Colony before you go back to the city. It’s a prison alright, but no need to worry because it’s more like a modern farm because the prisoners are allowed to roam around the farm. The minimum-security inmates are actually planting rice and harvesting it for a living, some of them do fascinating handicrafts and are displayed in their recreational hall which also serves as a souvenir shop. So, if you’d like to buy keepsakes from Palawan, do buy them here because the profit goes straight to the prisoners and their family.

Baker's Hill

Baker’s Hill

Checking the food I bought from Baker's Hill

Checking the food I bought from Baker’s Hill

After buying souvenirs, you can try going to Baker’s Hill to buy delicious pastries and goodies. Be prepared to fall in line because almost all tourists try to buy out the whole store every time.  Their Hopia and Choco Crinkles are a must-try.

Immaculate Conception Cathedral

Immaculate Conception Cathedral

And the last stop in the city would be the sky-colored Immaculate Conception Cathedral. The cathedral may be vibrant today, but it hides a grim past which can be evident on the adjacent Plaza Cuartel. Listed on a concrete pedestal are the names of the 150 American soldiers who were burned alive during the Japanese era.

Puerto Princesa has a lot to offer.  A blog like mine cannot list all the interesting stuff you’ll get to witness and experience once you visit this blissful city. So, why not, book a trip, pack your bags and  experience them yourself?  And don’t forget to let us know about your travel! ;)

I woke up earlier than the ringing of my alarm clock. It’s a brand new day and I’m all psyched up and energized because, finally, my dream of going inside Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) has come true. I have been dreaming about this vacation even before PPUR made it to the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

HANDY-DANDY GADGET

I had everything prepared the night before, especially my camera, my handy-dandy Nikon D5100; it’s the most important thing to bring, aside, of course, from my wallet and iPhone. I definitely have to document this vacation because it’s a once in a lifetime trip!

I have been a shutterbug ever since I can remember. My dad introduced me to this small rectangular device that has a magic button that captures significant moments with just one click; and I’ve been addicted to it ever since. I believe there’s more to pictures than what meets the eye; I’d also like to think that there’s a precious story behind every picture.

GETTING THERE

these colorful bancas will transport you from the port of Sabang to the entrance of PP’s Underground River

It’s a winding 2-hour drive from Puerto Princesa City going to Sabang, we need to stop somewhere in the middle of the trip for a little pee-break. Sabang Port is where the colorful bancas (pump boats) that will take us to the entrance of the Underground River are located. When we arrived, there were dozens and dozens of people, young and old, who are all like me, waiting for their turn to go aboard the 10-seater paddle boat that would journey inside the heart of the cave.

THIS IS IT!

orange helmets and life vests are a must before getting inside Puerto Princesa Underground River

When the final moment came, I had to calm my overexcited heart; the last thing I want is to have a heart attack inside the limestone cave and eventually drown in the dark river. I sat in the last row of the boat directly in front of the boatman. The boatman will navigate us through the underground river and will also serve as our comic tour guide.

I was clutching my handy-dandy camera ready to take aim while listening to our boatman for some quick FIYs. It was as though Mr. Sun decided to take a day off because once you enter the cave leading to the underground river, it’s a total darkness. But human eyes are really amazing because we can quickly adjust to be able to see better in the dark. And how I wish my camera was as quick as my eyes because when I tried taking a picture of the beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formation it, all of a sudden, it wouldn’t work.

THE GRUELING 15 MINUTES

I was beginning to get frantic because I’m already living my dream and suddenly my not-so-handy-dandy-anymore camera decided to take a break. I tried all the little tactics I know in order to revive it, but I was really getting frustrated. We were almost halfway through the maze and I couldn’t even appreciate all the beautiful formations the boatman was talking about. For 15 long minutes, I was sweating, big cold sweats. I wanted to cry and make the boatman stop for awhile for me to work on my camera, but unfortunately that couldn’t happen because I was with 9 other passengers who were now having the time of their lives.

As I was about to give up, a feeble idea hit me. The main reason that my camera won’t capture anything is because it’s too dark inside so I tried using the flashlight on my iPhone and positioned it near my lens so that the camera can capture light as much as possible. I’m hoping against all hopes for my weird plan to work, and boy, oh boy, it did work!

CLICK-HAPPY

I captured pictures of different stalactite and stalagmite formations to my heart’s delight. I started appreciating all the amazing patterns coming from the precipitation of limestone and water that was made a thousand or more years ago.

the one big candle inside the cathedral of the Puerto Princesa Underground River

I was smiling like crazy while clicking and clicking my now-working camera; and I can’t explain the happiness I felt during the remaining 30 minutes of our ride.

the white lady inside the Puerto Princesa Underground River

Looking back, that grueling 15 minutes inside Puerto Princesa Underground River, made all the pictures I took more precious. The photos I captured maybe lovely but the memory and experience I had before I was able to take all those was what made the pictures more worthwhile.

the holy family inside the Puerto Princesa Underground River

the three kings on top of the big candle inside the cathedral of Puerto Princesa Underground River