Wednesday, April 29, 2015

15 Things To Do In Puerto Princesa, Palawan






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Puerto Princesa: another paradise in Palawan that captured my heart.


Aside from visiting the Subterranean Underground River, below are some of the things we've experienced or wanted to try that I’d like to share with you: food, tours, tips, where to eat and where to stay in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

1. CITY TOUR
City Tour usually includes a visit to The Crocodile Farm, Baker’s Hill, Mitra’s Ranch and Butterfly Garden.

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If you’re traveling with kids, I recommend Baker’s Hill and Mitra’s Ranch.
  • Baker’s Hill has a nice park where kids can run freely and take pictures with their favorite characters
  • Mitra’s ranch offers horseback riding and zipline
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Overall, I believe Butterfly Garden was the most special because of the Tribal Village. The owner, Mr. Roy Rodriguez, is one of the kindest man I've met with a heart of gold. He understood the problems of what the tribal people are currently facing. He knew he needed to help them but the challenge was how to still keep their culture and traditions alive.

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The Tribal Village in Butterfly Garden is not a show. It is about sharing and educating the tourists on how they go about in their daily lives. It’s actually nice for kids as well. They can ask and talk to the village people, see and touch their hunting weapons, try their musical instruments, etc. The tour was very informative and inspiring.

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Mr. Rodriguez gave them their own space to showcase their cultural background, where they get extra income from tips and shares in entrance fee. This is a better option instead of letting them work in the city where they are sometimes made fun of and not paid well. 

The tribal people still go home to their villages (weekly maybe?) and are replaced with another family to give chance to others as well. With the help of Mr. Rodriguez in the butterfly garden, these indigenous people can earn extra while also preserving their traditional ways of living.

TIP: City tour can be arranged via tricycle for Php 600 per 4 hours (4 pax) or Php 150 per hour, but some of these places are quite far and it may be a bit uncomfortable to travel by tricycle. Also, you may go through dirt roads. Fortunately, taxi cabs have been roaming the city since February 2015! You might want to ask your hotel for the driver’s contact number. Expect the tour price to be more expensive for a more relaxed trip.


2. HONDA BAY TOUR
I have yet to come back to Puerto Princesa for this because I’ve only been to one destination in Honda Bay: SPLASH HOUSE.

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Splash House is “your playground on the sea.” It’s a floating play area where you can relax, chill and just have fun. You may also catch your own fish fresh from their fish farm and have them grilled by the staffs.

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Diving board for the daredevils. It’s 10-feet high!

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We were not able to snorkel around the island because we didn’t have much time left but we very much enjoyed the sound of the bats flying in the air as they break the silence and peaceful view of the ocean.

Bat Island is just across Splash House, and come sun down, hundreds of fruit bats can be seen traveling their way to the Mango Farm. It was a sight to behold, and while you are enjoying the view looking up, be ready because you will get the occasional heart-pumping surprise of hearing splashes. Sardines can be seen jumping out from the sea to the Splash House platform.

TIPS/FACTS:
  • A local suggested that if you will be going to Honda Bay Island Tour, it is best that you rent your snorkeling gears from rental shops along the way. These may be priced at 20-50 pesos more, but the gears have been sanitized and are in better condition than using the ones from the boatmen.
  • You may book tours from the airport as soon as you arrive because Puerto Princesa has a universal rate regulated by the tourism board. The packages may differ with inclusions such as free use of gears, etc. Packaged Honda Bay Island tour usually costs around Php 1,500 per boat (10 pax), inclusive of pick-up and drop off at your hotel (7AM – 4PM).

3. EAT A WOODWORM or TAMILOK a.k.a. “LONGEST OYSTERS”

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I’ve tried a fresh one, during our mangroves tour in Sabang Beach. Our tour guide was kind enough to share their “pulutan” when we asked where to find a tamilok

We learned that the worm dies when exposed to air so don’t worry, it won’t bite. If you could only see the head up close, you’ll think of Tremors, the movie.  Anyway, Mang Rudy, the tour guide, cut off the head then used its tail to slice it open. Yes, the tail is so sharp, it’s like a scalpel but worse, because the woodworms have not one, but TWO razor sharp tails. Next, we had to remove the black parts (woods eaten by the worm) so after rinsing it, we finally dipped the fresh worm in vinegar and slid the slimy treat to our mouth. After all those trouble chopping off the rotten wood, finding and cleaning the worms, it was all worth it because these slimy treats were as sweet as a fresh oyster.

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The one at Kinabuch is just okay. It didn’t taste as fresh and sweet though :/


4. EAT CHOW LONG (BEEF STEW NOODLE SOUP a.k.a. Pho Bo Kho)
Once upon a time, the Vietnamese sought asylum in the Philippines during the war and they found a new home in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Being the hospitable and caring Filipinos, the Vietnamese were given help until they made their own community, where they shared their culture and love for food. Until now, their cuisine has been etched in Puerto Princesa.

I’ve asked a lot of locals why they call it chow long when it fact it is Pho Bo Kho or Beef Stew Noodles and all of them said that it’s been that way ever since so they just call it chow long, too.

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Rene’s Saigon “chow long” is one of the local’s favorite, probably next to Viet Ville’s

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But for me, Viet Ville’s is still way better. However, it’s a bit far from the main city. You may ask your driver to bring you here as a stop on the way to the Underground River Tour.

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Just to warn you, the place may not be the “cleanest,” but food is good. They are also known for their bread and iced tea.


5. GO TO EL NIDO VIA PUERTO PRINCESA
I haven’t been to El Nido, but I’ve heard great things about the place. I never knew that El Nido can be reached via PP. Whenever someone mentions El Nido, I only think of Miniloc, Lagen and Pangulasian, which have direct flights from Manila.

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Just recently, I’ve learned that there are many other places to stay in El Nido town proper that are way cheaper. I look forward to visiting the place soon :)

FYI: Going to El Nido via van from Puerto Princesa is Php 700/ pax (14 pax in a van).


6. STAY AT SHERIDAN BEACH RESORT

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If you’re looking for an all-in Palawan Beach experience, Sheridan Beach Resort is the place to be. They offer activities that are kid-friendly and also activities for the adventurous. Sheridan’s property is huge so expect peace and serenity even with the big number of guests checked-in. 

What I liked the most is the beach – it’s so nice, comparable to Boracay decades ago, making the place perfect for honeymooners :)

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FYI: If you plan on going to the Underground River, best to stay at Sheridan Beach Resort because this is only 15 min away from one of the 7 Wonders Of Nature.

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7. STAY AT BLUE PALAWAN
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If you want a place to just chill and spread the good vibes, then BLUE PALAWAN is for you! The moment you step into the resort’s vicinity, you can’t help but dance and groove to the music. There are no words to describe the feeling because you have to be there and experience BLUE PALAWAN to know what I mean :)

FYI: The pool is treated differently and does not contain too much chlorine, leaving your skin soft and your eyes free from redness. The pool is very safe for kids!

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And when I say good vibes, I mean it. The place is overflowing with positivity – that feeling of happiness and kindness. Everybody’s just awesome, that even when strangers call you just before you were about to swim, you just can’t help but smile back, retreat from your plan, and spend the whole night away exchanging stories from extraordinary people and being amazed at how the universe works its magic.

8. GO TO SUNSET BEACH RESORT IN SAN VICENTE
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Beautiful sunset photo taken by Ditas Hilario

Expect to see the most breathtaking sunset at Sunset Beach Resort in San Vicente. Ditas and April are the loveliest people we've met at Blue Palawan and they showed us their pictures during their stay at Sunset Beach Resort. If I remembered correctly, this was about 3 hours away from the city but the view was worth it.

9. EAT LECHON KAWALI AT BLUE PALAWAN
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I have never been fond of this particular dish but after just one bite, oh my goodness! I got hooked! It was the best lechon kawali I have ever had. The meat was cut into BIG chunks but was exceptionally tender and juicy. And the sauce.. whoa.. the sauce is not your ordinary liver sauce. You have to try it to believe it. It was the perfect combination – a match made in heaven!

TIP: We’ve tried a special dessert that was not on the menu: POLVORON CHEESECAKE. It was the bomb! Try asking for it beforehand and maybe the chef might just say YES :D


10. EAT AT KA INATO
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Aside from being known for providing jobs to persons with disabilities, they are also famous for their chicken inato (chicken barbeque). The chicken bbq was good but what I would personally come back for are the CHICKEN SKIN and their PANSIT. MUST TRY!


11. EAT HALO HALO AND BOPIS AT NOKI NOCS

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When we asked the locals for recommendations on where to eat in Puerto Princesa, all of them have said that we should try the HALO HALO at Noki Nocs. 

The secret to the best halo halo in town is in the ice. The milk is already mixed in the frozen ice, which is shaved so finely that makes eating this summer’s guilty pleasure more delightful.

What we have also discovered is that they not only serve the best halo-halo but also the BEST BOPIS ever.


12. STAY AT ONE MANALO PLACE
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One Manalo Place is more “hotel-like” with modern rooms and bigger pool area for the kids. Most businessmen prefer staying here since the location is perfectly situated in the city, with a lot of establishments just outside the hotel such as a spa, a Videoke restaurant and a bar. Also, the rooms are priced at very affordable rates.

TIP: Cheaper alternative would be IPIL SUITES: great location, best rates at less than Php 2,000 per night with reliable wifi connection. CONS: no swimming pool and no elevator (the restaurant where you will be having your complimentary breakfast is located at the rooftop).


13. TRY PUERTO PRINCESA’S DANGGIT LAMAYO


Did you know that Puerto Princesa is also famous for their own version of Danggit? They call it DANGGIT LAMAYO. It is not dried under the sun, but is marinated in vinegar then breaded and finally fried before serving.


14. BUY PEARLS
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BEST SOUVENIR FROM PALAWAN!!!

FYI: Some of the south sea pearls that you will be buying at LRC (souvenir shop) are at least 50% cheaper than those from Greenhills.


15. GO KITESURFING / KITEBOARDING

Did you know that Palawan is also gifted with good wind and good waves? As a matter of fact, international kite boarders were so impressed when they came for their kiteboarding competition. Some even confirmed that Palawan is one of the best kiteboarding spots in the world.

TIP:  Blue Palawan is a great place to stay for kiteboarding.







Things To Do In Puerto Princesa, Palawan  | Where To Eat In Puerto Princesa, Palawan | Where To Stay In Puerto Princesa, Palawan

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JoTan is a Foodie, Travel Enthusiast & she lives her everyday life as if it was the last.

 "IT'S FOR THE EXPERIENCE" -- this is what she always tell people when she wants to do something FUN like Mountain Climbing, Rappelling on a Hanging Bridge (which was not determined if it was in good condition since it was a really old PNR Bridge), Eating Beef Liver SASHIMI (yes, the raw one) and even Jumping off the Plane at 15,000 feet.

She also loves to share the new things she learned, her adventures and other personal encounters through this blog :) 

Send me a message:♥ jotan23@yahoo.com