Thursday, September 13, 2012

What to do in Puerto Princesa besides Underground River Tour

By default, you've got to visit the Underground River while in Puerto Princesa. It's one of the new seven wonders of nature! But what's there to do after this?

Entrance to one of the world's new wonders: the Underground River

Here are other worthwhile things to do while you're in town:

1. Honda Bay Tour
Explore the quiet islands and sand bars around Honda Bay. Snorkel with schools of colorful fish in the protected reefs and get up close to the mangrove trees.

(L-R) Cowrie Island, sword fish in Pambato Reef, sandbar in Luli Island

2. Firefly Watching Tour
Ride a bangka along the shallow waters and see fireflies light up trees like it's Christmas. They don't cover the entire stretch as I imagined but when they light a tree up, it's awesome.

Fireflies in the dark. Photo doesn't do justice to the experience. At. All.

3. Iwahig Prison
See the oldest building in Puerto Princesa and learn about the concept of an open prison. It's just an hour away from Rizal Avenue. The guided tour is pretty safe. To be sure, go with a group.

A rare solo shot of me. In front of the oldest building in Puerto Princesa.

4. Caving and Ziplining in Ugong Rock
Hear the cool sounds the cave can make! Sweat it out. Climb the steep rocks and get ready to ride the fastest zipline in the Philippines.

The fastest zipline in the Philippines lets you go 16 meters per second.

5. Eat Tamilok and Diablo
The city seemed to run out of exotic wood worms (tamilok) while we were there. Fortunately, we discovered what became our favorite pulutan: Diablo. It's thin sashimi marinated in semi-spicy sauce!

Tamilok (left) and Diablo (right)
Served in Ugong Rock Grill and Seafood Bar, Rizal Ave.
(Tamilok photo by Jeff Victorino,

For more yummy stuff to eat in Puerto Princesa, click here!

6. Drop Ball Batak 
Try playing if you've got a few coins to spare. From observation, players place their bets on the colored boxes on the table's edge. If the ball lands on a color that matches your bet, you win.

This game seems to be popular among the locals!

7. Batak Tribe immersion
Visit members of the Batak, a diminishing tribe of Palawan. There's only around 350 of them left. The journey takes more than an hour by bus and a two-hour trek into the forest. Perfect for immersion!

Call tour guide Noni Santos (0929-3966044) if you plan to do this. Guide fee: Php 500 per group.

Members of the Batak community. Notice that some of the women are topless.

8. Long Beach, San Vicente 
Friends who went there raved about the 15 kilometers of white sand they had to themselves! They say it's a bit hard to get to but it's worth it. The beach is five hours away from Puerto Princesa.

I definitely have to go there the next time I'm in the area.

15 kilometers of white sand with no hotels or developments nearby.
(Photo by Ada de Pedro)

Other things to do if you have time:

1. Mendoza Park
Visit the Palawan Museum (Php 20) then watch people playing Sepak Takraw in the covered courts!

That's Palawan Museum at the back.

2. Baywalk 
This is the start-off point for firefly watching. If you have time, rent a bike for Php 25 an hour!

Baywalk is just like the one we have in Manila minus the garbage.

3. Viet Ville 
Request for a quick stopover on the way back from the Underground River tour. This place has so much potential if developed into a tourist attraction. Vietnamese refugees used to live in this community.

This is part of the village that housed the Vietnamese refugees in the past.

4. Karst Mountain Elephant Cave
Do you see the elephant? Request for a quick photo-op on the way back from the Underground River.

Photo-op with friends!

5. City Tour (Crocodile Farm, Mitra’s Ranch, Baker's Hill)
Wasn't able to do this since on Day 1 since I missed my flight. Friends say it can be skipped, though.

For our 5D/4N itinerary, click here!


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