It's really nice to have friends who loves to travel. This friend couple of mine are the sister and brother in-law of my friend Dave. They like to do road trips and has been to many places in the Philippines. It is just unfortunate that they live in Manila and we live in Davao so we can't just easily join them :(
Early this year we chat about going to Palawan and Batanes. We still do not know when but agreed that we go together. When Cebu Pacific again posted low fare offer Dave's sister texted me about it and I said where will we go this time? We originally planned to go Batanes first but seems like even with Cebu Pacific's low fare offering still Dave & I will be spending around P13k/pax for transportaion only since we will be coming from Davao City. So we decided to go to Puerto Princesa Palawan instead.
She did all the bookings: plane ticket from Manila-Puerto Princesa, hotel accommodation & sight-seeing activities. I just paid her when we reach Manila.
Puerto Princesa City Tour (Day 1)
We arrived at Puerto Princesa Airport around lunchtime, there was a coaster waiting for us at the airport to take us to Liberty Park Hotel. After the front desk gave us our keys we immediately drop our things and got ready for a half day city tour.
Our first stop was at Crocodile Farm it is now named as Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center now both a tourist attraction and a national research institute devoted to crocodiles. It also has a mini zoo which can be seen after a short guided tour when everyone is allowed to wander around in the endemic species area.
Next stop was at Iwahig Penal Colony. More looks like a farming community than a prison colony. The tour guide said that inmates are allowed to live with their family and toil their farm to earn a living. They are also engaged in wood carving. Mahogany carved handicrafts are a good buy for the tourist.
The tour guide then took us at Mitra's Ranch. It is owned by the family of the late Senator Ramon Mitra located at Sta Monica Heights and has now become one of the popular tourist destination in Puerto Princesa. There is a view deck on top of the hill open to everyone to have a relaxing time or see the stunning view of Puerto Princesa City. Going back to the City another favorite tourist destination the Baker's Hill is just along the way. It is a themed park famous for baked goddies for pasalubong (giveaways). To our dismay it was closed :(. They are closed every Monday.
Our last stop before taking us back at the hotel was at a souvenir shop. since it's so easy to take a tricycle back to the hotel we told the tour guide to leave us there because we will be exploring the city.
The van fetch us early from the hotel around 7:30am. There are already a few other tourist from other hotels in the van and we are the last to be picked up. As soon as we got in we immediately went on our way. The tour guide was explaining where we are going and what to expect during the trip. He told us that we will drop by first at Ugong Rock, a cave tour, zip line and mountain climbing spot located at at Tagabenit Puerto Princesa. We didn't try any of the activities there but just stayed at the Kubo which serves as the registration area. A few minutes later a resident offered to let us see the mouth of the cave, where a rock formation produces a sound it you tap them, for free.
After the short stop we proceeded to Sabang Port where we will be taking a boat ride to Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. It was about lunch time already and no available banca yet to take us to Underground River, the tour guide then took us to a resort for lunch.
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park - more commonly known as the Underground River. At over 8 kilometers in length, is reputably the longest underground river in the world. With its crystalline waters and spectcular cave formations, the Underground River is possibly Puerto Princesa's most popular attraction. The site was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. The winding path ofthe river is navigable via small pumpboats that departs from Sabang Beach (Quoted from Wikitravel.org)
Island Hopping at Honda Bay (Day 3)
The tour guide picked us up from the hotel around 7:00am, then he brought us at Sta Lourdes Wharf where our boat is waiting. The tour guide explained that Honda Bay is comprised of several islets with shallow reefs which have become the much loved swimming, snorkeling & diving destination of both local residents and tourist. Among the many islets the famous are Pandan, Starfish ,Snake and Lu-li Island. I can't remember anymore what Island we went first where our lunch was served, all I remember was Pandan Island was the last stop before we were brought back to the hotel to catch our flight back to Manila.
It's nice the tour guide had an underwater camera casing and that my Cybershot Camera fits in it, I am able to take a few underwater photo :)
I learned that prices for the different tours/activities at Puerto Princesa are all the same whether you book them online, at the hotel or travel agency they follow a uniform price.