Puerto Princesa is the capital of the island province of Palawan. The city has been acclaimed several times as the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines. With a wide range of attractions ranging from beaches to wildlife reserves, Puerto Princesa is a nature lover's paradise.
There is a tourist information office at the airport next to the arrival hall, but it's not that useful. They will try to sell you tours, have no maps (Feb 2018) and give no information about current events in the city. They do not book accommodation, either.
The airport has undergone a makeover, which involves the construction of a new modern terminal, which can handle both domestic and international flights. The new terminal is opened 2017, while the older terminal is closed indefinitely for renovation. Boarding and alighting is still done on the ground as like in the older terminal.
The airlines with flights to Puerto Princesa are:
- Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Asia all have daily flights from Manila, Cebu, and Clark to Puerto Princesa.
- Cebu Pacific also operate flights to and from Iloilo.
- Tiger Air Taiwan operate flights to and from Taipei.
- Air Juan flies to Busuanga, Cuyo, Sipalay, San Vicente.
- Eastar Jet operate flights to and from Seoul.
The airport is not far from downtown, so you can ignore the overpriced tricycles waiting in front of the airport terminal and catch a tricycle on the highway for a fare of ₱50. Jeepneys also go along the highway in front of the airport to town or to the bus terminal for ₱10.
2GO Travel has two weekly ferries to Puerto Princesa from Manila. The ferry trip is about 22 hours long. Additionally, Milagrosa Shipping has a weekly ferry that sails between Puerto Princesa - Cuyo Islands - Iloilo. It departs Iloilo at 7PM on Thursday, arrives at the Cuyo Islands at 8AM Friday, departs Cuyo Islands 3PM Friday and arrives in Puerto Princesa at 8AM on Saturday.
Ferries docks at 2 Puerto Princesa port, at the far western end of Rizal Ave.
By bus or vanEdit
- 3 Puerto Princesa Grand Terminal (San Jose Terminal), Tagburos. A bustling large terminal complex serving buses, vans, and jeepneys coming from most points of Palawan. Buses depart from a large shelter near the San Jose public market, and vans (UV Express) depart from scattered terminals nearby. The surrounding area has small shops, a small supermarket, and a public market.
Bus service to Puerto Princesa is provided by two major operators, Cherry and RORO Bus, but there are also operators which use smaller vehicles (often rebuilt from old trucks) and are cramped and not air-conditioned.
- Cherry Transport. Has trips every two hours between Puerto Princesa and El Nido from 4AM to 10PM. They operate a fully air-conditioned fleet, and a one-way trip costs ₱395.
- RORO Bus. Has four hourly trips from 5-8 AM between Puerto Princesa and El Nido. They operate a mix of ordinary and air-conditioned buses with a yellow-green livery. One-way trip from El Nido costs ₱395 (₱445 on ordinary).
Jeepneys, multicabs and tricycles are the most common means to get around Puerto Princesa. As in Manila, jeepneys usually have standard routes which they ply. Tricycles on the other hand are fairly limited to certain areas and would not be able to go very long distances. Standard jeepney and tricycle fare around the city is ₱10 per person.
The bus terminal is located a few kilometers outside the city centre. A jeepney from the bus terminal to downtown should cost ₱10.
For touring, it would possibly be a good idea to arrange special transport whether it be a jeepney or, for more comfort, air-conditioned vans or AUVs. This way, you will not be subject to the hassles of public transport availability.
Although "clean and green" Puerto Princesa City has a bold plan for introducing electric vehicles, the city has no published or announced plan that addresses the urgent needs of pedestrians and bicycle riders. There are few pedestrian crossings in the city and most Puerto Princesa drivers do not yield to pedestrians, leaving them stranded dangerously in the middle of the street. If, in order to protect yourself from the vehicles and smoke, you can take an air-con van, but you only add to the overall traffic and pollution problem. Tourist vans and other vehicles are often parked along Rizal Avenue and other main streets blocking where pedestrians and bicycles could once safely move, but no longer can. If you wish to walk or bike in a clean, green, and safe environment in the downtown area, you should ask at the tourist office (at the airport) where such an area exists, and see what they say.
- 1 Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (Underground River). At over 8 kilometers in length, is reputably the longest underground river in the world. With its crystalline waters and spectacular cave formations, the Underground River is possibly Puerto Princesa's most popular attraction. The site was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. The winding path of the river is navigable via small pumpboats that depart from Sabang Beach. Travel time from the city proper to Sabang is about 1.5 hours (This can take closer to 3.5 if you choose to ride in a Jeepney, since you have to wait while they deliver goods along the journey.) A permit is now necessary to visit the underground river and only available in Puerto Princesa, though an online system is in construction. As of December 2018, you can purchase the tickets in Sabang pier: if you do it yourself it will cost you around 600 PHP, if you do it through your accommodation they might overcharge you up to 1200 PHP. You can also ask if you can make the return trip trekking the park and the jungle: you will need to get a guide to do that but the experience is worth your time and money. 600PHP.
- 2 Honda Bay. Consisting of several islets with beautiful beaches, Honda Bay is the place to go to for swimming, snorkeling as well as beach and island hopping. Accessible via the Sta. Lourdes wharf which is 25 minutes away from the city. Pumpboats at the wharf can be hired to take visitors to the various islets on the bay. Arrive before 11AM to go island hopping if you require a small boat (1-5 people) and before 2:30PM if you require a larger boat.
- 3 Iwahig Penal Colony. A good example of a true correctional institute, the Iwahig Penal Colony is more of a farming community rather than a prison. Inmates often live with their families and are allowed to toil their farms to earn a living. Carving out handicrafts is also a common preoccupation and mahogany handcarvings are a good buy for tourists. The colony is about 35 minutes from the city center.
- 4 Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center. Formerly the Crocodile Farming Institute, and still referred to by locals as the "Crocodile Farm," is a tourist attraction and a national research institute devoted to crocodiles. About 30 to 40 minutes from the city center, the Croc Farm also has a mini-zoo, which features some of Palawan's endemic species of wildlife. The place is open from about 8:30AM to about 4:30PM. From Rizal Avenue you can take an 8-person covered pickup truck (labeled "Irawan") for ₱20 and the Croc Farm is the last stop; a tricycle carrying only one or two people will cost ₱100-150. Croc Farm Tickets cost ₱40 for adults and ₱20 for kids. You start with an guided tour of the crocs which last about 15 minutes. After that you wonder around by yourself in the endemic species area, where you have to be careful not to fall through a few rotton and crumbling wooden bridges. Although this is not the best managed wildlife area, the endemic species are nonetheless worth seeing and deserve your support.
- 5 Butterfly Garden, ☏ . Mo-Su 08:30-17:00. With native Palawan butterflies is located about half-way to the Croc Farm (above) and along the same road. Open 7 days a week from 8AM to 5PM. Entry is ₱50.
- 6 Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. A very beautiful church that is decorated in blue and white.
- 7 White Beach (Pristine Beach), Abueg Road, Bancao Bancao (Everyone knows it). The only beach in town. Not as clean as it used to be and no longer white or pristine. But if you want to meet some of the locals and have a few drinks (alcoholic) then it's a great place. Just walk down and buy a few beers from the take away store and walk around the huts and you will be invited to join a group at a table. Lots of fun for an international traveller - if you have a great time then throw in some money for the table (₱200) or buy a cheap bottle of whatever they are drinking.
- 8 Ugong Rock. A 75-foot (22-m) limestone formation in the middle of farmlands and karst forests located near the Underground River. Main activities in the site include spelunking and zip line.
- 9 Rizal Avenue. Puerto Princesa's main commercial strip where one can find various shops, banks, restaurants, and budget inns.
- Langogan Reef. New Coral reef protected by city ordinance and three falls, the largest of which is around 50 m, located 5 km from the barangay.
- 10 Palawan Heritage Center, Fernandez Street (Next to the Palawan Provincial Capitol).
- 11 Palawan Museum, Valencia St (South side of Mendosa Park). 9AM-noon, 1:30PM-5PM. This is an old museum that is not very well maintained or labeled but which has a number of interesting pieces. It is well worth a visit on a rainy day. ₱20.
- 12 Palawan Special Battalion World War II Memorial Museum (On far eastern end of Rizal Avenue, near the airport).
- South Sea Pearl Museum, Irawan Watershed Flora and Fauna Reserve. Bgy. Irawan.
- PSU Museum, Palawan State University (About a 10 minute walk from the front gate of PSU, if you know where you are going.). Closed from noon to 1PM for lunch. This is a one room museum located inside a university building. You should ask for specific directions at the front gate, because not everyone knows about the existence of the museum. The museum is located in one small room but is clean, organized, and well-maintained, with an enthusiastic and helpful staff member. free.
Buy native products at the Tourism Association of Souvenir Shops, they offer handicrafts made by the native tribes like manunggul or wooden jar, bulol or tisot, good harvest and carved animals. Others are tingkop (rice baskets), fish baskets, bags made from bark of a tree, native accessories, weave curtains and table mat, rattan floor mat and other assorted cashew nut delicacies.
Puerto Princesa offers good diving and is a fairly good place to take a PADI course if you plan to dive at some of the larger sites in El Nido or Coron. Moana dive centre, run by Paolo, offers PADI Open Water for ₱17500. Good equipment, and pleasant instruction, with confined water dives taking place in the shallow parts of Puerto Princesa bay. Possible to see sea turtles, eels, lionfish, porcupine fish, batfish and snapper amongst others.
- Plaza Cuartel, Taft St. near Cathedral. Historical place, a must see site. It is the restored ruins of an old garrison where Japanese soldiers burned 143 American prisoners of war inside a tunnel and stands as a grim reminder of World War II.
- Baker Hill, Mitra Rd, Bgy Sta Monica. check out the plants and animal in its natural habitat. ₱600.
Malls & supermarketsEdit
- Robinsons Mall, North Road. 10AM-9PM. has a Robinsons supermarket
- NCCC Mall, Lacao Street. 9AM-7:30PM. has an NCCC supermarket.
- Unitop Mall. 9AM-8PM. has a small supermarket. low prices.
- SM City Puerto Princesa., Malvar Street cor Lacao Street. 9AM-8PM. 65,073 m2 mall with a Savemore supermarket.
- A&A Seafood Palace, national highway cor wescom rd (4th floor of A&A Plaza Hotel), ☏ . 8AM-2PM; 6PM-10PM. Seafood prepared by a Hong Kong chef. Authentic Chinese cuisine. ₱150-800.
- [dead link] Ditchay's (French Bistro), Manalo Ext. before Island Divers, Bancao Bancao, ☏ . W-Su 5PM-midnight. French cuisine and can be a very welcome alternative for those longing to eat something else than local food after a long trip. The little restaurant lets you dine in intimate ambiance while you may chat to both the cook and the owner. The menu includes a variety of French foods like coffee & tea, paté rillettes, confit, soupes, salades, tapenades, grillades, fruits de mer, porc, boeuf, poulet, canard, crépes, patisserie" ₱400-900.
- Divine Sweets, Valencia St. Great cakes (₱45-90), coffee, shakes, etc. They also serve food (untested). Wifi if you order
- 1 Ima's Vegetarian Restaurant, 46, Fernandez St, ☏ . Very good vegetarian food. Highly recommended Main dishes around ₱100-120.
- 2 Kinabuchs Grill and Bar, ☏ . A sports bar and grill and a magnet for tourists and other visitors. The food is really good and customers can play pool or watch live sports.
- 3 KaLui Restauran, 369, Rizal Ave, ☏ . Opens at 6PM for dinner, closed some holidays. Amazing food and ambiance. Can get quite busy so a reservation can't hurt. Seafood is the specialty and the daily seafood special for two is ₱395.
- Cafe Nori, Circon Bldg. Valencia St. M-F 8AM-10PM; Sa-Su 10AM-10PM. Serves Japanese cuisine with fusion and variety of Filipino and American cuisine. Also available are fruit shakes, coffee & frappuccinos.
- Reggae Pulse Bar, 4th District Tiangge Centre, Rizal Ave (Between Bpi Bank and LBC on the main street Rizal), ☏ . 4PM-2AM. Cool reggae bar serving ice-cold beers, beer towers/buckets, cocktails and mixed drinks. Free WiFi, a stylish & relaxing VIP bamboo lounge.
Puerto Princesa has a wide range of accommodations that suit most budgets - from quaint lodges to high-end hotels and resorts.
- 1 Duchess Pension, 107 E Valencia St, ☏ . Check-out: noon. Not the newest pension anymore but offers clean beds and quiet rooms. Not all are the same, so have a look before checking in. Friendly and helpful staff. Try the sandwich with French baguette. Wifi for ₱50 (for the length of your stay) Fan with common toilet S/D ₱250/₱350, aircon with private toilet S/D ₱700.
- Dallas Inn and Cafe, 11 Carandang st (Follow Rizal ave towards the pier, once at Chowking turn right onto Lacao st and then take first left onto Carandang St,and walk 200 m from there to number 11.), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: noon. Family run guesthouse. Free wifi, quiet location, central, 3 min drive from the airport with free pick up if booked in advanced. Dallas Inn has a variety of rooms to choose from according to budget. Fan Doubles ₱600, 4-bed dorm. dorm bed ₱300 per person.
- Kuhl-In Pension, Libis Road Ligaya St. San Pedro (10 min. from airport), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Perhaps the best address for a monthly accommodation in the city. City location but is in a green area. Monthly rate for a 2-bedroom apartment is ₱15000.
- House of Rose, Abueg Rd (off Abueg, close to Badjao Seafront Restaurant), ☏ . Check-in: 9AM, check-out: noon. Offers a comfortable and relaxing ambience in their bungalows or semi-native style cottages. Surrounded by trees and situated a couple of meters away from the road, you could almost forget you are in the city. They offer free wireless internet and claim to serve delectable foods at their restaurant. They also have a swimming pool and billiards table. 5-bed dorm ₱350 p.p..
- Aniceto's Pension, 71 reynoso St, ☏ . Fan single/double without a side bathroom from ₱300.
- Abelardos Pension, 63d Manga St, ☏ . Clean fan rooms without a side bathroom. From ₱400 a night.
- Sheebang Hostel, 118 Libis Road, ☏ , . Bed in a dorm. ₱250/₱350.
- Princessa Inn, 169 malvar St, ☏ . Fan single/double. ₱200/₱300.
- Tree House Inn, Malvar Street (ARL buliding 2nd floor.), ☏ . Dorm beds. ₱450 per person.
- O M G Backpackers, 219 Rizal Avenue. Free wifi. dorm bed ₱250 pp.
- Ezy Stay Pension House, Rizal Avenue Extenison. Free wifi. dorm bed ₱350 pp.
- J L C Hostel, 26 Old Buncag Road. Free wifi. fan room from ₱500.
- Garellano Tourist Inn, 257 Rizal Avenue, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. Fan double room with own bathroom. ₱450.
- Mabini Pension, 1337 A. Mabini St, ☏ , fax: . Rates start at ₱680 for single with fan and shared bath..
- Mabini Mansion, 1011 A. Mabini St, ☏ . This hotel offers rooms equipped with kitchen, refrigerator, remote control colored television, individual air-condition unit, telephone with IDD/NDD access and voice mail. Mabini Mansion also offers the following facility and services: restaurant, foreign currency exchange, airport transfer to and from the hotel, daily maid service, business service and room service. Rates start at ₱1843.
- Grande Vista Hotel, Malvar Street, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines, ☏ . Standard Single, Double and Twin Room, all equipped with Air-conditioning, LED TV with cable channels and Hot and cold shower. Facilities and services are Restaurant, cafe, and bar. From ₱1600.
- Sunlight Guest Hotel, Malvar Street, Brgy. Tagumpay, ☏ . Superior, Deluxe and Penthouse all equipped with air-conditioning, TV with cable channels and Internet connection. Facilities and services are Isabelle Grand Ballroom, conference and meeting rooms, business center. From ₱3010.
- Edgardo's Place, Rizal Ave, ☏ . All rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, flat-screen TV with cable channels, safe, private toilet and bath. It also provides room service, tour assistance, airport transfer, parking, a standby generator and free Wi-Fi. Rates start at ₱1680.
- [dead link] Casitas de az Pension, Cayapas Building, Valencia Street corner Bonifacio (A. Abueg) Street, Brgy. Bagong Silang, ☏ . Standard Single, Standard Twin, and Family or Deluxe Rooms, all equipped with air-conditioning, TV with cable channels and shower with hot and cold water. Facilities and services are Wi-Fi Internet access in public areas and tour assistance.
- 2 Seasons Guesthouse, Roxas street, Barangay Kalipay (Near Pilot Elementary School, in front of Skylight Convention Center), ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. All rooms are equipped with air-conditioner, hot and cold shower, cable TV, and complimentary wireless internet access. Also offers tour assistance, massage service, vehicle rental, and laundry services. (Prostitutes are not allowed inside the property). Rates from ₱1200.
- Palo Alto Bed & Breakfast, Kawayanan Street, Libis Road, Barangay San Pedro, ☏ . homey rooms all equipped with air-conditioner, cable TV, Internet access, refrigerator, and safe. Facilities and services are restaurant and cafe, spa and massage service, car rental, laundry/dry cleaning, and Palawan tours.
- [dead link] Villa Leonora Beach Resort, KM60, National Highway, Sitio Dacutan, Barangay San Rafael, ☏ .
- [dead link] Liberty Park Pension, 34 Liberty Rd, ☏ . All rooms have A/C, cableTV, intercom, and private toilet and bath. Rooftop bar and restaurant, high-speed Internet, fitness room, and massage service.
- Hotel Centro, San Pedro National Highway, ☏ . All rooms have A/C, cableTV, mini-bar, and coffee/tea maker. Business center with high-speed internet, swimming pool, airport and city transfers.
- La Charica Inn, 126 Abad Santos, ☏ . All rooms have A/C, cable TV, and a private toilet with hot and cold shower. High-speed Internet, restaurant/café, and massage service. From ₱1300.
- D' Lucky Garden Inn, Apartelle & Suites, PEO Rd, ☏ , , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. US$25.
- Dos Palmas Arreceffi Island Resort, Honda Bay, ☏ , fax: . High end beach resort.
- Asturias Hotel, South National Highway, Tiniguiban, ☏ , fax: . From US$50.
- The Legend Hotel Palawan, Malvar St, ☏ , , fax: . Perhaps the most modern hotel in Puerto Princesa. Excursion packages to the various attractions of Puerto Princesa.
- Puerto Pension, 35 Malvar St, ☏ , fax: . Nice rooms, free continental breakfast in the rooftop Tribu Restaurant. Desk staff are helpful, nice views.
- Hibiscus Garden Inn, Manalo Extension, ☏ .
- One Rover's Place, 355 Rizal Ave, ☏ . 5 min from the airport with 18 A/C rooms.
- Palawan Village Hotel, ☏ . A/C rooms all with cableTV, a hair dryer, private toilet, bath with hot & cold water, and a balcony/deck. From ₱1150.
- 3 Microtel Inn & Suites Puerto Princesa, The Emerald Playa Beach and Nature Park, Brgy. San Jose (From the airport, take a right on Rizal Ave, then left at the National Highway, After the 5 km mark, turn right at Brgy. San Manuel Road then follow the signs.), ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. ₱3800.
- 4 Amerson Pension Place, Pablico Road 5, near North National Highway, Tiniguiban (near Ka Inato Restaurant; 2 minutes away from San Jose Bus Terminal and 4 minutes away from Robinsons Place Palawan), ☏ , (Smart), (Globe), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Single, Standard Double, all equipped with Air-conditioning, LED TV w/ cable channels and Hot & cold shower. Complimentary breakfast and airport transfer (upon request). With Wi-Fi Internet. Other services include tour assistance and massage service.
- Ospital ng Palawan. 220 Malvar Street. Phone 048-4346864. 048-4342148 (DOH Hospital).
- Bureau Of Immigration Puerto Princesa Office. 2nd Floor. Robinsons mall.
- El Nido - popular yet still remote destinations on Palawan, known for snorkelling, diving and beautiful little islands. It is 6-7 hour drive from Puerto Princesa.
- Coron 2GO Travel ferry two times a week.
- Underground River - a UNESCO World Heritage site located roughly 50 km north of Puerto Princesa.