I packed my things a night before my flight, still having second thoughts if I will continue going to Puerto Princesa Palawan or just stay home and bum. My sister is supposed to join me, Palawan getaway is my birthday gift for her, bus she failed to get an off from work. After a lot of thinking and convincing myself, off I went. 10AM the next day (June 28, 2011), I found myself in the plane bound to Puerto Princesa.
Unlike the usual trip that I do where I initially research about the place I will visit, in this jaunt I did no research. I have no idea about the place, no hotel reservation, no plan, and no itinerary. Being used to travelling alone, I just relied on my guts and let things be done as they come. The only thing I knew that I should do is to visit the official entry of the country to the world's new seven wonders of nature - Underground River.
|Palawan Subterranean River|
one of the 28 finalists for the New 7 Wonders of Nature
The first thing I did when I reached Puerto Princesa Airport is to look for the cheapest accommodation. In a rack nearby, I skimmed on the directories and flyers and found a pension house that offers a single bed fan-room for P300/day.
It is not difficult to look for an affordable accommodation around the area. You can get a room for as low as P200 to as much as P3500 daily depending on the amenities. With my 4 days stay I realized that the best people to ask are tricycle drivers, tell them your preference and they can suggest an inn or two in an instant.
How to Get Around
Unless you want to bask under the sun and bath in the sea on your whole Puerto Princesa stay, getting an accommodation in the city is the best option. Restaurant, bars, malls, terminals, and banks are within the perimeter. The cheapest way to get around is walking.
You may opt to take a tricycle, be careful though because some drivers tend to overcharge or take multicabs. Try to avoid renting, just ask locals of the place you want to visit. You’ll be surprise of how much you will save.
(When I was at the airport, a tricycle driver offered me a ride to my chosen inn for P50. I asked him long the ride will take, he said 10mins. I didn’t think P50 for a 10mins tricycle ride if fair. So I went outside the airport, hailed another tricycle and offer the driver P20 to take me to the pension house. He took it.)
What to Do
There are a lot of activities to do. From city tour, island hopping, hiking, bar hopping, swimming and diving, spelunking and a lot more! If you have time and budget you can choose from the array of options. Two things I did in my stay are:
City Tour – I don’t think it’s fair to discuss this without pictures (my digital camera was busted after my Caramoan trip, I borrowed one from my sister but the images I took were blurred), so I suggest you visit the site Pinoy Lakwatsa - we visited exactly the same places. She wrote that 2008 but nothing has changed much.
Regular rate for city tour is P600 for agencies. You can do it yourself and rent a trysicle for P500, I got it for P300 when I joined a couple. :D
|lunch out during the city tour with new found friends|
Susan and her fiance Jans and Kuya Rolly our trysicle driver/tour guide
Underground River Tour – If you’re travelling solo or just two, I can say the best option is to go to travelling agencies who can arrange the tour for you. The rate is P1500 per head that includes lunch, service, professional tour guides. It is less of a hassle and you’ll learn a lot. If you will do it yourself there will only be a minute difference with the expenses. But if you’re a group of 6, you can save up to 50% if you will do it yourself.
Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour – P200 per head for a 30-45 minutes river boat ride through the mangroves.
|the cave's entrance to the underground river tour|
|optical illusion of the parallel trunks of the mangrove trees|
|the wildlife view during the mangrove tour|
I’ve been to different places in the Philippines and I can say Palawan is one of the best places to be. Their local government that manages to keep and preserve their nature in spite of the growing tourism industry is really commendable. No wonder Palawan was awarded as the cleanest and greenest city in the country.
Strangers no More
Being alone in a journey is really not an issue. Meeting new people, mingling with new faces, creating a new bond is always twice as fun…
|Rolly Ibardolaza and "Summertime"|
a trysicle driver and one of the best guides in town
contact number: 09076743259
|Kinabuchs Grill and Bar|
last night out with Susan, Coby, Ferry, and Jans
"Ik pak jou"
I feel in love with Palawan…