Sure, rowing down Puerto Princesa’s Underground River is an experience that can’t be missed. But once you’ve seen the eerie beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, don’t think it’s time for you to retire to your hotel room already.
There are so many other things to do! Like firefly watching, slurping up some slimy woodworms, and climbing to the top of a waterfall!
To help you with your Puerto Princesa itinerary, here’s a rundown of some of the other adventurous things you can do in this coastal city. Of course, you can’t call it a trip without some good food and a comfortable place to sleep in so we included restaurants and resorts in the list, too!
What To Do In Puerto Princesa
1. Watch fireflies at Iwahig
While everyone else is preparing to call it a day, the fireflies of Iwahig are just getting ready to shine. Firefly watching is one of the most whimsical things you can do in Palawan–as you float down the peaceful Iwahig River, the fireflies take their place among the surrounding trees, lighting them up like it’s Christmas Day!
Obviously, you’re going to need a boat to do this so be sure to reserve one ahead of time (one boat can accommodate three people) The boat tours start at 7PM, each ride lasting for around thirty minutes. The easiest way to get here is by hiring a tricycle that will take you from the town proper of Puerto Princesa straight to Iwahig.
2. Go Island Hopping at Honda Bay
For the rest of the year, mall hopping is every Filipino’s favorite pastime. But come summer, we ditch this hobby for something a little more adventurous–island hopping! And Palawan is one of the best places in the country to do so. With Honda Bay as the jumping-off point, you can take boat rides to the four different islands below:
1) Luli Island – totally disappears during high tide only to magically re-emerge after. 2) Starfish Island – home to the biggest population of starfish in Palawan. 3) Pandan Island – boasts of a tropical forest and also has the whitest sands of the bunch. 4) Cowrie Island – has plenty of cabanas and huts for you to rest in.
3. Tour the Sabang Mangrove Forest
The Sabang Mangrove Forest is a big deal to the locals. It actually serves as a barrier between land and sea, breaking the momentum of powerful waves before they hit the shore. It’s also great at blocking the strong winds that come with the bagyo season. But as you tour this forest, you’ll find that it’s got more than just trees–keep your eyes peeled for the snakes, lizards, birds, and monkeys that live here too!
The best time to go on a paddle boat tour through the mangroves is in the morning (go late in the afternoon and what’s left of the sun will be blocked out by the trees). It takes forty five minutes to an hour to complete the tour.
4. Climb to the top of Sabang Falls
If you’re on the mission to chase all the waterfalls in the Philippines, Sabang Falls is another one to add to your must-visit list! It’s different from all the others because its water cascades almost directly into the sea. If you’re not content with just staring at it, you can choose to climb it. Just know you’re going to need all of your muscle strength because you’re going to have to scale a three-meter, ninety-degree wall! You’ll be rewarded with a view of the sea though!
To get to Sabang Falls, simply follow the straightforward path from the Sabang Port. Just continue walking (you’ll pass by Alpuerto Escapade Resort as well as a Buddhist Temple) until you reach the foot of the falls.
Where To Eat In Puerto Princesa
You haven’t really been to Puerto Princesa if you haven’t eaten at KaLui. It’s one of the most popular restaurants in the area, adored for its charming, native-inspired ambiance and menu that boasts of fresh seafood and vegetables. It’s highly recommended that you make a reservation before showing up because this place can get really packed!
Before you get shown to your seat, you have to first take off your shoes. But with their clean and polished floors, going barefoot won’t be an icky ordeal. When asked what you’d want to eat, some of the dishes you can order here are the Tuna Steak, Sizzling Seafood Sisig, Sinigang ni Kaka, and Stingray in Coco Cream.
2. Kinabuchs Grill and Bar
For those with daring taste buds, you’ll get a kick out of Kinabuchs’ exotic dishes. They’re famous for their Tamilok, a slimy but delicious Palawan delicacy! According to looloo reviewers, these woodworms taste like oysters and go really well with a bottle of beer. Another exciting dish you need to order up is the Crocodile Sisig! It looks and tastes just like the normal thing–the only giveaway is the non-crunchy, tender texture.
But if you’re not one to put strange things in your mouth, they have less daring, more comforting Filipino dishes on their menu like Crispy Pata, Mixed Seafood a la Bicol Express, and Sizzling Tuna. Kinabuchs is also a great place to kick back, watch some live basketball games, and grab a couple of drinks in.
3. Badjao Seafront
Badjao Seafront, an entire restaurant propped up on stilts, is built above a mangrove habitat. To get to it, you actually need to cross a wooden bridge! The whole place gives off a rustic vibe, its interior and furniture all made from bamboo, wood, and other native materials. And to add even more to its charm, you get to stare at the beautiful Honda Bay through its windows. Try coming here for an early dinner for a magnificent view of the sunset!
But aside from the ambiance and scenery, people also come here for the seafood. For a taste of Puerto Princesa’s freshest catch, order up the Seafood Platter (this gives you shareable portions of crab, fish, shrimp, clams, squid, and seaweed). Other bestsellers here are the Butter Garlic Shrimp, Salt and Pepper Squid, Sinigang na Hipon.
4. Noki Nocs Savory House
To stave off Palawan’s summer heat, head over to Noki Nocs Savory House for a cup of something cold and sweet. This place is known for having the tastiest and creamiest halo-halo in Puerto Princesa, well-loved for its finely-shaved ice and generous toppings of sweet potato, banana, corn flakes, red beans, leche flan, jackfruit, and ice cream. Ask any Palaweno for dessert recommendations and they’ll probably point you towards Noki Nocs!
But if you’re looking for an actual meal to eat before halo-halo, they have all kinds of affordable Filipinos favorites for you. Burgers, spaghetti, palabok, and sizzlers are just some of the things you can order here.
Where To Stay In Puerto Princesa
1. Daluyon Beach & Mountain Resort
After checking every item off your Puerto Princesa itinerary, the only thing left to do is to snuggle up in a comfy bed. And one of the best places in the area to do so is Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort.
You’re going to get more than just a nice bed here–they have beachfront accommodations where you’ll get lulled to sleep by the soothing sound of waves. The most luxurious room you can book here is the Three Bedroom Daluyon Suite which comes with its own private pool!
Located along the peaceful Sabang Beach, Daluyon is perfect for those who want some extra privacy. There are no noisy crowds here, just a whole lot of sand and sea!
2. Sheridan Beach Resort & Spa
You’re going to be doing a lot of swimming at Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa because this place has the largest and longest pool in Palawan! Take a leisurely dip or go for laps in the 340-foot stretch of water, and when you get tired, grab a drink from the bar in the middle of the pool!
Aside from having the longest pool, Sheridan also has the biggest organic farm in Palawan. It’s the only farm in the area that produces black rice which you can bring home a sack of. You can take a tour around the farm before sitting down for an all-organic meal.
After your activity-filled day, recharge in the hotel’s lush accommodations. All their rooms come with a balcony which gives you either a pool, garden, or mountain view.
3. Palo Alto Bed & Breakfast
Keep Palo Alto Bed & Breakfast in mind if you’re looking for affordable lodging in Puerto Princesa. You can book their Standard Twin Room or Standard Double Room for just ₱2,400 per night and their Superior Room for ₱3,000 per night.
But aside from being budget-friendly, Palo Alto is also one of the most eco-friendly accommodations in the area. Having sourced wood from the sustainable mountain plantations of Palawan, the entire place is decked out in wooden poles. It took 5,000 poles and 100,000 hours to build the entire place! It’s a great pick if you like feeling close to nature.
4. Marianne Hotel
Marianne Hotel is another one to keep on your list if you have a tight budget to stick to. For solo travelers, you can have their Standard Single Room for just ₱1,750 per night. And if you’ve got company, you can book their Deluxe Double Room for ₱2,200 per night (this is the most you’re going to have to pay for a room here!)
Found in Barangay Bancao-Bancao, Marianne is just five minutes away from the airport and fifteen from the airport. It’s also in pretty close proximity to the Robinson’s Shopping Mall and the City Center, making it a great choice for practical adventurers.