I know, I know, it’s been ages since I posted the last Palawan entry. I have posted our itinerary and the food trips you can do, this time, let me post about the our adventure during our stay in Puerto Princesa. BTW, I was not able to get photos of how wonderful the Honda Bay is. We opted not to bring any phones for fear of it being wet, and we did not want to buy an overpriced camera case.
Accommodation was courtesy of Balay Inato, which is along Manalo St., a few minutes from the airport. The rates are as follows, Php 1,200 for a double room and Php 1,400 for a family room. We stayed in a double room which I think is roomy enough for both Babe and I. Extension per hour is Php 50, which I think is very fair. The room is very standard, with a comfortable double bed, TV with cable, phone, T&B with heater, a boudoir, and a single table with 2 chairs. I highly recommend this place, since it is very accessible and most of the notable restaurants are nearby (Bona’s Chaolongan, Balinsasayaw, Haim Chicken Inato (same venue!), Ka Lui). They even make arrangements for the tours, just ask the person from reception.
During our first day, we
decided attempted a DIY tour of the city. Too bad most of the establishments close by 5 PM, thus we were only able to visit the Butterfly Garden.
Entrance to the butterfly garden is only Php 30 or 35 (sorry, I can’t remember!). In summary, the place is literally a small garden, that you can tour within 10 minutes. They’ll show you the butterflies that they breed and hatch, as well as other animals that you can find inside. They have a small gator, a bobcat, lizards and insects. There is also a trail where the Palawan tribe is.
There was an interpreter and 3 palawano males. They described their usual activities, which was smoking, hunting, and the things that they use. They also have a pet snake which they let us pet 🙂
After the trip to the Butterfly Gardens, it was almost 5 PM, thus, we no longer pursued the rest of the spots included in the City Tour. The places mainly are: Crocodile Farm, Iwahig, Baker’s Hill and Mitra Ranch. We grabbed a ride back to the city proper and went to the Baywalk instead.
The highlight of the trip is the Underground River. This is the place that Babe wanted to visit last year. Of course, the mandatory shot beside the sign is well, mandatory (lol!).
The Underground River is located in Sabang, which was about 2-3 hours away from Puerto Princesa. This is the second time that I visited the place, but the first time that we availed of a guided tour. I find it convenient but only to some extent. The guided tour normally costs around Php 1,300 to Php 1,500 and includes transportation to and from where you are staying, a buffet lunch, and arrangement of permits and schedules.
The actual tour of the river is only an hour at most. You will be spending time most in the transport as Sabang is quite far from Puerto Princesa. From the wharf itself, it will be another 30-40 minute boat ride, but rest assured that the trip itself is a wonder as you will be surrounded by islets, mountains, trees, and of course, the ocean. Once you get to the island, it’s another set of waiting game for your number (which will be arranged by your tour guide), for the mean time, take your time looking around as there are lots of monkeys and monitor lizards
walking roaming around.
We also availed of the Honda Bay Tour, courtesy of the 8 Dragons Tour. No pictures, sorry! We paid Php 1,100 per person which included the transportation to and from the wharf, lunch prepared by the tour guide, boat transportation and entrance fees to the island. It’s only a few minutes from the city and it’s a must to rent a snorkel set (Php 150) and buy lots of bread to fully appreciate the corals and fishes you will feed when in Pandan Island (very therapeutic, the fish feeding).
Back when I visited Palawan the first time, we were able to visit at least 3 islands, which included the Pambato Reef. Unfortunately this year, kuya tour guide informed us that the Pambato Reef is closed until further notice. According to kuya, the government needed to rehabilitate the marine life there and are not sure if it will still open to the public. We only get to visit 2 islands, namely Starfish and Pandan island. I loved how different it was now. Cleaner and more inviting. I guess, the local government is taking more measures in order to keep the island in top shape to attract more tourist without doing much damage to the environment.
If asked if I will want to go back, the answer will still be yes. Palawan is a place that is worth coming back to. The people are friendly, the spots are pristine. You can definitely see where the money you pay for goes to. I salute their local government for funding the solar panels and turbines for barrios that is too far for electricity to come to. I like the idea that they only allow the people from a certain place to do business from where the tourist spots are (like people who live in Sabang are the only people who can do business in Sabang, no outsiders) as it gives the families in that place equal opportunity to earn. So yes, I would love to go back and bring Geoff with us when that happens, our families even. And maybe next time, we will have a chance to visit El Nido and Coron as well. 🙂