The capital city of Palawan is a mix of the quiet island life and the buzz of a small city. We loved every minute of it! Here’s a guide to a four day visit to Puerto Princesa:
A quiet oasis after a long day spent in tours. The attention to detail is charming and it’s a well thought out property of six rooms, four of which are garden rooms that face the pool. We instantly felt at home since the staff was friendly and catered to our requests. There are two choices for breakfast: Filipino or Continental and it was very good. The wifi is consistent in the restaurant but on and off in our room, and that’s the only drawback I can think of while staying at this hotel.
Harbor Bay Travel and Tours
I tried to book our tours with a personal guide through Facebook but it didn’t work out so I went with a legitimate company instead. I assume every tour agency in Puerto Princesa has the cookie cutter itinerary. We were satisfied with Harbor Bay’s service during our Underground River tour (Php 1800 per person) and Firefly watching tour (Php 1,100 per person). We cancelled our Honda Bay (Php 1500 per person) snorkel tour and their penalty for cancellations is 67% of the price of the tour. Most companies will only charge half of the total price.
Arrival Puerto Princesa 11:30 AM
Lunch at Badjao Seafront
It’s a deal at around $23.00 for two
The sun was up, the heat was tropical, and we were crazy enough to walk one kilometer or roughly a half mile from the hotel to the restaurant. Our reward was an outstanding view and fresh seafood. Our order consisted of : Grilled Tangigue/Kingfish, Crab Stewed in Coconut Milk, Green Mango Salad, Squid Sisig (Sizzling Fried Chopped Squid), Steamed Rice, Bottled Water, and Green Mango Shake. Badjao restaurant is one of the best locations to eat in Puerto Princesa in my book. The downside to walking the side streets of Puerto Princesa would be the stray and homeowners’ dogs. Walk at your own risk.
Firefly Dinner and Tour
I was skeptical about the Fireflies at first, but amazed after the tour. The buffet dinner had so many items and was served in a bigger boat, anchored in the middle of the cove. Fun! This tour was for a group of approximately 10 people in a boat that goes up a river inlet across from the Puerto Princesa Baywalk.
Day Two: Honda Bay Island Tour or Self- Guided Tour
The rains were relentless on our second day so we cancelled the Honda Bay Island Tour. The story of what happened when we decided to explore on our own can be read here.
We agreed to pay about $33.00 to rent the tricycle for the whole day and our driver, Kuya Bong, was friendly and a knowledgeable tour guide. I was so disappointed when I found out that some tourists try to talk the price down when they’re already getting a good deal compared to a rental van or trying to flag down a ride when commuting on your own. Haggling for some people (including me) is sometimes second nature, but there is a time and place for everything and your fun tour money is your tricycle driver’s livelihood. Please be generous and pay the drivers accordingly. You can find Kuya Bong through his wife, Ate Dang at Floral Villarosa hotel.
Dinner at Floral Villarosa Hotel
We had a relaxing, “stay at home” dinner at our hotel where the food was delicious and affordable. The cook makes the best eggplant omelet or “giniling na talong”. Her name is Ate Dang and her husband, Kuya Bong, was also our tour guide/tricycle driver.
Dessert at La Tana della Libellula
Price: about $6.00 for a Tiramisu Mousse and a Cappuccino
Less than a five minute walk from the hotel so we decided to check it out. It’s clear how much the owners love their craft just by looking at the menu. La Tana has high web reviews and I think this love for the food they create makes this place one of the popular restaurants in Puerto Princesa.
Underground River Tour
$35.00/person including buffet lunch.
This is what everyone goes to Puerto Princesa for right?
It was the best $35.00 I spent in my life. Enough said 🙂
Dinner at La Tana della Libellula
Our bill was around $23.00, a deal for hearty eaters!
We’re back! Does La Tana actually walk the talk? Is the food as good as everyone says? We ordered the warm appetizer and Pasta Penne Rosa, both were delicious, but the highlight of our dinner was the Quattro Formagii/Four Cheese Pizza. The pizza crust was made just right and the Blue, Parmesan, Emmental, and Mozzarella cheeses were separated on the pizza instead of mixing it all together. The owner explained that this is so one could taste the flavor of each cheese. Heaven on a Pizza! There’s no turning back. This is the only cheese pizza for me.
I’ve emailed to ask if they can FedEx the pizza to us in the US and their delightful reply?
They can try and fax it instead. Haha!
Breakfast and Massages at Floral Villarosa Hotel
$12.00/person for 1 hour
The massage therapists usually start their day at 10:00 in the morning but since we were leaving that day, we scheduled an earlier appointment. Book your massage therapist in advance. We decided to get a massage at the last minute so it took awhile for them to arrive.
Lunch at KaLui and Departure at 2:00 PM
KaLui is an art gallery garden with attractive dark wood/bamboo floors and furniture. We realized too late that we would have preferred to eat near the water with a view of the city’s beach/bay. Still, KaLui is worth a visit. It’s all very beautiful and the food was good.
On your last day at Puerto Princesa, I recommend spending the few hours you have by the beach or a place that captures Puerto Princesa’s natural scenery. This beautiful city has so much to offer. I hope your visit is as lovely as ours.