Puerto Princesa, Philippines

Relaxing sceneries, pristine beaches, enchanting forests, and bits of the city’s hustle and bustle all make up the wonders of Puerto Princesa in Palawan. Thus, looking for that one vacation spot where you can have everything you need from endless bouts of relaxation, to even more exhilirating activities, plus bountiful attractions all set in a magnificent respite is all yours for the taking. Get to know more of Puerto Princesa’s offerings and be surprised at how one spot can cover everything you need this holiday.

History of Puerto Princesa

The history of Puerto Princesa is as rich as its countless offerings. A number of remarkable personalities from the 1800s have become well known for visiting and leaving a mark in the city. On March 4 1872, Spanish colonizers set trail on the city in an attempt to explore the province. They came upon a very steep hill that they surveyed and the potential of which as a settlement site became realistic. Since then, people started living around the city and its nearby provinces in Palawan.

A few years after, a priest by the name of Fr. Antonio Muro visited the city and decided to build a church there. Thus, the first mass ever held in Puerto Princesa took place in this church that now has been transformed as a marker in the city.

And in 1894, the much awaited recognition took place in Puerto Princesa wherein the city was named as one of the most beautiful towns in the country, as recognized by various respected government officials.

At present and under the jurisdiction of its current Mayor, Edward S. Hagedorn, the city has served as a model city in all of the Philippines in terms of cleanliness, local governance, environmental protection, conservation and so much more.

A Little Geography

As beautiful as the city of Puerto Princesa is, its history dates back to stories about princesses and fairies where the city has actually been compared to one. Thus, the name Puerto Princesa came about. In terms of geography though, it has been said that the city’s name came from the fact that it is ideally located in areas very nears seaports that are protected year round for vessels and virtual princesses to mount on.

The city of Puerto Princesa was also named after Princess Asuncion who was born in 1864 and died due to an untimely cause. This death resulted to the changing of the name from Puerto Princesa to Puerto de la Princesa but was later on reduced back to its original name as years passed.

Puerto Princesa is situated at the center of Palawan and surrounded by the Sulu Sea and the South China Sea. It is located approximately 567km from Manila and some 460km away from Zamboanga City in the Mindanao region.

One if the city’s attractions called The Puerto Princesa Underground River has been tagged as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Puerto Princesa’s Climate

The climate in Puerto Princesa is generally pleasant as it shares two well-known seasons throughout the Philippines. During the summer months, between March to June of every year, the beaches of Puerto Princesa as well as its nearby provinces are well visited by locals and tourists alike. During the rainy months between July to September, other indoor attractions are the hit. Simply put, there’s really no perfect time to visit the city because any month you wish to go, you are expected to experience a whole new adventure altogether.

Language and Culture

Generally, the people of Puerto Princesa speak the Tagalog language, the language that all Filipinos speak. But there’s no need to worry if you don’t know how to speak Tagalog because locals and tourists can understand and speak English fluently.

Since the people in Puerto Princesa are also used to seeing visitors all year round, then have become very accommodating and helpful in showing them directions, providing them with haggling tips, and generally welcoming them with open hearts and beautiful smiles.

At present, there are still a lot of indigenous groups that can be found in the city and are categorized under groups called Tagbanwas, Palawanos, Molbogs and Bataks. Each indigenous group still share their own cultures and beliefs but are very much welcoming of all of their guests.

Accommodations in Puerto Princesa

Choose from Puerto Princesa accommodations that offer simple yet relaxing amenities and facilities. Booking in advance might be necessary to guarantee your slot.

If you are looking for a place you can comfortably relax in after a long day’s trip, head straight to the Microtel Inn Palawan located in San Manuel province. This accommodation of choice is perfect for both families on vacation as well as business partners having their team building.

If you prefer something quaint yet affordable, choose Sunlight Guest Hotel located on Malvar Street, Palwan. Your less than P3000 is worth more than what you can get from a night’s stay in this hotel.

If you want something a bit grandiose and packed with all the lavish facilities and amenities you can think of, head to Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa and wake up to sound of the waves and sleep peacefully with the sound of chirping birds.

Getting Around Puerto Princesa

Tricycles at Puerto Princesa Airport.

photo byDan and Alissa on flickr

Traveling to Puerto Princesa has been made very easy, thanks to a number of flight carriers servicing to this destination from Manila, Cebu, and even Clark, Pampanga. The most ideal transportation to use going to Puerto Princesa is of course the airplane. Flights are scheduled by various flight carriers like Cebu Pacific, AirPhilExpress, ZestAir and more several times daily.

While you’re in Puerto Princesa and if you wish to go around on a tour, you can conveniently rent cars and vans for big groups. This mode of transportation can be yours throughout the day and can service your desired routes throughout the same date as well.

Tricycles and jeepneys are also available in the city proper and can take you to a number of sites as well. But if you want to go for a more unique ride that is also convenient and eco-friendly, try riding the E-tricycle that is only available in Puerto Princesa. This ride is electric powered so it does not emit polution and other harmful wastes that can pose threat to the environment. Again, a full proof that the city is really environment-friendly.

What to See and Do

There are many attractions and activities in Puerto Princesa that you will want to do so it’s important to book a trip that will last for at least three days. Here are some of the attractions you shouldn’t miss and the best accommodation options to look into.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

If it is your first time to visit Puerto Princesa, make sure to drop by this site. Here you will see the longest river that is also rich in history. A tour guide will be with you to tell you all about it in the most interesting and captivating manner ever taught. Don’t forget to look up while you’re inside the cave as bats will be everywhere.

Honda Bay

Don’t miss the chance of skinny dipping by the beach here at Honda Bay. Just a few minutes away from the city, you will already get a taste of white sand beaches, tranquil spaces, and truly memorable experiences.

Dive Sites

Puerto Princesa is also home to a number of breathtaking dive sites. Whether or not it’s your first time, the whole expeirence of diving into the waters and getting up close and personal with sea creatures is one experience of a lifetime. You can also go dolphin watching very early in the morning while you’re here.

Cleopatra’s Needle

After you’ve soaked up into the water, it’s now time to explore the grounds of the city. Go to the peak of Cleopatra’s Needle where you will be able to sight the entire city of Puerto Princesa and where you can take scenic pictures worth sharing as postcards to family and friends.

Vietnamese Village

If you want to explore Vietnam while you’re in Puerto Princesa, you can very well do so at the Vietnamese Village. You can enjoy Vietnamese foods as well as Vietnamese treats while you’re here. The site is also perfect for shooting images.

Shopping in Puerto Princesa

Shopping at the Iwahig Prisona and Penal Farm Souvenir Shop in Puerto Princesa, Philippines.

photo byRita Willaert on flickr

Tourists are always amazed to see remnants of other cultures in Puerto Princesa as made evident by Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm site. Here you can find several options for souvenir items and handcrafted bags that are, mind you, very sturdy and can last for years of use.

There are a number of boutiques, shacks, and handicrafts stores around Puerto Princesa. You can buy different products only made and found in the city. You can bring home shells, postcards, t-shirts, accessories, bags, and more to your family and friends.

Dining in Puerto Princesa

Seafood dish at a grill in Puerto Princesa, Philippines.

photo byjovijovijovi on flickr

If you are a food enthusiast, you can create your own food tour that will take you to the most loved dining places in the city. You can enjoy local delicacies and cuisines only served in Puerto Princesa. If you are a lover of seafoods, then you can eat them fresh all throughout your stay. The price of which is a lot cheaper than what you can find in the city.

As for the local delicacy, Puerto Princesa is famous for their Kasuy or Cashew nuts in the English language. You can enjoy a pack or two in grams or in kilos and get the nutrition that only cashews can give. You can even have a taste of them in small shot glasses before buying. Make sure to buy the ones that are not itchy on the throat as they are known to be fresh and can last for several weeks as well.

So for endless exploration and countless opportunities to just laze away amidst a beautiful landscape, set your face toward Puerto Princesa and you will never have any regrets.

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