For travelers on a tight budget, I noticed a lot of other affordable accommodations around the area, check out the official website of puerto princesa or coordinate with your airlines for a listing.
Day 1 and Day 2 - were spent mostly at the hotel convention hall since the trip was for a planning workshop. So in between breaks, I spent it holed up in the hotel room.
Our transportation was arranged by the hotel so we had a Hi-ace van take us to our destination for the day. But from what our tourist guide "Monique" said, normally, a whole day rental for the van would cost around P600 - P1800 depending on your desired destination.
At around 6:30 am (an advisable time to avoid big waves at the beach), we were up and about and headed to:
Before getting to the underground river, you will pass by the secluded, calm waters of Sabang beach. I must say, it would have been nice to lounge around the wide expanse of white sand if I had a lot of time. But since we were on an organized tour, I just had a quick glimpse of the beach before heading next to
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park/Underground River
Declared as part of 7 New Wonders of Nature, it has spectacular limestone and karst mountain landscape. The rock formations are almost perfectly carved that it would tickle the most imaginative mind.
However, if you are not a fan of caves and rocks, like me, the boat ride seemed like forever. I had problems dealing with the foul smell emanating from the bat feces at the cave entrance. The boatman/tour guide was more like a stand up comedian than an educational reference though. But still, a visit to this now mainstream underground attraction is recommended for the full Puerto Princesa experience.
We were able to get back to the city at around 2 or 3 PM. We stopped by LRC 908 Market Mall which housed a wide array of pasalubong pieces for first timers like me.
Of course, I had limited budget but I went crazy over the super cheap souvenir shirts (costs around P55 - P250), ref magnets (costs P5 - 35 each), key chains (costs around P5 - P25), bags (costs around P100 - P800), pearls (cultured pearls costs around P20 - P100, while South Sea Pearls can be bought from around P500 - P5000 for more elaborate designs), danggit (dried fish), dried pusit (squid) and super cheap salted kasoy! (Half a kilo costs around P80) (photo credits to owner)
My budget was around P 3,000 but I was able to buy pasalubong for everyone back home for just about P2,500! Needless to say, I was all smiles for the best bargains I was able to get.
Everyone else was tired but there was 5 of us who wanted to visit and of course do a little early pasalubong shopping at the much talked about pastry paradise. So, we rented a tricycle which cost us around P100/head and from Bancao Bancao, it took us 30 minutes to get to our destination.
Baker's Hill is owned by landscaper Shirley Flores, evident in the perfect landscape designs showcased on the place. But this place is more than just a park or a perfect place to take overlooking selfies, Baker's Hill is a pastry heaven! Their egg pie and crinkles are truly to die for! The mongo and ube hopia were tasty too but I still love Eng Bee Tin more.
After, hoarding chocolate crinkles to take home with me, I was able to buy South Sea Pearls right outside the bakeshop. The grey pearl set of earrings, necklace and ring originally cost around P1,800 but after haggling to the bone, I was able to get the pearly set for only P600! Talk about haggling expertise!
Tired but satisfied with my loot, we headed back to the hotel on the same trike for a little dinner. I was planning on a quiet night at the deck, with a bottle of San Mig and my headphones on when my mates decided to go on a little nigh out. So, we thought it was the best time to try the much talked about drinking place:
Owned by foreigner Butch Chase, Kinabuch's translates to "at Butch" or "Butch's place". The place had a relaxed atmosphere perfect for a bottle of wine with friends. We arrived at around 11:30 pm and yet the place had a good number of tourists and locals who was looking for a little quiet night.
I recommend their sashimi and crispy pata which were tasty enough and was a perfect partner to my red wine. We headed back to the hotel at around past 1'o clock AM.
Nursing a hangover, our last day was a race to visit one last place before heading to the airport for our 2:55 PM flight back to Manila. It was a challenge between not hurling or keeling over because our van driver seemed to be a part of the Fast and Furious crew. We headed for
Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (Crocodile Farm)
The place was part farm, part zoo and part park as it had a variety of animals, plants and of course the famous 17 feet crocodile named Mac Mac who was said to be captured around the 1990's.
I was not so excited about the trip though as it felt like I was visiting another zoo in the city, but then again, it was the nearest place we can visit to add to our last minute tour destination.
Vous Revoir Biento't
WE had to be at the airport an hour before our flight so after the Wildlife trip, we go back to the hotel, pack and go.
Honestly, Palawan is not a slam, bam, thank you ma'am destination, it needs more than 2 days to get to the beauty that has been endowed to one of the most awe inspiring destinations I've ever been to in a while - Puerto Princesa, Palawan. I am definitely going back.