Palawan is amazing. Many who flock to the Philippines opt to travel to Boracay or Cebu when they have only a few days to relax. However, if you’re in the mood for something really fun, getting out to Puerto Princesa is a great alternative. Not only is it home to one of the longest underground rivers in the world, there are several close by locations where you can really take in the scenery. Today, Jo and I explore the city itself on a tricycle, the preferred method of transportation in the Philippines. We hired out the trike for P1400 ($35) and had it all day.
Believe it or not, the trike we had was quite comfortable. Jo and I found the best sitting arrangement was to have one person sitting on the rear bench and one on the front. These trikes are a bit larger than the one in Manila and can comfortably seat 3-4 people. The rear shelf can also hold your bags.
Baker’s Hill was our first stop. It features a few animals and a great view; however, the reason to go there has to do with food. Come on, with a name like Baker’s Hill, how can you not go for food? There are a few restaurants (including one featuring Korean food). What really caught my eye were the sweets. I picked up some wonderful brownies and ube filled hopia.The total was P85, or just over $2. It was well worth it. If you’re looking for some great food, definitely stop here.
A short distance away is Mitra’s Ranch. In fact, Baker’s Hill is on the same road. Folks come to the ranch to see the view and little else. If you have a young one with you, the can sit and ride a pony/horse. Other than that, there’s not much to do. You can totally skip this location.
One of the best values for the day was the butterfly Sanctuary/Garden. Entry is P50 per person and well worth it. The owners do a good job of sharing the history of how the garden was created and then allow you inside. Unlike other butterfly gardens I’ve been to, this one had a great selection of butterflies that fly around. They also seem to be quite accustomed to visitors, because when I was filming, they often landed very close to me. This is a must see stop.
The day trip took us next to the Crocodile Farm. Both Jo and I opted to hold a baby croc for P30 total. Then we did the hatchery tour. The tour itself was about 20 minutes in length. I was thankful I had the QuikPod and GoPro, becuase I could get the camera quite close to the animals. A few times, the baby crocs wanted to eat the camera and I had to pull it back fast. It was a fun outing and one I think most would enjoy. After the hatchery tour, guests are allowed to walk through a “zoo” of sorts with other animals.
The Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm is a popular tourist stop. I personally don’t recommend it just because it is out of the way. Inside, you can see dancing inmates and pick up a number of souvenirs. The price for them aren’t too bad, but it’s the same sort of stuff you can pick up in town.
The final stop on our day out was the Firefly Eco Tour. I cannot stress this enough – AVOID AT ALL COSTS. The tour is P600 for 1-3 people. That’s because it’s P600 for one boat and it will hold up to 3 individuals. Tours leave after sunset and last about 45 minutes. On the tour, you travel up and down the waterway along groups of mangroves. In the mangroves are the fireflies. No flash photography is allowed, and the only time the fireflies light up is when the tour operator shines a red light at them. Seriously, that’s it. 45 minutes of blackness with short periods of sparkling lights. Not worth it.
Earlier in the week, Jo and I walked through the town and found some great places around the city center. Puerto is a great place – one I think many will enjoy!