Palawan, Philippines

13th May 2015

Palawan is one of the overlooked place in the Philippines. Many would go to Boracay (another great place) but miss Palawan Islands in Puerto Princesa. 

The place is best for relaxed island hopping trip with a lot of recreational activities to do. 

I'm back in my hometown after completing my studies in the UK so now its time for some Asian trip. Took a 2 hours flight from Brunei to Manila before taking another domestic flight to Puerto Princesa for an hour. Transport wa arranged by the hotel so pickup was no issue. Despite our hotel being barely 2 minutes drive from the airstrip. The reason why i used airstrip is because its a really small airport. Thus why i had to take another domestic flight from Manile when Puerto Princesa was on the way from Brunei to Manila. 

Being in Puerto Princesa is easy as most things are within walking distance (basic needs and drinks/food). Anything further you can always hop on a tricycle (similar to tuktuk's in Thailand) for about USD2. Be wary as they will always try to hike up the price for foreigners (even for Asian like me). There isn't much to do in Puerto Princesa if you are looking for shopping and shopping malls. 

But if you are looking for some good seafood and drink you can hop on the tricycle and ask to be brought to Baywalk which is essentially a stretch of stalls selling all kinds of seafood and pork with the non-exception of good ol' Red Horse beer (seriously try those!) You can get sea urchins for as cheap as USD1 for 3. Eaten raw or grilled its up to you. But just like any other tourist spots there will always be scammers and pickpockets so just becareful with your belongings just like how you would in Paris. Onto attraction the only attraction we went in Puerto Princesa is the Underground River which is a long stretch of river inside a cave with all the interesting rocks and formations in there. Kinda boring if you aren't fascinated with rocks and formation but hey, its one of the nature wonder of the world. So its worth a trip there. Basically the tour will pick you up from your individual hotel and after a short drive to the harbour we take a boat to the island with the Underground River.  And while you are in Puerto Princesa near to Ipil hotel theres a massage parlour (not the one with the obvious happy ending one) which offers insanely comfortable massage for only USD15. 

Just a tip when you are in Palawan. Look up for the attraction that you want to go and google map it to see where it is. Chances are all those places is far from Puerto Princesa and its best you book your hotel in that area as most tours will bring you from your origin hotel and to the attraction and drop you off in your next hotel in the same area. I made the mistake of not realizing that and the tour had to send me back to my origin hotel after the tour which is double the travelling time. 

Next up we head up to Sabang where we stayed in the Sheridan Beach Resort & Spa hotel. This is a very nice resort that has superb rooms and facilities. the only downside is that they have a routine power cut to the area which is not their fault as it is a remote area mind you. SO every now and then expect your air conditioner to be cut off. In Sabang its the Honda Bay island hopping trip but unfortunately there was a better alternative to stay for the tour as the place we stayed wasn't really an exact pickup point for the tour so plan your hotel next time! For me it was a rush as i flew the very next day after returning from offshore work and my friends didn't really plan things prior to that. 

In Sabang theres one thing you absolutely must try. Its the Sabang Zipline with 800m across and 300m above, zipping from a hilltop across the sea to an island opposite. Its an awesome experience and if you are up some thrill choose the 'Superman' position which will cost you slightly more but you get to be mounted like you are on a wingsuit position. Tickets can be bought after the Underground River tour so be sure you ask the tour guide about it. The Sheridan hotel has transport arranged to the Zipline near the beach where a nice buggy will bring you to the starting point of the entrance to the Zipline and you will have to hike up a small hill to the top of the Zipline. There will be a guide present so don't worry about the hike. Present your ticket and you are good to go! At the bottom of the Zipline it is also easy to go back to the hotel.

After that the next morning is our Honda Bay island hopping tour. We had to depart quite early as i said our hotel wasn't really the meeting point of the tour thus our hotel arranged a transport to send us to a filling station where the tour has agreed to pick us up. We headed to another harbour and took the boat to our islands. Theres quite alot of water sports to do at the islands like snorkeling (be sure to tell the guide if you really wanna see the best view as our tour guide wasn't aware we were serious snorkelers and just brought us to an 'ok' site), jetski and stuffs.

One place we missed to go is El Nido where I heard is the best place to snorkel but unfortunately it's quite far and we didn't really plan for that. So go there if you can.

That basically sums up my trip to the Palawan Island in the Philippines.  

It's a quiet little place near the airstrip and near to some nice bars with live music just right across the street.
Absolutely nice place to stay. Room is superb with a big pool in the vicinity with a bar in the middle of the pool. Very nice place to be in.