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About Puerto Princesa
Though the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) has a lot to offer visitors, most people make the trip from Puerto Princesa only to see the underground river, which is heavily celebrated as one of the new seven wonders of the natural world. Also part of UNESCO history, the river is now a huge source of pride to the Philippines. The subterranean river system is 8.2km long and has several large chambers, up to 120m wide and 60m high. It flows underground almost the entire length, and empties into the ocean, so the lower part of the river is brackish (a mix of fresh and salt water) and subject to tidal influence, which makes it a natural phenomenon. When the sun is shining, the brackish water is known to turn an eye-popping bright blue-green (more green than blue). The river isn’t the only attraction of the PPSRNP though, as the beach by the mouth of the cave features an impressive karst landscape, and the old-growth forest that fills the park is full of exotic flora and fauna. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw a handful of large monitor lizards crawling around, forked tongues darting about! Since the river was given the honor of being one of the new seven wonders of nature, there was a huge jump in the amount of daily visitors, so much that a cap has been put into law for preservation reasons, which allows only 900 tourists a day into the subterranean river… but that seems to be largely flexible depending on the clout and amount of pesos you hold.
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Plaza Cuartel- Puerto Princesa City
Our last stop for the day was Plaza Cuartel, a historic place in Palawan where a number of American and Filipino soldiers were brutally executed by Japanese troops during World War 2. Aside from the reverence and the solemnity, the Plaza is a cool place to hang out and to escape the din of the city. It’s a place where students congregate, where lovers whisper sweet nothings, and where veterans pay their respects to fallen comrades.
Puerto Princesa Underground River
We woke up early the next day at around 5:30 AM to have a quick breakfast. Even though eyes drooped and tired limbs gently screamed for us to crawl back into the covers, everyone was filled with excitement. It was the start of the real adventure, which begins with a visit to the eerie and majestic Puerto Princesa Underground River, one of the most well-known UNESCO Heritage Sites and one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World. After more than an hour’s drive toward the town of Sabang, we took a break at a popular stopover. Check out the name of this stopover. Quite a tongue-twister, isn’t it? We arrived at Sabang around 8:00 AM. Even at this early, there were already plenty of people. In fact, we needed to wait more than an hour to board our boat that will take us to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park at the other side of Sabang Bay Like guardians watching over the denizens of a clear, green sea, the towering limestone cliffs and secret beaches of Sabang Bay never fail to hold us spellbound. After a 30-minute ride, we reached the beautiful, white-sand Sabang Beach and the entrance to the National Park. Swimming is not allowed here because this is a marine protected area. The waters do look tempting. Entering the PPUR was like entering an alien world. Squeaks from thousands of bats, the calls of thousands of swiftlets, and the sound of dripping water from stalactites all form a strange cacophony of otherworldly music. Those dark spots are actually bats hanging upside down from that gigantic slab of rock. The streaks are their waste, called guano. Guano is used for many things such as fertilizers, lawn treatments, fungicides, and composting activators. The guys and gals listened intently to the guide and rower as he blurted out interesting facts about the PPUR. It was actually fun listening to the guides as they mix amazing facts with wisecracking jokes. If you’re the lazy type of person, don’t sit up front of the boat. That’s because the people sitting up front hold the floodlight. After an hour in darkness, we exited the PPUR and welcomed the warm, bright daylight. When we asked them how was the tour, everyone answered that they were simply amazed beyond words. No wonder they were very quiet inside the cave during the entire tour! Hehehe!
Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (Crocodile Farm)
Formerly known as the Crocodile Farm and Nature Park, the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center serves as a sanctuary of the Philippine Crocodile that is endemic to the country. The Philippine Crocodile is currently included in the endangered species list and the conservation center is making ways to increase the number of the species. Aside from crocodiles, the center takes care of other animals like ostriches and endemic to the island of Palawan like the bearcat. My trip to the center was interesting, and maybe even a little scary. While waiting to begin my tour of the "crocodile farm" I paid a little money and posted for a picture with a young crocodile. In the museum at the beginning of the tour, a group of us learned about the largest man-eating crocodile caught in the Philippines. A glass box displayed the 5 meter skeleton and the massive hide of the creature hung above the box on a wall. Our group listened as the guide told us the tale of the half-eaten unlucky soul found hidden in the crocodile’s stomach. Not exactly the kind of news you want to hear before walking above a pit of huge hungry crocodiles. Which we did moments later. As we stood on a rickety wooden bridge mounted precariously over the crocodile holes, I gazed down at the ancient-looking monstrous beasts and shuddered at the thought of what would happen if someone accidentally fell over the thin railing. After a Q& A session on the crocodiles, our guide led us to the stinky crocodile hatchery. Hundreds of baby crocodiles small, medium, and large huddled together in giant holding containers. Overall, the trip was an adventurous and unique thing to do while visiting the city.
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
When you are on an island, diving underwater is your first instinct. Especially if there are beautiful corals underneath. Listed on UNESCO's heritage site list, this natural park comprises of some great underwater species and colorful corals. The reef expands to 181 km and is a major spot for marine biodiversity. Green Sea Turtles, Sharks, Dolphins and 360 coral species are some common sightings in these seas. So dive in !
Pray sincerely. Modern tech brought people to rely so much on social media, that they almost disregard the essentials of living simply. It felt so good to meet these kids who still have the values of Christian living. I saw lots of people pass by the Cross to take on selfies, it's not that I criticize them for taking photos because I myself is fond of taking memories into picture. What I wanted to remind them is the meditation that this season should be acknowledge.
By mid-afternoon, tummies started to growl despite the full, hearty lunch. Thus, we decided to go to the quaint and lovely Baker’s Hill to grab a bite to eat. Before that, however, we stopped at Rancho Santa Monica to enjoy a view of gorgeous Honda Bay and quaint Puerto Princesa City. When Senator Mitra was alive, he was a huge fan of horses. The Mitra family carried that tradition of his love past his death. Thus, it is no surprise that many horses roam freely here. A beautiful rainbow arched across the sky when we visited Rancho Santa Monica. It certainly was a good omen, don’t you think? We spent only a quarter of an hour in the Ranch before our tummies really complained. Well, it was time to have some hot merienda in magical Baker’s Hill. The verdant landscaped gardens, statues of favorite cartoon characters, brick pathways, and expertly sculpted topiaries coupled with the fragrant scent of freshly baked bread never fail to bring back the child in us. Just like our visit last year, we were transported to a fairy-tale world. Baker’s Hill’s resident peacock spread his tail in all its splendor! For many of our friends, it was their first time to see a peacock. Every time the creature rustles and spreads its tail, our friends let out a whoop of delight! Awesome!
Sta. Lourdes Elementary School
Station of the Cross.Lenten Season of today starts to become some sort of traditional memoranda but the truth is there's more than those crucial penitent. Catholic as we are, we recognize that Jesus died to save us and rise on the third day to justify the salvation.More than just a
This was the highlight of our trip. A three day expedition in the Palawan region. It commenced with a hike through the jungle to the river. The rest of the day was spent on bamboo raft floating down the river. The night was spent at a farmer's hut and the next day we continued down the river in small row boats. Spent the next day and night on a little beach that we had all to ourselves. The last part of the journey was slightly disrupted due to an imminent typhoon in the region so no boats were being allowed into sea so we visited an Cowrie island in Honda Bay before parting ways.
Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center
The last time we visited the center, we didn’t have the opportunity to show our dear readers a photo that shows how large and how long Rio is. Now, you can see just how massive Rio the crocodile is; just compare the size of that skeleton to our three lovely friends Agnes, Sam, and Reynen. These juvenile crocodiles were vicious! A few seconds after this photo was taken, that nearest croc with the open mouth suddenly attacked the fiberglass wall of its pen. It scared the wits out of me! The bite force of a crocodile, even a young one, is so strong that it can sever your fingers easily. After we had enough of the crocodile pens, the ladies stopped by the souvenir stalls to see if there is something interesting to buy. We love the crocodile stuffed toys, but they were quite expensive given our limited budget. Oh well.