Best things to do in Puerto Princesa and sightseeing in Puerto Princesa
Victoria Guest House & Cottages - Puerto Princesa
It only took around 10 minutes from the airport to reach the humble but very cozy Victoria Guest House and Cottages, our home for the next couple of nights. Victoria Guest House and Cottages is an affordable bed-and-breakfast that does not only offer excellent accommodations but also acts as a tour agency, assisting guests in their Palawan tours and adventures. Warmth, friendliness, hospitality, and tradition all in one place! The entrance to Victoria Guest House featured gardens, native materials, and traditional paraphernalia such as tribal masks, clay jars, and gongs. A neatly arranged footpath led the way to our rooms and other areas of the bed-and-breakfast. Rock gardens, shells, potted plants, wooden furniture, and structures made of native materials all add to a homey, classic, friendly Filipino atmosphere. Aside from the friendly dog which roams freely around, Victoria Guest House also keeps some resident pets. They have a handsome black Mynah who can utter greetings and a magnificent serpent eagle who glares at passers-by balefully. Personally, though, we would have wanted these beautiful creatures out in the wild, not in cages. Lunch was worth the one-hour wait. We had a sumptuous seafood lunch consisting of huge bowls of Tinolang manok and sweet-and-sour fish. After we took our lunch, we started our Puerto Princesa city tour, which served as a warm-up for the coming activities.
Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (Crocodile Farm) - Puerto Princesa
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.
Baker's Hill - Puerto Princesa
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!
Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center - Puerto Princesa
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.
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park - Puerto Princesa
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 !