Thursday, February 26, 2015

29 Top Tips to Make the Most Out of your Trip to Puerto Princesa Palawan

I've been hearing about Palawan my entire life, yet it was only recently that I had an opportunity to finally explore a part of this beautiful island. My friends and I particularly ventured to a 4 day adventure at Puerto Princesa where we were in complete awe of the picturesque view. Here are 29 top tips to make the most out of your trip:

1. Book an early flight to Palawan and a late flight going back home.

You will have more time to explore the island before you go to your hotel and you could also avoid wasting half of your day. After all, check-ins at the hotel are usually at 2PM. Booking a late flight going home would also prevent the dilemma of having to wake up early after a tiring (or drunken) night. 

2. Savour on Filipino breakfast buffet at Ka Inato for as low as 192 PHP!

You will not only enjoy a wide variety of your local breakfast favourites at a really affordable price but you will also be delighted with the ethnic art pieces and decors of the restaurant. 

I highly recommend trying out the egg section of the buffet where you can have eggs in any style cooked on the spot. Also try out their fresh fruit shakes and juices.

Ka Inato Restaurant

National Highway cor San Manuel Rd
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
(048) 434 2288

3. Go on an island hopping tour at Honda Bay.

It would be nice to book an entire boat all to yourselves, but if you are looking to cut down on cost then you can opt to share your boat with another group for as long as you can work out your itinerary. Ask your tour guide and boatman for tips on which islands to go to and in what specific order. Their guides are usually very friendly and it would be safe to leave your valuables in the boat while you go island hopping. 

Another thing we loved about the tour guides at Honda Bay is that they all seemed to be talented photographers. They directed us on what pose to make and which areas had a superb backgrounds that could be profile-picture worthy. 

If you're lucky enough, your tour guide might even show you a thing or two about the true meaning of harana (serenade).


Boat rental for the whole day - 1300 PHP
Environmental Fee - 50 PHP
Tip for the boatman - 300 PHP
Tip for the tour guide - 300 PHP
Snorkelling Mask -  not sure about the price, you'll be fine not to get one if you brought your goggles with you

4. Start off your Honda Bay island hopping tour at Luli Island.

We spent about an hour or more at Luli Island as there were lots of picture-perfect views and sceneries. You would enjoy just laying on the soft sand and having the heat of the sun run through your skin. Don't forget to buy bread by then entrance so you have something to feed the fishes when you snorkel later on. 

Every island would need a "day-off" photo of course. 

No reason to be embarassed about taking tons of vain and "emote" photos. YOU'RE ON A VACATION ANYWAY! 


Environmental Fee -  60 PHP
Pack of bread - 25 PHP

5. Nail a beach jumpshot.

We tried! We sort of succeeded, sort of.

6. Be blown away by the giant starfishes at Starfish Island.

Starfish Island is a little bit rocky. There might not be that much swimming or sunbathing unless you dive into the water to see the different kinds of starfishes.

More than the starfishes, we were also able to enjoy the breathtaking view and stroll in this part of Honda Bay.


Environmental Fee - 50 PHP

7. Spend your last few hours in Honda Bay at Pandan Island.

I recommend going to Pandan Island for your last stop if you are looking for some water activities but as well as ending the day with a relaxing time by the beach front. 

It would be convenient to rent out a cottage where you can have some shade and a place to eat.


Cottage - 500 PHP
Environmental Fee - 100 PHP

8. Shop for fresh seafood!

The best part of our Palawan trip, aside from the thousands of photo-ops, would probably be the variety of fresh and affordable seafood that we could easily get our hands on. 

All you need to do is pick out your seafood and they'll handle the cooking. Allot around 1-2 hours for preparation and cooking especially if there are lots tourists.

It could be tempting to order just everything you see, but be sure to control yourself when picking out what to order as you wouldn't want it to be put to waste. Be sure to ask for a bargain price especially if you're ordering a lot. It would also be nice to share your meal with the tour guide and boatman. 


Food and drinks good for 4-6 pax - about 1400 PHP

9. Eat non-stop!

If you enjoyed shopping for seafood then you will more so enjoy eating it! I've never tasted anything as simple and fresh yet so delectable in my entire life. We were literally eating every 10 minutes till our day ended. Swim. Eat. Bathe. Repeat.

I was never a fan of Sea Urchin but i've grown to love it since our trip to Palawan. I recommend trying it here especially for first timers. 

10. Engage in water sports and activities at Pandan Island.

Did you actually think we were in the mood to go kayaking? 

Well, we really didn't kayak our way through the water, but we did enjoy posing and emoting. There are lots of water activities at Pandan Island. Just ask ask the staff about it.

11. Get a tan till you can't recognise yourself anymore.

I seriously think that I am getting addicted to making myself look tan-ner. I just can't get enough!

My friend Kim tried, she really did, but to no avail. She practically looked the same!

12. Check-in at GO Hotel.

I couldn't think of a more convenient and more affordable hotel than GO. It's literally a 3-minute walk to Robinsons mall. You can even get discounts if you book at least 2 months before.

Go Hotel

Puerto Princesa North Road, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
(048) 434 0001

13. Relish a scrumptious dinner at KaLui, the most famous and best value restaurant in Palawan.

For starters, KaLui is a by-reservation-only restaurant, so you would need to phone in to reserve a table because they rarely accept walk-ins, plus it's always fully booked. You will surely enjoy the barefoot dining and homey vibe at KaLui as you are surrounded by different local art pieces.  

We highly recommend ordering the KaLui platter which is good for two and is a variety of seafood. You should also try their fresh fruit shakes, juices and fruit platter dessert sprinkled with muscovado.

KaLui Restaurant 

369 Rizal Avenue Puerto Princesa City Palawan
( Opens Daily Save Sundays Lunch 11-2pm; Dinner 6:00-10:30pm )
(048) 433 2580 or +63 928 753 9621

14. Stay in and have drinks at the hotel.

Your first day can get a bit exhausting especially after an early flight and all the island hopping. Stay in and recharge for the next day.

15. Enjoy brunch with a view at Puerto Vista.

Aside from the astounding view of greenery, Puerto Vista is also known for their affordable Wagyu beef. 

It's the perfect place to enjoy a lovely brunch, and maybe a beer or two, maybe three.

Puerto Vista

Mitra Road, Santa Monica, Palawan, Puerto Princesa City, Puerto Princesa, Philippines
Mon - Sun: 11:00–23:00
+(63) (917) 6323758 , +(63) (917) 6323820

16. Isolate yourself and rent out an entire resort!

There's nothing like enjoying the beachfront all to yourselves. This was probably the best part of the trip. We felt free and confident doing anything under the sun. 

This sacred paradise, however, will be a secret location we'll never speak of. But I'm sure if you ask around and do a little bit of research, you'll find your own little haven. 

17. Achieve a perfect beach photo.


I have to admit, you should be the subject of the photo. However, thou shall not forget to include the breathtaking view that you won't get to see everyday.  

You and your friends should make a pact on how you won't stop taking photos of each other until you've finally achieved that impeccable beach shot. 

18. Succeed at doing the water hair flip

We tried.

... and we obviously failed at synchronisation.

19. Cook your own food!

Seafood in Puerto Princesa is rather cheap compared to other parts of Palawan. Take advantage of this seafood madness situation and give cooking on your own a go. 

It needs not to be complicated. A little bit of frying and grilling here and there will get you a long way. Most resorts will also have seafood readily available for purchase nearby. However, if you did check in at GO Hotel then you can easily walk to Robinsons to buy other cooking essentials (like oil, coal, etc.) at the grocery.

20. Start a bonfire.

Beach and bonfire? What more can you ask for? Your beach bonding session couldn't get more intimate than this. We surely enjoyed sharing stories and getting drunk by the shore and fire. 

21. Make your own S'mores.

What's a bonfire without S'mores?!  

It's actually easier to make than it looks. What you need: graham crackers, chocolate (we used Flatops), marshmallow, and a BBQ stick. 

First, stick the marshmallow and chocolate on a BBQ stick then burn on the bonfire. It would help to burn the marshmallow a little bit till the fire goes off for that toasty and earthy flavour. Get two graham crackers and put it all together. The chocolate should melt some more as you squeeze it in between the marshmallow and graham crackers. Voila!

22. Take a dip at the pool.

Almost all resorts that you will find will have a pool in the vicinity. It would be nice to bathe in fresh (or shall I say chlorinated water) as you take a break from the sea and sand. It would also be perfect for night swimming as the beach can get really cold at night. 

Your pool fun wouldn't be complete without throwing someone in without their consent.

23. Don't be afraid to act immaturely.

As I've mentioned, you are on a vacation. Who cares what you do and when you do it? Go wild!

Dance to blasting music like no one is watching.

24. Spend some alone time as you gaze through the picturesque view. 

Take a few minutes for yourself and take the time to be emotional and to contemplate on what life has brought you. Cheezy? Be sure to snap back to "reality" though! 

25. Relax by the viewing deck at the Sta. Monica Ranch.

The Sta, Monica Ranch, also known as Mitra's Ranch, will give you a panoramic view of Puerto Princesa - the city, the greenery, the sea, and the mountains. 

We enjoyed watching the sunset, the cool breeze, and the unfluttered atmosphere. You might also want to try out having a nature walk or maybe even do a little bit of zipline, trampoline, and horseback riding. 

26. Chill drink, eat more seafood, and enjoy a jamming session at Ugong Rock Grill and Seafood Bar.

When in Palawan, you should not miss out on munching on their fresh seaweed. I literally couldn't stop eating it during my entire stay at the city.

At Ugong Rock you can also pick out from their variety of fresh seafood and have it cooked any way you wish at a really affordable price.

You can also enjoy some entertainment, or even get a chance to do the entertaining, with an acoustic session. Song requests are also very welcome.

Ugong Rock Grill and Seafood Bar

Rizal Avenue, Barangay Bancao-Bancao,
Puerto Princesa City 5300, Philippines
+63 48 434 9095 

27. Explore the underground river.

c/o gopalawan

One of the things that we weren't able to do but should've done, was to explore the underground river. I've been hearing awesome things about it although some people find it a little pricey. 

Underground River Booking Office

No. 350 Rizal Avenue, Bgy. Bancao-bancao
Puerto Princesa City 5300, Philippines
+63(48)7230904 (Sabang)

28. Take advantage of a good massage at Nuat Thai. 

The Nuat Thai at the One Manalo Branch is more posh than the other branches I've seen whether in Manila or in other cities and provinces, so be sure to go to this branch. Sadly, they do not offer manipedi services anymore.

Nuat Thai One Manalo

One Manalo Place
Bgy Bancao Bancao, Puerto Princesa City
048-433-0282 or 434-2103

29. Slack off at Robinsons Mall Puerto Princesa.

We checked in on our last day at Go Hotel again. It would be nice to just relax and distress a few hours before your flight. We found it very convenient to go to the mall as it was just a few steps from the hotel.

We decided to hangout at the mall to have coffee, snack, and we even had our manipedi. 

As you go around the first level, you will find a small Taho (soy pudding) stall that you should not miss out on trying. I recommend the regular Taho with milk, honey, and a coffee jelly add-on.  

Thank you to Robin Uy of Toyota Puerto Princesa for showing us around!

We surely enjoyed our trip! Hope you enjoy yours as well =)