The majority of travelers who go to Puerto Princesa, Palawan in the Philippines are not there for a long time. Usually they stop for a night or two at most before heading north towards El Nido and/or Coron. Because the turnover of travelers is quite high, there isn’t much to do in Puerto Princesa.
I was like many of these other in-and-out travelers, as we only had a three night stay in Puerto Princesa before I made my way on a long and exhausting journey up to El Nido. Though my time in PP was short, I tried to make the best of it by going to see most of the touristy things I found online, as well as the obligatory wanderings of a backpacker who has found themselves in a new place.
We arrived quite late after our flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa was delayed (surprise, surprise) and were absolutely drained from spending over 7 hours in Manila Airport. We hopped on a very affordable (around $4 CDN) tricycle that took us to our lovely little “pension house” called Orange Mangrove Pension House. This place is truly a hidden gem – the owners were absolutely fantastic, the room was great, and breakfast was incredible! For budget accommodations without sacrificing cleanliness and comfort, I would highly recommend this pension house to anyone staying in Puerto Princesa.
The owners were a lovely couple who had previously lived in Bangkok, Thailand and were extremely accommodating and helpful. The breakfast was different each morning and was much more than what normally comes with budget accommodation – pancakes, oatmeal, eggs, bacon, sausage, and fried bananas. Amazingly delicious, we left the pension house absolutely stuffed each morning.
After a good rest and a satisfying breakfast we decided to take the morning to do a bit of walking around to see what PP was all about. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much. The streets were identical to those you would see in most towns throughout the Philippines. I was a bit surprised that there were barely any tourists on the streets. We did enjoy going to see a few free touristy attractions, which I’ll write about next.
I would recommend spending at least two days in Puerto Princesa, especially if you want to see the Underground River. If you also want to take a day trip to Honda Bay to do some island hopping, you should consider spending three days here. One day to see the local attractions and the other two days for the Underground River and Honda Bay.