Like I mentioned in my previous post on stopping over in Puerto Princesa, there isn’t that much to do in the city center. If you have a day to spend wandering about the city, there are a handful of tourist attractions you can visit during the day and some great restaurants and bars to check out at night. They are all within walking distance, unless you’re incredibly lazy or are on the verge of heatstroke and can’t bear to walk another step. If that’s the unfortunate case, there are plenty of tricycles haphazardly about the streets that will take you to any of the locations below for a nominal fee.
City Tour Guide:
1. Immaculate Conception Cathedral
This church is absolutely beautiful with its blue and white exterior, making for great photo opportunities against a clear sky-blue backdrop. Though there really isn’t much to do (you’ll probably spend no more than 30 minutes here, unless your intention is to attend mass and/or pray), I recommend going if you have some time on your hands. ‘Cause let’s get serious, there’s really not much else going on around here.
Location: Rizal Ave, Puerto Princesa 5300
2. Plaza Cuartel
Here lies the restored ruins of an old base from World War II. This place is a pretty grim reminder of the war; on December 14, 1944 Japanese soldiers burned about 150 American prisoners of war, whom had been held captive in a narrow tunnel (the tunnel is to the left of the main entrance and you can actually see right inside of it). If you’re a history buff, there is also a WWII Memorial Museum in PP that you can visit.
Location: Just to the right of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral (when facing the front of the church).
3. City Baywalk
This is an outdoor area along the harbourfront. During the day the boardwalk is desolate – there are closed down shops, very few people, and it looks quite worn down and dirty. Not until the sun sets does this area come to life. Grab a beer (or two) and head down just before dusk to see the sunset as the shops begin to open and the smell of barbecue fills the air. Head to one of the restaurants along the boardwalk for some cheap local food afterwards. And more drinks. Of course.
Location: Sandoval St, Puerto Princesa (just down from Malvar Road).
4. Pristine Beach
If you want to head to a beach for part of the day in Puerto Princesa, Pristine Beach is a great choice, albeit pretty much the only choice. You will need to hop on a tricycle to get to this beach, but it shouldn’t cost more than PHP 8. Unfortunately, you do have to pay to enter (can’t remember how much it was, but it wasn’t a large amount) the beach as it is a private property. Though not the nicest beach I’ve been to (white sand, but was quite hard to lie on), the scenery was lovely. There is a little shop, and bamboo benches and tables on the beach. We stayed until the sun began to set, where we were able to see just how high the tide comes in each night. The ride to the beach is through very local areas and down a dirt path, so be sure you leave early enough to try to hail down a tricycle. Wouldn’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere at night.
Location: South of the island, off of Abueg Street
This is one of the most talked about restaurants in the city and after visiting it, I can understand the hype. You must make reservations ahead of time, regardless of the night, and expect to still queue upon arrival. The atmosphere in the restaurant is very relaxed with wooden floors (you must take your shoes off before entering), floor seating, and interesting artwork and design. The menu consists of fresh Balinese cuisine (definitely try the seafood!) that is delicious. Expect to pay around PHP 250+ for a main and drink. Check out their website for more details.
Location: 369, Rizal Ave, Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa
2. Kinabuch Bar & Grill
Another very well known restaurant in Puerto Princesa that you should head to on your second night in town (after you’ve dined at KaLui the previous night). There are tonnes of outdoor seating and no reservations are required, though you might have to wait a few minutes before being seated depending on the night. The atmosphere is fun and lively – big screen TVs and pool tables in the indoor areas and music circulating outside. Mains start around PHP 120, and include crocodile and Philippines’ famous Tamilok (a type of woodworm).
Location: 369 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa (just down the street from KaLui)
3. Tiki Resto Bar
This is an entertaining bar if you want to go for some drinks after dinner. The place was packed with locals and tourists all listening or singing along to a Filipino cover band. The band was really good and the atmosphere was fun. During some songs, the band members pulled people in the crowd up onto the stage to dance. Don’t go here if you want to sit down and have a long chat with your friends as it is very loud. Great place for a good night out, considering the nightlife selection is seriously lacking in Puerto Princesa.
Location: On the corner of Rizal Avenue and Puerto Princesa North Road
My other adventures in Palawan:
Puerto Princesa Palawan: Accommodation & Aimless Wanderings
Ugong Rock Caving & Zipline: Puerto Princesa, Palawan