Puerto Princesa on a budget: backpacking advice from a local lakwatsera

Puerto Princesa — one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the Philippines, dubbed as The City in a Forest. It isย home to the famous Underground River, to the beautiful islands of Honda Bay, and to a lot of other unique and wonderful sights. And of course, let’s not forget it’s my home town ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s a famous tourist destination among locals and foreigners alike. The only problem is that visiting the sights can sometimes get too costly. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for supporting the thriving tourism industry in Puerto Princesa. If you like to relax and travel in comfort, please visit thisย siteย for a list of travel agents (or you can contact Mars of Travel Portal Duo at +639166151856). ย Although the prices for the tour packages are reasonable and the tours are more comfortable and hassle-free, a cheaper alternative is to do it the backpacker way. Of course this means roughing it out! I will give an ideal itinerary for visiting the famous tourist destinations and try to give some advice (based on personal experience from bringing visitors to the tourist sites) on how to save by doing the tours on your own.

First, let’s get you there.ย Major local airlines such as PAL Express, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asiaย each fly to Puerto Princesa several times a day from Manila. There are also some flights from Cebu.

Next, you should book your hotel or pension or resort, whichever is right for your budget and needs. You can choose where you want to stay on thisย site. My suggested hotels/pension houses would be: Liane’s Placeย (nice native theme, reasonable price and most convenient location in the city center just in front of the Provincial Capitol) orย Tenzai Pension Houseย +63484330189ย (cozy place, reasonable price with airport transfer and free breakfast).ย If you need help with booking for accommodations in other hotels/inns, Jeffany (licensed city tour coordinator) can help you pick out the ideal accommodation for your budget, at no extra cost to you ๐Ÿ™‚ (Contact her at +639272864350 or email her at belvone14@gmail.com).

How long should you stay in Puerto Princesa? Well, you of course want to make the most of your time there, so I would say you need at least three full days (on a tight schedule), but four days would be just right. Below is an ideal itinerary, including the comparison of getting the tour package and “doing-it-yourself”:

Day 1-ย City Tour

It is better to have a morning flight so you have more time for touring the city.

> If you got the City Tour Package from a travel agent, you will be toured using an aircon van with a licensed tour guide. Your destinations more or less include:ย Crocodile Farm, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, Binuatan Creations, Rancho Sta. Monica, Butterfly Garden, Baywalk, Plaza Cuartel and Cathedral.ย City Tour Package: Php 600/person

> However, you can also opt to do the tour by yourself. There are several ways of doing this, depending on how many you are in the group.ย If you are in a group of two to four, you canย hire a tricycleย (serves as the taxi in the city, only it’s three-wheeled) for half the day forย Php 400 to 700 (I recently metย this hardworking tricycle driver when I toured my friend – contact him directly to inquire: Regel Villegas +639105811183)ย . If you are in a group of five to ten, you canย hire a multicab for 800 to 1,000, depending on your bargaining powers (multicabs are like small jeepneys that accommodate 10-12 persons). If you are in a group of ten or more,ย renting a van with driverย is a better option (Php 1000-1500, refer to the link of tour companies, they also offer van rental services, or contactย IC of Isee Palawan Travel & Tour Services at +639178859494 / +639098849494.)

If you are adventurous enough and are not afraid to get lost, you can also rent a motorcycle and roam around by yourself. Rates are at Php 50 per hour or Php 500 per day. The motorbikes for rent are just beside the airport exit gate.ย If you prefer self-drive car rental services, please contact Plong Car Rental at +639175530889 or 09197260367.

If you are alone or in a group of 2, you canย choose to use public transport, theย DIY Price isย Php~200/personย forย combinedย tricycle/multicab fares.ย Here is my suggested route:

Binuatan Creations: If your hotel is in the city proper, take a tricycle (Php 8 per person within the city proper) to Rizal Avenue, preferably at Jollibee and ride the multicab with the route “Pajara-Sta. Monica-Bunkhouse”. It is better to sit near the driver so you can tell him to drop you off at PPSAT (Puerto Princesa School of Arts and Trade), at the road to Employees Village (fare Php 12 to 15 . From there, you can walk to Binuatan Creations (it is a bit far, though, about a block or two from the main road), or if you have Php 8 to spare you can ride a tricycle. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions if you are unsure ๐Ÿ™‚

(photo from their website)

Binuatan Creations is a place where you can experience making handloom woven mats using indigenous plant fibers. Their products are world-class exports and you can buy these native products at the source. You can click here for their contact information.

Palawanย Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village.ย After the handicrafts, you can return to the main highway (walk or take the tricycle) where you were first dropped off. From there, take the multicab with the same route “Pajara-Sta. Monica-Bunkhouse” and tell the driver to drop you off at Butterfly Garden (fare Php 8; Entrance fee Php 50, Php 35 if you have any valid Philippine ID).

Butterfly Garden is a place where you can observe and interact with different species of butterflies as well as flowering plants. If you are lucky, you can see butterflies emerging from their pupae (yey!). Aside from butterflies, they also have a small collection of insects and reptiles. Recently they added a tribal village to their attractions showcasing the culture of theย Palau’an, an indigenous group in the province.

From pupae to butterflies. Watch the magic unfold at the Butterfly Garden!

Baker’s Hill. After butterfly garden, you can walk to the main highway (about 100 meters away) and ride the tricycles idling there to Baker’s Hill (fare is Php 10 per person or Php 20 if they take you there alone; Free entrance).

Baker’s Hill is a bakery/restaurant with a very nice mini park. You can have some snacks while enjoying the landscape. It is a pretty famous dating spot for locals ๐Ÿ˜‰ The bakery’s specialties are the Hopia Ube and Hopia Baboy.

Mitra Ranch. You can climb to this next destination if you are up for it, but tricycles are waiting just outside Baker’s Hill to take you to the Rancho (fare Php 8 to Php 10; Free entrance).

The Ranch is owned by the former governor of Palawan, and provides a nice view of the city. Recently, they added the Rancho Zipline, which costs Php 500 for 3 lines and boasts of a 360-degree flip at the end.

Crocodile Farm (aka Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center). You can walk back to the main highway or take a tricycle (Php 10). On the main highway, take a multicab with the route “Irawan”, and tell the driver to bring you to Crocodile Farm (fare Php 10 to 12; Entrance fee Php 40).

The crocodile farm has, of course, lots of crocodiles! You can even have your photo taken while holding a live baby crocodile. They also have a park which feature Palawan’s endemic species such as the Palawan Bear Cat, bearded pig, mynah and other exotic animals.

– Palawan Heritage Center.ย This museum can be found at the back end of the Legislative Building of the Palawan Provincial Capitol. (Just tell your vehicle to drop you off there.) The center is fairly new, and boasts of a nice collection of artifacts depicting Palawan’s history with a special focus on the indigenous people of Palawan. Pretty neat place! They are open during office hours. Entrance fee costs 40Php for adults and 20 Php for students.

At the entrance of the Palawan Heritage Center

At the entrance of the Palawan Heritage Center

Plaza Cuartel – Cathedral – Baywalk. From the crocodile farm, you can take a multicab back to the city (Fare Php 18 to 20). Tell the driver to bring you to the Cathedral (it is usually the end of their route).

Immaculate Conception Cathedral

Immaculate Conception Cathedral

*You can also visit this last part after the Underground River or Honda Bay Tour, it is within the city and the fare only costs Php 8 by tricycle if you come from anywhere in the city proper.

The Plaza Cuartel is very near the cathedral’s main entrance. It used to be known as “Lover’s Park” for local teenagers (during my teen years, anyway). It used to be a Japanese garrison during WWII, and is now a memorial park for war victims. From the Cathedral, you can take a tricycle to Baywalk (Php 8) or walk the 3-4 blocks if you still have the energy. The Baywalk is now a popular place to stroll, bike (available for rent), and to try street food while enjoying the view of Puerto Princesa Bay.

The peacock is the symbol of Puerto Princesa, and is incorporated in the design of the Baywalk

Optional destinations (i.e. not part of the DIY Price computation):

Iwahig Firefly Watching. This is an option if you still have the energy (and money) in the early evening. Or do this after the island hopping or the Underground River Tour the next day. You can hire a tricycle or multicab to take you to Iwahig and wait for you until you finish (about Php 300-600 for a tricycle OR you can include this in your itinerary if you hired a vehicle for the day and prepare to add a small amount to the quoted fees above). A small boat for 2-4 persons costs Php 600, and a guide will row the boat for you. Remember to bring some snacks since you will have to spend until dinnertime in Iwahig.

DIY Price:ย Php 600/2-4 persons + vehicle rental

Firefly Watching Tour Package: Php 1,100ย (includes van transfers, shed rental, boat rental, tour guide, DINNER at the site)

Sta. Lourdes Hot Spring. If you have more time to spare, you can spend an hour or two relaxing in the hot spring pools in Sta. Lourdes. The place is out of the way from most of the destinations I indicated above, and is much closer to Honda Bay and along the way to the Underground River. But if you have the means (hired vehicle), soaking in the hot water pools can also be a good way to relax. The rental is on a per pool basis. Rates vary from Php 350-1000 per pool, depending on size and on how fancy the resort is (the hot spring resorts are just beside each other).

Day 2 – Underground River (I have a separate blog post on this, just click on this link)

> Tour Package:ย Php1,500/person (details on thisย blog entry)

> DIY Price:ย Php750-900/personย ย (details on theย blog entryย mentioned above)

Day 3Honda Bay Island Hopping

> Tour Package: Php 1,400/person including airconditioned van transfer, licensed tour guide, picnic lunch, entrance fees, environmental fee

*If you came alone or as a couple, it might be better to avail of the tour package (as you will see when I discuss the commute option) (refer to my list of tour coordinators above for contacts).

> Doing it yourself:

First things first. You need to be prepared for the tour. (Note: Cutoff time for boat hire is at 2:00 pm, so make sure you areย at the Honda Bay well before that time).

1. Buy lunch/snacks at the city proper if you want to save on food costs (They offer fresh seafoods that they can cook for you at Snake Island *about Php 150-500* but other islands don’t have much to offer).

2. If you have a snorkel set, you can save Php 100 since this is the cost of rental (but it’s a must to enjoy the amazing beauty under the sea).

Then, you need to get to Honda Bay, which is a thirty- to forty-minute ride from the city proper. There are a few multicabs that ply the “City Proper-Honda Bay Sta. Lourdes” route (fare Php 20 to 25), but then you might have a problem getting a ride back to the city afterwards. If there are no multicabs or tricycles waiting, you need to walk about 1.5 kilometers to the main highway and try your luck getting a tricycle or van to take you to the city (chances are slim, though).

A better solution is to hire a tricycle (for 2 to 5 persons; Php 300 to 500) or a multicab (for 6 to 10 persons; Php 1000 or more) for round trip service that willย take you to Honda Bay AND return for you in the afternoon to bring you back to the city.

When you arrive in Honda Bay, proceed to the Tourist Information Office and rent a boat. The rates are standard: Php 1300 or Php 1600 (the rate depends on the motor power) for one motorized boat good for 6 persons, plusย Php 220 for any additional person. You also need to pay the terminal fee, which is just Php 18 per person and the environmental fee for Php 40. Note that you can share the boat with other tourists, if you find shoestring travelers like you in small groups also looking to rent a boat. It’s a good way to make new friends!ย 

Oh, and buy lots of stale bread before you go off to the islands. It’s really fun to feed the fishies!

You can have your pick of the islands to visit, and each island has their corresponding entrance fee (ranging from 25 to 100 Php) that you can check out when you get there.

Personally, I recommend:

Snake Island (free entrance; cottage rental Php 50; currently closed) – The island boasts of a long stretch of white sand. It is named after its long snakelike shape.

Strolling the long stretch of white sand with the resident island dog

A sari-sari store in the island sells snacks, drinks, fresh buko juice, and fresh seafood that they can cook for your lunch (Php ~150-500). But the best part of this island is underwater. ย There are literally A LOT of fishes in this sea ๐Ÿ˜‰ You can feed them bread (which you can buy at the port where you paid for your boat rental) so they will swarm around you.

Starfish Island (entrance Php 50) – As the name implies, there are a lot of starfishes!

But more than that, the best part of this island is also underwater. You can ask your boatman to take you snorkeling near the shore.

Pambato Reef (Php 50 for snorkelers) – This is just a floating hut in the middle of the sea, but the coral formations there are the best in Honda Bay and even in Puerto Princesa. One tip: the waves are stronger in the afternoon so it is better to visit Pambato Reef early. Just ask your boatmen for their advice.

Other islands that you can visit include Pandan Island, Lu-li (lulubog-lilitaw) Island, and Cowrie Island.

DIY Price: Php 1800 for 4-5 persons + 200/person for entrance fees (lunch not included)

Day 4 –ย Dolphin Watching (my blog post about this experience can be found here)

This tour is ideal on the day of an afternoon return flight, as the tour is usually done before 11 am.

Excerpt from the blog:ย If you want to see the spinner dolphins swim, play and do somersaults, ย just show up at the Baywalk of Puerto Princesa at around 6 am and look for the boats along the bay (we paid Php 700/person at that time). However, this method might not be reliable as you cannot be guaranteed a space in the boat if you did not talk to them ahead of time, so it might be better to contact a travel agency (Tour Package rate:ย Php 900/person).

There you go! I hope the information above can help you enjoy Puerto Princesa, whether you choose to avail of the tour packages or to tour around on your own.ย Have a great time!

P.S. I am also including a listย of my recommended restaurants in the city. To reach these restaurants, just take a tricycle from anywhere in the city center (Php 8 per person) and tell them the restaurant name. Prices quoted are estimated on a per person basis.

> Ka Lui (Rizal Ave) – offers delicious Filipino food with a very “native” ambience. It is a bit pricey, but the food is really good. (Php 250-500)

> Chicken Inato (Manalo St) – their specialty is chicken barbeque that is very, very tasty (Php 100-200)

> Balinsasayaw (Rizal Ave) – this restaurant also offers chicken barbeque as their specialty, but they have a variety of Filipino dishes as well (Php 60-300)

> Neva’s Place (Taft St, beside Children’s Park) – This is a pizza and pasta place with very great ambience and good food (Php 70-250)

> Bona’s Chaolongan – Vietnamese dishes are very popular in Puerto Princesa from when the Vietnamese refugees came to Palawan. This restaurant has been a favorite for local students because of the price AND the taste. (Try the beef stew noodle with garlic french bread!) BUT if you are particular about ambience, I suggest you go to a fancier Vietnamese restaurant (Price Range 50-100)

> Rene’s Saigon – This place is the “fancier” Vietnamese restaurant, and also serves good food. *This place is a little far from the city center, farther than the airport so the fare is a peso or two higher.

Yum yum!

> Rustic Avenue (Rizal Avenue in Dagomboy Village) – It’s a newly opened restaurant that serves Pinoy food (but their signature dish is the honey garlic chicken) and some cakes and pastries. It’s a cozy little place for a quiet lunch or dinner and a drink or two in the eveningย (Price Range 50-135)

Rustic Avenue's Honey Garlic Chicken

Rustic Avenue’s Honey Garlic Chicken

> Kinabuch’s (Rizal Avenue, near Capitol)- This is more of a dinner/after-dinner place where you can chill and have a beer while trying Palawan’s exotic dishes such as tamilok(mangrove worm) or crocodile meat.

Tamilok (worm from mangroves). Best eaten fresh, and with beer ๐Ÿ™‚

> Kamarikutan Kape at Galeri – This is a coffee shop with a very nice ambience.

> Itoy’s Coffee Haus – The more popular coffee place since it is located in the city center

>> There are also fast food establishments like Jollibee, Chow King, Shakey’s for on-the-go meals.ย Farther from the city center is the newly-opened Robinson’s Mall in Baranggay San Manuel, so there’s now a great number of franchised restaurant food choices (although I still recommend our local restaurants for that unique Puerto Princesa experience).

Just don’t forget to try chao long, french bread, tamilok and croc meat and of course, lots and lots of fresh seafood!

***Oh, and the souvenirs! The cheapest souvenirs can be bought in the LRC Pasalubong Center in San Miguel, almost across Mercado de San Miguel (ask the tricycle drivers to bring you there). Typical food souvenirs include cashew, dried fish/squid/tahong, spicy dilis, hopia (from Baker’s Hill). For souvenirs that last longer, you can buy the rainmaker, cultured pearls, and assortedย knick knacks ofย native products.

They offer the most diverse options and the cheapest prices of souvenir items

LRC Pasalubong Center – They offer the most diverse options and the cheapest prices of souvenir items

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200 responses to “Puerto Princesa on a budget: backpacking advice from a local lakwatsera

  1. thank you for sharing this. very informative and helpful for me. Am going to Puerto Princesa and El Nido with friends next week.

  2. thanks for this :)… it really helps us a lot.. I’m planning to go to Puerto Princesa with my bf, we go backpacking ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks po!

  3. Thank you! Your insight is extremely detailed and so helpful!

  4. Hi there, can you send/update your travel agent friend’s email address? I tried to email them but got a bounce back. “thelmarios_22@yahoo.com” does not seem to work. We are traveling during Holy Week so would like to contact a reputable, local travel agent if possible. Many thanks!

  5. Fabulous! You are terrific!!

  6. Hi, your blog is very helpful. Is July-August still good to visit Puerto?

    • Hello! Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes! Palawan is not really part of the typhoon belt so even though there is possibility of a little rain on those months, it won’s hinder you from having a nice beach and Underground River vacation ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. This the best and most helpful DIY Puerto Princesa Tour I have read so far. Thank you so much for all these details! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Will be in PPS this July with friends and this blog will surely help us slash our cost by half! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. By the way, I would like to confirm if from Crocodile Farm, can we just walk to Irawan Adventure Park? Also, would you know what time does the adventure zipline park close? Thanks much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Thanks for your reply! I will be booking our Underground Tour within the week through a travel agency ๐Ÿ˜‰ the trips we will be doing ourselves are the Honda Bay and City Tour, since I think they are just manageable ๐Ÿ˜‰ I already tried to check with Irawan Adventure thru their FB page but haven’t received any update yet. I will just make “kulit” again. Hehe Thanks much!

  10. OMG i’m glad i found your blog! this really helpful! I’m from Malaysia and will go on November but I have no idea about things to do in Princesa. Thanks so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Hi Geoventurer! Your posts are very helpful. Just a quick question, if we are spending 5D/4N in PP, is it a good idea to be based in Sabang or in the city proper? Or can we spend first 2 nights in Sabang then city the last? Thanks very much and looking forward to your reply.

    • Hi Jay! Thank you for your comment. It is much better to be based in the city proper, since Sabang is really very far away from everything. But a night in Sabang would be nice so you can visit the Underground River and Ugong Rock. Then have one day for Honda Bay island hopping, one day for city tour and one day (if you have time before your flight) for the dolphin watching/whale shark interaction ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Hi, just like to ask, we will have a 3day vacation at PPS we will arrive at PPS at around 10am and our return flight will leave on the 3rd day at around 5pm and we would like to have honda bay,underground and a city tour would that be possible with tight sched? what can you suggest itinerary for us? your reply will greatly appreciated.

    • Hi! It will be better to have the Honda Bay island hopping tour on the first day, but just be warned that waves are bigger in the afternoon (but it’s not really a problem unless there’s a typhoon). Then visit Underground River and Sabang Beach on your 2nd day and finally city tour on the 3rd day ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t forget to register for the Underground River Tour early (like a month or two weeks before your trip. You might need to contact a travel agent if you don’t have any contacts in Puerto Princesa). Enjoy!

  13. Hello!

    Alam mo, may ideal agency na ako for my family kaso bounded naman kami sa time. Si tatay gusto dun na lang maghanap.. “go nga sa adventure!”. Kung kasama ko family, ang hirap mag diy kasi baka mahassle sila unlike kung mga tropa ang kasama. Buti napadpad ako sa blog mo. Very informative. At, naconvince mo ko na mag-diy. Hehe!

    Tanong: Sa tingin mo kung punta kami by end of July, ubos na ang slot or pangit na ang sked since naghihintay kami? Pero diba pwede mag-swimming dun habang naghihintay ng oras? Wala talaga kami kakilala sa PPS kasi.

    Onga pala, kakilala mo si Lester Valle personally? Kita ko kasi sa links mo. Minsan ko na kasi nakasama yan sa akyat. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Salamat.

    • Hi Dianne!

      Hmm pwede naman magswim dun at magzipline/umakyat sa limestone sa nearby Ugong Rock if ever matagal ang hintay nyo. basta mas ok na pagdating na pagdating nyo ng Puerto, punta kayo agad sa Underground River office para magregister (at para malaman kung may slot pa kayo or wala na)…

      Oo, same department kami nila Lester sa UP ๐Ÿ™‚ Tropa yung mga yun ๐Ÿ˜€

      Enjoy kayo sa Puerto!

  14. This is very very helpful! I’m now more encouraged to make this trip! Thank you for taking time to make a detailed accounting of the DIY part, I really appreciate it! I’ll definitely come back to this page to read your other travel posts.

    Cheers!

  15. Great details about visiting Puerto! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Looks like we share a lot of favorite restaurants.

  16. How’s the weather in puerto as of the moment? hayst. we’ll have our tour this weekend…hope to have the sun rise there.:((

    • Oh, we are all due for some sunshine in this country, aren’t we? It hasn’t been as rainy as Manila – no floods here – but we are ready for the sun!

      • Thanks for answering CheLee’s question, Donna! ๐Ÿ™‚

        CheLee, I am not in Puerto at the moment but as Donna said, it’s been raining in Puerto but not as bad as in Manila. Anyway, I think a little rain is not so bad when you’re in Puerto ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy your weekend!

  17. Hi, I heard that Snake island is now closed to public? Is it true? Is Honda Bay still worth the trip without snake island? I’m coming with my mom and just want the best of Puerto Princesa. It’s full 3days. I’ll do the DIY Honda Bay since we’ll be arriving 9:30am and late for organized trip. PPUR tour on second day and city tour on the last day.Thank you.

    • Hello! Hmm I haven’t heard anything about that, you can just ask at the Honda Bay when you arrive there. But I think the island hopping is still worth the trip ๐Ÿ™‚ You can feed the fishes at the Pambato Reef instead, you have better corals there anyway ๐Ÿ™‚ When in Starfish Island, don’t forget to ask your boatman to bring you to the nice coral formations on the deeper portions ๐Ÿ™‚
      Enjoy!

    • Hi Just visited Puerto Princesa and had island hopping last sunday. yes, snake Island is temporarily closed for maintenance etc. But we still had fun with the island hopping ๐Ÿ˜‰ hope you can be there early morning, waves are strong in the afternoon. Enjoy!

  18. Hi geoventurer just would like to say Thank you for this blog, we had a great time in Puerto princesa last weekend and we were able to maximize our time because we had the tours by ourselves – the only packaged tour we had was the Underground river tour since we had to make sure we have permits beforehand. Your list of spots, activities and restos are really worth visiting! We really enjoyed our trip ๐Ÿ˜‰ plus we were also able to try the new Irawan Adventure Zipline -1.3kms it was just great! Puerto is such a nice place, and the people are just so accomodating! For those who want to try DIY and need a helpful and trustworthy trike driver, I can refer Kuya Romeo, the one who became our official sundo and tour guide for 4 days! ๐Ÿ˜‰ His contact number is 09122536921 ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Hello Gracey, thank you for your comment. I am glad you had a great time!

      May I ask how much Kuya Romeo charged you, if you don’t mind? I am looking for a good tricycle driver to recommend to my friends. I know some drivers, but if Kuya Romeo has a more reasonable price, then I will recommend him to future tourists ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks a lot!

  19. Thank’s Gracey! I’ll just shift our Honda Bay trip on the third day instead. Anyway, our flight is 5:45pm. I’ll definitely call Kuya Romeo and shift our first day as city tour since we’ll be arriving 9:30am.

    • Hi Sarah! That’s nice, you can have the Honda Bay on your last day, early AM around 630am and Kuya Romeo can help you with that ๐Ÿ™‚ for your arrival date you can do already your complete city tour ๐Ÿ˜‰ and if you like you can try out the new zipline in Irawan adventure park as well ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Hi All! Kuya Romeo for the first day charged us of 120php for the four of us already for our Ysabelle Mansion-Cathedral/Plaza Cuartel-Baywalk-NCCC-Kinabuch’s-and then back to hotel. For the 2nd day, This was our route :ysabelle mansion-new market-sta.lourdes wharf-then he went back to fetch us at 1pm the went to crocodile farm-Irawan Adventure Park-mitra’s ranch-baker’s hill- Go hotel- ysabelle mansion-city proper to withdraw from unionbank- dinner at Jollibee then back to Go hotel, all in all at 1,500php but take note, we were the ones who gave the price. He doesn’t charge, he gives the standard rate then let us decide how much to give. After our Ppur tour he fetch us at Go hotel then we went to pasalubong center then kalui and then he fetch us at kalui back to Go hotel, charged us of 120php. Last day from Go hotel we went to Binuatan weaving, then Palawan museum, then Balinsasayaw then back to Go Hotel, we paid 200 (tip included) hehe. For us it was already sulit, and most of the time we add tips because he was more than a trike driver, he was also very helpful and we were really stress free during the tour because he arranged everything for us ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. Haha! No probs! Just want to share details so as travellers will be encouraged to visit puerto DIY style. Promise! It’s more fun! Haha ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. hi! thank you for this! Very informative indeed! We want to solicit your advise regarding Puerto Princesa trip. Do you have an email address to where we can send our questions to? thanks!

  23. nice!detailed and helpful.thanks!me and my frends are planning to go there 1st wik of Oct.do you think it is convenient and safe if we rent a motorcycle?me and my bf will arrive early am while our frends will arrive pm.im thinking that maybe we can rent until our group arrives.can you also suggest a restaurant where we can celebrate his bday lunch?do you have eat all you can resto?

    • Hey thanks! Yes I think motorcycle rental is very convenient for the two of you while waiting for your friends. make sure to ask for directions for the attractions that you wish to visit, but anyway Puerto’s roads are very simple to follow.
      Hmm I can’t think of an eat-all-you-can restaurant but Ka Lui or Badjao Seafood Restaurant would be a very nice lunch venue (buy his cake from Divine Sweets, beside Bench Shop near the Mendoza Park).

  24. hello there^^
    since you mentioned crocs meat, do you know a place where we can try it? i hope it’s legal…hehe.

  25. Hi @geoventurer! Thank you for this post.. Very informative po. Its a 101% helpful… Me and my hubby is just about to embark on our what we call Philippine Journey. Our first stop: Palawan. We are booked for Palawan this November 18-21. We are planning to go on a DIY trip to save moolah considering that we are poor travellers ๐Ÿ™‚ i was wondering if the rates mentioned are still the same?… and maybe, just trying my luck, you can help me with securing underground river permits…*.* Will definitely visit those places you have mentioned. Hope to hear from you.

    Again, thank you for all the things you have shared. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I replied to your email already ๐Ÿ™‚

      For the benefit of other readers, I will post some of my replies here:
      – The rates are updated ๐Ÿ™‚
      – About permits, I can’t really help as I am now based in Japan.But I asked friends in Palawan about this permit thing, they say you have to get it personally (maybe an ID is needed, am not sure) if you won’t get it through an authorized travel agent. Now you either risk it and get a permit a few days before, or use a travel agency (meaning you will avail of the tour package). But the Underground River Office promised an online booking system by September, so let’s wait for that since your trip is still this November.
      You can try calling them to have more information:
      Underground River Booking Office
      No. 350 Rizal Avenue, Bgy. Bancao-bancao
      Puerto Princesa City 5300, Philippines
      Telephone Number: +63(48)7230904 (Sabang)
      Telefax: +63(48)4342509
      E-mail: info@puerto-undergroundriver.com, undergroundriver_ppsrnp@yahoo.com
      Website: htpp://www.puerto-undergroundriver.com

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help, I am not in Palawan at the moment…

      But I hope you have a successful trip! Enjoy!

  26. Hi! Is baker’s hill open every monday? Thanks.

  27. Hello! Maraming salamat sa pagbahagi ng kaalaman. Mabuhay ka!
    Hihingi din sana ako ng payo. Pupunta akong Puerto sa Dec. 19, 3:45pm arrival. Mag-stay hanggang Dec. 21, 4pm. Mag-isa lang akong maglilibot. Gusto ko sanang itanong kung posible ba ang itinerary na ito at kung may suggestion/s ka:
    Dec. 19, 4pm – arrival
    6:30pm – Iwahig Firefly watching
    Dec. 20 – Underground River (sana maging okay na ang online booking soon)
    Dec. 21 – Dolphin watching
    Sa pagtingin ko sa mga itinerary at tour options, madalas may requirement na minimum number ng guests. Alin kaya ang advisable na gawin para sa mga solo-ista na tulad ko?

    • Hi Eloi!
      Yes, posible ang itinerary mo ๐Ÿ™‚
      Pagpunta sa Iwahig, baka mamahalan ka sa arkila ng tricycle kasi magisa ka lang, try to negotiate with the driver to lower the cost ๐Ÿ™‚
      OK lang magisa, basta sa Underground River e mangausap ka ng ibang groups para may maka-share ka sa boat, 700 pesos kasi yun.

      Kung hindi pa ayos ang online booking and you need help with the tours etc, you can try to contact Mars (+639166151856) of Travel Portal Duo and maybe they can hook you up with other tour groups para kasabay mo… https://www.facebook.com/travelportalduo?fref=ts

  28. Hi there,

    Just wanna check with you, how’s the weather right now in Princesa? I’m coming on 6th Nov till 13th Nov… is it raining season right now? Hopefully the weather is good.

    • Hi! I’m in Puerto right now and it’s been an unusually dry ‘rainy season’. Lots of sunny days, mixed with a few partly rainy days. I’m no weather forecaster, but I would guess that you will have a nice visit, unless a big typhoon comes into the area during the days you are here. Yes, it is rainy season. But it hasn’t been raining too much! Hope you have a great time.

      • Great to hear that! Can’t wait to be there! Thanks Donna. I’m sure you have a great time in Princesa now.

        • Thanks for saving me again, Donna! Was waiting for my friends to reply about the weather, good thing you were there to answer ๐Ÿ™‚

          Hi InaHas! I hope you have a great time in Puerto! ๐Ÿ˜€

  29. Thanks ladies for the quick reply.

    Hi Geoventure,
    Basically I’ll go with your suggestion where to go and what to do and the rest of the time I’m looking forward place to go for hiking or some nature activities. Is there any good place that I can go for the hiking place?

    • Hmm the most convenient place for hiking is in Sabang, where the Underground River is located. You can hike to the cave using the monkey trail, plus there are some more hiking paths around if you have more time ๐Ÿ™‚ So if you are really interested in hiking, you might want to consider staying overnight in Sabang.
      If you really want to climb, here is information about Mt. Thumbpeak in Puerto Princesa:
      http://www.pinoymountaineer.com/2011/05/mt-thumbpeak-1296-in-puerto-princesa.html

      • Yes, I’ll be staying in Sabang for 2-3 days.. Thank you for the info. Will try to fit it in my schedule coz I’m looking forward to do both, Beach and Mountain while I’m there ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Oh one more thing I need to ask, how far is it Puerto Princesa to El Nido? And what is the most convenience but affordable transport can reach there?

  30. Hi, is it ok if we can have a half day honda bay tour? Our ETA in PPR is on November 11, 11am and leaving on the 13th November, 11:30am.

    What Itinerary you could suggest? Hope you can help me with this since our schedule is too tight. Thanks!

  31. If you like an affordable accommodation, try staying on transient houses. This website offers various murang transient apartment http://www.primaresidences-palawan.com. Place is nice and quiet, you can cook your meals to save more on your trip, and unit is exclusive to your group. Close to market, robinsons and bakers hill. They also offer cheaper tour plus accommodation packages, so you cut down on your cost further.

  32. hi there! your puerto princesa articles and links are just so info-filled and i am getting a lot of tips from the comments. thank you.
    my hubby and i are flying to puerto princesa feb next year. i am still doing some researches/survey so we could get the best deal — accommodation and tour packages for 3 nights. i would want to do a DIY travel but since we are in our late 50s and it’s our first time to visit puerto princesa, we have opted for a stay and tour package.
    right now, i am considering Ysabelle mansions and de loro inn and restaurants. any feedback and reviews about them from you and your readers?

    • Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog. So far, Ysabelle Mansions seem to ave better reviews than De Loro Inn… Both are quiet places to stay. If you booked the tour packages, I think you won’t have any problems since they will pick you up and bring you to your hotel ๐Ÿ™‚
      Don’t forget to try out the restaurants that I mentioned in the blog ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you have a nice stay!

  33. Heow pow. Magkanu pow,ang budgey kong gus2 na 2mira sa puerto princesa? Pwede ma pow kasi ako mamatay sa el nidow. Tengkyo pow.

    Langya, Jill, di man lang tayo nagkita nung andito ka. Di kasi sinabi sayo ni densho yung message ko. Anyway, miss na kita. Seryoso ako, lilipat na ako ng palawan in 2-3 years!! Puta ang ganda ng el nido!!! Mas maganda pa satin! Pero slight lang.

    Lovelots,
    Bekya

    • Vyxz! Di ko alam pano ka ikontak nung before ako umuwi, facebook lang kasi inaasahan ko sa communication hehe. email mo ako jilljag15@yahoo.com. miss na kita as in!

      sa puerto princesa kelangan mo lang pera pangrenta sa bahay at pangpagkain tapos tapos na! hehe. magturo ka na lang sa Palawan State University! Sabihan mo ako kung seryoso ka at papatulong tayo sa nanay ko (dept chair sya ng English dept). O diba serious talaga?!

      Email mo kooooo! mwah mwah!

  34. We will definitely try Ysabellemansion per recommendation of yours. Thanks you! Indeed your blog has been so far helpful. Take care!

  35. Good day jill geoventurer!!! i would like to inquire about Couple budget Getaway Palawan Packages that includes the following:
    a) City tour
    b)Underground River Tour (with and without buffet picnic lunch)
    c) Honda Bay Island Hopping (with and without picnic lunch)
    My partner and i will be there on august 16, till the 20th and we would like to know how much should we prepare so we can plan ahead of time. I do hope for your immediate reply…. you can email me at 1731kt@gmail.com thanks and God bless : D

    btw, i really love your blog, hopefully you can also visit zamboanga

    • Hi Lou! Thanks for the kind comments.

      Usual Package Tour rates are as follows:
      a) City tour – 600 Php/person (For this I suggest you just hire a tricycle for 500-700 for the whole day. You can have a private tour and have better control of your time)

      b)Underground River Tour – Php 1,500 (always comes with lunch buffet and guide)
      c) Honda Bay Island Hopping – Php 1,100 (always comes with lunch buffet and guide)

      Please call/text my good friend Mars of Travel Portal Duo at +639166151856 so she can assist you with tour packages. I cannot really help personally since I am out of the country now. Tell her Jill referred you to her. I will also mention you to her.

      I hope you enjoy your trip this August!

    • BTW, my thesis area for my PhD is the whole Zamboanga Peninsula, so I have been to Zamboanga City several times! But only to the restaurants and parks. I have yet to go island hopping and visit other interesting areas!

  36. Hi Jill! Good evening! Very helpful and informative blog ๐Ÿ™‚ I was thinking if I’ll just avail the tour package of some hotels and inns. Pero when I got to read this blog, I am now thinking to just DIY ๐Ÿ™‚ I just wanna ask, regarding DIY firefly watching, yung 600/2-4 person you mentioned above, does it mean 600 yung rent for small boat? So pag 2 kayo, share kayo sa 600? so that would make it 300? Tama ba? thank you jill. Can I add you thru facebook? ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks

  37. hi,

    im going to puerto with a friend this july. is that a good time to visit puerto? i also need help. do u know any beachfront resort that is not so pricey?
    i found a resort named villa leonora, is it good to stay there? hoping for your quick response.

    thanks a bunch dear! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hello!
      Palawan is not often visited by typhoons, and even if it rains the tours are still a go, so you can visit Puerto Princesa anytime of the year. For beachfront resorts near the city proper, I only know of Microtel http://www.microtel-palawan.com/

      Villa Leonora is very far from the main city, so if you are staying for a short time then it’s not so convenient. Most beach front resorts are really far, except for Microtel (to the best of my knowledge).

      Hope that helps! Enjoy Puerto!

      • Hi goeventurer. Me and my friends want to go to Palawan this summer. This is our first time so we don’t have any idea. Can you give us some tips on how to travel and enjoy Palawan? ๐Ÿ™‚ What is the best way, Do-it-yourself or tour packages? Please help us. Thank you so much.

        • Hello! If you are OK with commuting and want to save some money, you can try the do-it-yourself way that I have detailed in my blog above. But if you have enough budget and you don’t want to worry about the details, then you can get tour packages. You can contact my friend Mars of Travel Portal Duo at +639166151856 (I have also listed down some contact persons in the blog entry for more choices). good luck and enjoy!

  38. hello…can u pls give me a n iterinary for a 4 days backpacking tour in palawan with my family,,,,tnx

    • Hi! You can do:

      Day 1 – City Tour
      Day 2 – Honda Bay Island Hopping
      Day 3 – Underground River
      Day 4 – Dolphin Watching

      All the little details (including cost) is in the blog entry. Read and enjoy!

  39. we will be arriving in pps at 8am,,,what activity we should do first,,,i think we cant do the city tour first bcoz bakers hill is closed during mondays,,,and is it possible if we can get a permit for the underground trip at the coiliseum

  40. Hello! Thank you so much for this post, it is a GREAT help. I’ll be going there this August and there’s only two of us. It’s hard to find budget plans for only two people, most blogs only consider group of 4.

    I hope you won’t mind me asking. I want to make the most out of our trip but we’ll be arriving a bit late on our first day (11:30 AM). I was thinking we can do the DIY city upon arrival but I’m not sure how long that takes and if we’ll have enough time. How long did your DIY city tour take? I’m also planning to visit the Iwahig fireflies on the evening of our first day.

    Does the Honda Bay tour and Underground river tour take the whole day? I’m going to squeeze in as much activity as I could. Sorry for the barrage of questions!

    • Hi! Yes, you can do the city tour for half a day, although you might need to modify the itinerary a little since the crocodile farm is only open until 5pm. If you are to follow the commute option, you can take:
      – multicab from Rizal Ave to Crocodile Farm – 30-40 minutes (then spend 1 or 2 hours in Croc Farm) (P20-25/person)
      – multicab back to the direction of city proper but ask driver to drop you off at Pajara (15 mins, P15-20/person), then take tricycle to Binuatan Creations (minimumใ€€fare but driver may ask you to pay for 4 seats, 32 for the tricycle)
      – Multicab (10-15 mins) from Binuatan Creations to Butterfly Garden or you can try asking a tricycle (if there is one passing by) to bring you from Binuatan Creations to Butterfly Garden, they can take a shorter route of 10 minutes or less for 20-30 pesos for the two of you)
      – Tricycle from Butterfly Garden to Baker’s Hill (10-15 minutes)
      – Tricycle from Baker’s Hill to Mitra Ranch (5 minutes)
      – Tricycle from Mitra Ranch back to main Highway (5-10 minutes downhill)
      – Tricycle to Iwahig for firefly watching (this would definitely cost more, depending on your deal with your driver…)

      The problem with the commute option if you have a limited amount of time is that there might be no multicabs or tricycles present at a certain place (i.e. Crocodile Farm,Binuatan Creations) during the time that you finish. You might have to wait for a a few minutes (5-15 minutes) before one shows up.
      If you are short of time, I suggest hiring a tricycle to wait on you (600-700 for the city tour, but if you include Iwahig firefly watching, he might charge double since he has to wait for you until after dark). Just negotiate nicely (or check out other blogs with contact numbers of tricycle drivers).

      If you take the guided tours, Honda Bay island hopping will finish at around 3 while the Underground River Tour finished at 4 pm. The vans will take you to your hotel or in the main thoroughfare at the city proper. If you do the tour on your own, the last bus from Sabang (for Underground River) leaves at 2pm and arrives at the San Jose Terminal at around 3:30-4:00 pm. The island hopping depends on how long you wish to stay at each island, but it usually just takes 4 hours or less.

      You can squeeze in the city proper part of the tour (Plaza Miranda, Cathedral, baywalk) after these two activities.

      Good luck with planning and enjoy!

  41. Hi geoventurer,

    My family of 4 will be going to Puerto Princesa this last week of April 2013 for 5 days. And I’ve been tasked to do the itinerary ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s kind of hard to organize things that’s why I’ve been planning as early as now. I want you to know that your blog is a life saver ๐Ÿ™‚

    We will arrive on a Tuesday around 10AM and I’m planning to do a DIY City Tour just like what you have stated. Wednesday is for the Underground River Tour and I’m thinking of just booking through an agency so I won’t worry about getting a permit. For Thursday, I wanted to do a DIY Honday Bay Tour. What time do you suggest we leave? And do you think it won’t be too much of a hassle to rent a boat on that day knowing that its summer?

    Your reply will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Jean

    • Hi Jean,

      Thanks for dropping by my blog.

      For the city tour, you can hire a tricycle. Just rotate the seating arrangement from time to time, because the back ride (behind the driver) is a bit uncomfortable for tall people. You have enough time to enjoy all the sites ๐Ÿ™‚
      For the Underground River, yes if you want a hassle-free arrangement, you can opt for the travel agent (refer to my recommendation above)
      For Honda Bay, leave the city proper around 8am. The earlier you start, the calmer the waves will be. Plus, you’ll have the luxury of time to snorkel and feed the fishies. There are plenty of boats in Honda Bay, I’m sure you won’t find difficulty in booking a boat ๐Ÿ™‚ But if you start early, you have more time to roam the city in the afternoon…

      I hope you enjoy your stay!

  42. Wow, I’m impressed. Thanks for your quick reply.

    Can you recommend a tricycle driver? One who does not ask for more than the usual fare.

    Thanks,
    Jean

    • Hi Jean,

      One of the comments in this blog include a recommendation:

      “Gracey | July 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
      Hi geoventurer just would like to say Thank you for this blog, we had a great time in Puerto princesa last weekend and we were able to maximize our time because we had the tours by ourselves โ€“ the only packaged tour we had was the Underground river tour since we had to make sure we have permits beforehand. Your list of spots, activities and restos are really worth visiting! We really enjoyed our trip plus we were also able to try the new Irawan Adventure Zipline -1.3kms it was just great! Puerto is such a nice place, and the people are just so accomodating! For those who want to try DIY and need a helpful and trustworthy trike driver, I can refer Kuya Romeo, the one who became our official sundo and tour guide for 4 days! His contact number is 09122536921 ”

      If you have problems contacting this one, then let me know here so I can recommend another one for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. Hi,

    It’s me again. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Do you know if there’s still a way to go to Coron from El Nido?

    Thanks,
    Jean

    • Hi Jean,

      There are small outrigger boats that travel between the two islands. But personally, I wouldn’t recommend them. The travel is very rough, but my main issue is safety, especially when the weather is not good. But if you are prepared to rough it out, you can see a lot of advertisements for these boats when you arrive in Coron or El Nido.

  44. Very informative post! Keep on travelling and sharing your adventures through writing. Cheers!

  45. Hi to every one, the contents existing at this web page are in fact amazing for people experience,
    well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  46. Hi just want to ask if the Sommer Beach House located Hartman beach, Bgy. San Miguel , Puerto Princesa City, Palawan is a decent place to stay. Would really appreciate your comments on this place.

    thanks,
    Juliet

    • Hi Juliet!

      I have never seen the beach house as I think it is fairly new. It looks good in photos. However, I can tell you that the Hartman Beach is a pretty isolated place. If you want a secluded spot then this is perfect, but if you will frequently go on tours during your stay, the location might not be convenient. If they provide vehicles for you to use during your stay, then that would be OK.

      Hope this helps.

  47. Hi Geoventurer

    Just wanted to thank you for all the help you gave me during the planning of our Puerto Princesa trip. I made a blog out of it with my intention to be of help to those who plan a PPS trip specially the DIY trips, the way you and other bloggers helped me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    http://cloverbing.wordpress.com/category/travel/

    Again, thank you so so so so so much! Your city is a very beautiful place! and Palaweรฑos are very kind and accommodating! Will definitely go back there someday. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Godbless you more!

    • I am glad you had a wonderful time! It seems you really enjoyed your trip based on your write-up. I will be sure to recommend your tricycle driver to other tourists ๐Ÿ™‚

      More power to you too!

  48. thanks for your blog. super informative. i enjoyed reading their comments too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. hello again! ask ko lang kung ok po ba ang aking IT, here it goes:

    DAY1: we’ll arrive in pp @ around 1125h (kung hindi madelay ang cebu pacific)
    -travel to sabang for an over night stay sana
    -check in sa hotel
    -Ugong rock adventure. (makakaabot pa kaya kame considering na hapon na kame makakarating ng sabang?)

    DAY2: PPUR tour scheduled at 9 or 10am
    -check out sa hotel then travel back to puerto princesa city proper.
    -check in sa hotel, i’m considering dallas inn for our city proper stay, any idea kung ok ba yung place?
    -iwahig firefly watching (i’ll contact kuya romeo din for the service)

    DAY3
    -dolphin watching sa umaga
    -honda bay tour sa hapon (i’ll contact mars of travel portal duo)

    DAY4
    -whole day city tour (sabi ng friend ko na nakapunta na, maalikabok daw ang daan, pero grabeng tipid pag mag hire ng tricycle o kaya gawin yung DIY tips mo, kaya i opted to follow your suggestions)

    DAY5
    – flight back to manila @12nn.

    may nakalimutan pa ba ako? any suggstions pa? grabe sobrang excited na ko. sobrang helpful ng blog na ito, nabawasan ang iniisip ko. hehe.. thanks alot! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hello!

      For your itinerary:
      1. If you leave Puerto Princesa before 1:30 pm, I think you have enough time for Ugong Rock Adventure (provided you arrive in Sabang around 3:30)
      2. You already have permit? I heard it’s pretty hard to get a permit unless you register at least three weeks before…
      3. I think Dallas Inn is a fairly new place, and the location is convenient. I was surprised they were so cheap!
      4. How many are you in the group? If more than 2, sulit maghire ng tricycle. Kung magisa ka lang, ok yung commute. pero try to ask kuya romeo baka bigyan kayo discount na abot kaya
      5. souvenirs you can buy at the san juan pasalubong center (ask the tricycle drivers)

      Enjoy!

  50. hi ulit!
    thanks again for the reply.
    -wala padin kame permit. waaaahhh.. hehehe.. lakas ng loob ko magplano diba? ๐Ÿ˜€ last resort ko na talaga ang mag travel agency, gusto ko sana kase makapag overnight sa sabang.
    -2 lang kame ng boyfriend ko na magpupunta, we’ll celebrate his birthday sana dun.
    -muntik ko na makalimutan, pasalubongs! hehehe

    once again, thank you and may God Bless you more!

    • Hey! Ngayon sobra pahirapan ang permit (for some reason na mahirap i-explain sa isang public post hehe). Kahit travel agent tumatanggi na magbook kapag 1-2 weeks before the trip kasi ang haba ng pilaaaaaa… If you want to stay in Sabang and get a travel agent, you can try talking to my friend from Isee Palawan Tours, https://www.facebook.com/iseepalawan?fref=ts , 09178859494 / 09098849494
      He might be able to accommodate your request or work something out… He might be able to book your hotel for you in Sabang, even if you commute etc. Just try to inquire, if you don’t like the price then you can always say no ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. Hi i need ur help!! We have plane ticket but no itinerary will be leaving mnla july 8 11:15 den pps 13:15.. 2nd day underground.. 3rd day our flight back to mla is 13:45.. Do u think kya p honda and city tour? Tnx alot

    • Hello! Hmm I’ll check the Honda Bay if it’s still advisable to go out to sea after 2:30 pm. You can probably do Honda Bay island hopping on the first day (I’ll get back to you on this, will check this weekend whether you can start the tour in the late afternoon). On the second day, you go to Underground River in the morning (make sure you already book this tour because permits run out fast!) and do the city tour in the late afternoon and continue the next day before your flight.

  52. Hi!

    Were a group of 3 travelling to PP this Sept 12 – 14. Our flight schedules are 2:45 pm ETA on the 12th and 6pm ETD on the 14th.

    I want to squeeze in a lot of activities as much as possible so I decided to do the ffg IT:

    Sept 12 – DIY city tour
    Sept 13 – Arranged Underground River Tour
    Sept 14 – DIY Honda Bay Tour

    Do you think that this is workable? I’m worried about having the Honda Bay Tour on the third day before our flight coz I’d like to be at the airport at around 430pm. How early can we go to Honda Bay and how long can we stay there so that we’d still have time to prepare for our flight?

    Thanks! More power to your blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. Hi. I am looking for a group or someone whom I could share with the expenses on accommodation, fares and rentals during my vacay in puerto princesa on JUNE 20-23, 2013. I am a boy, 25 yrs old from Davao. Please email me at ariel_ampado@yahoo.com. Thanks.

  54. hi!
    punta kmi PP ng hubby ko on friday jul 5, arrive kmi mga 8pm… plan nmin mag Honda bay on sat, UR on sunday and puerto princesa city tour on monday. Tuesaday back to manila.
    Need po ur idea kung ok na itinerary namin at kung ano pa dapat naming puntahan. we’re planning to do DIY…
    thanks a lot!

    • Hello! Pwede nyo ilipat yung city tour sa Saturday kasi sarado Baker’s Hill ng Monday, unless aalis na kayo nang maaga on Monday? Mas konti din tao sa Honda Bay pag weekdays. Make sure may booking kayo sa Underground River, medyo mahirap magpabook ngayon. Good luck sa trip and I hope you enjoy!

  55. Hi we’ll be leaving to pps on friday then go back to manila on sunday. Lunchtime dating namin sa pps so i planned na magcity tour na kami. Then sa sat is underground river after that would be our honda bay island hopping. Do u think kakayanin yung one day for the two tours? Diy lang kami. We want to control our time, thats why. Hope for ur quick reply! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hello! Sorry for the late reply, I’m abroad so internet connection is irregular. I hope you were able to go to both the Underground River and Honda Bay. It would depend on your Underground River booking schedule kasi.

  56. And one more thing, we’re only two. Is it recommended to do diy instead? ๐Ÿ™‚

  57. hello, your blog is very informative and truly helpful. may i ask if its cheaper to hire a van for group of 20 and do the DIY tours you suggested…. can you please recommend a van for hire company with licensed driver that could also be our tour guide.

    many thanks,
    donna

  58. hello there were are going to pps on july31 till aug.3 we are arriving around 230pm from cebu if there is no delay will it still be possible for us have a DIY city tour on the day of our arrival for those places which is far from the city like the crocodile farm we are planning to rent a tricycle for this since we are 4pax traveling…we are book our accomodation with big brother condotel its in rizal st.they say its across jolibee is this ok like is it safe here…

  59. Hi,

    Thank you so much for sharing with us your blog on touring Puerto Princesa.

    I’m so tempted to do the DIY trip after reading your post.

    I’d like to ask for your suggestion and comment…

    1. Which is better Day tour in Dos Palmas or the Honda Bay island Hopping?
    2. Can we still extend our flight ticket (Zest air Promo). We’re leaving at 1pm and I like to extend it to 5pm . is it possible?

    I plan to visit Puerto Princesa this Aug 14-17, 2013.
    (2 Adults & 1 kid – 7 yrs. old)

    Arrival : Aug 14, 2013 (W) – 9:00 am at Puerto Princesa
    Departure: Aug 17, 2013 (Sat) – 1:00 pm … Just Wondering if we can extend our flight to 5:00 departure (ZEST Air promo rate)

    Anyway…. My plan is 1 night at Dos palmas and 2 night at Centro (Can you recommend any other hotel)

    1st Day – Dos Palmas overnight (or City tour on the 1st day , Day Tour at Dos palmas or Honda Bay Island Hopping on the 2nd day )
    (9:00 arrives in puerto and How can we go to Dos Palmas? What time is the boat going there?
    Is it possible to go to one place (City Tour) and eat lunch at a resto before going to Dos Palmas. I think sched boat is 1:30.
    Does that means that I need to rent a van? or Tricycle? Baggage?
    I think during lean season, Dos Palmas dont offer transfer, have u any suggestion how can we go there if we arrive at 9am. Or What can I do if I will that the 1:30 sched boat transfer.

    2nd Day – Centro (take the 4 pm boat back to PPS city proper) , firefly and kalui

    3rd Day – Underground river tour (plan to stay at Sheridan but I think we might stay at Centro) Bec. of time constraint and the travel time too long
    4th Day – Maybe HAVE City Tour if time permits (if I stay at Centro)…
    (no City tour if I stay in Sheridan – and I need to leave at 9am and no more city tour)

    I’m also struggling…I like to have the honda Island hopping too.
    I have decided to stay overnight at DOS Palmas, since the Day tour is almost the same with the overnight stay plus I can use their swimming pool and jacuzzi (for my son)…just wondering is a 7 year old kid allowed to snorkelling.

    Can you recommend any reliable van that we can rent? (I was thinking that the van can pick us up and take us to a few places before going to the wharf.) Any budget hotel…since we’ll be out most of the time =)

    is the plan feasible? Your suggestion and comment is highly appreciated.

    Thank you very much. God bless

    Babes

    • Hello,

      So sorry for the late reply. I was on a month-long trip abroad. I hope my answers would still be relevant.

      1. If budget is not an issue for you, Dos Palmas is a very nice place to unwind, and you can go snorkeling too. No age limit on the snorkeling, it’s alright for your son to do. Honda Bay island hopping is cheaper and allows you to visit 3 places and go snorkeling.

      2. I hope you were able to make arrangements with Zestair, it depends on their policy

      1st day – It’s very easy to hire a tricycle to take you anywhere and wait for you while you’re having lunch. Usual tricycle rate would be 500-700 per day.

      2nd day – This is a good plan. If you think Centro is too expensive for you, I highly recommend Tenzai Pension plus they have airport transfer (http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g294257-d3723459-Reviews-Tenzai_Pension_House-Puerto_Princesa_Palawan_Mimaropa.html)

      3rd day – You can talk to Sheridan about transportation arrangements if you opt to stay there. It’s a very nice place!

      • Thank you again for patiently answering my inquiries and sharing your suggestions. The answer is very timely. We’ll be there by next week.
        May the Lord richly bless your kindness as you help people. Keep up the good work.

  60. Hi, this is really helpful. Tanong lang po ako, ilan lahat yong gastos nyo? Can you share para po ma compare with travel packages.

    Thanks!

  61. hey sino sa inyo ang mag ddiy honda tour sa Sept. 14? kelangan ko kasi na kashare sa boat.. dalawa lang kami ng bf ko so mejo expensive if we rent the boat pra lang sa amin dalawa… anyone?

  62. hi ada, me and my bf are planning to have a diy honda tour on Sept. 14, mind if we join your group… naghahanap kami ng kashare sa boat e, mejo expensive if magrrent kami ng kami lang dalawa.

  63. ive been to puerto princesa twice i’m from cebu. maraming murang pension houses sa bandang roxas st. and b. mendoza sts. alam ng mga tricycle drivers yun. maraming bacpackers dun na DIY travellers din. pang dating nyo sa puerto princesa airport lumabas kayo sa gate ng airport at dun yung mga trciycle na hindi nakapila sa airport. mas mura yun. tapos chikahin nyo nalang kung saan makahanap ng murang pension house sa my roxas st. o b. mendoza na lugar.

    • hi! ask ko lang.. may beach ba in palawan.na free or cheap ang entrance fee? i will b staying at a transient house. kasi pero sa morning gusto ko mag swim. san po malapit? PEO road po ung transient house ko. d lucky garden inn. thanks sis!!

  64. Hi Ms.Jill, i have been searching for a very helpful information on visiting Palawan and i love your blog so much it is very helpful. I’ve got promo tickets for next year but gusto ko maayos na lahat ng details before that lalo na ang bugdet. It wii be on May 15 ETA 16:55 at May 20 ETD2000 going back to manila. Family of 5 kami first time to travel all together all adults. College students na mga anak ko lahat by next school year kaya tight ang budget. Can you recommend an itinerary na ma maximize yung stay namin if possible include El Nido at reccommendation for budget friendly accommodation possibly yung hindi per head ang charges per night. It will be ok to include PPUR sa tour package if there is no other way to get the permits easily, to avoid the hassle it will cost us 7,500 (1,500×5) but if we can secure permits on line will it be a lot cheaper to DIY?
    Will it be possible to contract an individual that will take care of us as if it is a DIY from our arrival to departure like a personal tourist guide but on a budget friendly amount, he could be our trike driver or van driver who can also reccommend which place we can stay and boatman who will help us. If it is possible can you reccommend one.
    I will try to check the places and persons mentioned in your and other comments above. Thank you so much. Hope to hear from you asap

    • Hi!

      Thanks for dropping by my blog, I’m glad you found it helpful.

      In the blog I recommended Mars +63 916 615 1856 just try to call her and say you got her number from the blog. She can help you arrange things according to your needs like bookings for Underground River, accommodations or van rental. If you need a tricycle driver I also mentioned one contact in the blog you can try to contact him as well. I think once you contact them they will help you plan accordingly, depending on what you want to do of course ๐Ÿ™‚

      Good luck and enjoy!

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

  65. Sherry Lou Ramos

    Hi geoventurer.

    Nice blog. Really worth reading. I hope you can help me because I am having a hard time deciding where to go. by the way, I sent you an email (sana mabasa mo ๐Ÿ™‚ ) We will be travelling to puerto Princesa on March 21-25 but will also go to El Nido. Will arrive at Puerto Princesa on 21 at 9am. Is honday bay tour possibe or can we just do the city tou since we are heading to El Nido by 6pm? we will head back to Puerto on MAarch 24 for the Underground river tour and will be free by March 25 from morning till 3pm. Please

  66. Sherry Lou Ramos

    please help me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you soooooooo much

  67. Hi There! I stumbled across your blog and let me just say, it’s one of the most informative and helpful blogs in the entire (cyber)world!!!!!!

    I wish you more travels and adventures so that you can continue dishing out tips and whatnots to us wannabe-ad(not necessarily geo)venturers. Hope you could travel to Europe soon and write about it, i.e., where to stay in Germany, what to eat, which beer to drink, how much would it cost you to have a blast there, etc. Currently, I’m studying this article on Puerto Princessa, as I’m hoping to visit this year. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Please count me as one of your (cyber)fans/stalkers (not one to fear, though). ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Dear Bukideer,

      Thank you so much for your kind words and admiration! I really hope I can come to Europe so I can write about it here, I’m sure I will have a great time there!

      I am sure I don’t have anything to fear from you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  68. Hi! Where can I rent snorkel set at Honda Bay?

  69. The best areas in Honda Bay are in the north. Starting in Binduyan and Tarabanan even from the Shore are long and healthy reefs. The first resort for snorkling and diving is located in Binduyan: http://www.jungle-beach-resort.com

  70. yeS it was so fun in Puerto Princesa with my Sister even though we’re lock of time to go from all very awesome and amazing tourist spot in Puerto Princesa we still get fun in there. and were planning to go back there with our family and I/We would like Lester to be our tourist guide again for he is so fun and enjoy to be with. I hope he can contact us coz we miss his presence xD thank you Les… ๐Ÿ™‚

  71. Good day,
    Your blog is very informative,and I cant wait to see puerto princesa.
    But one thing I want to ask is if you could give me some info if theres a shop for mountain bike rentals? I seems like to see the place while enjoying my favorite exercise biking.
    Hoping for any info.
    Many thanks and God bless,

    best regards,
    Joel Sagun Embuscado
    jsembucado@yahoo.co.uk

  72. hi want to ask how much will it cost for these sample itinerary? thanks!

  73. Asking for a good itinerary that can accomadate el nido and underground river starting from saturday 3pm till tuesday 2pm. thank u and Godbless

    • Saturday

      3pm – arrival in Puerto Princesa; go straight to El Nido 8 or 9pm – arrival in El Nido, stay overnight

      Sunday El Nido island hopping 4 or 5 pm – depart El Nido for Puerto Princesa ~9 pm – arrival in Puerto Princesa

      Monday 8am – Underground River 3 or 4pm – back in Puerto Princesa City Proper, Buy souvenirs

      Tuesday Morning – City Tour 2pm – departure

      You have to arrange the vehicle and hotel in advance especially for El Nido to follow this itinerary.

      If you need a tour coordinator, you can contact Mars at +63 916 615 1856

      Hope that helps!

      >

  74. Itts not my first time to pay a visit this site, i am browsing this web
    page daillly and get good facts from here every day.

  75. Also worth to visit is the north of Honda Bay. For snorkeling the coralls are in a much heathier condition and there are hiking tours to local falls and the Batak tribe. As a quality and natural accommodation i suggest: http://www.jungle-beach-resort.com/ with room prices from 1500php to 2500php for two incl. breakfast

  76. hi never thought this would be so informative… we slashed city tour from our package tour coz its too expensive… are you sure the cost of motorbike is 50 pesos per hour? thanks

    • Hi, not sure if the rates are still the same (those were from 2 years ago). I’ll check if the motorcycles for hire are still there and try to get back to you soon. Worst case you can hire the tricycles.

      >

  77. awww… thanks, hope to hear an update from you… were going in 3 weeks time… we want to explore the city on our own… thank you

    • Hi, my friend told me that there are still a lot of motorcycles for rent near the airport. Based on her experience, they rent out motorcycles now on a per day basis (one day meaning overnight use, you can return the next day) at about 400 per day for scooters and 500 per day for XRM motorcycles. You can just inquire about the per hour basis maybe when you arrive there (if they still offer those services). Hope that helps. Thanks!

  78. thankyou! it helps a lot… i hope they still offer it…

  79. hi,

    I’m so happy that I found this site! we are planning to go to Palawan 5 to 9 April 2015. After 8 years in NZ we are finally going back to the Philippines. PPS is our first out-of-town trip.

    We would like to spend a night in Dos Palmas. Would it be better to do this on our last day? Below is our temporary itinerary:

    5 april – arrival, city tour in the afternoon
    6 april – underground river
    7 april – honda bay
    8 april – dos palmas (hows the travel to airport from here?)
    9 april – shopping, back to manila in the afternoon

    what do you think of the above? I really want to squeeze in El Nido but I guess no more time. Is there anything from our itinerary that we can swap for the el nido?

    Also, how about accommodation in the city centre, maybe in Rizal avenue? we thought of Gohotels but then its a bit far from the real action scenario:) we are a family of 4, children are teenagers.

    thanks so much

    • Hi Anna,

      This itinerary is OK if you won’t go to El Nido. If you book with Dos Palmas they should have free transfers set up for you. Nevertheless it’s one tricycle ride or multicab ride to go to Honda Bay for boats going to Dos Palmas.

      If you want to squeeze in El Nido, upon arrival at the airport I suggest you go to El Nido directly, spend the night there and then do the island hopping on April 6 then in the afternoon (to evening) go back to Puerto Princesa. Then you can move Underground River to April 7 and Dos Palmas on April 8. Dos Palmas is in Honda Bay anyway so you can skip the Honda Bay island hopping since El Nido would be so much more worth the trip.

      If you want accommodations in Rizal Avenue, you can try Casa Linda Inn (048-433-2606)

      https://casalindainnpalawan.wordpress.com/

      or Liane’s Place
      https://www.facebook.com/LianesPlace

      or Big Brother Condotel
      http://bigbrotherhotel.com/bbc.html

  80. Hi,

    Dadating kami sa Palawan on March 14, 2015, Sat around 8:50 am at ang balik namin ay March 17, Tues 11;50 am. May accommodation na kami na nabook sa Astoria Palawan ng 3d 2n (free from a friend, March 14-16, 2015) at yung last day nmin iniisip ko magpunta ng El Nido mag early check out sa Astoria. Possible kaya yun? Any suggestion pls?

    Ask din sana ako ng advise nyo sa puerto prinsesa tours. Eto mga gusto namin:

    City tour (possible kaya pagdating agad namin from the airport?)- day 1
    Underground river (possible na tig half day to with honda bay tour sa 2nd day nmin?)
    Honda bay (possible na tig half day to with underground tour sa 2nd day nmin?)
    El Nido beaches sa 3rd day nmin

    Need you advise please pati price quotation at kung san makakahanap ng affordable tours. Thank you!

    • Hi,

      I think if you really want to go to El Nido you can forego the Honda Bay island hopping. Yan ang typical na ginagawa ng tourists ngayon. Instead of Honda Bay, sa El Nido na lang sila naga-island hopping.

      Eto ung possible itinerary nyo:

      March 14 – City tour (yes posible na ‘to pagdating nyo)
      March 15 – Underground River; pagtapos nyo sa hapon (mga 4 or 5 pm) dumiretso na kayo sa El Nido, may mga buses and vans naman palagi na nagbibyahe every hour. Overnight na kayo sa El Nido.
      March 16 – El Nido island hopping. Start early (mga 8am) so you can finish early tapos by 3 or 4 pm sakay na kayo uli ng van/bus pabalik ng Puerto Princesa
      March 17 – flight back to Manila

      Kung mapapansin nyo, sobrang lagare ang El Nido, lalo na 5 hours travel yun. So make sure yung mga kasama mo ay prepared sa ganong klaseng paguran na byahe. If not, mag-Honda Bay na lang kayo sa March 16 para mas reaxed then next time na ang El Nido… Your choice.

      Nasa blog ko na yung mga prices for Puerto Princesa tours, may contact information na rin ng tour coordinator, paki check na lang. All tours in Puerto Princesa and El Nido have standard rates, pare-pareho ang price everywhere you go unless you avail of tour packages na inooffer nila.

      For El Nido,van/bus fare per person is around 500-600 per person one way. Island hopping tour rates vary from 1,000 to 1,500 pesos per person depending on the package.

      Enjoy!

  81. Wow! This is the best guide I’ve ever read so far. However this is nearly 3 years old already. Hope you can help me a little more (you already did, this such a comprehensive guide, hehe). Are the rates (transpo, rentals, fees) still the same by this time? I booked a flight to PP for September, kaya lang sobrang short trip lang sya. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ Dapat binasa ko muna tong blog mo bago nagbook. Sigh. Anyways, here’s what we’re (i’m travelling with my partner) planning for the itenerary.

    Sept 1,
    Morning: arrival to PP
    Morning til Afternoon: Underground River Tour
    Early evening: firefly watching
    Late evening: back to proper to checkin, maybe checkout some local bars and grab some booze. Hehe.

    Sept 2,
    Morning: croc farm then travel to el nido (or can also be honda bay)
    Noon til late afternoon: island tour
    Evening: check in in a resort,

    Sept 3,
    Travel back to Manila, ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

    Would this be fine? Any suggestions?

    • Hello Drew!

      All the prices are current, as I update the blog when changes in the pricing occur.

      Your trip is really short, maybe impossible to go to El Nido if you want to see Underground River. El Nido is 5 hours by van so if you really want to go you need to leave really early morning and return really late at night.
      Also, the Underground River requires one day, as there are rarely tours that start from the afternoon. You can ask the tour coordinator I put in the link, but here is the most probable itinerary for you:
      Sept 1 – arrival, Honda Bay and if you still have time, city tour (Croc Farm, Baker’s HIll, etc)
      Sept 2 – Underground River
      Sept 3 – departure

  82. thank you for this guide!

  83. Hi ๐Ÿ™‚ This post is very helpful!
    With some friends we did a last-minute booking holidays. We will arrive this Thursday in PP for a 7-days backpacking trip in Palawan. We aren’t planing to stay a long time in PP: only one night and then going directly to Port Barton (Turtle Bay), and then to El Nido. Would you have any tips/advice concerning this 2 destinatinons :)?
    If we want to do the underground river on our way back, is it ok to book the permit thursday to do it the next thursday?
    Thank you very much in advance for your answer,
    M

    • Hi Mathilde!

      Port Barton and El Nido are good places to visit, just the road to port Barton is a little bit challenging. It’s not the rainy season so hopefully you’ll be ok. Enjoy island hopping in both destinations.

      For Underground River,, it’s best to reserve at least 3 days in advance to ensure slots. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Cheers and enjoy!

  84. Hi! We’re going to PP and El Nido on holy week. Is it cheaper to buy dried fish in Pp or in El nido? When we went to Pp 5 Yrs ago the price at the wet market was not really cheap. Very minimal ang price difference compared to Manila prices. N

    • Hi, sorry for the late reply. I haven’t tried buying dried fish in El Nido, but it should be cheaper there than in PP unless they jacked up the price for tourists.

  85. Do you think Go Hotels in Puerto Princesa is a good choice of hotel?

    • It’s quite far from the main city, so if you want a drink or to hang out in the main city it’s quite difficult to get back to the hotel (unless you are willing to pay 60-100 pesos for the tricycle fare).

  86. Hi!
    I will go to puerto primcesa on March 23 at 7pm to 26 at 8pm. Balak ko sanang mg-el nido na din possible ba un? mga mgkano kaya magagastos ko. pati pagpunta sa mga galaan sa puerto?
    tnx

    • Irene Concepcion

      Hi. I already booked our flight with my 2 daughters (21 and 13 years old) but still looking for ways on how to maximize our 5 days/4 nights adventure in Palawan, plus of course, minimize the cost. We will arrive around 1 pm on a Thursday (May 2015) and would want to relax and spend the rest of the day in our accommodation, since I will be coming from my night shift duty at work on that day.

      First question is: what reasonable accommodation would you suggest if we are going to have the Underground River tour (which I will reserve early with the accomodation we’ll be staying at) the next day, Friday? I would want an aircon room for the three of us with private T&B; a ref inside the room would be a big plus.

      Second question: do you know a reasonable accommodation with an outdoor pool and/or beach nearby? I asked because I am really so coward to ride on a boat and not sure if I can go on Honda Bay island hopping. With a beach/pool around, my daughters might be settled with it; unless they’ll cry insisting to go island hopping (which is my youngest’s trick to persuade me). That is why I want to go to Underground River first, be familiar with the place, and earn much courage before deciding on island hopping, which may take place on a Saturday.

      Next is: is your DIY city tour will not be a hassle if we do it on a Sunday? My idea is to leave our accommodation before lunch (if they offer breakfast) or after lunch (if I could cook our food). I am thinking of going to the Cathedral around 4-5pm so that we could hear our Sunday mass there.

      The pool and/or beach will be very beneficial because I intend to stay at the accomodation before our departure on Monday at 6:55 pm. And by the way, since the usual check out is 11 am -12 noon, would it be fine to buy pasalubong/stuffs just before going to the airport?

      It was actually an old friend (elementary classmate) who invited (and encouraged) me to visit Palawan. He is supposed to be our guide. He is a police officer there but after I booked our flight in March, his facebook account has been deactivated! Since then, my free time has been spent on browsing the Internet for tips in getting around your majestic province. I am looking forward to a well-spent, enjoyable summer getaway for me and my kids.

      Thank you in advance and God bless!

  87. Hi. Do you know of a place that has hiking-tents-for-rent in Puerto Princesa?

  88. thank you for your tips and suggestions… very detailed and nice blog!
    kudos!! good luck in your other adventures.

  89. Thanks for the very informative itinerary! Would like to ask if you’ve been to secret paradise resort or any place where turtle hatchlings can be found?

    Would it be advisable to replace the underground river day with a trip to El Nido or any other places in Palawan? I also heard of a dolphin viewing trip. Would you have a suggested itinerary change for this?

    Thanks so much for your help!

    • Hello! Ah I’ve never done the turle hatchling activity, but I heard it’s very good (but the resort rates are quite expensive). The dolphin watching is a half day activity. I think I have a link on the blog, just not sure if it’s till running, you can try contacting the number I posted on the dolphin watching post…
      I would recommend El Nido even for just a day. It’s worth the trip

  90. Hello, we r planning to rent a multicab for our city tour. Do u have any contacts po?

  91. Do u have any contacts po for multicab rental..?

  92. Hi Jill for more inquiries regarding tours in Puerto Princesa, Coron and Elnido. I have my new number now.. +63926 005 7577 and or +63999-1708692 for smart. email: de.tourstravelagency@gmail.com FB page: Detours Travelagency, Salamat po!

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