I have never been in love with a city until I set foot to Puerto Princesa City (partida bad weather pa un ha).
We arrived to a gloomy weather and have been praying for the sky to open up and for the sun to shine its brightest as this was my first time in Palawan. I’ve heard and seen so many stories about Palawan and was excited to enjoy it with Jayjay. We scored a seat sale with Cebu Pacific and booked with Tres Pension for P1000 per night for 2 people with free breakfast and airport pick up. We enjoyed our stay here I find it cheap but very comfortable and clean and nice staff though it’s quite far from the city center. You can ask them to book and reserve a slot for tours, island hopping and other activities. We decided not to book for any tour ahead of time as we’re not sure how the weather would be we also decided that we can just skip the underground river tour because I feel like the experience of seeing it on TV and pictures was just the same as experiencing it for real and we have a limited budget so we decided t skip it for now. Then we learned that after being awarded as one of nature’s seven wonders you have to book a tour in advance like a month or so and according to Ate Joan of Tres Pension from what they’ve heard it was fully booked already for the next 2 months. We instead asked them to book us for the Honda Bay tour and the firefly river cruise.
|entrance to tres pension|
We’re supposed to arrive at PPC at around 4:00PM but our flight was delayed due to air traffic. I suggest that whenever booking a promo or seat sale choose an early morning flight schedule to avoid delays. We landed at around 7:00PM and it was raining we were picked up by the van from Tres Pension and we just left our backpacks and then decided to hunt for a place to eat. The staff of Tres Pension suggested Balinsasayaw which was 10 minutes away by tricycle. Balinsasayaw has a nice façade but make sure to wear pants and long sleeves or put on an insect repellant as there were a lot of mosquitos. We asked the waiter for their specialty and he mentioned Balinsasayaw Express which we ordered and Sinigang na Talakitok. We were surprised to discover that their specialty Balinsasayaw Express was just like chopsuey without any meat or fish. We keep on thinking why the waiter would recommend something that’s not that good. We spent P371.00 for our dinner.
On our second day we were anxious as it was still a gloomy day and already started raining and we’re scheduled to visit Honda Bay. The tour guide picked us up at 7:30 AM and upon arriving to the jump off point for the Honda bay tour all visitors were just staying on the parking lot and all boats were docked. We were informed that Coast Guard did not allow any island hopping trip due to bad weather, there was actually no rain but the wind was strong and the tour organizer informed us that there was an incident before that almost toppled the boat due to strong winds that’s why Coast Guard does not allow boat tours with strong winds. A lot of disappointed sighs were heard and we were already paid and I’m not sure how we can refund the money. The guide told us that we will do city tour instead because they have also prepared lunch and will maximize the day to cover as much that will equal our money (ay ganun!).
|honda bay i'll be back|
We went first to a korean spa I was disappointed there was nothing you can do in it, the spa they’re saying was like a cubicle with pool like I don’t even have words how to describe it hehe. The rest of the group seems to feel the same way as they head back to the van. We then went to the mangrove beach at the back (or I think it’s the front I’m not totally sure) of Mictorel Palawan. It was a nice place very quiet, it was very low tide that you walk meters away and the water will still be just at your ankle. We already crossed out swimming on our list because it will be impossible. We had our lunch here and it was a healthy feast, combination of pork and seafoods with matching fresh buko juice. We stayed here for almost 2 hours and started chatting with other members of the group and explored the beach and the mangroves.
|kubo along the beach|
We then went to Balsahan River inside the Iwahig Penitentiary. They say that inmates here can freely stroll around the compound and around the penitentiary. It was almost like a barangay to me there were houses along the road and people wearing orange shirts were walking in the streets. I was a little scared I’m not sure if this was a safe thing to do but according to our guide there was never an incident of violence or tourists being harmed here. Iwahig was a far drive from the city center and it was raining hard when we arrived at the Balsahan River. There was a construction going on at one side of the river and they say that they’re widening it to accommodate tourists and water activity. They say that they plan to put up river tubing activity here. We did not stay long as it was raining hard.
We then went to the Iwahig Penitentiary proper, they have a hall where they accept tourist with a welcoming dance group and a lot of souvenirs you can choose from. It looks safe and there were also other tourists roaming around. There were some prisoners selling siopao and some were very pushy that I decided not to buy any souvenir because if they see you buying something they will not leave you until you also buy from them. One of us was forced to buy from one of the prisoners because he got scared as the prisoner was very pushy and to get off his back he just bought from him.
Next stop was Baker’s Hill, it was like a house in the US with the house design and it’s like you’re not in the Philippines. We roam around and they have a mini zoo at the back and the famous bakery in front. The hopia boxes still hot and fresh from the oven at a reasonable price. Lastly we went back to the city proper and went to LRC souvenir shop which was along the highway. If you wish to buy pasalubongs and souvenirs you may want to do it here the merchandise here are cheap but I’m not sure if there’s another place that sells much cheaper pasalubongs and souvenirs.
It was a tiring day and I was expecting myself to feel very disappointed but surprisingly I was not, I was very impressed with the city. We almost drive longer that staying to the places we went to and were able to observe the city and enjoy the view and I was even mesmerized when we decided to walk along Rizal Ave to look for a place to eat. We were supposed to join the firefly river cruise with dinner but unfortunately there was a misunderstanding and a mix up with schedule. We ate at Ugong Rock, the place was cozy and their food was good though their servings are not that big, we spent P397.00 here.
It was like any other provincial cities that I’ve been through but there’s something with Puerto Princesa City that I felt, we were never been yet to any of its natural wonder and enjoy its pristine beaches and it’s like even without showing us the beauty it possesses, the city itself already made me swoon. I’ll be back for sure to be fully in love with the city.
|i <3 ppc!|
EXPENSES FOR 2PAX:
Air fare: P1700 2 way (seat sale)
P40 triclycle – from hotel to Balinsasayaw
P16 – multi cab from resort to city center
P60 – from city center back to hotel
Food and drinks for 2 pax:
P1150 – will depend to the place where you will eat and drink. We bought beer at one of the convenience stores in the city center and consumed it in our hotel room :)
P1500 each for Honda Bay tour
P1000 - 3 days/ 2 nights