One of my dream travel destinations in the Philippines is the province of Palawan. It is dubbed as the “Philippines’ Last Frontier” for it has various things to offer. Noteworthy to mention is its green and clean tourists’ destinations.
I have been in Palawan thrice already. Every experience is special and memorable. The first time I visited Puerto Princesa City was in June 2012. It was an unforgettable getaway because it was my first out-of-town experience with my former colleagues without any work involved. I also considered this trip as my advanced birthday present because it was the same month that my birthday falls. Meanwhile, the second and third visit to Puerto Princesa was in 2017 due to job assignments I had to attend to. I did not expect to see Puerto Princesa City again. Well, thanks to that previous job assignment.
Puerto Princesa City – The City in the Forest
Puerto Princesa City is the capital of Palawan. It is considered as one of the largest cities in the Philippines in terms of land area. During the Spanish colonization of the country, it was named after the Spanish Queen’s daughter, Princess Eulalia. It was intended to be a fine colony penitentiary, but after the death of the princess, the city’s name was changed to Puerto de la Princesa. Years after, the city’s name was shortened to Puerto Princesa, as it is commonly known, at present.
This developing city is also called “the city in the forest”, as most parts of Puerto Princesa has preserved its lush green environment and abundant flora and fauna. The tourism industry of Palawan’s capital city remains to be robust especially in the last decade due to city government’s conservation efforts to maintain it clean and green, attracting local and foreign guests to visit and explore the wonders of Puerto Princesa.
Interesting places to visit in Puerto Princesa
For the three times I have been in Puerto Princesa, I highly recommend these must-see destinations to visit especially those first-time guests of Puerto Princesa. These interesting places in Puerto Princesa will educate you to appreciate and know the city and its humble beginnings.
This place awakens my historical sense. It is where the tragic death of 143 prisoners of war happened during the devastating World War II. The city of Puerto Princesa paid tribute to those who died from this untimely yet inhumane act by erecting a marker and a monument, symbolic of their heroism and martyrdom. At present, Plaza Cuartel serves as the city’s historic park, retaining the significant memory of gallantry not only of the people of Palawan but also of the Philippines.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral
This white and blue religious architecture is the oldest Catholic church in the city of Puerto Princesa. As a Catholic devotee, I paid a visit to this beautiful church to express my gratitude to God for His enormous blessings and safe travel.
Puerto Princesa Baywalk
Similar to Roxas Boulevard in Manila’s Manila Bay sans the trash, Puerto Princesa Baywalk is the go-to place of the locals and guests to relax and unwind by appreciating the view of the bay whether during sunrise or sunset. Others go here for a pleasurable walk or jog while some do leisure biking. At night, there are several food stalls along the baywalk where you can peacefully dine in and indulge in Puerto Princesa’s freshest seafood available. Before Christmas time comes, the government has its annual Christmas tree lighting activity held in this place.
All of these destinations are found in Puerto Princesa’s city proper. Outside the city proper, there are numerous attractions to visit so as to experience a different adventure.
Palawan Wildlife and Conservation Center
Found in Barangay Irawan, Palawan Wildlife and Conservation Center is a facility for crocodiles and other endangered animals in Palawan. It is also the home of Rio, the first documented longest crocodile, who measures 17 feet in length. Rio’s skin and the skeleton are kept and preserved here. Inside this facility, visitors could witness how these crocodiles live and propagate. I suggest that you come here early so you can better listen to what the guide has to say about these crocodiles. After a short tour, you can buy souvenir items like stuffed toy crocodile, keychain, shirts and other similar stuff in the said area. You can also try eating crocodile’s meat, which they claim to have several health benefits.
One of the popular attractions in Puerto Princesa, Baker’s Hill is situated in Barangay Santa Monica and is known for its freshly baked hopia and other pastries. So for those guests who are looking for something to bring home after their Puerto Princesa getaway, this is the best place to buy freshly baked goodies. What’s beautiful about Baker’s Hill aside from its baked hopia is the well-maintained landscape of the place, which is considered Instagram worthy. You will appreciate the perfect mix of nature and modernity inside Baker Hill.
This attraction is few meters away from Baker’s Hill and is also situated in Santa Monica. Owned by late Senator Ramon Mitra, Jr., Mitra’s Ranch is another attraction you should not miss if you want to ogle at the magnificent view of Puerto Princesa City. Other than taking photos, you can do these fun yet thrilling activities like horseback riding, doing zip line or simply visiting the house of the late senator.
For those who seek some laidback relaxation or enticing water activities, Honda Bay is a place to visit. Reward yourself with a refreshing scenery and check out Honda Bay’s best-kept islands – Luli (Lulubog-Lilitaw), Starfish, Pandan, and Cowrie. Explore and swim on its blue, clear waters and see for yourself various sea species.
Ugong Rock is another tourist attraction that offers eco-adventure activities such as caving, spelunking, and zip line. Appreciate the cave’s natural rock formation of stalactites and stalagmites.
Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR)
This is an important tourist destination you cannot afford to miss. Named as one of the Seven Wonders of Nature, PPUR offers beautiful limestone formation as well as the clean and clear river. Be delighted with how the boatman/tour guide creatively describes every rock formation during the PPUR’s river tour. While inside the premises of the PPUR, please be watchful of your belongings as there are many monkeys loitering around the area who are fond of getting phones and other fancy things that some guests bring.
Other than the aforementioned interesting and must-visit places in Puerto Princesa, check out also Iwahig River to do firefly watching at night. This activity is something I look forward to doing when I go back to Puerto Princesa.
Visiting Puerto Princesa enabled me to revel in this journey that taught me to respect and value the wonders of this interesting city.