(Last Updated On: October 5, 2017)





When we speak of the island of Palawan, commonly what comes to mind to many people is the Puerto Princesa Underground River which made headlines when it was declared as one of the  New 7 Wonders of Nature. But even before then, Palawan has always been every Filipino’s dream destination. Pristine white sand beaches, rich marine biodiversity, lusciuos rain forest, beautiful mountains, spectacular limestone cliffs, the list could go on for days! And oh boy, who can resist that? These and every other good reasons there is to this island paved a bankable tourism economy to the province and made Puerto Prinsesa the go-to city of every tourist who is seeking to know what heaven is like.

So what exactly does Puerto Princesa have aside from being the gateway to its more coveted neighbors Coron and El Nido?

A lot actually. Whether you’re in it for adventure and a rush of adrenaline or to simply kick back and seek solace wrapped within nature’s embrace, Puerto Prinsesa has it all covered. What’s even better is that this city has everything to fit your every need without hurting your budget. Not good enough? Then better browse further down.

PUERTO PRINCESA GUIDE


HOW TO GO THERE
  • From Luzon – Fly to Puerto Princesa from either Manila or Pampanga via Cebu Pacific, Phil Airlines or Air Asia. These airlines have occassional seat sales on going all year round. For Mindoro, Romblon, Marinduque and Bicol area, ferryboat service might be another alternative to go to Puerto Princesa.
  • From Visayas – Fly to Puerto Princesa from Cebu, ILo-iLo or Kalibo (Boracay) via Cebu Pacific. Alternatively, you can ride a ferryboat available in each of these locations.
  • From Mindanao –  Fly via Cebu Pacific to Puerto Princesa from Davao, Cagayan De Oro, Butuan and Zamboanga. Check for availability of flights as they might be limited.


SO WHY EXACTLY DID I SAY PUERTO PRINCESA HAS EVERYTHING? Wait til I tell you what you can do with only a budget of P5000.


Accommodation

PUERTO PRINCESA GUIDE

During my previous posts, I emphasize how I am not really into fancy accommodation. But! There’s a big BUT! Here in PPS, I was completely in awe how my P650 have come a long way. Imagine getting a good night sleep in a room which feels exactly like home with a bed that was big enough for 2 people with the AC in full blast. And what could be sweeter with waking up in the morning with a delicious omelet and toast and a cup of coffee for breakfast?! Yeah. All that for a price of P650 in Villa Travelista Travel Lodge. A Very Quiet place. 10 minutes away from the airport and everything else (market, souvenir shops and restaurants). Owned and manage by a sweet couple and their 4 girls who will welcome you with open arms and make you feel like family.

 






Activities

(Choose among the following or combine 2-3 activities but still be mindful of your budget)

 

  • Go on a city tour. I highly recommend you do the city tour DIY style. Whether you do it riding on a trike or driving yourself on a motorbike, it’s always pleasant as you own your time and doesn’t have a schedule to follow. Come see the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Butterfly Sanctuary and Crocodile Farm. Drive your way up to Baker’s Hill and delight yourself with sweet and tasty pastries. All these you can do for as little as P500.
  • See the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. Commonly known as the “Underground River”, this is always worth seeing when in Puerto Prinsesa. For a fee of P1200, you get yourself to immerse with nature’s wonder, laugh at your tour guide’s old school jokes along with the other tourists and fill your tummy with a sumptuous buffet for lunch.
  • See the Estrella Falls. I just love chasing waterfalls and Estrella Falls wasn’t the kind to disappoint. Have a picnic while tuning in to the sound of water gushing down. This you can do with a budget of less than P300.
  • Go firefly watching. What could be more romantic with a river tour dinner lit with thousands of fireflies? And even if you are alone with no one to hold and warm you from the cold starlit night, this is still one amazing experience when in PPS. Delight yourself while spending as little as P1000 for this tour.
  • Go Island Hopping. Discover paradise within Honda Bay by hopping one island after the other. Many people would take arranged tours for Honda Bay that normally cost P1000/person which includes a buffet lunch. But you need not to go along with the crowd. For a price of P1500, you and your friends (if you brought some) can rent a small boat and the boatman would serve as your guide. If he’s in the mood, he might even get you some fresh seafood and cook them for lunch.
  • Food Tripping. Crocodile Sisig and Tamilok are just a few exotic dishes you can try in Puerto Princesa. There are a lot of good restaurants around town and boy you’ll be surprise how inexpensive they are. Oh, should I also tell you to try Noki Noc’s best tasting Halo-Halo? Yum! 

For a more comprehensive list of the things you can do while you are in Puerto Princesa, visit my other post 12 Things To Do in Puerto Princesa


PUERTO PRINCESA GUIDE

Eats
  • Fast food chains. Jollibee, McDonalds, Chowking and even Razon’s. Puerto Princesa has all your favorite fast food chains available within your reach.
  • Ugong Rock. Serves inexpensive but delicious dishes. Also perfect for hanging out to grab some beer and cocktails.
  • Noki Nocs. Perfect for snacking. Well known for its delicious Halo-Halo.
  • Eateries and canteens. No need to fret if you’re already running out of juice. You won’t have to starve or cut your meal to save as for a price of P25, you can get yourself a delectable chowfan rice available in the many eateries scattered around the city.

PUERTO PRINCESA GUIDE


OTHER BUDGET HOTELS IN THE CITY
  • Remari Tourist Inn. Located in front of the PP Provincial Capitol. Rates start at P750.
  • Baragatan Inn. Junction 1, San Miguel Puerto Princesa. Rates start at P300
  • Badjao Inn. Located in 350 Rizal Avenue. Rates start at P350.
  • De Loro Inn. Located in PEO Rd. Bancao-Bancao. Rates start at P700
  •  Casa Linda Inn. Located in Trinidad Road with rooms available for as low as P400.

TIPS AND OTHER HELPFUL INFORMATION
  • There are two types of tricycle service in Puerto Princesa, the airport and non-airport tricycle. Airport tricycle fare is P50 and it would take you anywhere in PPS from the airport and vice versa. Non airport tricycle fare is P10 and can take you to and from anywhere in PPS except the airport.
  • Terminal fee for all passengers departing PPS is P150.
  • For delicious pastry treat to bring home, Baker’s Hill is your best choice. From the famous hopia to chocolate crinkles and other sweet favorites, you can have it all for as low as P30/box.
  • If you love collecting T-shirts and souvenir items from different places, you would be happy to know that T-shirts are sold for only P100-P130. Souvenir items like small key chains and fridge magnets are sold for P25 apiece, native coin purse are for P30 and beaded purses and bags are sold for P70-P250.

 






SUMMARY OF EXPENSES FOR
  • 3D3N Hotel (shared with my travel buddy) @ P650/night – P975 for 3 nights
  • Underground River Tour – P1200
  • Honda Bay Tour – P1000
  • Iwahig Firefly Watching – P600 (DIY)
  • City Tour – P200 (Rented a motorbike)
  • Food and Drinks – P500
  • Pasalubong – P500 (Baker’s Hill goodies, keychains and t-shirts)
  • Terminal Fee – P150

TotalP4925/person

***2-way airfare per person was only P600+ through Airsasia Red Hot Sale of P0.25 base fare in August 25, 2014. This also was an 8-Day Palawan Trip but we spent the first 5 days in El Nido. See my El Nido Budget Travel Guide for more info. 


SAMPLE ITINERARY 3D2N (Following 24-hour format)

Day 1

0900: Fly to Puerto Princesa
1000: Arrive in Puerto Princesa
1000 – 1130: Freshen Up. Check in Hotel.Settle Things. Rest a bit
1130 – 1300: Lunch
1300 – 1700: City Tour (PPS Cathedral, Butterfly Sanctuary, Croc Farm, Baker’s Hill etc)
1700 – 1800: Dinner
1800 – 2000: Iwahig Firefly Watching
2100: Back to the Hotel
2200: Lights Out

Day 2

0600: Wake Up Call
0630 – 0800: Freshen Up. Breakfast
0800 – 0830: Pick Up time – Honda Bay Tour
0830 – 1600: Honda Bay Tour/Dos Palmas Island Tour
1700: Back to the hotel. Rest. Bathe.
1800 – 1900: Dinner
1900 – 2100: Roam the city
2200: Back to the hotel. Lights Out

Day 3

0600: Wake Up Call
0630 – 0800: Freshen Up. Breakfast
0800 – 0830: Pick Up time – Underground River
0830 – 1400: Underground River Tour. Buffet Lunch. Other Activities
1400 – 1500: Shop for Pasalubong
1600 – 1700: Back to the Hotel. Pack Up
1800: Fly back home


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Took me time to finish this. I hope I’ve written just about everything you might need for a smooth Puerto Princesa escapade. I’m more of a backpacker than a luxury traveler but if there’s anything you wanna ask me about, feel free to shoot me a message on the comments box below. Also do check my Budget Travel Guide for EL NIDO ever you also plan to visit this exquisite place. Thanks and See yah!! 🙂

Author

Hi There!

Watashi no namae wa Kezu desu!

“A wanna be. Wanna do everything kind of badass”

Chos!

Hmm. I’m wondering what I should tell you since I really don’t wanna oversell myself. Let’s see.. Just like any other girl, I’m just ordinary. I love to travel, take photos, share stories and write. I’m an anime otaku and my favorite country is Japan although I haven’t been there yet. I have a 9 by 5 job but I hope to travel full time someday. And I’m also a blabbermouth since birth. Me blogging and writing stuff online is just some sort of therapy so I don’t get myself in trouble. You know, me and my big mouth. Lol

65 Comments

  1. Hi Keza! I love Puerto Princesa and the itinerary you recommend 🙂 Honda Bay island hopping was a big highlight for me as well as the Underground River tour. I didn’t take souvenirs back though – should have got me one of those P100 shirts >< I also recommend heading to Palaweno Brewery – it's a brewery run by women and they make seriously good beer 😀

    • Hi Alice!

      I’m happy to know you had a good time. Will go there in December. Will def try Palaweno Brewery. Thanks

  2. Hi,this is so far the best blog about Palawan. Thanks!

    Btw, curious what u did exactly sa DIY Firefly watching?

  3. Hi. To avail the tours to Honda Bay and Underground River, do we need to book for it prior to our travel date or can it be availed on the spot ‘pag nasa PPS na? Thanks po in advance. 🙂

    • UG tour needs prior reservation but honda bay can be booked upon arrival. It would still be better for you to book prior to going there for both the tours

  4. Hi, is it still possible to have the underground river tour after lunch? Time of arrival at Puerto Princesa is 11:35 am. Kelangan din ba advance registration sa firefly watching? Short stay lang kasi kami kaya we want to make the most of the time

    • Hi Annie. UR Tour are normally done in the morning. I don’t know whether it got something to do with river water tend to rise in the afternoon or what. For firefly wTching. No reservation needed. You can simply DIY.

  5. OMG this is so helpful! Me and my buddy will go there by the end of March for a 3D/2N stay and we are both first timers. Just a question though, if we rent a boat for Honda Bay tour, is it possible to do island hopping ng half day like after lunch? We’re a bit tight of schedule so we might as well use our first day for Honda Bay then Underground the next day and City tour in the morning of the day we depart. Thanks in advance. 🙂

    • Hi Lorelie. Nope po. Base kasi sa state ng dagat ang paglaot so early in the morning po dapat nagdepart na. Rare na lang po yung hapon umaalis. Yung underground river po, need nyo po magbook and reserve for at least 2 weeks para po sa permit.

      • Super thanks for letting me know. I need to make reservation na pala for Underground River tour..balak ko pa naman on the day our arrival. Baka nganga kami pag ganon. Hahaha! Thanks again. 😊

  6. Many things this blog present are bloody useful for a first time travel to Palawan. Thank you for these clear presentation. More power to you.

    • We DIY the firefly watching. Yung underground river, kinuha namen with De Loro Travel Agency. Di po kame nagpareserve pero mas maganda na magpareserve na slot for the UGR tour.

  7. Hi! ❤️ I just want to ask if budget wise okay na ba ang 4998php for 3d2n stay at PPS? Thats excluding the airfare tho. Its so hard to grab a sale right now. Everyones fighting for it. Haha. That includes accomodation w breakfast, Underground tour with lunch buffet, Honda Bay Island hopping + picnic lunch, and City tour. Wala pa yung Firefly watching 🙁

    Or would it be better if we risk of availing at an agency when were in PPS already? Its our first time so please help us out 😖

    Thank you!

    • Hi Lourdes. That’s quite a good deal na. Add na alng konte para sa firefly watching. Baka mas mahal pa makuha nyo sa agency sa PPS.

  8. HI! just want to ask how you find the optional tours if youre already in PPS? like the honday bay and underground river? is it like a common offer they have around the hotels?

    • Hi. Yes Honda Bay and Underground River is very common with agencies and hotels in PPS. They’re their bread and butter so you won’t really have a hard time looking.

  9. Hi Mam, I will be going to PPS end of April on my own. As a solo traveler, I would like to ask for the details re Honda Bay + Dos Palmas tour? Like, was it a DIY tour or what agency you booked it from and HOW MUCH? and if you still have contact numbers or website of that agency (if you used one)?

    I would really appreciate your reply. Thank you so much.

    • Hi Abegail. You can organize your tour with De Loro Travel Agency. Their office is in front of PPS airport. You may want to google their website though since I don’t have their contact number.

    • Hi Cloudyne. You will need to make prior reservation and seek permit for the Underground River tour. You may arrange that with any agency or hotel in Palawan prior to you going there.

  10. Clerr Morilla Reply

    Hi po ms. Ask ko lang po paano po ba gawin ung DIY firefly wqtching? At saan po kaya sya iavail? First time namin kc pumunta ng puerto. Need some advice lang po. Slamat. 🙂

    • Hi Clerr,

      Just hire a tricycle dun sa Puerto papunta sa Iwahig Firefly. P1000 balikan good for 5 pax.

  11. hi ms. keza ask ko lang po san mas mura mag avail ng tour sa Underground River Tour,Honda Bay Tour,Iwahig Firefly Watching?? sa airport po ba diba may mga agency doon na pwede mag avail ng tour package?

    • Dun na lang po kayo sa mga agency sa Palawan kasi malaki yung difference sa offer ng mga agencies online and dun sa mga tour operators sa Palawan. May chance ka pa para maghaggle. Try De Loro or yung katabi nilang agency sa airport. 😊

  12. Marco Barretto Reply

    Keza,

    Hi! I’m currently in Princessa now and I read you blog. Nice write up! . I would like to know where you can go to rent the boatman and boat for P1500 and how far/long is the drive from the airport to the boat/boatman? Thank you in advance.

    • Hi Marco,

      You can get those boats in Lourdes Wharf which is an hour or so away from Puerto Princesa City.

  13. hi.. from the hotel how can we book going to underground river? thank you. did u ask the hotel staff to assist u on your needs? 🙂 thank you..

    • Hi May. You may do that as hotels do arrange tours for their guests but us, we had it arranged prior to checking in our hotel as we headed first to El Nido. We just booked the tours ahead with De Loro. They have an office in front of PPS airport.

      • Hi. Okay naman ba yung tour sa river with De Loro? Like how’s the tour, the guide, and the buffet. It would be really helpful!

        • Hi. Yeah it was ok. We didn’t get it from De Loro. We decided to go on our own para mas exciting. You’ll be served with the same food naman after the boat tour in Iwahig regardless kung kaninong agency mo nakuha yung tour. 🙂

      • Hello Keza! Im planning a trip to palawan this coming summer.. im very worried about the hotel I booked as it is not close enough to the beach when I take a look at the map.. how is getting around palawan? Maliit na lugar lang ba sya? Yung tipong maiikot mo within minutes? (Except underground river, honda bay, and the likes) Let’s say, Im staying in the upper part of puerto princesa, can I easily get to the beaches in bancao area? Thanks!

        • Hi Tara!

          You don’t really need to worry. Getting around Puerto Princesa is easy. Everything is just a jeepney or a tricycle away. It’s a plus if you can drive a motorcycle. Let’s you gob around the city with ease. Have fun

  14. Hi.very helpful blog.
    Ask ko lang,if galing Iwahig Penal Colony,may nadaan bang public transport (jeep/bus) going to Roxas?Bababa kasi kme sa Astoria palawan in San Rafael to check in..
    Or do we need to go back in the city sa terminal para mkasakay?
    At meron kyang nadaan na public transport sa Astoria from Roxas to PP na puede naming parahin pag pabalik n kme sa city?

    Sana masagot mo.its a very big help kc its my 1st time in PP.
    Salamat at God bless.

    • Hi Jam. I wish I knew. I’m really sorry. Better to ask Astoria for public transpo info since they are more accustomed to the place. :'(

  15. Ava Loureyn Santos Reply

    hi i just want to ask, san/pano kayo nag diy nung iwahig firefly watching? or sino pwede namin icontact para pwede kami magtanong dun. Also, how do you get there? pwede ba mag tricycle papunta dun? thanks!

    • Hi Ava. From the city you can hire tricycle to take you to Iwahig Firefly viewing. Normally 1000 isisingil balikan but you can haggle which is good for 4-5 people. When you get there, register lang kayo. Rate varies. Merong 500 ksma na buffet dinner meron ding 600 per boat good for 3 pax. Sorry wala ako contact number.

  16. Hi just wanna ask. is there a big chance na makajoin sa other group sa honda bay para mas makatipid sa payment sa boat po sa island hopping. Thankyou po. 🙂

    • Hi Mavic. If you are gonna do Honda bay on your own and not thru the agency, im not sure kung meron ka makakasabay. Kasi most of the time mga foreigner yung mahilig sa ganun. Normally P1500 yung small boat lang at wala pang kasama na pagkaen. Try to join travel groups in fb and ask if anyone is up for the idea of Diy honda bay. Good luck. 😄

  17. Your blogs are very helpful.. Do you have any contact number of the hotels and underground river tour..? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Marco. Links to the hotels are provided in the post. You can also arrange with them your underground river tour. Good luck 😄

  18. Lyka De Los Reyes Reply

    Wow I would love to. I’ll keep posted. Thank you again and again hihi

  19. Lyka De Los Reyes Reply

    I wanna be friends with you haha no kidding. Thank you so much! This helped a lot. Bahala na si Batman!! Haha

    • Youre welcome. I’ll be happy to be friends with u as well. Try joining some of our events. It will be fun. Good luck sa travel nyo. 🙂

  20. Lyka De Los Reyes Reply

    Actually, our plan is to roam around the city upon our arrival then travel to El Nido on the evening so that we’ll be there by morning than leave maybe on the evening as well then have a tour on Honda Bay or Underground if possible on our last day. Is that okay? Hahaha sorry I kept on asking so many questions. Thank you!

    • Yeah. Okay din yun but I have to warn you that travel can be a little bit scary kasi pag gabi wala na street lights yung hwy from Pps to El Nido for nearly 90% of ur travel time. Take note din yung last trip to El Nido. Reserve a hostel in advance then notify the staff of ur time of arrival. Same with going back to PPS. You guys be careful. 🙂

  21. Lyka De Los Reyes Reply

    Can I screenshot this? I just want to show our convo to my friends hahahaha. Thank you for your advice! Appreciate it.

  22. Lyka De Los Reyes Reply

    We will be staying in Palawan for three days and two nights. Our flight shed is Wed, 10 am and Fri 6 pm. I’ve been telling my friends that we don’t have enough time to do all those but they just won’t listen huhuhu.

    • You might as well just stay in Pps and leave El Nido for your next visit to Palawan. If ur flight is wednesday 10a, you will probably be is pps by 12nn. If u r going to el nido, you wont arrive there until 6p. You would only have thursday for ur tour then you can go back to Pps after. U would be in Pps before midnight then Friday u can do another tour either Honda Bay or Underground River. U wont have enough time anymore to tour the city and buy some souvenirs.

      • It really is up to you.. But you have to decide between PPs or El Nido as it cant really be both in just a limited time. You wont be able to make the most out of it. 🙂

  23. Lyka De Los Reyes Reply

    Hello!! Thank you for the reply!! Sorry I read it just now. So yeah, change of plans. We booked our stay at Matutina Pensionne (Travelista didn’t reply unfortunately). They offered us a 3 days 2 nights accommodation for 6400 good for 7 pax, breakfast and airport transfer included.

    Also, they offered us a tour package (Underground, Honda Bay and City tour) for 2,700/person. But we’re still undecided whether to have the Underground tour or go to El Nido even just for a day. I would personally want to go to El Nido but it is more expensive and might take most of time travelling (but as what my friends say, mas sulit daw) so I hope you can give me tips on where to go as first timers. We’re really having a hard time deciding where to go. Hahaha. It’s giving me headache already.

    If ever we go to El Nido, which tour do you think is better?

    Hope for your response thank you so much!!

    • Hi Lyka! How many days will you be staying in Palawan? If you plan to go to El Nido, you should allot at least 2 days. 1day day travel and another day for island hopping. Tour A is most recommended. Please note that travel to El Nido will take up to 5 hrs. If you only have 3 days you might not be able to enjoy it. If u really wanna see El Nido then go for it but you wont have enuf time to explore PPs anymore.

  24. Lyka De Los Reyes Reply

    Hello!! I’m Lyka. It is my first time to comment on a travel blog. I don’t know but yours is as simple as it could be yet tells a good kind of trip. So yeah my friends and I will be going to Puerto on August. Already booked a lodge, the one you recommended, the Travelista Lodge. They even offered a tour package with discounts for us, 7. 2700/ person for the three tours and 6,400 for 7 pax (3 days and 2 nights stay) Do you think it’s worth it? What tips can you still give us to have a fun trip? Hihi thank you!

    • Hi Lyka, would you mind tell me whT are included in the 2700 tour? The travelista folks normally give reasonable prices but i just wanna know what comprises the 2700 so i can further help you on your trip. 🙂 Regarding the 6400 3D2N accommodation, it is a fair deal for 7pax. Each will be paying 450+/night although i would say try to haggle to lower it down to 6k if they could. 🙂

      • Another option is for you to get 3 of their 650 or 750 room good for 2 pax then the one person will just share with one of the pair so she would just add 300 to 400 per night making a total of 5200 for 2 nights. Ask them if this option is doable. 🙂

  25. Annie Ayala Reply

    Hi! Im Anie, I was planning to travel solo this june and the destination is palawan. Any tips? Should I take a tour package or have a DIY tour?

    • Hi Annie. Sa Palawan meron silang tariff sa prices so lahat mapaagency at other operators parepareho lang. Depende yun sa haggling skills mo. Pagdating mo na ng Palawan ka kumuha ng tour sa agency. If PPS city tour, mas mura magtricycle kna lang. Pero other tours like the underground river at honda bay, sa agency na. Mejo kasi mabusisi yung process

      • hi keza, im planning to go to PPS this february, just to treat my parents, so not really a big adventure since they are both already a senior citizen.
        just want to ask kung san ka nkakuha ng pagkage for the underground and honda bay?
        tight budget since i’ll be paying for 3.

        • Hi Chona. Sa de loro travel agency. Meron sila office sa exit ng airport. DIY sana kmi sa lahat ng tours kaso tinamad kmi pareho ni bf so kumuha na lang kmi sa knila pagkalabas ng airport. Mukha naman reasonable yung mga prices at di nalalayo sa budget so kinuha na namen. Basta ang tip ko sau tumawad ka lang ng tumawad. 🙂

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