About Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa is the capital of the island province of Palawan. The city has been acclaimed several times as the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines. With a wide range of attractions ranging from beaches to wildlife reserves, Puerto Princesa is a nature lover’s paradise.
There is a useful tourist information office at the airport next to the arrival hall which hands out maps and gives information about current events in the city. They do not book accommodation though.
Puerto Princesa is slightly more than an hour away by plane from Manila. Air Asia, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines, Zest Air all have daily flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa. Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific also operates flights to and from Puerto Princesa to other major cities such as Davao and Cebu City. SEAIR offers flights from Busuanga Tu/F/Su and El Nido on Tu/F. Starting from this year 2012, there are now daily connecting/return budget flights by Philippines AirAsia from Clark/Angeles City in Luzon direct to Puerto Princesa.
The airport is practically in the city centre so you can catch a tricycle on the main road for a fare of 50 pesos per tricycle (2016). You can share the cost if you are 2 or 3 people.
The airport is small and can be closed at certain points in the day (e.g. between 2pm and 3pm) and there are only 2 cafes and some local eateries outside the airport, therefore don’t plan to kill any time here.
As of June 2015, on departing flights you will be charged a terminal fee of either 200 pesos for domestic flights or 700 pesos for international flights. The fee is payable upon entering the departures hall, after check-in and baggage drop-off.
Air Juan flights between Puerto Princesa and Cuyo: Puerto Princesa to Cuyo 10.00 am–11.00 am day 1 / 3 / 6. Cuyo to Puerto Princesa 11.30 am–12.30 am day 1 / 3 / 6. 
2GO Travel has ferry to Puerto Princesa from Manila. The ferry trip is about 29 hours long. It stops in Coron which is in the midway.
Puerto Princesa (Palawan) to Cuyo Island
Ferry of the Montenegro Shipping Lines Departure Monday 06.00 pm / arriving Tuesday morning
Ferry A of the Milagrosa Shipping Lines Departure Thursday 03.00 pm / arriving Friday morning
Ferry B of the Milagrosa Shipping Lines Departure Sunday 03.00 pm / arriving Monday morning* since 1st November 2013 under repair
Iloilo (Panay Island) to Cuyo Island
Ferry of the Montenegro Shipping Lines Departure Saturday 08.00 am / arriving Saturday evening
Ferry A of the Milagrosa Shipping Lines Departure Monday 07.00 pm / arriving Tuesday morning
Ferry B of the Milagrosa Shipping Lines Departure Thursday 07.00 pm / arriving Friday morning* since 1st November 2013 under repair
Cuyo Island to Puerto Princesa (Palawan
Ferry of the Montenegro Shipping Lines Departure Saturday 09.00 pm / arriving Sunday morning
Ferry A of the Milagrosa Shipping Lines Departure Tuesday 03.00 pm / arriving Wednesday morning
Ferry B of the Milagrosa Shipping Lines Departure Friday 03.00 pm / arriving Saturday morning* since 1st November 2013 under repair
Cuyo Island to Iloilo (Panay Island)
Ferry of the Montenegro Shipping Lines Departure Tuesday 05.00 pm / arriving Wednesday morning
Ferry A of the Milagrosa Shipping Lines Departure Friday 05.00 pm / arriving Saturday morning
Ferry B of the Milagrosa Shipping Lines Departure Monday 05.00 pm / arriving Tuesday morning* since 1st November 2013 under repair
(the timetables on the home page of Montenegro & Milagrosa are outdated and wrong)
The Milagrosa ferry from Puerto to Iloilo costs 900P (Nov 2015) for economy class. It departs at 3pm, arrives at Cuyo Island at 2pm next day; leaves at 5pm that day and finally arrives at Iloilo at 7am of the second day. You have to buy the ticket in their offices in Rizal street near the pier (5 min walking), in between Roxas and Del Pilar street. You can get off the ferry at Cuyo and walk around without having to pay an additional port fee.
MultiCab and tricycles are the most common means to get around Puerto Princesa, and are widely available. Tricycles can be fairly limited to certain areas and may not be able to go very long distances, so ASK before boarding. Do remember to state the road name and the district (Barangay), as some roadnames are repeated. Standard tricycle fare around the city is 30 pesos if you just want to go a few streets away, or about 60-150 pesos if you are going to the outskirts (i.e., 7km away, or the place is on an unpaved road, etc). Tricycle drivers are generally nice and quote only about 50% more than the standard rate if you look foreign, so just nicely counter-offer them a fair value and they will usually accept.
As in Manila, jeepneys usually have standard routes which they ply. It costs up to P25 to go very far (example, PPC town center to Sta. Lourdes Wharf where Honda Bay is). To board, flag it down. To get off, shout “Para” (rhymes with Far and Rah).
The San Jose bus terminal is located about 7km north of the city centre. A tricycle from the station to the town centre should cost around 50P, while a jeepney will cost P13.
For touring, it would possibly be a good idea to save Puerto Princesa emergency contact numbers and arrange special transport whether it be a jeepney or, for more comfort, air-conditioned vans or AUVs. This way, you will not be subject to the hassles of public transport availability.
Cars for hire (such as taxis) are impossible to find, and traffic can be heavy, hence please take note when planning trips and flights. What Google Maps calls a 15 minute drive is likely to take about 30 minutes in smooth traffic via tricycle.
Although “clean and green” Puerto Princesa City has a bold plan for introducing electric vehicles, the city has no published or announced plan that addresses the urgent needs of pedestrians and bicycle riders. There are few pedestrian “zebra” crossings in the city and most PPC drivers do not yield to pedestrians, leaving them stranded dangerously in the middle of the street. If, in order to protect yourself from the vehicles and smoke, you can take a air-con van, but you only add to the overall traffic and pollution problem. Tourist vans and other vehicles are often parked along Rizal Avenue and other main streets blocking where pedestrians and bicycles could once safely move, but no longer can. If you wish to walk or bike in a clean, green, and safe environment in the downtown area, you should ask at the tourist office (at the airport) where such an area exists, and see what they say.
- Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park – more commonly known as the Underground River. At over 8 kilometers in length, is reputably the longest underground river in the world. With its crystalline waters and spectacular cave formations, the Underground River is possibly Puerto Princesa’s most popular attraction. The site was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. The winding path of the river is navigable via small pumpboats that depart from Sabang Beach. Travel time from the city proper to Sabang is about 1.5 hours (This can take closer to 3.5 if you choose to ride in a Jeepney, since you have to wait while they deliver goods along the journey). If you are prone to car sickness you should consider using some anti-sickness pills because road is very curvy and some drivers tend to drive quite fast (or very fast).
Note. A permit is now necessary to visit the underground river and only available in Puerto Princesa, though an online system is in construction. Beware that like any other hardworking government office they finish their day at 4pm, so a permit for next day needs to be arranged before that. Travel agents normally can arrange it for you. Kalipayan Tours and Travel is one of them firstname.lastname@example.org
- Honda Bay – consisting of several islets with beautiful beaches, Honda Bay is the place to go to for swimming, snorkeling as well as beach and island hopping. Accessible via the Sta. Lourdes Honda Bay wharf which is 25 minutes away from the city. Pumpboats at the wharf can be hired to take visitors to 3 various islets on the bay for 1.300 peso/boat. Bring your own lunch or there is restaurant in Cowrie Island which you can assume expensive prices. Arrive before 11am to go island hopping because generally it is windy and wavy in the afternoon. There is entrance fee for the islands which is around 100 peso/person.
You can buy a all inclusive Honda Bay Island hopping tour from Kalipayan Travels and Tour for 1.300 peso per person.
- Iwahig Penal Colony – a good example of a true correctional institute, the Iwahig Penal Colony is more of a farming community rather than a prison. Inmates often live with their families and are allowed to toil their farms to earn a living. Carving out handicrafts is also a common preoccupation and mahogany handcarvings are a good buy for tourists. The colony is about 35 minutes from the city center.
- Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center formerly the Crocodile Farming Institute, and still referred to by locals as the “Crocodile Farm,” is both a tourist attraction and a national research institute devoted to crocodiles. About 30 to 40 minutes from the city center, the Croc Farm also has a mini-zoo, which features some of Palawan’s endemic species of wildlife. The place is open from about 8:30 AM to about 4:30 PM. At the intersection of Rizal and the National Highway, you can take a jeepney (labeled “Irawan”) for P22 (Jan 2015); a tricycle carrying only one or two people will cost 100 to 150 pesos. Croc Farm Tickets cost 40p for adults and 20 for kids. You start with an guided tour of the crocs which last about 15 minutes. After that you wonder around by yourself in the endemic species area, where you have to be careful not to fall through a few rotton and crumbling wooden bridges. This is not a very well-managed wildlife area. They will try to sell you photos of you and a baby crocodile with its mouth clamped – certainly fun for the tourists, but it is dubious as to whether this is a good practice.
- Baker’s Hill. In Santa Monica, a few kilometres before the Crocodile Farm. A weak and small imitation of Disneyland, with things like a Shrek treehouse. Has a bakery where you can buy things like hopia for reasonable prices. To get here, drop in Santa Monica, then take a tricycle up the road for P10 per person (or walk the 2km or so).
- Mitra’s Ranch. About another km north of Baker’s Hill, along the same road. Has some horses, a cafe, and also very nice views.
- Butterfly Garden with native Palawan butterflies is located about half way to the Croc Farm (above) and along the same road. Open 7 days a week from 8 to 5. Entry is 50 pesos.
- Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. A very beautiful church that is decorated in blue and white.
- Palawan Museum, Mendosa Park (south side) (Mendosa Park (south side)). 9AM-noon, 1:30PM-5PM. This is an old museum that is not very well maintained or labeled but which has a number of interesting pieces. It is well worth a visit on a rainy day. 20 P.
- PSU Museum, Palawan State University (About a 10 minute walk from the front gate of PSU, if you know where you are going.). Closed from 12 to 1 for lunch. This is a one room museum located inside a university building. You should ask for specific directions at the front gate, because not everyone knows about the existence of the museum. The museum is located in one small room but is clean, organized, and well-maintained, with an enthusiastic and helpful staff member. free.
What To Do
Ask a trike driver if there are cockfights on. There are a few arenas around town, where you can partake in the legal gambling on cockfights. This is not for the squeamish or vegan types. You can ask someone to help you place bets (typically P200-P1000) on the favourite (“Maron”) or the underdog (“Wala”). The underdog will pay 2:1, and a bet on the favourite will typically pay 1.8:1. The cocks fight to the death, or if they both give up a draw is declared and no money changes hands. Do not exchange money until after the fight is called. It is recommended to leave early, especially if you have been winning, as the destitute can become desperate and make an easy target out of foreigners (who don’t seem to attend these events often). A tip is in order if someone helped you place bets and you ended the day with a profit. They also sell food and drinks (including beer) around the arena. A highly entertaining afternoon. Photography and video is welcomed.
Shop: Buy native products at the Tourism Association of Souvenir Shops, they offer handicrafts made by the native tribes like manunggul or wooden jar, bulol or tisot, good harvest and carved animals. Others are tingkop (rice baskets), fish baskets, bags made from bark of a tree, native accessories, weave curtains and table mat, rattan floor mat and other assorted cashew nut delicacies.
Puerto Princesa offers good diving and is a fairly good place to take a PADI course if you plan to dive at some of the larger sites in El Nido or Coron. Moana dive centre, run by Paolo, offers PADI Open Water for 17500p. Good equipment, and pleasant instruction, with confined water dives taking place in the shallow parts of Puerto Princesa bay. Possible to see sea turtles, eels, lionfish, porcupine fish, batfish and snapper amongst others.
- Plaza Cuartel, Taft St. near Cathedral. Historical Place, a must see site.
- Baker Hill, mitra rd, bgy sta monica. check out the plants and animal in its natural habitat. 600.
- Irawan Eco-Park (Forest Canopy Tours), Brgy Irawan (10 km from Robinson’s mall on National Highway South), ☎ 723-5697, . 8 – 5. Home to Asia’s Longest CANOPY Zipline, this 1.3 km zipline with Skywalk, butterfly farm and Jungle Survival trail, is located in the Flora and Fauna Protected Area of the Puerto Princesa Watershed area inside Barangay Irawan. This is the protected forest of the “City in a Forest” that is Puerto Princesa. Set up together with the City Govt and the Forest Canopy and Eco-Parks Corp (originally from Costa Rica), this park is the gateway to the Puerto Princesa forest. Here you can smell the thick clean air and see the majesty of the most densely populated site of endangered Palawan birds. They live free here as the park’s rangers protect from logging, mining, garbage and any other activity aside from the zipline. So here you can fly over the river to see the forest of Irawan Eco-Park. 799.
The capital and largest city of Palawan, it is also the largest city in Western Philippines. Situated on the center of the island of Palawan, and has an official population of a little over 1 million. Considered one of the world’s leading “global cities” on tourism, Puerto Princesa remains an international capital of culture, music, education, fashion, politics, finance and trade.