The Perfect Escape: Puerto Princesa, Palawan

With the endless honking of jeepneys, taxis and cars; the constant hustle and bustle of pushing yourself through the immense number of people; the irritating stickiness of sweat and tiny prickles of the sun on your skin, you could easily lose yourself in the crowd. You meet people from different walks of life: the home stays, the shop all you want, the food enthusiasts, the partygoers, and as much as you could, you try to blend in. But who are you really? In the process of losing ourselves, we tend to settle with people who we think are good for us, wherein fact they’re not. They turn us into individuals that we are not, and when people ask us, “Who are you?” we can barely answer. That is why most, if not some, of us escape. Even just for a couple of days, serenity is what we look for, and in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, we found serenity.

I visited Palawan with a couple of friends and we were as ecstatic as everyone else on the plane. Finally, we were going to a place far from the noise of the city. Once we arrived at the Puerto Princesa International Airport, we were greeted with warm smiles and friendly welcomes. Each of us was given a shell-liked necklace that made us feel like royals of Palawan. Like any newcomer, we can’t wait to explore more of the island. So, we took our bags and headed to the hotel.

If you’re planning to stay at Puerto Princesa for three (3) days, here is a copy of the itinerary that we had:

- Buffet lunch at Cowrie Island
- Island Hopping: Cowrie Island, Luli Island, Pambato Reef
- Dinner at Kinabuch Grill & Bar

- Underground River Tour
- Lunch at Sheridan Beach Resort
- Dinner at Ka Lui

- Uptown city tour: Binuatan Creations, Crocodile Farm, Mitra’s Ranch, Baker’s Hill
- Buffet Lunch at Baker’s Hill
- Downtown tour: Puerto Princesa Baywalk, Immaculate Concepcion Parish
- Plaza Cuartel
- Souvenir Shop

However, I always prefer the first and last days to be the climax of the trip. So, if you are a water baby like I am, I would recommend that you switch the Day 2 itinerary with the third. Our Day 1 and Day 2 activities were definitely the highlight of the tour.

The buffet lunch at Cowrie Island was incredibly delicious! It was a full fresh seafood buffet and get ready to get your hands dirty, because unless you really want to enjoy all that good food, eating with your hands is the only way. Trust me, it’s worth it. If you would also like to get henna for a cheaper price than the rest, there are some stalls that offer just what you need. They’re very friendly too! You could request your customized henna for just a low price.

During the island hopping, I was able to befriend a local who taught me how to scuba dive without gears. It was such an adventure! Scuba diving without gears was yes, a dangerous thing to do. So unless you were really trained the proper breathing technique, don’t do it. But if you decide to, I’m telling you, it is truly a bucket list! If you’re feeling a little drained in between the day, try the ice cream sold by manong pushing a kariton on the street! Some people call it Dirty Ice Cream (I used to call it that too, but mainly because it’s sold on the streets), but the proper way to actually refer to it is Sorbetes.
On our way to the Underground River, I had some serious soul searching, whilst on the boat with the waves splashing on my legs, the relaxing cool breeze and the calming quietness of the place definitely did the job. No words can ever describe how I feel so I’ll let the pictures do a little bit of the talking now.
Finally going inside the Underground River, I would HIGHLY (highly to the nth power) recommend that you do not look up gaping. I know it will be beautiful and breathtaking, but sometimes it’s real, cold, water droplets dripping on your face, most of the time it’s bat poo. Watch out! Also notice the details carved on the caves. Each of those has a story behind why it was written, so listen carefully to your guide. The ambiance of the Underground River is so peaceful that you might want to fall asleep listening to your guide’s voice in the background (I almost wanted to do that). But fight it, because c’mon this is Palawan! Who sleeps in Palawan? Don’t say you. You’re clearly missing out if you do.

Paalam! J