We arrived in the Philippines after Christmas and this was our first time in Puerto Princesa. We decided to skip Manila for its reputation ^^.
Puerto Princesa is a relatively small town with the majority of people on the street being Filipinos, even in high season. Our first time in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, we wanted to visit one of the highlights of the Philippines, which has one of the 7 wonders of nature: the . We actually realized that Jeju island and Komodo island are also part of the new 7 wonders of nature.
So, what can you do with 2 nights in Puerto Princesa?
Visit the subterranean river of Puerto Princesa The first day in Puerto Princesa we went directly to the highlight, the subterranean river of Puerto Princesa, It's really beautiful. There is an 8 km cave with many stalactites, stalagmites and 3 types of bats! You have to be the whole tour in silence to avoid disturbing the flight of the bats and this makes it also quite special. Moreover, the beach where the cave is is very beautiful as well, and there are monkeys living there directly where you wait to get the boat to the cave.
The main problem with the subterranean river is that it's very popular and not very well organized. All vans go from Puerto Princesa to the subterranean river, which is 1h20 away from the city full gas at 6:15 or 7 in the morning. Then, you arrive there but you have to queue (first come first serve) because the tide doesn't allow so many boats to start the trip at the same time.
This took us about 2h of waiting because we arrived pretty late since our car had a flat tire on the way haha. Finally, when you arrive to the place of the cave (which is just 15 min away by boat at a small bay) you have to wait again about 1h until you get to another boat to drive through the cave.
In Coron, we met another Catalan guy that has been travelling in the Philippines for more than 1 year and he told us that the trick is actually to be close to the place of the subterranean river for 2 to 3 nights and ask at what time and which day do they have less people visiting. He went there at 8 AM and was only with 6 other people and didn't have to wait at all!
Walk through the city center If you have some time, you can walk through the center, visit the cathedral and enjoy the sunset at the port of Puerto Princesa. If you have the chance, we would recommend staying at Cleon Villages in Puerto Princesa since the hotel was beautiful and the people working there helped us with everything, including organizing very punctual transfers to El Nido.
Grab a motorbike and visit some of the beaches close to Puerto Princesa If you can ride a motorbike, you can grab a motorbike and go for an excursion to visit some of the beaches of Palawan that are about 40 minutes away from Puerto Princesa by motorbike on roads with a very good condition.
Visit the fireflies at night If you're in the mood for another tour, you can visit the fireflies at night with a guided tour. I've heard there are quite a lot of them and it may be very beautiful. We didn't do that tour but it's one of the most affordable. However, we saw fireflies by chance at Ocam Ocam beach in Coron (upper north in the Philippines)
Go on a day tour to Honda Bay If you're doing some expedition or going to El Nido and Coron and doing tours, we were recommended to skip that since it's not impressive as up there ^^ so we saved some money and decided to do the motorbike tour ourselves instead.
I hope you like this post! We were missing giving some updates but in the last days we have been without internet since we were on a boat trip for 4 nights and then stayed at a very simple cottage by the beach for 3 more nights. So many posts will be coming soon on these days of disconnection with the world haha. Happy New Year 2024 to everyone!