From Puerto Princesa

PUERTO PRINCESA, PALAWAN: Budget Travel Guide

Puerto Princesa City, the capital of Palawan, is one of my favorite cities in the world and probably the local city I loved the most.  It is one of the largest cities in the Philippines based on land area. Yet, it is brimming with countless natural wonders, topped with good food, outstanding cleanliness, and friendly, disciplined people. The best part, the tourism industry here is so organized that exploring is never a problem even if it’s your first time to set foot on this unique paradise.

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Plaza Cuartel and the Puerto Princesa Cathedral, Palawan, Philippines

Puerto Princesa City may look vibrant today but like many cities in the Philippines, it also has a dark history. This is most evident in a small park in Barangay Liwanag called Plaza Cuartel.

Plaza Cuartel looks like your ordinary city park with concrete pavements, towering trees and benches. The ruins of an old garrison and tunnels are proof of its grim past. Plaza Cuartel is the site of Palawan Massacre. The tunnels were where 150 American prisoners of war were kept during World War II.  But on December 14, 1944, the Japanese decided to kill them all by burning them alive. Many perished but eleven prisoners were able to survive and escape the mass execution.

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Crocodile Farm: Palawan Wildlife Rescue Center in Puerto Princesa, Philippines

When the Poor Traveler was just a young boy, he heard from a magazine show on TV of a child being attacked and then devoured by a huge crocodile in the province. Since then, I had feared crocodiles. I didn’t like seeing them even on TV. Whenever National Geographic Channel would feature them, I’d switch channels. They had been giving me the creeps until our Puerto Princesa City Tour.

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The Tamilok at Kinabuchs: Where to Eat in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

The Poor Traveler isn’t really a brave food lover. I’m just a food lover. But I’d rather be on the usual, ordinary, typical, safe, boring side when it comes to trying a place’s delicacy. That explains why eating sea urchin at Virgin Island in Bohol didn’t interest me. And why I barely touched the stingray served at KaLui restaurant. My tastebuds aren’t bold enough. My tastebuds don’t like anything they are not used to. I always blame my tastebuds, not myself.

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Ka Lui Restaurant: Where to Eat in Puerto Princesa, Palawan (Splurge Option)

Ask anyone in Puerto Princesa about the best restaurant in the city and there’s a big chance he or she will point you to Ka Lui.

KaLui is probably the most famous Pinoy restaurant in Puerto Princesa City. It is just 10 minutes from the airport. And lucky us, we just had to walk going there from Casa Linda, where we were staying. The place has that homey feel and very Pinoy since the building and the furniture inside is made of wood. The interior is adorned by artwork pieces — wooden sculptures, ceramic pieces, batik fabric — mostly with fish as their subject. It feels like it’s owned by an art-loving traveler.

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Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour: Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

After checking in Casa Linda, the first item on our itinerary was Honda Bay. We initially wanted to avail of Casa Linda’s tour at P1,100 per person. Since we were a group of 4, that would be P4,400 for all of us. But we had a better option.

Rewind to an hour earlier, on the way to Casa Linda from the airport our tricycle driver Kuya Ding (09186620495) talked us into just getting his services. He offered to take us to the port at Honda Bay where the boats were and take us back to Casa Linda for only P400. Wow, that’s just P100 per person. We liked it, liked it very much and took it. We got his mobile number (09186620495) and promised to call him after settling down.

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