Living In The Philippines Forum

Living in The Philippines => Places to Visit/ Things to Do => Topic started by: brett4gam on March 08, 2012, 02:29:03 PM

Title: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: brett4gam on March 08, 2012, 02:29:03 PM
Hi all, just wondering if anyone has any advice on where to stay in Palawan.  We would like to do a trip there to visit the underground river at Puerto Princessa, but as usual it is hard to find credible information on the web.

After a nice place to stay, not necessarily expensive! and how the area is compared to say, Boracay, as we have been to Boracay many times and love it for a nice relaxing holiday.

Thanks in advance   8)
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: callme on March 08, 2012, 02:55:59 PM
I can only give you an advice where not to stay.
Stay away from Hillside Resort
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g294257-d1924053-Reviews-Hillside_Resort_Palawan-Puerto_Princesa_Palawan.html

It looks nice from their website but it really need renovation and a new management.
The location is in the middle of the jungle, far away from both the beach and the city.
They turn of the aircon during daytime so when you come back its steaming hot in your room. Cockroaches roam around in the bathroom and when I turned on the aircon a swarm of bugs hit my face.

I am sure you will find a better resort.
And by the way, Palawan it self is great.
Dont miss Honda Bay.
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: BingColin on March 08, 2012, 03:33:33 PM
Hi all, just wondering if anyone has any advice on where to stay in Palawan.  We would like to do a trip there to visit the underground river at Puerto Princessa, but as usual it is hard to find credible information on the web.

After a nice place to stay, not necessarily expensive! and how the area is compared to say, Boracay, as we have been to Boracay many times and love it for a nice relaxing holiday.

Thanks in advance   8)


If you do a search for ‘Puerto Princesa’ from the home page of this forum you will find some useful information.

A google search for ‘Puerto Princesa accommodation brings up some useful lists, I would agree with most of the reviews of the places that I know. The newest hotel is the ‘Go Hotel’, part of the Robinson chain, it should be good but not sure if it is officially open yet.

You can see from other posts here that the Underground River is, in my opinion, highly over rated but does make a good total day out. There are some photos of Honda Bay on my web site here http://thephilippinejournal.wetpaint.com/page/Honda+Bay

If you like Borocay, you may find Palawan too quiet. Personally I found Borocay too commercialised, and I went there many years ago.
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: callme on March 08, 2012, 05:02:04 PM
For me, as a tourist, I like both Palawan and Boracay.
Boracay is a tourist machine and have it all, the white beach, all the bars and restaurants, nice hotels, and lots of tourists.
If you can only visit one place maybe Boracay might be the place, but for a longer stay I think I prefer other places.

Palawan miss the partylife but have lots of nature instead, maybe to quiet for some restless souls, I found the people very friendly.
I guess the underground river tour is a been there, done that thing to do.
As for me I have a dream of retire to the Philippines and settele down as a farmer in Palawan.
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: graham on March 08, 2012, 07:41:08 PM
callme,

Maybe you should check out Siargao Island at the top of Mindanao
I have been told it has beautiful white sand beaches and good Scuba diving
as well as good waves for boarding. I live about 400klm from there
and have yet to explore. Cloud 9 apparently is the place to head for.

Graham

Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: richardsinger on March 09, 2012, 06:33:56 AM
I\'m headed to Puerto Princessa next week, just for a few days. I will report back on the forum later.

Richard
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: brett4gam on March 09, 2012, 04:00:55 PM
thanks guys, specially callme, don\'t want to stay with roaches!

so, the underground river is over rated? fair enough, as far as nightlife we are usually asleep by 9-10pm, can only manage one really late night these days!

Brett.
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: rdjlazo@yahoo.com on March 09, 2012, 05:21:41 PM
Under ground river can be one of the places to see if you are in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Under ground river can be over rated to some but to other it is not depending on what you are looking
for when you visit a place. Dos Palmas can be a good one if  you have
a whole day to spend in the area. It is a 20 minutes drive from the
town to the Pier and about 45 minutes
boat ride to the island of Dos Palmas. There is enough activities to use up a day. Snorkling area is fun
and kayaking is also, plus if you are into scuba diving they have a nice spot
to dive and they have  a competent scuba diving guide and instructor. The price is right
for a whole day tour and fun.
Good luck,
Rudy
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: gemstar on March 09, 2012, 10:27:56 PM
My gf and I stayed at Hotel Centro in Puerto Princessa 3 days on Feb 13-16.............This hotel is 1st class in my opinion with great affordable promos......a beautiful place, just 1 year old. Excellent garden and pool areas to relax, take great pics. Exercise room is new...and ALL equipment is new and working....hard to find this in RP...hehehee.

The restaurant food was good too, with free breakfast buffet.........free airport shuttle both ways.....Gift shops, massage spa, toursist center to book your tours.

BOOK YOUR TOURS AHEAD OF TIME...............the Underground River tour was fully booked for 2 months....but we got lucky and someone cancelled. It was an interesting place to see...but wish we could have gone further into cave......lots of waiting around.....many,many people waiting in line at the site....must have patience.

We also went on the Island Hopping tour.....we stopped at rental store along the way......snorkling equip, towels, snacks, souvenirs are available. Tour guide will cook lunch for everyone...and for additional pesos, you can request fresh lobster or crab. 
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: rdjlazo@yahoo.com on March 10, 2012, 07:16:35 AM
On underground River tours and bookings the sad part is since the river
run is shorten to allow more people to see it. The trade off  is to shorten the river
run into around 4 KM but there is around 8 KM total if we are allowed.
The lighting was poor but again if they put enough
light for all to see everything the natural resources and livings
things inside can suffer.
The other side of it is since it won as one of the seven wonders of nature this year
there is tremendous interest for world nature enthusiast to see it but the park
is not prepared for the unbelievable  increase in tourism there and the whole
Palawan. And the under ground river tour itself can only take
700 t0 800 visitors a day. There are now at least 12 plane loads of passengers
coming from Manila and Cebu and Clark in Pampanga will be in line also. So there is
the sacrifice of being a big world tourist destination. I have to accept there is much to be improved
but the city have to employ people so improving the services and entertaining more visitors
should be balanced with employing local people. Tough issue to balance. Automating and improving
the system will lessen the the people getting  employed. Two big 100 passenger boat will handle
same number of people to go to the mouth of the river
instead of about 60 or 80 small boats. Automating the river cruise will
eliminate all boat operators inside the underground river. That is the problem.

Just my opinion.
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: richardsinger on March 19, 2012, 07:01:42 AM
Just got back from 3 days in Puerto Princesa. Really enjoyed myself there and pigged out a few times on the wonderfully fresh seafood (including live Sri Lank crab cooked with black pepper). Enjoyed the pubs with live bands as well.

My hotel was the Ardent Suites and Spa, not wonderful but 1166 pesos per night including breakfast and in a very convenient location. So no complaints about that.

Managed to get a last minute cancellation for the underground River, so that was lucky timing. Otherwise the official word is that it\'s fully booked for one month, but in truth you can probably get tickets within 2 or 3 days, although not for a large group. The journey from PP to Sabang Bay for the underground river is pretty uncomfortable due to the winding road and the agressive driving of the tour van driver. The boat trip across the bay can be a bit bumpy and wet also, but overall it is definitely worth the hassle to see the river tunnel. According to the guides, they can only take 940 people per day into the tunnels, which is why there is a ticket shortage.

The Honda Bay (Island Hopping) tour was a bit of a rip-off though. There was only one island on the tour, rather than the 3 or 4 I was expecting from a (small) bit of online research. There was also a short visit to a floating hut for snorkelling, but this was so crowded with boats and people it was ridiculous. And the place the tour van took us for renting snorkel gear was also a setup - everything (mask, flippers, rubber shoes etc) was around 150 pesos each to rent. But if you wait until you get to Honda Bay itself, you can get the same stuff for 100 pesos each. The food at lunchtime was good though, no complaints about that.

A couple of differences I noticed about Puerto Princessa compared wiith Luzon places I\'ve been to: First, the tricycles are great, with lots of headroom. The Batangas tricycles requre you to contort your body just to get inside, but the PP tricycles are much more roomy. And just 20 pesos to anywhere in the area makes it a hassle free way to get around the place. Second point, the bank notes seem to be very old, worn and dirty compared to elsewhere. Just makes me curious, it\'s not a big deal.

I will definitely go back to Puerto Princesa for a holiday. Ha ha I am also researching land prices to see if I want to move there permanently!

Richard
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: BingColin on March 19, 2012, 10:28:18 AM
Just got back from 3 days in Puerto Princesa. Really enjoyed myself there and pigged out a few times on the wonderfully fresh seafood (including live Sri Lank crab cooked with black pepper). Enjoyed the pubs with live bands as well.

I’ve never been to any Pubs, didn’t know there were any, but I guess that is not my scene anyway. Perhaps you could give some details?

Quote
My hotel was the Ardent Suites and Spa, not wonderful but 1166 pesos per night including breakfast and in a very convenient location. So no complaints about that.

It is always difficult to recommend accommodation because I live here and don’t use it  :) we have had friends use the Hibiscus Garden Suite and were very happy with it. If you are spending a fair bit of money on flights over here I would suggest using one of the more expensive hotels as it is only for a few days.

Quote
Managed to get a last minute cancellation for the underground River, so that was lucky timing. Otherwise the official word is that it\'s fully booked for one month, but in truth you can probably get tickets within 2 or 3 days, although not for a large group. The journey from PP to Sabang Bay for the underground river is pretty uncomfortable due to the winding road and the agressive driving of the tour van driver. The boat trip across the bay can be a bit bumpy and wet also, but overall it is definitely worth the hassle to see the river tunnel. According to the guides, they can only take 940 people per day into the tunnels, which is why there is a ticket shortage.

I have posted my views on the underground river on here before, and I would have thought that the congestion could be easily solved by simply providing more boats. It would also be good if they used electric powered ones and extended the length of the tour. People expect to see a long underground river that is what it is famous for.

There are a lot of wanabee rally drivers here, so when we hire a van and driver we specify who we want and don’t want.

Quote
The Honda Bay (Island Hopping) tour was a bit of a rip-off though. There was only one island on the tour, rather than the 3 or 4 I was expecting from a (small) bit of online research. There was also a short visit to a floating hut for snorkelling, but this was so crowded with boats and people it was ridiculous. And the place the tour van took us for renting snorkel gear was also a setup - everything (mask, flippers, rubber shoes etc) was around 150 pesos each to rent. But if you wait until you get to Honda Bay itself, you can get the same stuff for 100 pesos each. The food at lunchtime was good though, no complaints about that.

It is far better to organize you own tour of Honda Bay. When we go we take a lot of family members and hire one of the larger boats. We last went about 2 years ago and it costs somewhere around P2000, but the smaller boats will be cheaper. If anyone is coming over I could check it out at the time, the Quay is only a 10 minute drive from where we live. I would recommend Snake Island, the most popular, and perhaps Starfish Island. I would also try to avoid weekends and school holidays. On our first visit we went to the diving platform, never again, there is nothing much there worth seeing even when it is not crowded. Snorkeling gear, bring your own or get it at the quay.

Quote
A couple of differences I noticed about Puerto Princessa compared wiith Luzon places I\'ve been to: First, the tricycles are great, with lots of headroom. The Batangas tricycles requre you to contort your body just to get inside, but the PP tricycles are much more roomy. And just 20 pesos to anywhere in the area makes it a hassle free way to get around the place. Second point, the bank notes seem to be very old, worn and dirty compared to elsewhere. Just makes me curious, it\'s not a big deal.

Tricycles are a real PITA if you live here. There are so many of them that they can only work alternate days, blue one day and white the next. They may have more headroom, but two people are a tight squeeze for most non Filipinos.

The banknotes are old and dirty here unless you can get them from an ATM. Never get change from the fish market ;D.

Quote
I will definitely go back to Puerto Princesa for a holiday. Ha ha I am also researching land prices to see if I want to move there permanently!

As a rough guide, land is around P3000 per square metre in the city centre and P2000 just a short drive outside, but increasing all the time.

Quote
Richard
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: richardsinger on March 19, 2012, 04:35:20 PM
Hi Colin.

The bars I visited were e-Rupublic and Tiki. Both are fairly big and serve decent food. The sound system in Tiki is really good and the band was better. e-Rupublic had a bakla comedian in between band items, which is fine if you can speak Tagalog and don\'t mind being the butt of his jokes if you are western.

The congestion problem with tricycles seems to be the same everywhere. But at least the Puerto Princesa tricycles have more headroom, which make them a viable form of transport for me. I was forced to buy a car in Batangas after getting bounced around too many times in a trike on a rough road and had blood on my scalp from the roof spar.

I know hotels are very much a matter of personal taste. My view is that since I try to spend as little time as possible in the hotel, I would rather save money there and use it to enjoy the place I am visiting.

Forgot to mention, another thing I found in Palawan was a much greater awareness of environmental issues, compared to Batangas and Quezon. Puerto Princesa was almost litter free which is a big contrast to other places I usually go. It seems like a really nice place to live.

Thanks for the info on land prices.

Richard



Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: cefox01 on March 22, 2012, 12:19:20 PM
try deep forest inn http://deepforestinn.com/ (http://deepforestinn.com/) it is very nice and 5 min from airport they will pick u up and they will also arrange trip to underground for u
i have stayed there twice and will go back when i can. They are very nice people and they take good care of u and the food is good and the prices are reasonable.
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: brett4gam on March 23, 2012, 02:56:14 PM
thanks guys, some great info here, a friend of ours from Sydney, Australia arrives in November and we will go there with him, some great info!  good to here the trikes have more headroom, I have to slump here in Malate Mnl or bang my head.
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: richardsinger on March 26, 2012, 12:11:48 PM
Here\'s a short video of the boat trip on the underground river-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4fmgk1rZRQ&feature=youtu.be

It\'s a bit dark, but you can get an idea of some of the rock formations.

Richard
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: brett4gam on March 27, 2012, 01:58:09 PM
Tks cefox, looks like a nice place, word of mouth reference is better than anything online!

Tks Richard, looks good, sent the link to our friend in Australia
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: Murphy on April 12, 2012, 09:15:58 PM
We really enjoyed our stay in Puerto Princessa also....I liked the pubs also. There was one in particular...wish I could remember the name..its very large..good food..mostly outdoors. You will see it if you drive by...you cant miss it. There were always a lot of different accents at the bar...many different countries just hanging out there.

We stayed at the Centro also...a little too fancy for us...didnt want flip flops in the restaurant...same with shorts...but hey, thats impossible. Gave us a room that the bathroom would flood...they knew it was an issue...said it was bad planning by the builders. They moved us when I asked for another room...but they were very snobby...my wife didnt like that.

Seems a very safe place....was told the crime rate was almost nothing.

The Caves were cool....literally...wasnt crowded....very nice beach. I enjoyed the lunch afterwards...on the beach.

We have some beach property there...working out the details for building on it...slowly but its coming along.

Have fun

Murph
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: BingColin on April 13, 2012, 06:50:54 AM
We really enjoyed our stay in Puerto Princessa also....I liked the pubs also. There was one in particular...wish I could remember the name..its very large..good food..mostly outdoors. You will see it if you drive by...you cant miss it. There were always a lot of different accents at the bar...many different countries just hanging out there.


Kinabuch?
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: Murphy on April 13, 2012, 08:58:41 PM
Kinabuch!....yes...thats it...thanks Collin.
Im not a food expert...but I liked the atmosphere.
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: brett4gam on November 20, 2012, 12:28:55 PM
Had two friends from Australia here for a short trip, we went to Puerto Princessa and stayed at Marina De Bay http://www.marinadebay-palawan.com/index.html.  Chose to take the 3 trip package, the river, Honda Bay island hopping, and the city tour, as we were all thirsty by the time we arrived there we amended the city tour to just the highlights and stocked up the esky with San Mig Light and set forth.

The river and island hopping were fine, and as to be expected from previous posts about it being overated. non the less all enjoyable.

Didn't do any nightlife in the city proper, we elected to buy fresh seafood in the wet market and have it prepared for us where we stayed.  A great result.

Next trip will be back to Boracay for our Christmas getaway...this will foil the other half's family's annual visit for collecting gifts and a free feed before not seeing them again until next Christmas, haha  :o
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: BingColin on November 20, 2012, 07:17:03 PM
Had two friends from Australia here for a short trip, we went to Puerto Princessa and stayed at Marina De Bay [url]http://www.marinadebay-palawan.com/index.html. [/url] Chose to take the 3 trip package, the river, Honda Bay island hopping, and the city tour, as we were all thirsty by the time we arrived there we amended the city tour to just the highlights and stocked up the esky with San Mig Light and set forth.

The river and island hopping were fine, and as to be expected from previous posts about it being overated. non the less all enjoyable.

Didn't do any nightlife in the city proper, we elected to buy fresh seafood in the wet market and have it prepared for us where we stayed.  A great result.

Next trip will be back to Boracay for our Christmas getaway...this will foil the other half's family's annual visit for collecting gifts and a free feed before not seeing them again until next Christmas, haha  :o


I don't know Marina De Bay, but from the map it was only a short walk from where we rented for almost 5 years. There are a few small beaches along that stretch but it is not a place I would have looked for a resort; that section of coast is nearly all mangroves.

I understand your feeling about Christmas, New Year is our big problem. The whole extend, and growing, family have been descending on us every year and Bing has been dreaming up all different places to visit to avoid it this year. Personally i would prefer just to say 'no party this year'.
Title: Re: Puerto Princessa - Palawan
Post by: brett4gam on November 23, 2012, 10:13:30 AM
Colin, yeah, it was all mangroves with shallow water, nothing exciting, the place was fine tho, out of the way, a nice change from living here in the hustle and bustle of Malate.

NYE here is awesome, fireworks everywhere, no visitors last year, and we won't be letting the family know we are back for it this year either, told them all last year we would be away.

I dare say even if you tell them 'no party' they will still avail of your hospitality.  ::)

Bring on the silly season.