Our 5-day trip in Palawan was capped off by Puerto Princesa City tour. When we arrived on our first day, we immediately headed to El Nido and never had a chance to explore Palawan's capital city. So the morning before our flight back to Manila on our last day we had a few hours to visit the famous tourist spots Puerto Princesa City is known for.
One thing I noticed about Puerto Princesa City is the cleanliness and orderliness. At first, I thought people were just exaggerating when they say the city is clean that you won't find any trash along the streets. Indeed, they are correct. Not only Puerto Princesa is the cleanest city in the country but maybe one of the most peaceful I guess. Also, I was not surprised when our tour guide mentioned that Puerto Princesa City has a very low crime rate. The locals are very friendly, nice and warm to tourists.
In order to tour around the city, the easiest and most convenient way is to book with a travel agency or through the hotel. The rate is standard at P600 per head. Our Puerto Princesa city tour was included in the package that we availed from Hadefe Cottages who took care of everything. However, I've learned that the cheapest option is to hire a tricycle at P600 (per tricycle, NOT per person) that can accommodate up to four people. By the way, tricycle is the main transportation in Puerto Princesa City. But make sure to get the Tourism Accredited ones. The Puerto Princesa city tour usually takes only half day.
1. Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center
Formerly known as the Crocodile Farm and Nature Park, Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (PWRCC) is an institute for the protection of wildlife that features a crocodile farm, a veterinary care facility, and a mini-zoo that features various species endemic to Palawan. Aside from the endangered species like the Philippine Crocodile, tourists will see various wildlife animals such as the bearcat and different species of birds.
Upon entering the main building, you will be greeted by an exhibit area that displays crocodile skeletons which include the biggest crocodile captured in Palawan encased in a glass chest. The experience was great as it's the first time I went in a crocodile farm and got to see a lot of them up close.
2. Mitra's Ranch
Our second stop for the Puerto Princesa city tour was Mitra's Ranch located in the hill of Sta. Monica Heights. It is owned by the family of the late Senator Ramon Mitra and son, Baham Mitra. One of the interesting features of the property is the triangular-shaped mansion built in the middle of the spacious picnic grounds. The ranch is so big and it offers an amazing panoramic view of Honda Bay. It's a good place to chill and relax. The scenic view also provides you with photo opportunity. Mitra's Ranch is open from 6am to 6pm daily.
3. Baker's Hill
Just a few minutes from Mitra's Ranch is another famous tourist spot in Puerto Princesa City. I say famous because everyone I know who had been to Palawan has pictures taken at this place. Baker's Hill is popular for its hopia and other baked goodies.
Baker's Hill used to be a simple bakeshop only until it was converted into a park due to its popularity. It became a tourist attraction that features a theme park and mini-zoo which are ideal for family and kids. Aside from the bakery, there's also a restaurant inside the property making it a delightful stopover for food. You can't miss the human-sized figures and statues scattered all over the place.
4. Binuatan Creations
Binuatan Creations is handicraft shop that makes and sells hand woven products utilizing Palawan's indigenous fibers. Their products includes bags, place mats, coin purse, table runners, wallets and many more. Aside from colorful and attractive designs, I noticed that their products are of high quality too. No wonder their products get exported to other countries like the US.
5. Plaza Cuartel
Visiting Plaza Cuartel will give you a glimpse of a dark past of Puerto Princesa City during the second World War. There is a bronze marker that contains the name of eleven prisoners of war who managed to survive the horrible massacre that happened here. While our tour guide was explaining the history and the historical background of Plaza Cuartel, we couldn't help but feel sad and emotional about what happened.
Nevertheless, Plaza Cuartel is great place to stroll and relax or just enjoy the beauty of nature. Since it's located near the wharf, it also offers an amazing view of the clear blue ocean. There's no entrance fee so you can visit the plaza anytime.
6. Immaculate Conception Cathedral
Just across Plaza Cuartel stands the Immaculate Conception Cathedral which her majestic beauty will definitely capture your attention. The church was built during the Spanish era and has since become a spiritual refuge for locals and visitors. Unlike the old churches in some parts of the country, Immaculate Conception Cathedral is predominantly made of cement, and not limestone.
Despite our limited time, we were able to visit these six attractions during our Puerto Princesa city tour. If you plan of checking more tourist spots and attractions in Puerto Princesa, here are the recommended ones:
- Iwahig Penal Colony
- Butterfly Garden
- City Baywalk
- Palawan Museum
- Firefly Watching
- Part 1 - Palawan: A Gateway to Paradise
- Part 2 - Falling in Love with the Islands of El Nido (Part 1)
- Part 3 - El Nido: Fish Feeding at Simizu Island
- Part 4 - Falling in Love with the Islands of El Nido (Part 2)
- Part 5 - Discovering Palawan's Jewel: The Puerto Princesa Underground River
- Part 6 - Puerto Princesa City Tour