Palawan is often referred to as the Philippines’ last frontier, and there is more than just a passing truth to that statement. Taking a short drive through the elongated island, one immediately notices the craggy, limestone-filled landscape which shares more similarities with that of Krabi in Thailand, Ha Long Bay in Vietnam or Guilin in China than anywhere else in the Philippines.
hammock in our hotel’s beachfront looks inviting
I had the chance to visit Central Palawan a while back. The distance from Manila was merely 360 miles, thanks to direct air services by most of the country’s airlines, but the change from my hometown’s congestion-filled streets could not be anymore welcoming. I was finally in Puerto Princesa after an hour’s flight. I had to quickly settle some of my expectations – Palawan’s capital may have an exotic and picture-pretty sounding name, but apart from the litter-free streets there aren’t a lot of things which differentiates this provincial town from the rest.
sunrise over at the sulu sea
This was a big family trip, but I took the late afternoon flight from Manila on my own. After arriving in PP, I went to Ka Lui, a seafood restaurant which has received rave reviews from other travelers. The interiors had a strong native vibe which serves as a good ambiance for the tourist diners who probably comprise the majority of the clientele. Following this meal, we proceeded to Microtel Puerto Princesa, a motel-type lodging by the beach. The rooms were spartan, but new and clean. Most importantly, the room was spacious and contained two queen beds which could actually sleep up to four people! The property also boasts of its own beach, which looked quite scenic during high tide with the transparent waters reaching all the way to the hotel’s backyard.
boats for a spin at honda bay
The next day, we went on a tour of Honda Bay. We visited three islands in all – Pandan, Snake and Starfish. At this point, I have to point out that I don’t frequent beaches and this is probably the first time I have been to one where the waters were this clear. We were able to snorkel in both Pandan and Snake Islands. The latter, though more crowded, had better marine wildlife. I was able to spot some exotic fish such as the clownfish, and some others whose name I cannot presently recall.
We were also treated to a simple but sumptuous lunch consisting of grilled pork, squid and probably some of the best crabs I’ve tasted in a while – truly a fresh catch! Afterwards, we spent the rest of the day swimming – even though it must have been 36 celsius on the shade. The water was just too pleasant to miss.
the room in microtel puerto princesa, i wasn’t kidding when i said the room was big!
Microtel Inn & Suites Puerto Princesa
The Emerald Playa Beach & Nature Park
San Jose, Puerto Princesa City