DIY Puerto Princesa City Tour

After months of research, planning and anticipation, our trip to Palawan finally came and three nights later, we’re back home with lots of stories to tell. Our first day was spent exploring the city and as planned, we did it on our own. That is why I did a lot of research months prior to our trip as I want to do things on our own except the Underground River Tour.

I decided to DIY the city tour for two reasons; one, you can save as much as 50% when you do it on your own as tour care of agency costs Php 600/head while renting a tricycle to take you to attractions in the city is only Php 600 and that is good for four passengers. You can even haggle but we didn’t do so since it is their only means of livelihood and besides, drivers deserve more for keeping us safe during traveling. Also, our driver, Kuya Jigs was a tour guide for 10 years before he became a tricycle driver so aside from driving for us, he also shares information about a particular tourist attraction in the city. I think Php 600 is well-deserved! Another reason for DIY-ing is time factor. When on our own, we own our time and we are free to do activities without having to worry about other people in the group. We can skip an attraction if we don’t feel like going and we can stay longer to a particular place should we like to stay.

Actually, our tour started in the morning and we did it on foot. Yes, we walked from our pension house up to the center of the city to familiarize ourselves and to kill time since check in time at the pension house is 12 noon. We left our baggage there for safekeeping, rested for 15 minutes and with a map we got for free from the tourist assistance at the airport, we went on our way.

Our first stop is… BPI! LOL! We had to replenish our cash on hand since we brought only a few thousands with us for safety purposes. Not that the city is unsafe but we simply don’t want to travel with all our trip money in my wallet. :D

Our next stop is Palawan Museum. We didn’t plan to go there in the morning much more knew where it is located but our feet took us there so we decided to stop to learn some information about the early inhabitants of this beautiful city. The old municipal hall turned into museum is a two-storey structure in the heart of the city. Turning it into a museum is just right since the building has that vintage architecture common among municipal halls in the country including ours. Entrance is Php 50 per person. After paying the entrance fee, you are free to explore the museum on your own. There’s nothing much to see in the museum as they are only a few items on display but if you are a history buff or you simply want to know more about the place and its people, then this place is definitely worth a visit.
One of the artifacts found inside the museum.

After Palawan museum, we dropped by the Palawan Provincial Capitol. We didn’t get inside as we (or I am) not dressed properly and it would be too embarrassing to roam around the government office wearing shorts. By the way, it is stated in the map we got from the tourism assistance that people need to dress properly when in public especially in churches, mosques and government offices. We just took picture of the Capitol’s facade and went on our way.
I love their capitol because it looks almost like the famous Colloseum, my dream destination.
Since it’s already approaching lunch time, we went to look for a place to eat. We passed by Balinsasayaw restaurant but since it’s seemingly empty, the boyfriend decided that we find another restaurant thinking that it’s still close. We walked further to check out Kinabuchs but unfortunately, they open at 4pm so we walked back from where we came from. We found a small restaurant in the corner near Provincial Capitol and seeing that there are vacant tables, we went inside to eat. After eating our lunch at Noki Nocs (more about it later), we hailed a tricycle to take us back to the pension house as its already too hot and we are too tired to walk.

After checking in, we rested for a while and got ready for the next part of our City tour together with Kuya Jigs. Our tour started at 2pm although you can have it earlier if you prefer. Our first stop is the farthest - the Palawan Wildlife and Conservation Center. Entrance fee is Php 40 and I think it is worth it since we are accompanied by a tour guide. Visitors are required to tour the area in batches together with the tour guide so if there is only the two of you, you will have to wait for other guests to arrive before the tour begins.

Palawan Wildlife and Conservation Center has lots of crocodiles of varying age and sizes. Aside from crocodiles, there are porcupines, myna and other animals as well. I do not know how the management is taking care of the animals but I felt terribly sad for the bearded pig. It is alone in its muddy cage. I learned that that kind of pig loves to dig to find food in the wild but the muddy cage is heartbreaking for me. Even its eyes look sad. :( Before we exit the area where the cages of the animals are located, we heard a squeaking sound from somewhere. We traced where the sound came from and we learned that it came from the tall trees above us. We saw lots of squirrels running from one branch to another. Such a joy to see them roaming around freely.

the lonely bearded pig
After Palawan Wildlife and Conservation Center, we proceeded to Mitra Ranch. According to our driver slash tour guide, the property belongs to the family of the late Senator Ramon Mitra. It is located in Sta. Monica Heights and offers a stunning view of Puerto Princesa City and surrounding islands. Guests can also enjoy zipline ride while feasting your eyes on breathtaking sceneries. We stayed a bit longer here as the boyfriend wanted to savor the sceneries and the moment.

After our moment at Mitra Ranch, we headed to the nearby Baker’s Hill. I love it here! It’s like Sampaguita Garden in Kalibo but better. Aside from the well-kept garden, the compound has restaurant and bake shop too. In fact, this place is every foodie and sweet-tooth’s haven. Sadly, we weren’t able to eat in the restaurant because of time constraints but we got a bit crazy in their bakeshop. We bought boxes of hopia in various filling, cookies and other baked goodies. We will surely be back here when we are back in Palawan.

With a plastic bag full of baked goodies, we travelled back to the city proper for our Firefly watching activity. But before we head to Baywalk which is the drop off point for Firefly watching, we dropped by Mercado de San Miguel for pasalubong shopping. The famous Delma Pearl and Souvenir Shop can be found here. Freshwater pearl earrings are as cheap as Php 10 per pair. You can also find Southsea pearl jewelries, delicacies, malongs, keychains and other items.

After tiring our eyes (and wallets) from souvenir and delicacy shopping, we proceeded to Baywalk for our Firefly Watching. More about it on my next post.

We missed other attractions in the city on the first day so on our third day, we continued our City tour after our Honda Bay tour. After island hopping the whole day, we freshen up at the pension house and walked to Immaculate Conception Cathedral. We then went to Plaza Cuartel just a few steps away from the cathedral.

Here are my other posts about our trip:
Puerto Princesa Travel Itinerary and Expenses

Firefly Watching
Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour

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