Puerto Princesa is located in the western provincial island of Palawan, Philippines. It is a popular tourist city with many beach resorts and seafood restaurants. It is considered one of the greenest and cleanest cities in the Philippines.
Since our group will be picked up early at the hotel (I stayed at Mercedes Bed and Breakfast), I decided to eat my breakfast at the hotel (other members of my group just drank coffee). Breakfast is free in this hotel. They served one of Palawan’s famous dish the “lamayo”. Lamayo is a small fish called danggit, freshly marinated with vinegar pepper and garlic. Every buffet table of every hotel serves this daily for breakfast.
It will take two hours for you to reach Sabang where the Underground River is located. A boat will take you to the Underground River. You will be provided with a helmet to protect you from falling objects from the cave, a life jacket and a light lamp as it is dark inside the cave.
As you enter the cave, you can see bats hanging in different areas. You can also see different formation of stalagmites and stalactites. The boatman will entertain you by describing and making stories about the rock formations that look like the “Holy Family” (Jesus, Joseph and Mary), giant candles, large corn and large mushrooms. The tour guide will point out each of these for you.
There is a designated place for lunch (still part of Sabang) and it’s near the beach. Lunch is often sponsored by the tour agency. Take time to eat some of their exotic food, the Tamilok. They are woodworms found inside a log or branches that are deteriorated or fallen off mangrove trees. It tastes like an oyster, so if you like oysters you might like tamilok as well.
Back in the city, go shopping at Tiangge Tiangge. It’s a one-stop shop for souvenir items. Here you can find cheap souvenir shirts, cashew nuts, pearls, rain makers and dried fish. Make sure you got hold of a rain maker. It is a bamboo instrument used by natives of Palawan to summon rain clouds.
Don’t forget also to treat yourself and your loved ones to saltwater and freshwater pearls from the unblemished water of Palawan. The place has so many stalls, so you have to explore it to find cheaper prices for this souvenir items. Prices can be haggled for and you can have 10% to 20% discount especially when you buy in bulk.
After the shopping spree, be ready for your dinner at KaLui Restaurant, one of the most famous restaurant in Palawan. It is a native wooden house and its floor is polished and dirt free. You have to remove your footwear and place it in a small locker before entering the place.
Make sure you get stuck into these dishes: the moist and well cooked “blue marlin steak”, “lobster marinara” (lobster deboned and marinated) and “seaweeds” sea vegetables which are low in fat and calories and one of the richest sources of minerals in the vegetable kingdom.
After a good eat it is nice to relax in a place that is best viewed at nightfall – The City Baywalk where you can see the mountain ranges, breathe fresh air, watch the blue sea nearby and take pictures. You can leisurely take a stroll and see those peacock lights or rent and enjoy a bike.
*Image credited to Benson Kua via flickr*