Puerto Princesa, Philippines
I was happy when I finally landed, after going from Taipei to Manila in the middle of the night and then having to wait at the airport for my connecting flight to Puerto Princesa, Philippines.
Puerto Princesa is the gateway to Palawan Province, which offers breathtaking beaches, natural attractions like the Underground River and warm temperatures all year round. Its location in the southwest of the Philippines protects it (mostly) from the typhoons. It is fastly developing as a tourist destination and soon there will be an international airport. So far, there are direct flights from Puerto Princesa to Manila, Busuanga (Coron), Iloilo City and Cebu City. The main airlines, where you can buy safe and cheap flights, are Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines. Inside Puerto Princesa, transportation is easy, as you can just get a tricycle at every street to bring you to the points of interest.
From Puerto Princesa, you can make a day tour to Honda Bay for island hopping, which you can book at many hotels or directly at some tour operators. Same is said for a day tour to Sabang, where the Underground River is - although I recommend staying there at least a night or two, to also enjoy the wonderful beach. You don´t have to plan ahead that much, as most of the hotels will assist you. The highlight for everyone planning to snorkel and visit wonderful beaches in amazing landscapes is El Nido. It is too far away from Puerto Princesa as a day trip (at least 6 hours), but staying there for a few days is absolutely rewarding. You have to book or just take a shuttle van from Puerto Princesa to get there, or the bus.
If you visit Palawan, you should think about to include a flight from Puerto Princesa to Busuanga (Coron) and stay there for a few days for island hopping and to visit the Calauit Wildlife Sanctuary. It´s the perfect stopover between Manila and Puerto Princesa. You also can easily combine a Palawan holiday - thanks to a direct flight from Puerto Princesa - with visiting Cebu City. From Cebu, you can take a ferry to take you quickly to Bohol, where Tarsier and the famous Chocolate Hills await you when you're not lying at Panglao Beach or take a dolphin watching and island hopping tour. Bohol also has an airport in Tagbilaran. From Cebu City, you can also take a trip for a few days to the Camotes Islands, which I haven´t done - yet!
Last year I finally visited Legazpi City, which offers the breathtaking Mount Mayon Volcano and also is departing point to day trips to go snorkeling with Whale Sharks. It is easily reachable by direct flights from Cebu City and Manila.
Back in Puerto Princesa, Philippines, I was there to visit my family. We caught up, hung out, but also did some excursions together. Here are some touristic activities in Puerto Princesa:
At the promenade, you find wonderful sunsets and also many food stalls.
It started out as a bakery, but now is a place to get delicious food and also offers attractions (like a theme park) for kids, sculptures, animals, a viewing platform and relaxation.