I have a love-hate relationship with my being an only child. I love it because I get to experience everything when traveling without the delay of waiting for my siblings but I hate it because traveling is much more expensive when there are only three of you in a group.
But luckily, we found an affordable package from Hotel Centro. It cost us P12,000/person for a 3 days, 2 nights stay and it already included the Honda Bay tour (with a super delicious lunch cooked on the beach by a personal chef from the hotel) and Underground River tour (with buffet lunch at fancy Sheridan Hotel). It may seem expensive at first glance but the room we got was really spacious and cozy and it has a tub in it! Also, the hotel personnel were very accommodating. I think that’s the best thing about our stay there. Even though there were a bunch of noisy students in the hotel, we still felt like we were in paradise because of the staff.
Before going to Puerto Princesa, my mom asked her friends about must-visit places in the city and KaLui was one of them. Here are a few things you need to know about the restaurant:
- You have to take your shoes off before you enter the restaurant. It’s their policy! It’s so much better if you take your socks off as well so you can really get into the vibe.
- Everything is super cheap. Make sure you order their KaLui Special of the Day set and Eel in Coco Cream. My dad was so addicted to the latter that we ate there for two nights in a row.
- Make sure you ask for a seat at the far end of the restaurant. That is where the stage is.
The other must-visit restaurant in Puerto Princesa is Nokinocs. It is famous for their halo-halo and I understood why when I tried it. The ice was so soft and pillowy (not the right term for ice but it really was soft and pillowy), it deserved to be called Olaf’s long lost sister. We ate there for three nights in a row. On our third night, we arrived a few minutes before closing time but still, we weren’t the last ones to order their halo-halo. The two people pictured above bought theirs to go and ate outside. I think that’s a cool thing to do in Puerto too.
For our Honda Bay tour, we chose to go to Pandan Island and Cowrie Island. You can pick other islands based on their activities (just ask your guide) but make sure you include Pandan Island on your list because the snorkelling there is A+. Plus, it’s not as crowded as the other islands since it’s the farthest and it is harder to get to.
Also included in our tour package is lunch prepared by a personal chef from the hotel. Since my family doesn’t eat meat, we asked for an all-seafood fare. It was the best meal I’ve had so far. Just imagine the sun, the waves and the smell of freshly-cooked fish wafting in the air. Since there were only three of us in the group and we had this lot for lunch, we asked our tour guide, chef and boatman to join us.
Our Underground River tour started a bit slow. We traveled for about two hours from Puerto Princesa to Sabang Beach. So if ever you woke up early for the roadtrip, you can get your rest on the way but you might miss the mountain formations your tour guide might point to.
When we arrived at Sabang Beach, we had to wait for a couple of minutes while our tour guide was fixing our travel permits. It’s a good thing that there weren’t a lot of people waiting so we left the beach early. Bad thing was the waves were really strong and getting to the underground river was quite a scary adventure.
When you arrive at the island, you will walk to the foot of the river where you will ride a smaller boat. The boatmen will then take you under the mountain and this is where the magic begins.
After the Underground River Tour, our tour guide brought us to Sheridan Hotel (one of the fanciest hotels in Palawan, if I may add). To my surprise, she said that we were going to have our lunch there. It was really fancy. I really love Hotel Centro for this.
Overall, my Puerto experience was A+++. It was hassle-free and I really got to experience the best they have to offer.
It’s just sad that we didn’t have the freedom to choose other islands to explore in Honda Bay like the one pictured above because apparently, they are already owned by private families. I mean, come on, an island with two lagoons? That’s like freakin’ Lost and Surivor to me. I don’t know why the government let the rich and powerful take over the country that we all have the right to experience equally. Let ours be ours; we’re all willing to share anyway.
(cross-post from my other blog shared with my cousins To Wander Full)