Puerto Princesa, Philippines cruises
Located on Palawan Island in the western Philippines, Puerto Princesa brings an enchanting blend of tropical beauty and energetic city life.
Puerto Princesa port guide.
White beaches peppered with palm trees, colourful colonial buildings, and the unique Subterranean River National Park are just a handful of the attractions that keep visitors returning to Puerto Princesa.
Known for its scenic beauty and varied wildlife, Puerto Princesa is truly one of gems of the Philippines. Stretch out and relax on miles of soft sand, explore centuries of history, and discover an array of captivating creatures from fireflies to dolphins.
Top landmarks and sights in Puerto Princesa.
Having been colonised and occupied by various international entities in the past, Palawan offers a number of historical sights to explore. One such site is Plaza Cuartel. Originally built as a garrison in the late 19th century by the Spanish, Plaza Cuartel went on to become a Japanese military camp in WWII. American prisoners of war were imprisoned here between 1942 and 1944, and today the site has become a memorial to the 150 POWs who were killed in the Palawan Massacre.
Puerto Princesa Cathedral, also known as the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, is another Spanish colonial structure. It is said that the first mass that took place in Puerto Princesa was held at the site of the cathedral in March 1872, just six days after the Spaniards arrived. Since then, the religious building has been rebuilt having been destroyed several times, including by Japanese bombing in WWII. The current structure was completed in 1961.
Palaweño Brewery offers an altogether different way to spend time in Puerto Princesa. Come here for a window into contemporary life in this part of the world, as you’re invited to sample local craft beers, created by a team of all-female brewers.
Things to do in Puerto Princesa.
One of the most enticing experiences that await in Puerto Princesa is the chance to visit the Subterranean River National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s also widely considered one of the wonders of the world, this unique natural attraction is located around 50 miles north of Puerto Princesa. Enter an enigmatic lair of caves and find yourself transported to another world, exploring an underground river surrounded by interesting rock formations. Spot marine creatures, bats, plus a labyrinth of more caves and river channels as you gently float along.
Another peaceful setting in which to spend a few hours surrounded by nature is Olangoan Falls, which can be reached after about an hours’ hike. Look out for exotic flora and fauna in the surrounding forest and feel a sense of tranquillity as the waterfall cascades. Colourful butterflies and tiny fish are among the eye-catching creatures that will pepper your surroundings.
In addition to a visit to the Subterranean River National Park, the fireflies in this part of the world are another spectacle to behold. These pretty insects are best seen dancing above the waters of Iwahig River in the mangrove forest.
Should you prefer a gentler pace, time spent simply enjoying the sunshine while relaxing on the beach are another option. Hartman Beach, BM Beach, and Kalayaan Beach are all close to the port.
Eating and drinking near Puerto Princesa cruise port.
You’ll find a great variety of cuisine in Puerto Princesa, from international favourites including Chinese, Japanese, and Italian, to local delicacies. For those looking to try some authentic Filipino dishes, you’ll find carinderias (food stalls with seating areas) scattered all over. These usually sell deliciously prepared fresh fish, flavoursome chicken, and snacks including fried bananas.
One popular, local dish to try is crocodile sisig, which uses crocodile meat cooked with jalapeno chillis, calamansi (citrus fruit), onion, and pepper, topped off with a fried egg. Another option unique to the Palawan islands is tamilok, made with a shell-less clam, known locally as a woodworm. Not for the feint of heart, this dish has been compared to both oysters and raw worms.
For a sweet treat, perhaps try halo-halo, meaning ‘mix mix’. Made with shaved ice, evaporated or coconut milk, jam, and fresh fruit, many restaurants and food stalls sell their own version of this tasty dessert.
Shopping in Puerto Princesa.
Robinsons Place Mall Palawan and SM City Puerto Princesa are two of the largest shopping malls in Puerto Princesa. Here you’ll find many outlets and major stores as well as large food courts.
For souvenirs and local handicrafts, Binuatan Creations brings opportunities to purchase handmade wares including handbags, rugs, clothing, and more trinkets. Here you can also watch skilled weavers at work making baskets and other items. Asiano Arts and Crafts and Stellar Grounds are wonderful options if you’re looking for hand carved wooden items, jewellery, or other keepsakes.
The Old Public Market makes for an interesting glimpse into local life. Spend an hour or so wandering a maze of colourful stalls selling fresh fish, spices, and other Palawan produce.
Getting around: Puerto Princesa transport.
Tricycles are one of the most commonly seen modes of transport in Puerto Princesa. Considered by many as an inexpensive and somewhat fun option, the motorised tricycles can usually take two to four passengers. Jeepneys are another choice. These are slightly more expensive and act as a local bus. Taxis are also readily available in Puerto Princesa.
Puerto Princesa port facilities.
The cruise terminal at Puerto Princesa offers basic facilities such as toilets, ATMs, money exchange, mobile phone charging facilities, and WiFi. You’ll also be able to find some food and drink options here including vending machines.
Top tips for Puerto Princesa.
The currency used in Puerto Princesa, and throughout the Philippines, is the Philippine peso (PHP). This is often referred to locally as the Filipino piso. At the time of writing £1 is the equivalent to around 65.50 PHP.
ATMs can be found throughout Puerto Princesa, and it’s advisable to take cash if you’ll be travelling outside of the main city, or you’ll be shopping or eating at smaller establishments.
Tipping is not commonplace in the Philippines, rather, it is up to the individual. Some visitors choose to round up their bill after drinks, dining, or after a taxi journey, however it will usually depend on the service given and personal preference.
April to June are the summer months in the Philippines, when temperatures tend to average around 30-34 degrees Celsius in Puerto Princesa. Many prefer to visit in January and February when the weather is cooler at around 28 degrees Celsius, as these are also dry months. The region tends to see heavy rain from August to October.