Known as the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines and home to an awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage subterranean river, Puerto Princesa stirs the nature-loving adventurer in us with its beautiful beaches, wildlife reserves and national parks. To add to that, it’s also an amazing choice for backpackers and budget-conscious travellers, with its abundance of affordable accommodation, not to mention interesting and inexpensive attractions and activities.
So, whether you are spending a week or just passing through to reach other popular destinations such as Coron (considered by many as the world’s most beautiful island) or El Nido, there is plenty to see in Puerto Princesa while sticking to your travel budget. So, what are you waiting for? Book your flight on Cheapflights.com.au and check out these seven cheap and free things do.Search for flights
Plan a visit to Palawan Wildlife and Rescue Conservation Center, more popularly known in the area as “Crocodile Farm,” where you can see crocodiles, a local bearcat and the Palawan Forest Turtle or “Bakoko” among other creatures for just P$40.
Sunbathe at Sabang beach
While Puerto Princesa is a popular gateway for two of the world’s most stunning destinations, El Nido and the sublime island of Coron, the town of Puerto Princesa also has its fair share of white sand beaches. One of the best villages for some “vitamin sea” is Sabang, which is also the entryway to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River.
While many purchase Palawan tour packages that include the river, DIY travellers can reach Sabang from Puerto Princesa proper on their own via jeepneys and buses, which you can take from the San Jose New Market. The trip takes two to three hours, so try to catch the 7 am or 9 am schedule.
Take photos at Baker’s Hill
If you’re travelling with kids (or just kids-at-heart), the perfect place to bring them while in Puerto Princesa is Baker’s Hill. Apart from the playground, tourists also enjoy taking photos next to life-size fibreglass statues of dinosaurs and famous characters such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bugs Bunny and Shrek. When done taking photos, you can end your trip to the area on a sweet note — Baker’s Hill is famous for its bakeshop selling affordable and tasty local pastries. (Tip: a must-buy is the hopia, a scrumptious bean-filled dessert).
Relax at Mitra’s Ranch
Another free attraction aside from Baker’s Hill is the Rancho Santa Monica. Fondly called Mitra’s Ranch (after its owners), tourists can relax at the picnic area and enjoy the fresh air and panoramic scenery from its viewing deck. If you have some change to spare however, you can also spend some time horseback riding or zip-lining.
Indulge in the day’s fresh catch
Surrounded by healthy waters, Puerto Princesa is one of the best places to satisfy your craving for seafood. Not only are the fish offerings always fresh, caught from the town’s coastlines, but the varieties are remarkable, not to mention inexpensive. If you’re allowed to cook in your accommodation (the town has numerous homestays), you can buy crabs, large shrimps, halibut, tuna, blue marlin and even sea urchins for cheap at the fresh food market located in the city centre.
Go crazy over cashews
Did you know that Puerto Princesa is the country’s cashew capital? The town is home to hectares over hectares of farms dedicated to the crop and 90% of the country’s cashews apparently come from the province. It is no wonder then that you’ll find cashews (or kasuy in the local language) everywhere in the city, and at ridiculously low prices. Apart from the cashew brittle, another popular variety for tourists is the cashew wine, which is sold for around P$200. Chin, chin!
Discover Puerto Princesa history
Take a trip down memory lane, particularly on the city’s vibrant Rizal Avenue, with a free visit to the Immaculate Conception of Mary. A blue-and-white coloured Gothic cathedral, reminiscent of the medieval-style structure of Europe, the church is an important historical landmark established during the era of Spanish colonization and is said to be the location for the town’s first ever Catholic mass in 1872.
Another place for a history lesson in Puerto Princesa is at the Palawan Special Battalion WWII Memorial Museum, which features fascinating stories about the role the city played during the war, as well as authentic artefacts. The entrance is only P$30, while the guided tours are offered for free.Search for flights to Puerto Princesa