Weekend Story: 6th Wedding Anniversary Celebration (a.k.a. Our Palawan Trip)

The hubby and I both self-declared a long weekend last weekend. Justified naman because it was a milestone in our married life, hehe. March 17th, which fell on a Saturday this year, was our 6th wedding anniversary. So, we decided to spend it on a trip to a place we hadn’t been to yet. I suggested Puerto Princesa City (PPC) in Palawan and the hubby said yes in a jiffy. He said he wanted to experience the marvelous underground river tour the place is famous for. I, on the other hand, wanted the same and more.

So, I immediately booked our tickets and accommodation for a 4D3N vacation (March 15-18, 2018) at PPC which, we would later find out, is known as the “city in a forest.” We even had some company during the trip courtesy of Mame, my MIL, and my balikbayan aunt Laura. Gusto raw nila sumama, eh madali naman kami kausap, kaya go! Totoo naman pala talaga na maganda at malinis sa Puerto Princesa! Nakakatuwa at nakakamangha rin na napapaligiran ng mga puno at berdeng berde ang kapaligiran doon!

Just a warning, tons of photos from our Palawan escapade below PLUS some travel and tipid tips:

DAY 1 (Arrival in PPC, Check-in at By The Bay Jacana Bed and Breakfast, and Dinner at Ka Lui Restaurant)

tres marias (Mama, Aunt Laura, and Mame)

by the bay jacana room
how our air-con room looked (it was only PHP800 per night and we couldn’t ask for a better, more relaxing accommodation!)

(enjoying our PHP100 per head breakfast, which was always warm, yummy, and filling, by the way)

jacana palawan
at By the Bay Jacana (the place was quiet and cozy; it was also a mere 7-minute van ride from the airport)

ka lui
at Ka Lui’s restaurant where reservation is a must

Mama and Mame
Mama and Mame enjoying their drinks at Ka Lui’s

fish roll cream
these fish rolls in coconut cream with a hint of curry, which were part of the “special of the day” that we ordered, were a delight in their own right!

Travel Tip: Get a tour guide that will show you around the city and give you good recommendations on where to go, what to do, and where to eat. Plus point if he’s a tricycle driver, too, that could pick you up from your hotel and take you to your destinations for the day and back to your hotel safely and on time. The tour guide we got for this trip with the descriptions I just mentioned is just a text or call away:

Bryan Elivera – 09202896170 (smart), 09152788528 (globe)

with bryan palawan tour guide
with Kuya Bryan

DAY 2 (Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour with Buffet Lunch, MCA Market Mall Pasalubong Center, and Dinner at K’na Boyet sa Baywok)

underground river
locals assisting tourists on the boat who are about to enter the underground river

puerto princesa underground river tour

boat sho
our group’s turn

inside the cave

one of the stalagmites we saw during the tour

underground river tour
the darkness inside didn’t stop us from taking photos, haha

buffet lunch
the buffet lunch included in our tour was simple but quite filling

Travel Tip: Wear comfy clothes AND bring a hat because summer is scorching hot in the Philippines (pun intended). You can DIY the underground river tour but I highly recommend availing the packages offered by travel agencies. This way, you don’t have to get a tour permit from the city government yourself and arrange for the other things you will need for the tour yourself (e.g. van rides, boat rides, lunch, environmental fees, terminal fees, etc.).

To give your more information, the travel time going to Sabang (the drop-off point to the underground river) is two hours by van. You will have to ride a boat for 10 minutes to get to the underground river and another boat ride (a kayak, this time) for the 45-minute tour itself. The waiting time for your group’s turn to ride the boat going to the underground river and eventually, to get inside it depends on the number of tours scheduled that day. Prices of the tour package range from PHP2,100 to PHP2,500 when I did a quick googling, and you have to pay in advance. I asked our city tour guide Bryan if he could get us a tour package and he said yes right away. The damage to our wallets? PHP1600 per head only, plus the PHP150 environmental fee which is really not part of the usual tour packages being offered by travel agencies. And the best thing about it? We only paid after we got into the van that picked us up at the bed and breakfast place where we were staying!

I went necklace shopping at MCA Market Mall Pasalubong Center…because I just loooove necklaces! 😛

where to eat i puerto princesa
K’na Boyet is known for its crocodile sisig that we were too scared to try…maybe next time!

k'na boyet
we enjoyed our dinner, though

puerto princesa baywalk
locals call their baywalk “baywok”

DAY 3 (Honda Bay Tour with Buffet Lunch by the Sea, Delma Pearl and Souvenir Shop, and Dinner at Neva’s Place)

diy honda bay tour
registering our group for the island hopping tour

honda bay tour
we had our own boat during our Honda Bay tour

island hopping
enjoying the sea for a day

honday bay tour
one of the islands we visited

edel palawan sea
swimming with hat on dahil ang hirap po magpaputi, hahaha

palawan shot

honda bay buffet lunch
buffet lunch at Cowrie Island (only PHP200 per head)

6th anniv
our 6th wedding anniv couple pic 😉

Tipid Tip: While I highly recommend availing a tour package for the underground river tour, the island hopping activity called Honday Bay tour is better done DIY style, IMHO. It’s cheaper and manageable with minimal hassle. Instead of availing the PHP1,500 tour package rate from travel agencies, our group opted to go with Kuya Bryan’s suggestion to just hire his tricycle (and his friend’s for a total of two tricycles) in going to the drop-off point and from there, hire a boat that would take us to the different islands within Honda Bay. We chose three (Starfish Island, Luli Island, and Cowrie Island) and just paid the entrance fees when we docked on each of them. We also availed of the buffet lunch at Cowrie Island which is part of the usual tour package. The environmental fee we no longer had to pay for because the one from our underground river tour was still valid. We just showed them the receipts and paid for the terminal fee at the drop-off point and we were good to go. And that was it. I took care of everything at the drop-off point while my companions waited at the boat dispatch area.

To prove my point, let’s do a simple computation:

Tour Package (based on my inquiry)
1,500 x 5 = PHP7,500

DIY Tour
1,200 — tricycle rides (two tricycles at PHP600 each, back and forth)
1,500 — boat ride (good for 6-8pax)
25 — terminal fees (PHP5 x 5)
250 — Starfish Island entrance fees (PHP50 x 5)
300 — Luli Island entrance fees (PHP60 x 5)
375 — Cowrie Island entrance fees (PHP75 x 5)
1,000 — buffet lunch at Cowrie Island (PHP200 x 5)

Clearly, we saved PHP2,850 and that’s a lot! The hubby, my MIL, and I also rented sanitized snorkeling gears (PHP100 per set) and aqua shoes (PHP150 per pair) from one of the shops lining the road going to the drop-off point to complete the experience. These are not included in the usual tour package but are a must if you plan to swim while doing the island hopping.

nevas place
pizza and pasta dinner at Neva’s Place (the resto got burned down in a fire before and they gradually rebuilt it from all that was left of the place)

nevas place pizza
their large Hawaiian pizza was just PHP200+

Tipid Tip: Ask your tour guide where you could buy pasalubongs for your loved ones back home at the most competitive prices. It will save you time and money, I tell you. That’s specially true if you plan to go south sea pearl (SSP) shopping in Palawan. Don’t forget to use your charm and haggle reasonably like I did! 😉

Palawan South Sea pearls
13.5mm white, 13.5mm champagne, and 14mm golden SSPs (these alone made our Palawan trip super worth it for me!)

DAY 4 (Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Baker’s Hill, Mitra’s Ranch, Binuatan Creations, MCA Market Mall Pasalubong Center, Departure for Manila)

puerto princesa cathedral
beautiful Puerto Princesa Cathedral

bakers hill palawan
at Baker’s Hill

bakers hill ube hopia
hopia overload inside Baker’s Hill’s pasalubong shop

summer-ready couple 😛

mitra's ranch palawan
overlooking view at Mitra’s ranch

binuatan creations
at Binuatan Creations

weaved wallets
PHP50 wallets we got from their shop

Tipid Tip: Buy cashew nuts (kasuy) from the wet market where their prices are reasonable and not from pasalubong centers where they are sold at marked up prices. Do not leave Palawan without taking home ube hopias from Baker’s Hill. The big ube hopia fan in me looooove ’em! Hoard them if you must because each box of 10 (pcs.) only costs PHP45!

Buenavista view deck, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
panoramic view of Ulugan Bay from Buenavista Viewdeck, took a picture of this during our stopover going to Sabang for the underground river tour

We immensely enjoyed our Puerto Princesa trip and we hope to go back there again someday. For now, kayod muna ulit para makaipon ng pangbakasyon, hahaha.

palawan intl airport
at the pre-departure area of the new Puerto Princesa International Airport

Have a fruitful week, friends! 🙂

May you choose happiness always,

digital signature

6 Replies to “Weekend Story: 6th Wedding Anniversary Celebration (a.k.a. Our Palawan Trip)”

  1. Edeeeeeeel! (Yes madaming “e” kasi tuwang tuwa ako sa post na to!) Super thank you for sharing your travel itinerary and tipid tips!!! Sana makapunta na rin ako ng Palawan! Nainggit ako bigla. I-go-goal ko to next year! Maraming salamat ulit!!!!! 😀

  2. Boyet and I had our honeymoon in Puerto Princesa. We really enjoyed it, but we don’t recommend it being a honeymoon destination. Pagoda kami sa byahe lalo ‘yung papuntang Underground River. We only stayed for 3D/2N lang (flight back to Manila was early morning) so we were not able to go to Honday Bay. 🙁

    1. Haha. Ang layo nga ng underground river. 100+ km from the city proper, if I’m not mistaken. Partida, wala pang traffic yan. At buti na lang mas maayos na daw ang mga roads unlike before. 🙂

        1. Hahaha. Je, I’m happy to report ang ganda na ng mga kalsada ngayon, pero part pa rin ng joke ng tour guide yang abortion road na yan, pati yung road na gawang Pinoy at gawang Koreano, hehehe. 🙂

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