WATCH: What to see in a Puerto Princesa City tour

PALAWAN, Philippines — Looking for a long weekend getaway?

If you only have a day to two days to spare for a holiday, roaming around Puerto Princesa City, the capital of Palawan province in Luzon, could be your best bet.

The city tour can be booked via downloadable travel app Klook and it includes stops in famous city landmarks such as:

  • Immaculate Conception Cathedral and its adjacent Plaza Cuartel war memorial and park
  • Baker’s Hill that has snack bars, “pasalubong” shops and playground
  • Mitra House or the ranch and rest house of the late Filipino statesman Ramon Mitra Jr.
  • Crocodile Park
  • Baywalk, where international cruises dock.

If you want to try “tamilok,” a famous Palawan delicacy that consists of shipworms found in mangrove roots, there is a vendor outside Baker’s Hill and it is also served occasionally by local restaurants like Kinabuch and food parks that dot the Baywalk at night. Ka Lui and Badjao Inn are other famous dining sites.

For nightlife, one can try the city’s famed Tiki Bar, or book on Klook for a separate firefly watching tour in Iwahig, an open prison and penal farm.

The educational firefly watching tour includes a boat ride down a river garlanded by a thick mangrove forest, which at night, teems with fireflies, making one feel like it is Christmas in the middle of summer.

Summer 2018: Why this El Nido property doesn’t use straws, cups

The white sand beach of the Lio Beach tourism estate in El Nido

EL NIDO — Ayala Land’s Lio Beach tourism estate in El Nido, Palawan kicked off summer in grand fashion.

A one-day beach festival was held, with several activities headlining the celebration like a food and local products market, big board games on the beach, and interactive wildlife storytelling, among others. The festival ended with a free concert featuring local Palawan artists and UDD, formerly known as Up Dharma Down.

The celebration can be compared to beach festivals and concerts in Boracay, but Lio Beach is far from the current state of the troubled island paradise.

Boracay can actually learn a thing or two from Lio Beach about responsible and sustainable tourism.

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Boost in Puerto Princesa tourism seen as Boracay faces closure

‘The CAAP confirmed to us that starting April 25, we will be having another 10 redirected flights from Kalibo every week,’ says Michie Meneses of the City Tourism Office

NATURAL BEAUTY. The Puerto Princesa Underground River is among the 7 New Wonders of the World. Photo from PPUR Management Office

PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines – The city government is anticipating a boost in tourist arrivals in Puerto Princesa City with the impending closure of Boracay starting April 26.

Michie Meneses, City Tourism Office (CTO) promotion and marketing division chief, said they are expecting the city’s current average of 85,000 monthly visitors to double in numbers starting last week of this month.

“The CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) confirmed to us that starting April 25, we will be having another 10 redirected flights from Kalibo every week,” she said.

The tourism industry in Puerto Princesa City sees Boracay’s impending closure as an opportunity to showcase the city’s community-based sustainable tourism (CBST) sites, along with its flagship tourist destinations Puerto Princesa Underground River and Honda Bay.

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The search for the next Boracay: San Vicente, Palawan

San Vicente, a first-class municipality located on the northwestern side of the main island of the province of Palawan, is home to the longest white sand beach in the Philippines, roughly three times the length of Boracay’s famed White Beach.

San Vicente’s 14.7-kilometer beachfront, popularly called Long Beach, is being converted into an emerging tourist destination. It has two rocky cliffs interrupting the coastline and dividing the area into three distinct coves.

Long Beach spans the coastline of four barangays — Poblacion, New Agutaya, San Isidro and Alimanguan — and has still few commercial developments. Meanwhile, the area of Port Barton, a small fishing village located in one of the sheltered bays of San Vicente, offers more options for tourists in terms of accommodations, dining options and accessibility.

The famed 14.7-kilometer Long Beach in San Vicente, Palawan. Kara Santos, ABS-CBN News

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Puerto Princesa Underground River: A call for new branding and prestige

In Photo: A view of the Saint Paul’s range from the open sea, which is also home to a vibrant coral reef.

Story & photos by Bernard Joseph Esposo Guerrero

Last year I managed to visit Palawan’s Puerto Princesa City —one of my favorite nooks in the country—for the third time. It was not hard to gather immediately upon stepping into the city that they have been enjoying very much the latest title they have coveted for their most important destination and asset; so much so that it has gone a bit too much.

In my three days in the city, with a day devoted to visiting again the underground river, I never met anyone who described the park in other terms aside from that it is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Right there and then, I knew that there was a looming crisis.

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Lio has it all for millennials: Beach, boutique hotels & an artisan village

With its young, fun, stylish party vibe, the town of Lio in Palawan is like Boracay if Bora had followed all the laws of conservancy and protected the environment instead of succumbing to rampant commercialism.

As it stands, Lio is a model of what a resort village should and could be: a mixed-used development built around a long stretch of blue-water beach with B&Bs, low-rise boutique hotels that are no taller than the coconut trees, a strip of restaurants and shops, and an artisan village that showcases Palawan’s arts and crafts.

On our way home from Apulit, we visited this artist’s village first. Kalye Artisano is the pet project of Bea Zobel Jr., who brought local artists together to form this collective of six stores that feature products from all over the Philippines.

“We have Art on the Move, a gallery with El Nido-based artists,” notes Rambie Lim, Kalye Artisano’s development maven. “Jojo Asiano works with indigenous artists all over Palawan.”

Kalye Artisano is the pet project of Bea Zobel Jr. and her daughter Paloma.

She says Palawan artists specialize in basketry, as well as handcrafting natural materials into bags, fans, home decor and bamboo drinking straws.

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Groups ink deal with government for El Nido’s ‘sustainability’

PROMISING to work together toward the sustainability of El Nido, Palawan, groups recently signed an agreement with government agencies to protect and strengthen the natural resources of the booming tourist destination.

“It is refreshing to see this level of commitment for the protection of our environment coming from our stakeholders,” Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu was quoted in a statement as saying.

Cimatu issued his statement after ordering a crackdown in tourism areas, particularly beach resorts, to prevent another “Boracay.”

The world-renowned Boracay, an island paradise in Malay, Aklan, is besieged by environmental problems.

President Duterte is set to decide whether to shut down Boracay for six months as recommended by Task Force Boracay led by Cimatu.

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El Nido’s tourist boom in the eyes of locals

MANILA, Philippines, March 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — In 2017, readers of luxury and lifestyle travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler ranked Palawan’s El Nido as the world’s fourth most beautiful island beach. While El Nido is home to nearly 50 white sand beaches set around majestic limestone formations, it used to be a fifth-class municipality without a hospital and sufficient power and water systems.

Most of the locals used to make a living through birds’ nest gathering, fishing, and cashew farming, which were not enough for them to make ends meet. In 1992, the opening of Ten Knots Development Corporation (TKDC) created opportunities to build on the skills and provide livelihood for El Nido’s communities. Now that El Nido is a first-class municipality and a booming tourist destination, most residents are part of the tourism supply chain that TKDC helped put in place.

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Kudat-Palawan ro-ro to push through April

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY: The Kudat-Palawan roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) ferry service will push through next month.

This assurance came from Palawan provincial information officer Gil Acosta Jr, in response to a report quoting a local community leader in Sabah that the sea link between Malaysia and Philippines is unlikely to start soon.

The community leader, in the report published in Daily Express, cited difficulties in documentation and permits being faced by the Philippine-based ferry operator.

“The maiden voyage of the Kudat-Palawan ro-ro) ferry service will push through in April after a delay due to Tropical Storm Basyang last February.

“The ferry operation will push through. Our last schedule was cancelled because of our own hesitation when there was a tropical storm (Basyang) in Palawan. It’s a go for us,” said Acosta.

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Summer 2018: Asia’s biggest inflatable playground is in Palawan

Kamia Bay Resort drone shot.(Photo Courtesy of Aloha Palawan)

PUERTO PRINCESA — Looking for something new to do in Puerto Princesa, Palawan?

If you’ve already visited the famed Underground River, gone island-hopping around Honda Bay, and done a city tour of heritage sights, you might want to head over to Kamia Bay Resort to get a thrill at the newest and biggest inflatable playground in Asia.

Just 30 to 45 minutes away from the city center, Kamia Bay Resort in Binusalian Bay at Barangay Luzviminda offers an exciting new attraction for friends and family.

Be one of the first to enjoy the giant fun and enjoyment in the largest aqua-adventure inflatable playground as well as premier water sports like kayaking and jetski tours in one of the world’s best islands. The area covers 3,800 square meters of play area near the waterfront that is available exclusively for day tours.

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Nature-rich getaway at Princesa Garden Island

AN upscale, 4-hectare resort that cares for the environment, Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa, which is approximately five minutes away from the Puerto Princesa Airport in the heart of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, isn’t just close to nature but it practically blends into the picturesque scenery.

Being part of nature makes it much easier to care for its surroundings. The 1,640-square-meter chlorine-free pool, for instance, uses nothing but natural sea-salt water. The resort also has its own water-treatment and desalinization facility, ensuring only the cleanest water is used. And solar panels provide ample heating.

Blending with nature makes it a cinch for guests to escape completely from the outside world. Sure, the resort has a host of Water Villas and Pool Access rooms that are larger than your average hotel room, complete with modern conveniences like Wi-fi and the like. Yet, guests can still get away from the hustle and bustle by engaging in the various relaxing and invigorating activities that cater to every member of the family.

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102-year old World War II hero awarded in Palawan

A 102-year-old World War II veteran was honored in Busuanga town recently with five notable awards for saving two wounded American pilots in 1944.

WAR HERO. (From left) Puerto Princesa Councilor Matthew Mendoza, Vice Governor Dennis Socrates, and World War II 3rd Lt. Jesus Barracoso in Busuanga, Palawan, during the awarding of his medals for heroic deeds in the liberation of the Philippines from the colonization of the Japanese Imperial Army. (PIO/ PNA/ MANILA BULLETIN)

3rd Lieutenant Jesus Barracoso personally received the medals from the Philippine Veteran Affairs Office (PVAO) and the Palawan Liberation Task Force (PLTF) of the provincial government in a special ceremony arranged for him on February 26 in his hometown.

The WWII hero received the American Service Defense Medal, Philippine Defense Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal, Victory Medal, and the Distinguished Unit Badge with oak leaf clusters, said Sweet Jonalyn Mata of the PLTF on Thursday morning.

“He is the only living WWII veteran whom we have awarded in his hometown this year in the PLTF for his heroic deed in 1944 that was documented by writer Stephen Moore in his book ‘As Good as Dead’. We want to award him here in the city in April, but he cannot travel anymore,” said Mata.

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Passage to Palawan

A motorised bangka in Palawan’s coral-filled Miniloc Island lagoon.

A wall of cloud the same shade as The Philippines’ beloved purple yams looms in front of our motorised bangka, or double outrigger canoe. It is, quite literally, a dark and stormy night.

The tipping point of the eminent deluge is nigh but sunshine is incongruously enveloping our boat, so I wave away the heavy-duty yellow ponchos being dispatched to passengers. For what’s a bit of water when you’re motoring towards paradise?

Lagen Island, a 45-minute bangka ride from tiny Lio airport, is tucked within Bacuit Bay in northern Palawan, an island that droops like a long strip of coconut nearly all the way to Borneo. There’s nothing between Palawan and Vietnam except a whole lot of South China Sea and the low-lying Spratly Islands, snagged in an ongoing territorial dispute.

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350-year-old Spanish fort in Palawan to undergo restoration

Also known as Fuerza de Sta Isabel, the historic Taytay fort was originally built as a wooden palisade in 1667 under the Augustinian Recollect Fathers and named in honor of Spain’s Queen Isabel II.

HISTORICAL LANDMARK. Fort Santa Isabel in Taytay town in northern Palawan. Photo courtesy of Joie Matillano/LGU Taytay

PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines – Fort Santa Isabel, a historical landmark in Taytay town in northern Palawan, will undergo restoration starting next month in a bid to preserve and promote the province’s rich heritage.

Town tourism officer Joie Matillano said the restoration of the over 350-year old fort is one of the priority projects of the municipal government to reinvigorate the Taytay’s tourism industry.

“Through this effort, we will be able to maintain the town’s heritage and cultural pride,” he told Rappler in a phone interview on Thursday, February 8.

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AirAsia launches 3 domestic flights to, from Clark

This is in line with the airline’s commitment to make the Clark International Airport its main hub for operations.

MANILA, Philippines – Philippines AirAsia Incorporated is now flying from Clark, Pampanga to Tacloban, Leyte; Puerto Princesa, Palawan; and Iloilo.

The budget airline announced in a statement on Monday, February 5, that it flew its maiden flight from Clark to the Iloilo International Airport, the primary gateway to Western Visayas and Panay, last Saturday, February 3.

“Our commitment is to better connect Clark to secondary cities within the Philippines like Iloilo, Tacloban, and Puerto Princesa to ASEAN region where the AirAsia Group has unparalleled and widest connectivity, and to destinations across Northeast Asia, Australasia, the Middle East, and the United States,” Darren Acorda, chief pilot for Training and Standards of Philippines AirAsia, said in the statement.

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El Nido Resorts offers special deals at Travel Tour Expo 2018

To encourage domestic tourists, who spend more conservatively to enjoy these destinations, El Nido Resorts annually offers special packages for local residents at the Philippine Travel Agencies Association’s Travel Tour Expo. The 2018 edition will be at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City from Feb. 9 to 11. As in the past, strong demand for El Nido Resorts deals is expected.

According to Joey Bernardino, group director of Sales and Marketing, El Nido Resorts will offer best-value packages for Miniloc, Lagen, Pangulasian and Apulit Island Resorts. The first three, all within the municipality of El Nido in Bacuit Bay, hosts 855 species of marine fish, 400 species of coral and five species of marine turtles. In neighboring Taytay, the less populated Apulit offers the most stunning colorful coral reefs and the unique set of fish that thrive in this habitat.

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Feature: Planning for your summer get-away? Palawan is the ultimate place to go

Kayangan Lake found in Coron, Palawan (Photo by Victoria Mendoza/PIA-MIMAROPA)

Looking for your summer getaway this year? Maybe 2018 is the best time to take a dive in Palawan.

Vacationers who read the New York-based Travel+Leisure Magazine raved about Palawan’s natural gems midway through 2017.

Gathering a score of 93.15 at Travel+Leisure World Best Survey last year, writer Rebecca Ashcer -Walsh reported readers have been describing Palawan as ‘”rustic, romantic, affordable, and relaxing” and “It’s the single, most beautiful place on earth.”

Nobody says it better than third party commentaries.

“For the second year in a row, the Philippine paradise Palawan wins first place as the best island in the world, thanks to its hidden lagoons, teeming ocean life, and rustic-luxe resorts,” said Ascher-Walsh in her article on Travel+ Leisure mag.

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Palawan band bags Muziklaban 2018, Ely Buendia sings Eraserheads songs

From left: Rock icon Ely Buendia (Photo by Instagram/Ely Buendia); Typecast members at the 2018 Muziklaban.

MANILA, Philippines — An alternative-reggae band from Puerto Princesa, Palawan has been hailed as the grand champion of the 19th edition of Red Horse Beer’s Pambansang Muziklaban held at the Metrowalk’s Open Parking Grounds in Ortigas, Pasig.

South Luzon’s pride Woopis, whose members include vocalist and guitarist Soy Lanzanas, guitarist Jacob Carlos, bassist Jiboy Betita and drummer Toting Penaflor, amazed the crowd and the judges with their original songs.

As the champion, the band will receive a cash prize of P500,000 tax free, a band start-up support worth P300,000, a music video album production, an endorsement contract with guaranteed gigs worth P200,000, P25,000 worth of cash, apparel and accessories, and performance at the Rakrakan Festival next month.

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PAL to service Xiamen-Palawan route

The Department of Tourism was expecting more Chinese tourists in Palawan with the launching of the first direct charter flight from Xiamen to Puerto Princesa City staring next month.

The Xiamen-Puerto Princesa route would be launched on Feb. 10 in partnership with Philippine Airlines (PAL).

Regular flights would start on Feb. 14 and 18. PAL would deploy Airbus A320 jets for the charter flights. —Jerome Aning

The two Two Seasons in Coron, Palawan

PALAWAN. Chitchat and saltwater therapy until sunset was the most memorable experience at the Two Seasons Resort in the far off Bulalacao Island in Coron.

WHEN our host said we were staying at the Two Seasons resorts in Palawan, a night by bay in Coron town and next three nights in the island resort in Bulalacao Island, we were all excited. Our first time in Coron and it was going to be a fancy trip to kick off the year for all of us.

The only thing I’m familiar with the resort is the Boracay property. No, I haven’t had the chance to stay in the beach resort but it’s a regular sunset hangout whenever I make it to the island. What draws my island clique to the place is the Four Seasons Pizza. Yes, a pizza and I will get another bite of it in Coron this time.

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Fil –Am doctors on surgical mission in Aborlan, Palawan

 

Puerto Princesa City, Palawan – A US-based association of Filipino physicians is set to conduct the first-ever medical and surgical mission in Palawan for this year at the newly-constructed Aborlan Medicare Hospital (AMH) in Barangay Ramon Magsaysay in Aborlan town.

The medical mission would be from Jan. 22 to 24, Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta Jr. said on Saturday.

It will be led by the North Texas Association of Philippine Physicians (NTAPP) in cooperation with Governor Jose Alvarez, 3rd District Rep. Gil Acosta, 3rd District Board Member Albert Rama, and the municipal government of Aborlan.

Acosta said the NTAPP was composed of 44 Filipino physicians who arrived Sunday to bring free medical and minor surgical services to indigent residents of Aborlan.

The physicians will perform various surgeries such as circumcision, harelip repair, breast-lumpectomy, biopsy, simple mastectomy, herniorrhaphy, hysterectomy-myomectomy, oophorectomy, appendectomy, colon resection with end to end anastomosis, amputation for gangrene, thyroidectomy, lysis adhesions, colostomy, cesarean section and tubal ligation.

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Palaweños back declaration of ‘revolutionary government’

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan—Around 5,000 members and supporters of the Palawan for President Rodrigo Duterte Movement came together here early Thursday afternoon in a grand rally to back the declaration of a “revolutionary government.”

The mass assembly started with a motorcade of nearly 100 vehicles at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum, in Barangay San Pedro, to the People’s Amphitheater in Mendoza Park, 2.7 kilometers to the center of the city. Continue reading

Rebranding our paradise: Puerto Princesa

ppcPINK. Red and white make up its characteristics: passion and energy, peace and purity. The mixture gives a color commonly associated with romance. Albeit also associated with femininity, it has a deeper meaning: love, caring and understanding humanity.

Pink also makes one an intuitive person. Pink also connotes conforming to social norms is less of a concern to someone.

Pink is also Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

The pink color of the exuberantly beautiful Palawan balayong tree flower, commonly referred to as the Palawan Cherry Blossom, is now the symbol of Puerto Princesa. The balayong tree will bloom all year round, accentuating another city symbol that has graced its seal for many years, the regal Pheasant Peacock, locally known as tandikan. Continue reading

Sabah’s tourism set for boost with Kudat-Palawan ferry service

Sabah Tourism Board chairman Joniston Bangkuai is optimistic the route will thrive because it is supported by the existing trade between the island and Kudat.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s tourism industry is set for a big boost with the launching of the roll-on roll-off ferry service between Kudat and Palawan in the Philippines next month, says Joniston Bangkuai.
The Sabah Tourism Board chairman told FMT that Palawan Island is well-known for its thriving tourism industry and the connectivity will especially be welcomed in northern Sabah.
“However, tourists landing in Kudat might also include the rest of Sabah in their travel itinerary,” he said.
Currently, he said, Kudat is already a tourist destination in its own right with ample accommodation, and tourist and transportation services. Continue reading

DOH to further train Palawan health inspectors

STRESSING that the promotion of public health and protection of the community and the environment is vital in order to prevent another onset of gastrointestinal outbreak, such as diarrhea, cholera and gastroenteritis, the  Department of Health (DOH) in is set to undergo the Training on Community-Led Total Sanitation for sanitary inspectors of Palawan.

Mimaropa is composed of the provinces of Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan. Continue reading