It’s been over a month since we were at Puerto Princesa and El Nido Palawan but that surreal experience lingers on in my mind. Can’t help but reminisce about that beautiful and peaceful island. It had long been my desire to go to El Nido. I was dreaming of this trip since mid of 2012.
Reading this blog was one of those that inspired me to go to El Nido. It mentioned quite interestingly that El Nido was the inspiration of Alex Garland’s novel and movie “The Beach”, starred by Leonardo Di Caprio. Many tourists, local and foreigns alike, have been raving about El Nido.
Rachel Wiesz who starred in “Bourne Legacy” where a part of the film was shot in El Nido, has got these to say: “Palawan is more like the Emerald City. It’s like a fantasy. Maybe it’s real to you but to me, it looked like a fantasy place.”
Her co-actor Jeremy Renner has nothing but praises on El Nido. He quipped, “It seems spawned from the heavens. It is one of the most beautiful islands I have ever seen. It’s gorgeous!”
Actually, it was when I watched the movie, Bourne Legacy that I told myself I have to see for myself what the fuss is all about.
Flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa, Palawan
We booked our flights early January with Cebu Pacific. There are other two airlines catering to Manila – Puerto Princesa and they are PAL Express and Air Asia. There was a sale on Cebu Pacific that’s why we chose it. But truth of the matter is, it’s still way better to book way ahead to get much cheaper flights.
Flights from Manila to El Nido, Palawan
As far as I know, there’s only one airline offering Manila – El Nido and vice versa and that is Island Transvoyager. Too bad they don’t have an online facility to check out the prices and book your flights.
Flights from El Nido or Puerto Princesa to Coron
I considered this one too but unfortunately, there are no flights available. The least you can do is travel by ferry boat from El Nido which take you there by 7-8 hours. There’s one tour operator offering a speed boat as they boast, cuts the travel time to only 4 hours. But the question of how safe and comfortable the travel is, is something I will leave to those who have tried it.
How long did we stay?
I was playing with the thought to stay for seven (7) days in Palawan. But due to budget constraints, I opted that we stay there for five (5). 3 days is too short for my liking considering the plan was to visit both Puerto Princesa and El Nido. Since I would love to visit the Puerto Princesa Underground River and El Nido, I decided to split them up into two (2) nights each. Four (4) days and three (3) nights is another viable option if you want to visit El Nido along side Puerto Princesa. It is not impossible yet be informed that you will end up with a very hectic itinerary. From my standpoint, a vacation is meant to be relaxing and enjoyable. Stress should be the least of your concerns so for me it’s best to go for at least five (5) days in Palawan especially if you’re with kids and all that. But if your the daring and frugal type who loves watching “The Amazing Race”, then four (4) days and three (3) nights may be the better choice for you.
Arriving at Puerto Princesa Airport
We arrived around half past 11AM in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It only caters mostly for domestic travel however it was classified as an international airport. Maybe soon it will cater for more international flights at least within Asia. Doing some research, there is but one international flight which is to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. This is operated by MAS Wings Malaysia, which is owned by Malaysia Airlines.
Puerto Princesa Airport Transportation
To go from the airport to another place is to ride a tricycle. The cost is more expensive than the regular ones. We decided to get our lunch at Robinsons Mall and it costs us P100 to go there.
Since we will be heading out for a Puerto Princesa city tour. We preferred to leave our things behind at the Robinsons Mall Supermarket’s baggage counter. Leaving our bags, which are are around 30L each, along with the things we bought in the Supermarket was a sigh of relief. We combined all our things in one push cart which we then parked beside the baggage counter.
Puerto Princesa City Tour
Puerto Princesa is a rather big city compared to the other cities in the Philippines. And to go around Puerto Princesa we elected to go by tricycle. It is cheaper compared to the van and if time and money is your priority, it is the way to go. The city tour with the van cost Php600 per head while the tricycle cost around Php300 or less per head depending on your haggling skills. Travelling by van will allow you to meet other tourists and gain new friends but if you want to visit the places around town at your own pace, better stick with the tricycle.
Some Photos of our Puerto Princesa City Tour
Next post on this series, I will go over our El Nido trip. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!