Places of Interest within the Puerto Princesa Area
1. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, also known as St. Paul Underground River, is located about 50 km north of the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan and features a limestone karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 km. navigable underground river. A distinguishing feature of the river is that it winds through a cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea.
Inside the cave, major formations of stalactites, stalagmites and several large chambers abound with the lower portion of the river subject to tidal influences. The underground river is reputed to be the world's longest and at the mouth of the cave, a clear lagoon is framed by ancient trees growing right to the water's edge. Monkeys, large monitor lizards, and squirrels find their niche on the beach near the cave.
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan Philippines is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, together with HaLong Bay in Vietnam, The Amazon in South America, Jeju Island in South Korea, Iguazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil, Table Mountain in South Africa and Komodo in Indonesia.
2. Iwahig Penal Colony
The Iwahig Penal Colony is a facility that is managed and run by the Department of Justice, so one immediately feels a sense of security upon entering the compound. Upon entering, what greets you is a typical Philippine traditional landscape of farmers planting rice in a lush green field with a mountain serving as its backdrop. The only difference here is that these are prison inmates, who are doing all the farming and trying to build and master what could potentially be their future source of livelihood.
Iwahig was established by the Americans in 1904 to supply food to other prisons all over the country. Iwahig has since become synonymous to finely handcrafted bags and other souvenir items all made by the inmates. In the prison without walls, inmates tend vast farms instead of idly spending time behind bars and the success factor here has been remarkable to say the least.
3. Puerto Princesa Honda Bay Islands
Just a few minutes north of the city proper, hop onto a boat and go island hopping at Honda Bay located in the mid-eastern coast of the city. Dozens of white sand beaches and dive sites abound here, as the entire area is studded with patches of coral and sand. Submerged reefs may be found close to the surface down to 24 meters. Small reef and aquarium fish can also be found here. Among the well-known dive sites here are Pandan Island which has good reefs near small drop-offs, Arreceffi Island and Panglima Reef where coral boulders and gray reef sharks are found.
Each of the islands at Honda Bay offers different thrills. Snake Island has a sandbar that slithers on the surface of the sea, much like the critter that bears its name. It is best for snorkelling, swimming or simply basking in the sand. It can be reached in an hour by pump boat. Bat Island, only 20 minutes away from St. Lourdes wharf, is literally teeming with bats which make their way out at sundown to look for food in the mainland.
4. Baker’s Hill, Sta. Monica Heights
Wonderland-like Baker's Hill sells all sorts of specialized baked goodies. The theme park-looking area offers a children's park and picnic areas in a cool and breezy environment. Although the site is a theme park, Baker’s Hill is most famous for the baked goodies they offer at very reasonable prices. It also houses an Aviary which makes Baker’s Hill such a treat to all families and couples looking for activities within the city. Baker’s Hill is also the place to buy pasalubong (gifts to bring back home), as they offer all sorts of local and native food products — cashew nuts, hopia and brownies to name a few.
5. Mitra’s Ranch Puerto Princesa Palawan Philippines
10 minutes away from Bakers Hill is Rancho Sta. Monica, locally known as Mitra’s Ranch. The private ranch owned by the late house speaker Ramon Mitra and son, Baham Mitra is open to the public (except the main house) from 6am-6pm. There’s no entrance fee here even if it overlooks some of the most beautiful vistas of Puerto Princesa City and Honda Bay Islands. And what a breathtaking view it offers travelers! Inside the ranch is Palawan Rancho Zipline Adventure where you can enjoy not one, not two, but three ziplines for 500 pesos per person only. There are chairs and tables where you can have picnics while enjoying the panoramic views. The ranch is also a perfect place to bring the children to enjoy other activities such as horseback riding and hiking.
6. Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center
Formerly and more popularly known as the Crocodile Farm and Nature Park, it serves now as the sanctuary of the Philippine Crocodile that is endemic to the country. The Philippine Crocodile is currently included in the endangered species list and the conservation center is making ways to increase the number of the species. Aside from crocodiles, the center takes care of other animals like ostriches and other endemic animals to the island of Palawan like the bearcat.
Palawan Wildlife Rescue is located south of the Puerto Princesa city center about 30 minutes to the rural south of the city and is a few minutes from the Iwahig Penal Farm. At the entrance of the park, a signage of the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center meets the guests. Behind it is a mini reservoir for the park and a water tank which are surrounded by an oval roadway. A mini reservoir is located just in front of the main building.