NEW CITY HALL WITH GREAT VIEW
The New City Hall was inaugurated on 18th December 2013 and is a very impressive and spacious building, and is located next to the old City Hall in Tiniguiban, 4 klms from the city center.
As a tourist you may not have much of a reason to visit the City Hall except for finding details of the procedure to marry a local girl, or pay a fine that you may have incurred while riding the rented motorbike, but if you are in the area pop in and walk towards the rear where there is a magnificent view of Puerto Princesa Bay.
GREAT VIEW OF PUERTO PRINCESA BAY
I could have included this in my hotel or restaurant tips but i am including it here as the view over the bay is outstanding. Pop into Sunlight Guest house, (which in fact is more like a hotel) and take the elevator to the 4th floor and pass through the function/dining room to the roof top terrace where there are a few tables for customers. Order a beer or a shake and sit and admire the view of the bay, the mountains, the boats coming and going, and watch the locals on Baywalk below.
No trip to Puertp Princesa would be complete without coming here, especially at sunset.
The Sunlight GH is located next to Unitop Supermarket near where Burgos Street ends at Malvar Street.
NOTE---We have not tried it yet but on Sunday Lunchtime and evening there is an all you can eat seafood buffet at 350 pesos.
Also there is a daily breakfast buffet at 299 pesos.
Palawan Special Battalion WW2 Memorial Museum
This museum just opened in Dec 2011 and is privately owned by a local resident who is a keen historian. Many exhibits were donated from locals in the city, and there are several exhibit rooms, each on a different theme, such as the USA, the Japanese, the British and Russian etc. There is a good collection of relics, uniforms, weapons. This Museum is about 1 km after the airport and is open daily from 8-5 except Wednesdays. Admission is free but there is a donation box. Drinks can be purchased, and you can relax while browsing through various war books. Also there is internet access and a good collection of old photographs on the wall.
Update---The owner of the museum has got his old Buick 1957 up and running and is now on display. He can be seen driving it around town now and again
- Budget Travel
- Museum Visits
THE PRINCESS OF THE BAY
This is actually a fiber glass sculpture by Ronel F. Roxes of the Princess and can be found at the Baywalk. The sculpture was paid for by donations from donors all over the country and a list of the names can be seen on two plaques in front of the statue on a gate.
The Plaque on the statue has been affected by the weather and very difficult to read but in Tagalog it says--
"Ang Prinsesa ng Baybay "Simbolo ng Ating Kultura at Buhay" Baywalk Puerto Princesa City Palawan". which means "A princess of the bay, symbol of our culture in life"
Puerto Princesa was supposed to have been named after a Spanish Princess, Eululia, daughter of Isabela II
VISIT THE PORT
The days have gone since you could enter the port and wander around as it is restricted to workers and passengers who are departing. However you can take a look through the gate and catch a glimpse of the inter island ferries, naval ships and cargo ships, as well as the many containers stored at the port.
There are two gates to the port, one from Rizal Avenue that is mainly for service trucks and one at Malvar Street which is mainly for passengers so if you are meeting a friend who is arriving by sea wait at the Malvar Street gate. The port can also be seen from the Baywalk.
THE FOUNDERS OF THE CITY 1872
Spanish Captain Don Jose Sostao arrived on his boat on 4th March 1872 and discovered the hill and bay and founded the city which was to become Puerto Princesa and a memorial can be found in Eulalia Park . It is a little hard to read the inscription but it list around 25 Spanish, 350 Filipinos and 80 Chinese as the original citizens who arrived here. The figures are from my memory but you can see the exact figures if you see the memorial near the port. On top of the memorial stands a statue of Princes Eulalia who the city was named after. Although there are different accounts, Queen Isabela II had a daughter named Eulalia so the city was called Puerto dela Princesa, later shortened to its present day name.
- Historical Travel
THE PRINCESS of the CITY??? at EULALIA PARK
Princess Eulalia Park is a small triangular park (if you can call it a park) about 100 meters from the port, just next to Rizal Avenue and opposite the cathedral. Unfortunately it has seen better days, but nowadays it is an untidy piece of real estate where trucks park and a few vendors selling food.
Princess Eulalia was supposed to roam around the area on certain nights of the year and that is why the city was called Princesa, but another reason may be that the Spanish discovered this protected bay and it was the Princess of all ports.
I think the authorities should clean up the area as it is an important part of the town's history.
ANOTHER AREA TO RENT A BICYCLE
While at Baywalk this morning i noticed that there were three different places to rent bicycles, but i think it is more for children to cycle around Baywalk itself, and i doubt if many of these bikes would make it to such place as Iwahig, 17kms from town! Did not see the prices as there was nobody in attendance
THE POST OFFICE
Want to send your postcards, then visit the Post Office which is located just off of Rizal Avenue off of Rizal , perhaps 200m after Mendoza Park towards the pier. The P.O. is open from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. There is also a post restante service here. Aerogrammes can be purchased in the office upstairs, Quite often they will not be able to supply you with the correct value stamps so you will have to attach extra stamps at an extra charge or your postcard will just be franked without a stamp
TIRED OF SWEET BREAD, VISIT THE BAKERY
Most of the bread in Asia is sweet, but we were lucky enough to have a Vietnamese refugee camp here for many years who introduced us to the French Baguette, so if you want some hot, tasty bread pop along to the bakery around 10 am in the morning when the first bread will be coming out of the oven. The bakery is open 7 days a week and many foreign residents buy their bread directly from the bakery, who make around 1500 breads a day.
The place is a little hard to find but you take the road opposite the airport and turn left at the intersection, then a few hundred meters take a left by a small shelter and after 100m you will come to a small store called Samantha's. and you will find the little building just behind it. At the time of my review the baguettes cost 8 pesos each.
CITY OF THE LIVING GOD
Puerto Princesa was known as THE CITY IN THE FOREST but a newly erected sign stands over Rizal Avenue near the Capital Building proclaiming that it is now the CITY OF THE LIVING GOD!!!
At the moment i am not quite sure of why this sign was erected but a trike driver informed me that there are many Christian Groups living here. I myself doubt this explanation and have sent emails to a few officials for an explanation, so watch this space!!!
At last i found out why we have the arch with 'CITY OF LIVING GOD'
It was actually erected during the former Mayor Hagedorn's last term at the behest of Pastor Nida, a Born Again Christian!!!!!
- Budget Travel
XMAS TREE, GRILLED FISH & XMAS MUSIC by the bay
If you happen to be in Puerto Princesa in December you should spend at least one evening at Baywalk where you can see one of the biggest Xmas trees in the country (although the frame is metal and the lights and decorations are attached to it), stroll along the bay while enjoying a cool breeze, sample the fresh seafood, enjoy a beer, all of this while Xmas music blares out at mega-decibels!!! What more do you want?
The food stalls at the end , nearest the harbour were offering San Miguel at 50 pesos, a sharp increase since i was there with another VT member in April. The fish on offer seemed expensive too, so we walked towards the Xmas tree where we found food stalls offering grilled chicken or fish for 100 pesos or less. The beers in this area were also only 40 pesos, a more reasonable price.
If you ever happen to be around when Manny Pacquioa is having a world title fight the Coliseum will be open to all. Entrance is free to watch the fight on a big screen. Also there are occasionally PBA (basketball) matches here as well as live bands, so check the schedule out (there will be posters all over town).
There is also a tourist information office inside the building as well as the Underground River Permit Office,
The fountains outside are quite pretty to watch while you sit in the small park in front of the Coliseum
We recently watched a live broadcast of the Greatest boxer the Philippines has ever produced, Manny Pacquiao, but i would advise everyone to get there early to secure a seat near the screens as they are rather small . We arrived late and from our position we really could not follow the fight too well.
- Budget Travel
Swim in Balsahan river inside the penal colony
While a visit to Iwahig Penal Colony is interesting, why not make a day of it, take snacks with you and go for a refreshing swim at Balsahan river inside the colony. The water is refreshingly cool as the river comes down from the nearby mountains. A selection of native bungalows dot the side of the river and can be rented cheaply, and the prisoners will serve you fresh coconuts and other treats, even help you bbq your own fish. The prisoners have dammed off the river and developed the area and the water is head high, ideal for cooling off after a hard day's sightseeing, cost of entry is 10 pesos. at the colony there is a souvenir shop, small eatery and you can interact with the friendly prisoners. At first they are in maximum security and as the years pass they are sent to work on the farm and eventually they can build their own native house where their families can come and stay.
UPDATE----We visited Balsahan today and the prices of the cottages have increased to 200 and 400 pesos (small and big). The prisoners have a fire going all the time and grilled our fish for us.
RELAX, SWIM, DRINK AND ENJOY YOURSELF AT KAWAYANAN
Kawayanan Resort is tucked down a side street in San Pedro, Puerto Princesa and all the tricycle drivers will know how to take you there.
We were lucky to discover this wonderful resort as they celebrated their 10th anniversary recently and had several live bands and musicians playing for the large crowd who came to celebrate.
However this is a nice place to stay with decent native rooms, a lovely swimming pool, billiard table, a beautiful garden and a restaurant. Although there was a set meal at last nights event, there is an extensive menu with very reasonable prices, and if the food is as delicious as last night you won't go far wrong by dining there. I believe that the resort is open for non-residents to swim (swim passes are available).
And we might add that the manageress, Mahal, who we have known for a few years really looks after her guests, and will be pleased to offer advice about the city and the island.
For more details see the website below.
I will also add that there are plans to have regular entertainment in the future so if you are in town why don't you check it out.
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