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8 Things To Do in Puerto Princesa For Adventurers, From Exploring Caves To Eating Woodworms

Fun things to do in Puerto Princesa, Palawan for adventure-seekers

When people think of Puerto Princesa in Palawan, the first thing that comes to mind is the Underground River – a river inside a cave that’s even named one of the new 7 wonders of nature. However, that’s usually all people know about the city as people mostly use it as a stopover on the way to more popular, lively Coron and El Nido. 

As the capital city, Puerto Princesa shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, if you’re up for an adventure, there are so many things to do in Puerto Princesa waiting for you.

1. Go on the famous Honda Bay tour

Puerto Princesa - Honda Bay tour
A drone shot of Pambato Reef.
Image credit: m4jp Pangilinan

Honda Bay in Puerto Princesa has some of the best beaches in the country. The islands that surround it also aren’t commercialized and look mostly untouched.

The Honda Bay tour will give you your fill of sun, salt, and sand. You’ll get to go to neighboring islands – Cowrie, Starfish and Luli – and Pambato Reef where you can swim and snorkel.

Puerto Princesa - Honda Bay tour
Fishes in Pambato Reef.
Image credit: Baby S

The cost of the tour usually goes around P1,500 (~USD28.60) per person. Inclusions such as lunch vary depending on your tour provider. You may also have to pay entrance fees separately. 

For recommended tour operators, you can ask your hotel staff or Airbnb host in Puerto Princesa.

Address: Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

2. Eat some woodworms at Kinabuchs Grill and Bar

Puerto Princesa - Tamilok
Image adapted from: @jacqueline_challinor

If you have an adventurous palate, try one of Palawan’s most famous local delicacies – tamilok. Tamilok is a kind of woodworm that lives in Mangrove trees, abundant in Palawan. 

The verdict on this is split, with the people liking it saying it’s similar to oyster meat, and the other half hating it so much they can’t even swallow it.

Nonetheless, it makes a good challenge among friends. Kinabuchs Restaurant comes highly recommended as a spot to taste tamilok for the first time.

Kinabuchs Grill and Bar
Address: 369 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Opening hours: 4pm-11pm, Daily
Telephone: (048) 434 5194
Kinabuch’s Grill and Bar’s Facebook

3. Drink unique world-class, local craft beer at Palaweño Brewery

Palaweño Brewery
Image credit: @karasantos

Palaweño Brewery is a spot no beer lover should overlook. Their Ayahay craft beers are so popular that they’re now being exported all over the world. 

If you ever happen to find yourself in Puerto Princesa, make sure to stop by their Tap Room to get a taste of their craft beers. You can also bring bottles or cans of these at home for your beer-loving friends.

Not only is Palaweño Brewery the first craft beer brewery in Palawan, but it’s also the first brewery to host a microbrewery tour in the Philippines. However, these free tours are on hold as the business is slowly reopening its doors to the public after the lockdown. 

Palaweño Brewery
Address: 82 Manalo Street, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 1pm-9pm | Closed Sundays
Telephone: 048 434 0709 | 0917 559 9109
Palaweño Brewery’s website | Facebook | Instagram

4. Climb Mt. Magarwak and enjoy the scenery

Image credit: @sarahgrcllno

With the new wave of fitness enthusiasts who want to conquer their own mountains came the resurgence of climbers and hikers in the country. If you’re one such person with strong knees and good cardiovascular health, you might want to climb up Mt. Magarwak.

Despite its rocky trail, Mt. Magarwak is covered in beautiful flora and you’ll be accompanied by the sound of birds singing on your way to the top. 

Hiking to the top of the mountain wouldn’t even take up your whole day. If you’re fit, you can reach the viewpoint in just an hour. From there, you can stare in awe at the beauty that is Honda Bay. 

The best time to climb is during the early morning so that you can watch the sunrise from the viewpoint.

Address: Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

5. Don’t miss the Underground River tour

Puerto Princesa - Underground River
Image credit: Flickr 

While the Underground River is a Puerto Princesa trip staple, it’s definitely still something you shouldn’t miss out on.

You can ride a small boat into the underground cave and admire the natural wonder. During the tour, you’ll also get to learn about the various rock formations and how they were formed. 

The Underground River Tour usually costs around P1,500-P2,000 (~US28.60-USD38.13) per person. This usually includes roundtrip van transfers, a tour guide, buffet lunch, and other small fees for the boats, the terminal, and the entrance fee to the cave.

Address: Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Opening hours: 6.30am-4.30pm, Daily

6. Try your hand at spelunking and ziplining at Ugong Rock Adventures

Puerto Princesa - Ugong Rock Adventure
Image credit: @elapaliza

On your way back from the Underground River Tour, you can hike up a mountain and go spelunking – or exploring caves – at the same time. Ugong Rock Adventures is a great pitstop after lunch. 

zip biking
Zip biking.
Image credit:
Ugong Rock Adventures

Aside from spelunking, they offer rock climbing, ziplining, zip biking, and base jumping (starting at P200, ~USD3.81). 

Not only will you get to stretch your legs after being cramped in a boat, but you’ll also get to experience Puerto Princesa in a different way.

Address: Purok Pagkakaisa, Barangay Tagabinet, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Opening hours: 8am-4pm, Daily
Telephone: 0906 708 1334
Ugong Rock Adventure’s Facebook

7. Enjoy the cascades of Tinagong Falls at Barangay Bacungan

Tinagong Falls Tinagong Falls
Image adapted from: @iamshin2x

An hour away from the city proper is Tinagong Falls in Barangay Bacungan. Recently discovered, it’s a place not a lot of people have seen

Tinagong Falls is a naturally occurring waterfall with several cascades that sets it apart from other small waterfalls that can be found in Puerto Princesa.

You can sit on one of the levels of the waterfall and enjoy the rush of water or chill in the pool of water at the top.

To get here, you have to trek for two hours and cross three narrow rivers but you’re sure to be rewarded with the sight of this hidden gem.

Address: Sitio Talaudyong, Barangay Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

– Bonus –

8. Enjoy the white sands at Port Barton

Port Barton
Port Barton.
Image credit: @voyageaugreduvent

While there are some beaches in Puerto Princesa itself, a lot of people make an effort to go a little out of town and drive up to Port Barton. It has a long stretch of white beach that beaches in the city don’t have.

It’s also significantly less touristy than Coron and El Nido. Because of this, it’s a lot quieter too which means you’ll actually get to relax.

Port Barton can be found roughly halfway between Puerto Princesa and El Nido and is about 3.5 hours away from the city. You can choose to take a bus (P380/person, ~USD7.24), a van (P600/person, ~USD11.43), or rent a motorbike (P600, ~USD11.43) for a day. 

Address: Port Barton, San Vicente, Palawan

Things to do in Puerto Princesa

 There’s an infinite number of things you can do in Palawan and Puerto Princesa is the gateway to all of it. Not only is it one of the first cities you’ll encounter in the province, but staying here will also give you a taste of everything the rest of Palawan has to offer. 

So when you go to Puerto Princesa, make sure to be prepared for quite an adventure.

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Cover image adapted from: Ugong Rock Adventures, @sarahgrcllno, and @jacqueline_challinor

Kim Shelly Tan contributed to this article.