Puerto Princesa is your gateway to Palawan. It is the biggest city in Palawan, with some 20 thousand inhabitants and it is its cultural and business center. This is a good place to party, enjoy good food, do the last minute shopping, and get the money for the rest of your Palawan trip.
Must-do in Puerto Princesa
Below you will find a short list of things that you should do before you leave for Port Barton.
use the ATM.
There are some ways to get cash in Port Barton but secure enough cash in Puerto to avoid problems in Port Barton.
Visit a drugstore.
Come to the Philippines with a toothpaste, a toothbrush and a small shower gel and stock yourself with all the toiletries after the arrival. You will save on luggage fees and can travel lighter. You can shop for the basics at any drugstore or visit one of two malls: Roninson’s or SM.
Buy SIM cards and top them up.
In Puerto you can buy mini SIM cards (iPhone) that are difficult to get in Port Barton. You should also buy scratch cards to be able to load your SIM card and use the internet. A 500 Peso top-up scratch card can be bought for 475 Peso in Electronico shop in Rizal Street. The same card in Port Barton costs 550 Peso. You can also top up your phone with the Bing App. To find out more about the telecoms and internet please click here.
Option: rent a motorbike
There are lots of motorbike rental shops on Rizal Avenue, on the way to the Airport. The rental fees are much lower than in Port Barton and there is much bigger choice. If you have a lot of baggage go to San Jose bus terminal and ask the SBE dispatcher to take it to Port Barton. Please go to this page for more info.
Moving around in Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa is believed to be the least populated, the cleanest and the greenest city of the Philippines. This claim requires a bit of explanation. When you look at the map of Palawan you will see that Puerto Princesa City (PPC) spreads over one third of the island’s territory. In fact PPC is second biggest city in The Philippines. It is even bigger than Manila. On the contrary, Puerto Princesa Proper is quite small and it is neither green nor clean. In fact the city is congested to the point that road traffic is regulated by certain restrictions. For example blue tricycles can service customers every second day only, while the white tricycles can hit the streets on the days when blue ones are banned. Only white and blue tricycles are licensed to carry passengers. If you wave down a red tricycle and it drives away after learning where you wanted to go it means that the driver knows he could be caught by the traffic police on this route and does not want to take the risk.
Apart from traffic, noise and smell, moving around in Puerto El Nido is easy and cheap.
The cheapest means of transportation are multi-cabs. Multi-cabs are covered-deck minivans that can take 16-20 people. Multi-cabs do not go to the airport. To get there you will need a tricycle or you can ask the driver to stop at the airport and walk for about 400 m. To stop a multi-cab wave it down. To get off the multi-cab knock at its roof. You pay to the driver. Just pass 20 Peso bill to the passenger closer to the driver and shout the name of the place you want to go to. You will get the change in a few minutes. Each passenger pays 9 Peso for the first 4 kilometers and every additional kilometer costs 2 Peso (your bag commutes for free). This means that 10 Peso will take you practically anywhere in Puerto Princesa Proper and the drivers of multi-cabs rarely will try to cheat you on the fare.
Tricycles are bit more expensive but they are easier to use for tourists. Tricycle is a structure built around a regular motorbike that can easily take 3 people and 2 backpacks. They are noisy and smelly but the drivers are friendly, talkative and helpful. They can go anywhere in Puerto Princesa. The price depends on the distance and the number of people. Each person pays 10 Peso for the first two kilometers and every additional kilometer costs 2 Peso. However, the minimum fare for a tricycle from the Airport is 100 Peso. If you feel that the driver tries to cheat you (which happens a lot) ask him to show you a fare table. Drivers are required by the law to carry this with them and there are high penalties for overcharging. If this does not help seek help of police, tourist police or traffic enforcer.