6 Tips to a Unique Palawan Experience in 48 hours

Palawan Underground River
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Unique Palawan Experience in 48 hours

I chose Palawan, given that I’ve never been there, all I want to know is what the fuss is about and if the best island in the world title holds true. Let’s find out in 48 hours or less. P.S. I have skipped the usual beach and cave exploration given the limited time. This one’s for the weekend warrior in all of us:

1. Check in to a wonderful hotel and explore the food

We checked in at Hotel Centro, is a quaint mid-range hotel established in 2011. Located 10 minutesaway from the airport, it’s convenient, not crowded and has excellent shuttle service. They also have buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Superior Room (At par with usual European 3-star rooms
The Superior Room (At par with usual European 3-star rooms
Selections from the breakfast buffet
Selections from the breakfast buffet
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The roomy dining hall can fit us + the our Malaysian guests standing at the back
The roomy dining hall can fit us + the our Malaysian guests standing at the back

Hotel Centro
Where: San Pedro National Highway, 5300 Puerto Princesa City
Rates: P4200-P4500/room, good for 2 with breakfast buffet and airport pickup

2. Food Hunting

We went to this charming seafood resto called Badjao Seafront. Where everything is breathtaking! From the view through the Mangrove laden pathway, to the sea overlooking the Iwahig sanctuary from the other side. It is picturesque and the food is just superb!

Badjao Seafront Restaurant Entrace
Badjao Seafront Restaurant Entrace
Mangrove laden pathway
Mangrove laden pathway
Badjao Seafront Restaurant
Badjao Seafront Restaurant
Check out that ceiling
Check out that ceiling
Our view as we wait for the food
Our view as we wait for the food
Chili Garlic Lobster FTW
Chili Garlic Lobster FTW

Badjao Seafront Restaurant
Where: A.M. Abueg Road, Puerto Princesa. It may be far out from the city, so make sure you have transpo waiting for you if you don’t mind walking a bit and wait at the side of the road for a trike back to the city.
Rates: P300-P500 per head for meals, best if you’re in a group.

3. Try Go Karting!

Yes, it has exclamations because man, this activity is just exciting. We tried on hands on go karting at the Palawan International Circuit owned by Mr. Johnny Tan. The rain didn’t hamper us down, we were just asked to be careful and avoid puddles on the tracks if any. The track can hold at least 12 carts in a row + more if there are brought ins by guests. The standard cart runs at a max of 60 km/h, so keep those face shield down if you don’t want to eat dust or mud in our case. They have regular racing tourneys with different sponsors and you can even use your own kart and park it there for the next use. It’s a definite alternative activity for the adrenaline junkies.

with the Crew and GM Cynthia Medenceles
with the Crew and GM Cynthia Medenceles
Racing faces on with Dir. Minerva Morada
Racing faces on with Dir. Minerva Morada
The podium
The podium
There’s a quant bonsai pocket garden at the back which is very ZEN.
There’s a quant bonsai pocket garden at the back which is very ZEN.
Here are some custom built go karts parked for the next race!
Here are some custom built go karts parked for the next race!

Palawan International Circuit
Where: 8 B.M. Road, Brgy. San Manuel, Puerto Princesa City
Rates: For P500/ 8 laps, it’s a steal! If you fancy this as a regular activity, you sign up as a member. They say it’s around 10-15K which assures you of thousands in savings. Encouraging!

4. Visit a brewery

Not just any beer distillery but a pioneer in the biz – Palaweno Brewery. Homegrown with girl power, this is founded by Aya and Malu Lauengco who are one of the pioneers in craft beer making in the Philippines. They make exquisite, artisan beers for you to find out and experience yourself! They have informational tours too so that you can get your nerd on with beer. Check out their funny yard posters too. The venue is perfect to just chill out or listen to spoken poetry in the evenings. If ever you’re there, tell them Jen sent you so you get the strongest pint. Cheers!

Beer sampler tray
Beer sampler tray
photo with the Palaweno Brewery owners
photo with the Palaweno Brewery owners

Palaweno Brewery
Where: 82 Manalo St. Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Rate: P160 or $3.50 per bottle

6. Attend an Expo

The best thing about short trips is when it’s packed with purpose! This trip was made possible through the awesome organization and hard work of the Department of Tourism (DOT) – MIMAROPA, particularly Director Minerva Morada and Mr. Domenic Contreras. We’ve also met the wonderful team from the tourism offices of Palawan, namely Ms. Maribel Buni from the Provincial and Ms. Isay Dacanay from the City Tourism Office.

We were able to attend the opening of the Palawan: World’s Best Island Tourism & Trade Expo 2016 and boy was it grand! We especially liked the Palawan Dance Ensemble , the Provincial Capital Choral and their provincial acoustic band (as I’ve researched was named Korales). They were just world class and we really felt we ought to pay for that kind of viewing experience. I’ve uploaded their performances that day in my Youtube channel here. To boot, there were a lot of travel and tour companies, hotels and local crafts and food merchants in the expo so you can take the best of Palawan in a bargain. This happened over the weekend of 29th-30th of July. Be sure to mark your calendars and fly off to Palawan next time to make sure you catch this extravagant affair.

Photos from some of the exhibitors and our distinguished guests:

Palawan Tourism Council with DOT Region 4 MiMAROPA RD Morada
Palawan Tourism Council with DOT Region 4 MiMAROPA RD Morada
Tourism Stakeholders of Palawan
Tourism Stakeholders of Palawan

6. Shop for seafood

No need to be too early at the wet market, all you need is a local to guide you and you’re all set in getting the freshest, succulent sea critters to take home with you. You can even take them home alive. The best part here, the wet market has a packaging facility who knows how to pack your seafood in the best and freshest means possible that’s acceptable in any airport. Talk about bringing home something exotic and filling!

An assortment Live lobsters
An assortment Live lobsters
The famed Curacha 
The famed Curacha
Seaweed - the grapes of the sea Big fish, see finger for scale.
Seaweed – the grapes of the sea Big fish, see finger for scale.

Puerto Princesa Public Market
Where
: Malvar Road, Puerto Princesa
Price: Varies. Lobster: P600-P900 /kilo, depending on the size, Curacha: P600/kilo, Fresh Danggit: P200 /kilo. Professional packaging starts at P270 /3kilos of seafood + gratuity (treat them well, they are hardworking)

There you have it, the best of Palawan without the beaches or caves in 48 hours or less. Exciting, vibrant, sumptuous and exhilarating, proving that it is definitely the best island in the world! It is imperative that I go back and explore more. I hope you do too. See you!

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