Scuba divers, backpackers, trekkers, bird watchers, spelunkers, explorers--and yes, even honeymooners--they all come to Palawan from all over the world to embark on the ultimate adventure of their lives in the deep recesses of nature.
They arrive in droves at Puerto Princesa, and proceed almost immediately to points of destination in Coron, Busuanga, El Nido, Sabang, Taytay, Roxas, and other equally magnificent tourist and dive spots tucked away in the more than 1,700 islands of Palawan. However, those who do not have the time to journey to these remote islands can experience unforgettable terrestrial and aquatic adventures right in the heart of this capital city of Palawan!
This is because Puerto Princesa is one of the biggest cities in the Philippines. Seventy-five percent of its area is dense forest cover that holds the world’s biggest sanctuary of old and replanted trees. Few places on earth can match the distinction of this perennially green city of Palawan of having two World Heritage sites. St. Paul National Park, an ecosystem of more than 5,000 hectares of mountainous forests, mazes of caves, powdery white beaches and a spectacular 8-kilometer underground river that winds through St. Paul Mountain and empties to the South China.
Puerto Princesa the Nature Paradise
This subterranean pride of Puerto Princesa is reputedly the longest underground river in the world with its wide hallways, cathedral-like chambers and great pillars of centuries old limestone formations. To reach the mouth of the underground river you can either hike or take a boat. To better see large monitor lizards darting about the rocks and bushes, and monkeys cavorting on the thick canopies of trees, the more adventurous choose to trek the winding wooden paths and bridges of the Monkey Trail that stabs deep into the jungle. The Park is the natural habitat of about 60 species of birds, many of which are endangered including the magnificent Palawan peacock.
Around Puerto Princesa
Ninety-eight nautical miles off Puerto Princesa lay Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park, a 33,000-hectare coral atoll in the Sulu Sea. This second World Heritage site is the home of enumerable species of reef fishes, sea turtles, manta rays and dugongs. Because of its teeming marine life, and coral formation of exceptional beauty, this marine park is the diving destination of choice in Palawan by professional divers.
Closer to home, in the mid-eastern coast of Puerto Princesa, dive enthusiasts also flock to Honda Bay where dive sites equally well-known for their good reefs and coral boulders such as Panglima Reef, Arreceffi and Pandan islands are located. Puerto Princesa beckons to all of us who appreciate the eternal beauty and wonders of Nature to take care of our environment so that our succeeding generations will have something to remember us by.