June 28, 2011 1:54 AM   Subscribe

Headed to Palawan, Philippines. What should I see/do/eat? What shouldn't I miss? Hotel recommendations?

I'm flying into Puerto Princesa on the evening of September 9th and leaving on Tuesday September 13th, by myself. This will be my first time in the Philippines.

I'm interested in laying on the beach, swimming, and snorkeling. I'm not a scuba diver, fwiw. Day trips are also great, especially if they're by boat. Something like a cooking class would also be fun, but I'm planning this as more of a rest and relax vacation rather than an action/adventure trip. Of course, little adventures are more than welcome.

Also, I haven't booked a room yet but I've got my eye on a cheap-ish backpacker place listed as 5-10 minutes from the airport. I guess my budget could be called "mid-range."

Have you had good experiences with any of the hotels, restaurants, or tourist agencies in the area?

posted by bardic to Travel & Transportation around Palawan, Philippines (5 answers total)
Response by poster: Bonus question: How many USD should I plan on changing to the local currency? Is it like Vietnam where you do a lot of shopping in USD? Or like Laos and Cambodia where you do all of your shopping in USD?
posted by bardic at 2:28 AM on June 28, 2011

Best answer: Unfortunately it sounds like you don't have enough time to make it up to El Nido, which is the best part of Palawan (and probably the Philippines) since it takes basically a full day to get there.

In Puerto Princessa I've stayed at the Banwa Inn, which is cute and not inexpensive. I don't think they have A/C rooms. It's not anywhere near a beach though so if that's your goal you may want to look elsewhere, or just plan on making day trips.

Sabang is a nice trip for a night or two--check out the (overhyped but still cool) underground river. The beach there is very pretty and there is a fun hike through the forest and over some karst cliffs (on the way to the underground river). Also if you can find the mangrove boat tour that is fun. (some of the only old growth mangroves left in the Philippines)

There are some other nice beaches around the area but I don't know them off the top of my head. According to google it looks like there is island hopping (take a small boat around and snorkle, sit on the beach on small islands, etc...) in Honda Bay.

Doubt you'll find much in the way of cooking classes. Just order some grilled fish and coconut juice ("buko juice") on the beach!
posted by ropeladder at 2:35 AM on June 28, 2011

Best answer: I'm afraid my "what to do and see" is 25 years out of date, but the cuisine can't have changed too much...

Eat pancit, a noodle dish, banana lumpia, which are like banana egg rolls (heck, eat regular lumpia, too, it is likewise delicious) and OMG YOU HAVE TO EAT lonzones, which are an amazing, delicious fruit that can't be exported. Too fragile. But if you eat lonzones, whatever you do, don't let your teeth touch the seeds on the inside. They're very bitter. Just take the skin off (it peels v. easily), separate the gelatin-like segments, slurp the flesh from around the seed, then spit the seed out.

I have been fantasizing about eating this fruit again for decades.
posted by Andrhia at 5:27 AM on June 28, 2011

I still regret passing on the Balut.
posted by Manjusri at 10:52 AM on June 28, 2011

Response by poster: Yeah, I don't think I can handle balut. We'll see though.
posted by bardic at 8:21 PM on June 28, 2011

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