Why Puerto Princesa is the place for Crusoes, not Princesses

I still remember the day when we moved to the Philippines. On our first flight here, we saw the city of Puerto PRINCESA in Palawan in-flight display on the plane. After noticing the name, Robertas started pointing at it and making jokes about how this so-called port of princesses was named after me. It was just an innocent giggle about the princess Raminta at that time, but later we found out the city is a unique place to visit. 

Puerto Princesa is a unique place to visit

My friends always ask me about the islands in the Philippines. We haven’t visited many yet because of Paiko. He is not exactly a small dog, so we can’t take him everywhere, and I am sure there would be more than a few complaints if we took him on the plane. But we found someone to take care of our baby, and we used our newfound freedom to visit Palawan and the city supposedly named after me.

It took us just an hour to reach Puerto Princesa from Metro Manila’s airport. Our hotel’s driver picked us up at the Puerto Princesa airport, and it took another hour and a half to get to our resort.

When we reached The Sheridan Beach Resort , we were awestruck. The resort prides itself on having the longest pool in Puerto Princesa, but there was so much more to it than that. There were romantic lanterns everywhere, hammocks you could use any time, and a view to die for, but the best part was everything was within arm’s reach. The resort is vast, but you don’t feel the distance.


The next morning we were delighted by an even more fantastic view. The sea seemed to go on forever, but it was hard to ignore the hills on either side, a calming but also fascinating shade of blue in the distance. Behind us, we noticed huge mountains covered in the green jungle seemed to loom over the hotel. Our guide pointed at one of the peaks, and said simply “Sleeping giant.” We turned our heads to look and saw the profile of a person who had an aquiline nose and a protruding stomach.

It was hard to ignore the hills on either side, a calming but also fascinating shade of blue in the distance

Despite the beauty of nature there, the main attraction of our holiday was still Robertas. I knew he is the insatiable wanderlust, but this time I had hopes, he would be too tired to have active leisure. I hoped he would like to lie down on the beach and rest for a while. I was wrong. Later I realized that the beauty of nature was not repressing but stimulating his adventurous nature.

We start our first day at the resort with towels and sunbeds. I close my eyes and enjoy the sun, and Robertas does the same. He tells he wants a tan – he has never gotten one in the Philippines. After talking for a while, I read a book and fall asleep. When I wake up, however, Robertas is nowhere to be seen. After 5 minutes of frantic searching, I finally spot him. My love has already rented a bodyboard and is catching waves. He comes back twenty minutes later with a broad grin on his face, and his eyes sparkling with excitement. Sincere smile – a rare thing for him – fills me with joy. He asks me to try the bodyboard too. It takes a lot of convincing (as always), but finally, I give in. It is fun, but I prefer the sunbed at this moment.

Without warning, the winds pick up, and the skies darken, just moments before the rain starts to pour, forcing us to return to our room. I go back to reading my book; Robertas takes a nap. After about half an hour, I notice he is drooling like a baby. I giggle to myself. I realize that adventure hunter plans to combine new experiences with sweet rest. After an hour, he wakes up and rushes to the reception to book the Puerto Princesa’s Underground River Tour at 7 AM the next day – typical of trips with Robertas.

Puerto Princesa, Underground River Tour

Our boat the next day is as multicultural as they get. It takes us to a place where little monkeys and massive lizards reign. A guide warns us to avoid smiling at monkeys – this is a sign of aggression. Fearful, we obediently keep our mouths shut until our second boat shores off, and we are finally clear of monkey-and-giant-lizard land (or so we think). 

The monkey-and-giant-lizard land in Puerto Princesa

When we finally get to the Underground River, I can do little but stare at my surroundings, both out of a sense of awe and because our guides asked to be quiet.  Robertas doesn’t seem that impressed; he has seen better. After the river, we once again find ourselves in the company of giant lizards and monkeys. I see a huge (maybe 2 meters long) lizard, and I hurriedly show it to Robertas. He grabs his phone and takes so many photos that I start to worry his phone will go dead. I don’t think even I have that many pictures on his phone. 

A huge (maybe 2 meters long) lizard

And the best part is that he is actually enjoying himself for a change. Robertas’ eyes are glued to the lizard – it is so beautiful, so amazing, so cute, so slow… Our crew has already left us, but Robertas is still taking photos of his new friend. While he finally allows me to pull him away, I know he is thinking about the giant lizard.   

The day after our fearsome encounter with the unsmiling monkeys, we decide to take a walk along the coast. Eventually, we reach a rocky stretch of coast, Robertas excitedly bends over to get a better look at the marine life. 

Robertas excitedly bends over to get a better look at the marine life

He dips his fingers into the shallow water and tries to catch a crayfish. Near the highest point among the rocks, Robertas notices a small vibrantly-colored bird that reminds us of the Colibri. My love tries to snap a photo of it as well right before finally deciding to move on. Abruptly, his flip-flops slip on the stone slightly. He curses at the offending rock, after which he remembers to warn me to be careful. The mischievous rock, however, is soon forgotten, when we start encountering sizeable masses of coral scattered everywhere. Robertas literally stops to examine, and in some cases, pick them up, playfully comparing each one to a random object. And, naturally, we simply can’t leave without Robertas showing how fearless and manly he is by climbing onto the stones right at the water’s edge. “I love you,” he tells me just in case. He bravely marches through the corner and suggests to bathe in the ravine. I am happy to overpersuade him.

My man doesn’t waste his last day either. He rushes to the sea with a bodyboard and somehow manages to strain his back, and comes back with a bleeding face to boot. My darling complains about the pain and acts hurt when I tell him it is his fault. On our way to the airport, Robertas mentions cobras he would like to see in the jungle one day right before suggesting watching Steve Irwin’s tv shows. 

Oh, great.

I think that Puerto Princesa should be renamed to Puerto Robinsons, and it is not for princesses at all but for adventurers and explorers like Robertas.

Puerto Princesa is not for princesses at all but for adventurers and explorers

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