Puerto Princesa tops the list when it comes to ecotourism in the Philippines. Dubbed the ecotourism capital, there’s not just a lot to see in Puerto Princesa, there’s a lot to do while there. But before we even talk about what to do there and what to see, let’s backtrack a little and look at the colorful history that this place has.
Legend has it that Puerto Princesa got its name from a maiden who used to roam the island on certain evenings of the year. Others would say that Puerto Princesa got its name from being a haven for everyone, from the seafarers who dock to the nature lovers and environmentalists who are amazed by the protected area. Although there are many stories on how Puerto Princesa got its name, history tells us that it was named after a Spanish Princess in 1864, Princes Eulalia of Spain, daughter of Queen Isabel II. When Princess Eulalia died, Queen Isabel named the place Puerto de la Princesa and as time progressed, this was reduced to Puerto Princesa.
During the American regime, Puerto Princesa became the seat of the Palawan Government and became a city in 1970. Today, it is the center of all activities in Palawan including trade, commerce and industry for the entire province. Puerto Princesa has also gained distinction for its efforts towards protection of the environment and cleanliness.
If we look at the map of the Philippines and the Palawan Island, we would find Puerto Princesa in the middle and the province itself is bounded by the South China Sea in the west and the Sulu Sea in the east. The total area of Puerto Princesa alone is approximately 260 thousand hectares. As for the inhabitants of Puerto Princesa, many of them came from all over the Philippines but among the original occupants are the Cuyunons. The local language in Puerto Princesa is Cuyuno but and English and Tagalog are among those spoken.
When in Puerto Princesa, one should not pass up on the opportunity to see the Subterranean River National Park. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park has been nominated to become one of the 7 Wonders of Nature. This national park boasts of having a subterranean river comparable to none when it comes to beauty. The river is 8.2 kilometers long and it goes through an amazing cave before it makes its exit into the South China Sea. Once at the mouth of the cave, there is a clear, peaceful lagoon surrounded by ancient trees. The wildlife in this area is thriving and squirrels, monkeys and monitors lizards are among those that can be found here. Among the things to do in the national park are forest exploration, bird watching and trekking.
Puerto Princesa is the proud recipient of prestigious awards such as Commerce and Conscience Award, Earth Day Award, Cleanest and Greenest Component City of the Philippines and Cleanest Inlet Body of Water to name a few. The best part about being in Puerto Princesa however is that aside from being in nature heaven, at the end of our trip we will surely see the world in a different way.