Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Puerto Princesa, on the East coast of Palawan Island, is one of the most popular ports of entry/exit to/from the Philippines for yachts entering/leaving the Philippines from/to Malaysia. It lies below the frequent typhoon belt and therefore offers relatively safe anchorage within its expansive harbour. Puerto Princesa is the gateway to the central part of Palawan Island and from where most people access the World famous, St. Paul's Underground River, and is the starting point for most adventures to the acclaimed Tubbataha Reef. The city of Puerto Princesa hosts an international airport, with a new (2017) terminal building - I personally think they should have refurbished the runway before investing in a new terminal building.
Moorings In Puerto Princesa
Abanico Yacht Club
The Abanico Yacht Club (the blue roof, extreme right of the image above) manages and maintains six moorings immediately North of the port. The moorings are located in very shallow water with depths of around 2-4 metres only. Access to the moorings must be quite precise else you may encounter even shallower water - charts on Navionics Web App are reasonably accurate for the approach. To the West and North of the moorings are places to anchor in shallow water of 3-8 metres - in December 2017 there were as many as 25 yachts anchored in this area. Farther away and to the South you can enjoy more than 8 metres of water under the keel.
The Abanico Yacht Club features a rustic, over-the-water ambiance with an adequate food menu and cold drinks. Staff at the yacht club have contacts with transportation that will get you anywhere in Puerto Princesa you need to get to. The yacht club is open from around 08:00 to 21:00 daily.
There are no places to haul-out a keel boat in Puerto Princesa although catamarans may find places to beach. There is zero-tolerance to pollution and discharge from yachts.
Visit the Abanico Yacht Club website: www.abanicoyachtclub.com
Anchoring In Puerto Princesa
Around Puerto Princesa there are many inlets where you may anchor but there are some restricted areas. Best advice, hail the passing fisherfolk (of which there are many around sunrise & sunset) and ask them for direction - of all the places in the Philippines the fisherfolk in Puerto Princesa are demonstrably the friendliest.
Puerto Princesa Tourist Attractions
Puerto Princesa is known globally for the St. Paul's Underground River, located about 50Km by road from Puerto Princesa port. It is less known as the starting point for scuba diving adventures to the famed Tubbataha Reef, in the Sulu Sea, half way between Palawan and the Southern Island of Mindanao.
Puerto Princesa may be your starting point also for adventure treks through the virgin forests that still occupy most of Palawan Island. The flora and fauna of Palawan are unique in the 21st century as being an exhibition of what much of the Philippine Islands used to look like before greed, rampant development, deforestation and mining became the scourge of the twentieth century.
Sailing northeast from Puerto Princesa you will eventually come to the hundred or so smaller islands that crown the top of Palawan with a kaleidoscope of white-sand beaches, crystal clear waters, limestone formations, bountiful corals and marine life and simply spectacular tropical island paradises.
There are some good restaurants in Puerto Princesa if you engage local knowledge, away from the ubiquitous food chains overflowing from the newly built malls.
Most of the nation's internationally connected banks have branches in Puerto Princesa, so obtaining cash is not much of a challenge.
Puerto Princesa Transport
Land transport around Puerto Princesa is provided by tricycle and jeep. Tricycles are the main transport in the City as most places are some way from wherever you are currently. Inexpensive and easily acquired, if a little cramped at times, these motorized transports enable easy access to everywhere you may wish to go around Puerto Princesa - about US$3 per hour with guide from the Abanico Yacht Club.
For greater distances, there are air-conditioned buses and jeeps that will take you to the North or South of Palawan Island.
There is a passenger ferry service between Puerto Princesa and Manila (stopping at Coron), a few times a week. The ferries are large, offer air-conditioned luxury and take vehicles as well as passengers.
There are local outrigger boats to take you to local places of interest, such as the fascinating sandbars at Snake Island.
The Puerto Princesa International Airport enables rapid access to the World for those who wish to leave their yacht here and fly to distant shores.
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