Due to quarantine measures in place, some of these destinations might be temporarily closed. Please coordinate with the management or local government before visiting.
If your summer itinerary involves going to Puerto Princesa, then taking a trip to these parks where locals usually hang out should be at the top of your list. Whether you want to eat street food, try cycling, learn about local history, or just lounge by the bay as the sun sets, you’ll surely enjoy your experience in this city with simple yet memorable ways.
Truly a nature-friendly city, Puerto Princesa offers green spaces where you can recharge and reconnect with nature. As you go through the list of the locals favorite parks below, you will surely realize why Puerto Princesa is among the top options to go to for people who want to slow down and take in life at its best.
Locals sweat out at City Baywalk early in the morning to stay fit.
Image by writer
People head to Puerto Princesa City Baywalk for a splendid harbor view, so it’s quite rare to see this open seaside space almost empty. At any time of the day, the City Baywalk welcomes people to sit on benches or on the seawall’s ledge, and just marvel at the bay’s view set against the rolling verdant mountains backdrop.
Locals and tourists alike visit the park for a stroll or a jog, while some rent bicycles to get around faster. It’s best to chill out at the park during nighttime when it’s well-lit and abuzz with life. Don’t leave this place without trying the sumptuous seafood at any of the Baywalk night restaurants by the bay!
August 2020 Update:Puerto Princesa City Baywalk is now open to the public.
The hauntingly beautiful Plaza Cuartel never fails to amaze visitors.
Image: Lala Grona
History junkies would certainly fall in love with Plaza Cuartel. This historical spot was once a Spaniard-built military garrison that was turned into a graveyard for around 150 American prisoners of war. The Japanese soldiers burned them alive inside the underground tunnel below this park on December 14, 1944, during World War II. Sadly, only 11 survived the massacre.
Fast forward to today, it’s now turned to a quaint park with paved pathways and benches shaded by medium-sized trees. You could not glean any trace of its grim past, except for the garrison’s entrance and the statue of an emaciated, tortured prisoner located at the heart of Plaza Cuartel to remind its visitors and hopefully teach them about its haunting history.
August 2020 Update:Plaza Cuartel is now open to the public.
Mendoza Park mesmerizes locals and visitors at night with its glowing attractions.
Image: Rodel Arcillas
This well-loved park was named after Palawan’s hero, Dr. Higinio Mendoza, who was executed after leading the local resistance against Japanese forces during World War II.
Mendoza Park had recently undergone a facelift. Going to the place, you’d be amazed by the newly-constructed fountain and pond, with the local hero’s monument at the center. In full bloom every summer, Palawan cherry blossom trees are also planted beside the monument, adding a natural charm to the park.
The Amphitheatre and Gallery Tower on both ends serve as venues for the city’s performing and visual artists to showcase and develop their craft.
August 2020 Update:Mendoza Park is now open to the public.
You can enjoy a leisurely walk with your significant other at Baker’s Hill.
Image: John Emil Alada
Think of Baker’s Hill as a haven for foodies, which is located literally on top of a hill. Locals advise you not to leave Puerto Princesa without buying Baker’s Hill’s famous hopia (meat pastry) and other mouth-watering pastries. These take-home goodies are all incredibly cheap, too. You can grab a box of hopia ube or monggo for as low as PhP50.
Baker’s Hill is also one of the go-to spots in a Puerto Princesa city tour as it also has a garden with intricate landscaping that ornamental plant enthusiasts would adore. As you tour around, you’ll find its every nook and cranny as Instagram-worthy. Youngsters and even those young-at-heart love this place because of the life-size statues of Disney characters displayed all over the area.
August 2020 Update:Baker’s Hill is now open to the public.
On a regular weekday, few people hang out at Capitol Park Square. No wonder it has always been a well-loved space for those who seek solitude. Located inside the Capitol Complex, which houses different provincial government offices, this park offers a well-maintained garden with a dancing fountain. Feel free to stroll around, sit on a bench, and just take a breath of fresh air if you like.
Aside from the yuletide season, expect this place to be jam-packed during the month-long Baragatan Festival in June. Baragatan, a Cuyunon dialect term for “meeting,” gathers Palaweños from all 23 towns to celebrate Palawan’s rich culture and history through dancing, singing, eating, drinking, and other festive activities.
August 2020 Update:Capitol Park Square is now open to the public.
A stroll through this park with your headset on is a perfect idea to unwind.
Image: Jayvin Aliga
Coliseum Park is another crowd-favorite because of the wide, open space that offers respite from a busy day. Every day you’ll spot groups of people sitting under the decades-old acacia trees or playing around the superb dancing fountain facing the City Coliseum. At night, tulip lamp posts along its paved pathways make this park glow.
Hungry stomachs can also gorge on barbecues and other street foods sold for as low as PhP5 by kiosks lining on the east side. If you suddenly crave for your classy comfort foods, head to Mayad Café on the opposite side of the park and sip some of their hot or cold drinks, then pair it with something sweet to satisfy your tummy. Mayad’s menu prices start at PhP50.
Crocodiles here will certainly leave you flabbergasted.
Image: Carol Paulino Halili
One of the most famous Puerto Princesa tourist spots is the Crocodile Farm and Nature Park, so no trip would be complete without visiting it. On a guided tour, you’ll cross a platform with pens of beguiling crocs underneath. It’s an exhilarating but also terrifying experience knowing they were caught from estuarine rivers. Yep, probably after eating humans alive!
In addition to visiting the crocodiles, don’t forget to explore around and marvel at the stunning terrestrial wildlife. The nature park is also known as the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center, and it's a place of refuge for adorable animals saved from the hands of poachers. The park's sprawling vegetation allows them to recover before they are released to their natural habitats.
If you want to escape for a time, Ai World exudes an otherworldly ambience.
Image: Ai World Palawan
There’s something magical about Ai World Park and Resort. Nestled in Bacungan’s lush highland, this privately owned resort greets visitors with a magnificent mountain view. Shades of pink and red are everywhere as alluring bougainvilleas, gumamelas (hibiscus), and Palawan cherry trees are grown all over this flower park.
The public is given a free pass and round-trip transfers to the resort from Robinson’s Place. Entrance fees will be charged only if you’re going to take a dip in their therapeutic Jikitan Pool, and their three other pools. Sit back and relax as you indulge yourself at their restaurants and food court that serve French, Japanese, and other delightful international cuisines.
Make sure to visit Yoorekka to learn and find out more about the best parks in Puerto Princesa..
Which of these parks in Palawan are you excited to visit? Tell us in the comment section below!
This article was originally published in Yoorekka on January 16, 2019.
About Keith Anthony S. Fabro
Keith Anthony Fabro is a freelancer based in Narra, Palawan. He explores the great outdoors, talks to strangers, and designs promotional materials for a living. In his free time, he practices mindful meditation or reads anything about personality psychology and the natural environment, all while listening to mellow music. When inspiration strikes, he writes spoken poetry. He can live with just water and chocolates.
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