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My Best Experience in Palawan

My Puerto Princesa Tour

It seems many travel blogs advise visitors to not spend much time in Puerto Princesa. I’m here to tell you nothing could be further from the truth. Despite what others have said I loved Puerto Princessa and the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm!

I loved it because I loved seeing the museums and learning about all the history that is there. Also, any gay life in Palawan is going to be in Puerto Princesa. If you go to Palawan, of course, you need to go to the Underground River, El Nido, or Coron.

Those are all beautiful places that have earned their reputation but I have found the City of Puerto Princesa is sadly and ironically overlooked by most people despite the fact that its the main point of entry to the Island of Palawan.

I took a city tour it was like 20 bucks! In the tour I got to see:

Me and my Puerto Princesa Tour Group
Me and my Puerto Princesa Tour Group

Plaza Cuartel

Immaculate Conception Cathedral,

Baylwalk, Crocodile Farm

Baker’s Hill, Pasalubong Center,

Binuatan Creations Weaving Center

and more…

Me next to the world's largest pearl in Puerto Princesa City Hall
Me next to the world’s largest pearl in PP City Hall

My best experience in Palawan

I have to say one of my most powerful trips was to Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm. There I got to meet real Filipino prisoners. They do a nice little dance for you when you enter and then you get a tour. I had a chance to have an in depth talk with one of the prisoners:

Me with Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm inmate
Me with Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm inmate

He told me the story of how he ended up there. Basically as a young man one of his classmates kept teasing him. He said he was beginning to lose standing amongst his friends because he was allowing this other young man to continue teasing him.

So he told me how one night after school he got a knife and was sharpening the knife. He kept going back and forth on whether or not he should do it.

Then he got a call from one of his friends stating that his group was going to disown him because he was ‘a pussy’ for allowing the other young man to keep teasing him. That made the decision for him.

He told me after school he saw his classmate sitting on a bench eating or something. He walked up behind him and slit his jugular vein with the knife. Blood gushed out of him like a pig and he fell to the ground.

Afterwards he ran to his friend’s house seeking advice and his friend lied to him. His friend advised him that if he turned himself in that maybe they’d give him just a few months because he confessed. He did and well that was 20 years ago and he’s still in prison.

A truly powerful story indeed. I think he wanted a tip afterwards but uh sorry I’m not gonna tip just for telling me a story of how you killed someone.

I know it sounds weird but for me, that was the best experience in Palawan. Iwahig prison gave me an opportunity to get to meet real people telling real stories that don’t go in the travel brochures. It was truly off the beaten path and for that reason it was my best experience in Palawan.

The tour costs about $365  for the prison plus you get to see other interesting sites like The Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center, enjoy views across the Honda Bay from Mitra Farm, and shop for hand-crafted souvenirs. Really though the main highlight is the prison.

Gay Spots in Palawan

Honestly, Palawan really isn’t the best place to go if your goal is to see a big vibrant gay scene. If that’s what you’re looking for then I recommend Thailand instead. However, Palawan is a nice place to meet handsome gay Filipinos. There are a few bars that, while not exclusively gay are gay-friendly.

Tiki Bar (visit their FB Page)

This is a gay-friendly bar in Puerto Princessa City.

Delinido Coffee House (visit their FB Page)

Owned by a lesbian couple this coffeeshop and deli located in El Nido Palawan has some good eats and and a friendly atomosphere.

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