Travels and Festivals

Balayong Festival in Puerto Princesa, Palawan: The Full Guide

Balayong Festival is a yearly celebration in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. The Balayong Festival features various activities such as street dancing competitions, parades, beauty pageants, and more. It is an annual celebration of Puerto Princesa that showcases the rich culture and heritage of the city’s people. 

The Balayong Festival is a celebration of the blooming of Balayong trees, also known as cherry blossoms. These trees are indigenous to Palawan, and it is a symbol of peace, love, and unity. In addition, the Festival features a street dance parade. Participants dress up in colorful costumes and dance to the beat of the local music.

It not only showcases the culture and heritage of Puerto Princesa but also promotes tourism in the city. The Balayong Festival attracts many tourists and visitors who witness the colorful and lively celebration. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for the locals to share their traditions and customs with the visitors and to promote their city’s rich culture and history.

Tracing the Steps of Balayong Festival History

Balayong Festival

The roots of the Balayong Festival trace back to the time of the Spanish colonists. On March 4, 1872, Spanish colonists were sailing the shoreline around Palawan, looking for a place to set up their capital. Hence, Puerto Princesa or Princess Port, and that’s how the city got its name from the Spaniards.

The Balayong flower symbolizes those in Palawan, as it represents feminine dominance and beauty in the language of flowers. Balayong itself is a local Cuyuno name given to this tree, otherwise known as the Palawan cherry.

Today, the Balayong Festival is one of the most important cultural events in Puerto Princesa. Visitors come from all around the world and from the local community. In addition, the Festival is a celebration of the rich history and traditions of the Palawan people. Finally, it is an opportunity to experience this island paradise’s unique culture and beauty.

Enjoy the Highlights of the Balayong Festival

Puerto Princesa commemorates the founding anniversary by highlighting balayong tree planting. In addition, a street dancing and colorful floral parade depicting the Palawan cherry blossom from which the Festival gets its name. 

  • Street dancing and parades– are excellent ways for different communities and schools in Palawan to unite and showcase their cultural traditions and talents. The elaborate costumes and synchronized dance, accompanied by live music, would add to the festive atmosphere. 
  • Tree Planting–As part of the Balayong Festival celebration, it’s typical for the local community to engage in tree planting activities. It is to help protect and preserve the natural environment, ensuring the sustainability of the Balayong trees. Purposely, tree planting can also serve as a way to educate the public about the importance of environmental conservation.
  • The floral parade–is a crucial part of the Balayong Festival and provides an opportunity for visitors to become fully immersed in Palawan’s culture and traditions. A floral parade is a must-see event. Whether you are a local or a guest, it will leave you with lifelong memories.

Note: The schedule of events and activities during the Balayong Festival may vary yearly. Hence, it’s a good idea to check with the local tourism authorities for the most up-to-date information.

Practical Information on How to Get to Puerto Princesa 

It’s easy to fly to Puerto Princesa from Manila, and the trip takes less than an hour. Airlines that provide flights include Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific, Zest Airways, and Philippines Airlines. You can travel there by plane or by boat from different cities of the Philippines, such as Manila, Cebu, El Nido, or Coron. 

Flying to Puerto Princesa from Manila:

Balayong Festival

It is the most popular method of transportation from Manila, the nation’s capital, to Puerto Princesa. From there, you can take a ferry boat or a plane. However, most people choose to use the aircraft as the boat trip can be long and uncomfortable.

Ninoy Aquino Terminal 3 or Terminal 4 is where most flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa leave. Plane tickets to Puerto Princesa can be purchased far enough in advance for as little as P1,500. The flight duration is around 1 hour and 40 minutes, and the cost is between P1,500- P5,000. You can fly at Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, or Air Asia.

Getting to Puerto Princesa from Manila by Ferry Boat:

Balayong Festival

There is now only one ferry every week from Manila to Puerto Princesa, operated by 2Go Travel. It departs in the early afternoon on Friday and arrives in the evening the following Saturday. The trip duration is around 28 hours, while the cost may vary from P1,200 to P2,200.

Puerto Princesa from Cebu by Air:

The Philippines’ second-largest city also provides flights to Palawan. If you take a direct flight, the cost of getting to Puerto Princesa is comparatively less. If you take a direct flight, the cost of getting to Puerto Princesa is relatively less. The price is around P900 to P2,500. Available airlines are Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, and Philippine Airlines.

Traveling to Puerto Princesa within Palawan

You may also wonder how to travel from Coron to Puerto Princesa or El Nido to Puerto Princesa. If you are in other places on the main island of Palawan, you will find that vans and buses are the most common way to travel to “Puerto,” the city’s local name. 

Best Time to Visit Puerto Princesa

The period from November to April, known as the “dry season,” is the ideal time to travel to Puerto Princesa. Unfortunately, the Philippines is often hot and muggy at this time of year, with temperatures between 80°F (26.6°C) and 91°F (32.7°C). However, you won’t have to worry about being caught in bad weather when visiting because the mountain range protects you from strong winds and storms.

The rainy season generally lasts from December through April, but it can vary depending on how much rain falls each year. Puerto Princesa is in the Central Pacific Ocean, so you may want to avoid visiting during the typhoon season (June–December). Puerto Princesa has a tropical climate that experiences heavy rainfall throughout the year.

Unwind and Comfort Puerto Princesa’s Accommodation during Balayong Festival

When choosing where to stay in Puerto Princesa, you must consider your budget, personal preferences, and the time of year you visit. In that case, it’s a good idea to make your accommodation booking ahead of time, as the Festival is a popular event, and the best hotels and resorts can fill up quickly.

  • Astoria Palawan. Astoria Palawan is a beautiful resort in Puerto Princesa. It features a children’s playground, a 35-meter infinity pool, and a private beach area. In this resort, WiFi is available for free. In addition to getting back in touch with nature, this paradise offers enjoyment, excitement, and delicious food.
Astoria Palawan
  • Balai Princesa. A bed and breakfast with five rooms and distinctive amenities is called Balai Princesa. From an old house, one enters a tranquil haven. Balai Princesa is an exceptional location where the coziness of home meets paradise’s perfection. Balai spa offers luxurious treatments and the use of the sauna and jacuzzi for complete relaxation. Address: Balai Princesa, Socrates Rd., Brgy. San Pedro, Puerto Princesa, 5300 
Balai Princesa
  • Southwind Palawan. Accommodations at Southwind Palawan have an outdoor pool, free private parking, and a restaurant. It is a resort that accommodates you, featuring an adjoining terrace and a balcony facing the garden. 
Balayong Festival
  • Blue Lagoon Inn & Suites. Resort Blue Lagoon Inn & Suites is in Rizal Avenue Ext Interior Purok Malaya, Rizal Avenue in Puerto Princesa City. The place is truly the best place for a spa/relaxation family getaway. The most proximate Puerto Princesa Airport is 0.9 km from the hotel. In addition, it is possible to use these types of bank cards: American Express, Visa, and Mastercard.
Balayong Festival
  • Legend Palawan. The Legend Palawan is a luxury hotel located near the airport in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. It is a popular choice among travelers who want to experience the city’s famous festivals, such as the Balayong Festival, in comfort and style. So, wrap yourself in the comfort of the roomy spaces, and let the warm atmosphere of your home away from home excite your senses. 
Balayong Festival

Discover the Best Places in Puerto Princesa. 

There are numerous breathtaking sites in and around Puerto Princesa, Palawan, particularly during the Balayong Festival. Here are a few must-see places and attractions in the area:

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park: It lies across a vast cave network and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many faunas, including bats, monkeys, and birds, call it home. The river’s direct entry into the sea is one of its distinctive qualities. Its bottom part is affected by tidal forces. 

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park Balayong Festival

Honda Bay: A beautiful bay just a short boat ride from the city center. Honda Bay is home to several small islands and islets and is a popular spot for snorkeling, diving, and island hopping. It is a bay on the eastern shore of the island of Palawan near Puerto Princesa City in the southwestern Philippines. 

Honda Bay Balayong Festival

Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm: It is a unique prison farm in the heart of the jungle, where inmates work the land and raise livestock. Visitors can take a tour guide to the farm, meet the inmates, and learn about the innovative rehabilitation program. 

Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribe: Beautiful butterfly farm is just a short drive from the city center. Visitors can admire the stunning butterflies and learn about their life cycles. Additionally, you can visit a small indigenous tribe that calls the farm home. 

Baker’s Hill: Baker’s Hill is a popular hilltop park near the city. It is home to several charming shops and cafes. Furthermore, it offers stunning views of the city and surrounding countryside. Aside from their popular hopia, they sell mouth-watering baked goods such as crinkles, cakes, bread, pastillas, and pizza, among others.

Ugong Rock: Ugong rock Adventures is a community-based tourism project; hence, a visit could fill the need for adventure and help the local community. Ugong Rock refers to the humongous limestone formation that stands tall in the town of Tagabinet in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Climbing the steep of Ugong Rock upon the navigation of a guide typically takes 20 minutes. 

Remember: These are just a few beautiful sights to see in and around Puerto Princesa. Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s rich history and culture or enjoy the natural beauty of the area, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant and beautiful city.

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