File photo of the Puerto Princesa Underground River by Arnold Calalin Valdez, Jr.

The city government is eyeing the operation of a small cruise ship that will sail to the Philippines’ four popular destinations — Underground River in Puerto Princesa, El Nido and Coron in northern Palawan, and Boracay.

Mayor Lucilo Bayron said to ANC on September 12 that the small cruise ship’s journey can start at Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan where the underground river is located, then to El Nido, Coron, and Boracay to “maybe” end in Bohol where there is an international airport.

“The City of Puerto Princesa is proposing a small cruise ship that will ply the Sabang route, so that you’ll be able to visit the underground river — then to El Nido, El Nido to Coron, Coron to Boracay and then maybe to Tagbilaran, Bohol because there are international flights there,” he said.

If passengers will come from Bohol, they can also exit in Puerto Princesa City since it also has an international airport.

“We have international flights so even international travelers can come into Puerto Princesa, exit in Tagbilaran or the other way around visiting the four major Philippine destinations,” he added.

Bayron said this would lead to increasing tourist arrivals in Puerto Princesa which was already 1.2 billion in 2018, higher by 26 percent than the national average.

He said this number does not include the passengers brought in by cruise ships.

“Last year, the city tourism reported a 1.2 million arrival. That excludes the cruise ship passengers — that is only counting the tourists who stayed in the hotels,” he said.