Paradise of Palawan: Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour

by - September 19, 2014

A dream come true for the three of us as we were able to cross out one item from our bucket list - "See one of the Seven Wonders of Nature - the Puerto Princesa Underground River!". It really pays a tribute to see this spectacular wonder of nature that put the Philippines in the world map.

After an exhausting yet enjoyable side trip at Ugong Rock, we immediately headed to Sabang beach where we had a sumptuous buffet lunch by the beach.

A wide shot of Sabang beach exhibiting its pristine sand, clear blue waters
Before one can see the beauty of the Underground River, a permit should be secured first that must be booked days ahead because there's only a certain number of visitors allowed per day. Our arrangements were already settled by our travel agency - one advantage of acquiring a package tour. We had to wait for our turn to be assigned to a pump boat which just made our excitement haste much more.

Along the way to the National Park, the weather got a little windy and rainy so we didn't have a chance to take pictures of the ocean view. I got a bit worried because our tour guide said that the national park's committee sometimes do postpones the tour if the rain gets heavy.

In a fortunate turn of event, the rain stopped when we get there. Yay!!

Group picture by the beach

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a protected area of the Philippines, home to a wide range of forest, bird species and some endemic animals.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park's map

Bayawak (Monitor Lizard)

After some 7-10 minutes of walk in the park, we arrived at the staging area where we were asked to wear helmets and life vests. Water goes a little swell at times, thus the life vest.

Entrance to the river from afar

We all then docked into a small boat. The tour guides sit on the end of the boat so he can paddle our way inside. Since we were sitting in the front, I was tasked to hold a flashlight that I should point to wherever the tour guide instructs me to. I actually used this to my advantage to feed my curiosity because I also had a the full control on where to spot the light. Consider this as a tip; volunteer to hold that flashlight so you can enjoy more of the surroundings!

That verdant fresh water in the background

The enormous mouth of the Underground river, pitch dark inside!

Breathtaking view from the outside, Mother Nature and its diversity

The Underground River is 8.2 km long but the tour only covered more than a kilometer. I think another permit is needed if you want to go beyond that.

Inside the cave are distinctive rock formations, adjoining stalactites and stalagmites, and a bunch of bat caves. Hats off to our hilarious tour guide who made the tour more exciting and pleasurable. He genuinely knows where the awesome rock formations are located considering its pitch dark inside.

Here are just some pictures we manage to take. You know, they are best seen in person:
A hanging corn

An army of bat caves hanging on a corn-like stalactite

A gigantic bird's head as if plunging from a dive

Mama Mary's grotto sitting atop a mountain rock

There were some writings on the wall rocks that must have been put by some ancient people and researchers

Way out of the underground river

During the tour, I was actually a little scared to fall off the boat, the water is 20feet deep they say and it was really, really dark. Thank God I held the flashlight! But that feeling was beaten by the comeliness of the river. Imagine the millions of years it took to form those enchanting rock formations, truly a wonder of nature that everyone in the world must see. I would love to go back here and I'm pretty sure I will still be as enthralled as the first time.

We headed back to Puerto Princesa city after the tour and prepared for our El Nido trip then.

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