Underground River Tour marks our 2nd day in Puerto Princesa. Eversince it was declared as one of the seven New Wonders of the world, I’m more than eager to visit this attraction. A very unique embelishment of nature one should see and experience. Considered as UNESCO Heritage, it’s indeed must-see in Puerto Princesa.
If I may remember it correctly, it was January of 2012 when they announced the winners for the New Seven Wonders of Nature (not World, coz that’s different). Below is the complete list of winners:
1. Amazon Rainforest (SA)
2. Halong Bay (Vietnam)
3. Iguazu Falls (Brazil)
4. Jeju Island (South Korea)
5. Komodo National Park (Indonesia)
6. Puerto Princesa Underground River (Philippines)
7. Table Mountain (South Africa)
Underground River is located 50 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. It is approximately 8.2 kilometers long and is the longest known navigable underground river. It is in the south west of capital city Manila, at a distance of 575 kilometers approx. It’s located at two hours drive towards north of the main city of Sabang.
Going to Underground River, you have to travel 1.5 – 2 hours (land) and approximately 15mins boat ride.
I love the rock formations in this area as I find them majestic. After registering, you’ll have to walk several steps going to the entrance of the cave. Along the way, we saw some monitor lizards and monkeys. But beware of the monkeys. When they see you holding a plastic bag, they will think that there’s food inside so they will grab it from you. So make sure all your belongings are inside your bag.
After a nice short walk through the forest, another boat awaits us at the riverbank to finally take us to the underground cave. We were given protective helmets to wear not to protect us from any head injury but rather it’s to protect us from the drippings of the caves’ mineral deposits and from bat droppings which is not very pleasant, odor wise.
You start off from a pristine jungle lagoon before you enter the cave. The time inside the cave seemed like it was about 45 minutes to an hour. Max capacity is about 8pax and the person in front is the designated beacon, in our case it was my friend. He held a huge flashlight attached to a car battery and basically point to whichever the boatman tells you. You’ll enjoy different unique shape of stones and hundreds of bats flying all over. The boatman explains every lookalike-something-shaped stones.
I think the cave truly deserves the recognition and patronage that it is getting from both local and international tourists. I really hope that the city government does a better job at preserving and protecting it from mindless vandals that clearly have done their damage to some parts of the cave.
Included in our package is a sumptuous buffet lunch near the wharf. I admit, we weren’t courageous enough to try “tamilok” (wormlike mollusk found in rotten wood).
1. You have to book your permit one month before your preferred date, because they have limited slots (900 visitors per day) due to increasing number of tourists. We had our tours booked at www.gopalawan.travel so they already took care of our permit 🙂
2. Request for the earliest tour possible. Waiting time depends on the volume of tourists which can last as long as two hours. It’s first come, first serve ofcourse.
3. You may need a sun block, extra clothes, and an insect repellent to keep yourself comfortable.