My Travel To The Awesome Underground River, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines
Map of the Philippines
Flying To Puerto Princesa, Palawan
At last, I have made and checked my one of the to see list. That is, traveling to the one of the New 7th Wonders of Nature in the world. The awesome Subterranean Underground River in Puerto Princesa,Philippines . It is located 2 1/2 hours drive by car from Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan.
My travel started with a flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa with my hubby and my father. It was the first time we flew to Palawan. The flight was about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Up from the plane I could see how beautiful Puerto Princesa is. It is surrounded with a forest. I have never seen such a place with loads of trees still existing in the Philippines. Everytime I flew home to Mindanao, I could only see mountains getting balder and balder, which in my childhood time had abundance trees like coconuts and other tropical fruits. So, I was delighted to see the forest of Puerto Princesa. I took a lot of video of the forest from the window of the plane.
Landing at the airport, I could smell a different air from what I used to smell coming to my home country. A fresh moisty clean air! We were collected from our hotel airport service car. The woman who collected us was nice and explained us what we should know when travelling with a tricycle to the city, how much fare we have to pay from our hotel to the city. 60 Pesos (day time) to 100 Pesos (night time) per ride with 3-4 persons and depending how far it is from our hotel which is a bit far from the center of the city. To be sure, just asked the receptionist.
Subterranean River, Palawan, Philippines
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Our Hotel Resort PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Deep Forest Garden Inn
We stayed in Deep Forest Garden Inn which is a bit far from the city´s action but still near when we wanted to go shopping to Robinson Mall for European food like cheese and fresh milk. We did not go out everyday as the hotel has a lot of ammenities to enjoy. There were swimming pool, chess pool, jacuzzi, restaurants, wine bar and free wifi. Besides that, the garden is awesome enough for us to relax while drinking a cup of tea or a glass of beer.
No Permit, No Entry
"No Permit, No Entry." That´s the official motto in visiting the Subterranean Underground River. As I have a Puerto Princesan friend who´s name is Susan, I knew what to do. She and her sister helped us in getting the Underground River permit in the Coliseum building office in the city. We had to apply personally, bringing with us our Identification cards or Passports and our plane tickets (especially for my hubby as a foreigner). Payment for the permit was made at Sabang port where our boat ride begun.
We started our travel with a rented van at 5 o´clock in the morning to Sabang, which was about 2 1/2 hour ride from our hotel. It was a very fresh but clear morning and there was no traffic jam. The road to Sabang reminded me of Ireland which was serpentine but beautiful. The road was sometimes rough. We stopped halfway in a village tourists shops where we were able to go to the loo and some of us bought hats for protection from the heat of the sun.
Arriving at the tourist office at Sabang port before 8 am (our scheduled boats ride), we queued for paying and presented our permit. With a senior discount for my father, we had paid only 650 Pesos for the permit including the environmental fee taxes. After that we went to a tent "office" where we paid for our boat for 700 Pesos. Then, with only 3 of us in the boat the amazing journey to the Underground River started after we wore our safety life jackets and helmets.
What we needed:
- Passport, ID and travel ticket
- Underground River Permit
- Water and other drinks for the trip
- Hats or caps
What to wear:
- short pant or mini skirt
- flip flop or other plastic slippers
The Entrance of the Underground RiverClick thumbnail to view full-size
Underground River, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
The Boat Trip
The boat trip to the Underground River from Sabang port was awesome to me. It was my first travel with a small motorboat with only 5 persons including the 2 boatmen, which took 15 wavey minutes of my life. I was excited seeing the beauty of the blue see and the rock formations along the way.
Arriving at the beach park where a huge limestone karst mountain landscape looking upon us, the entrance to the Underground River, a camera man was awaiting and took a photos of us 3. Then we went to the entrance of the forest where we presented our permits and tickets to the women who were waiting for the tourists and told us to wear life jackets. One of them told us not to bring plastic bags with food as the monkeys who are living in the forest would steal them. We should carry our cameras across our shoulder as they might be stolen as well from the monkeys. To tell you the truth, I have not seen one but my hubby and my father did. The monkeys were just hiding and were waiting for their victims.
Inside the CaveClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Underground River
The Underground River is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It is located in the Subterranean River National Park. The main attraction is actually the long cave which is more than 24 kilometers.
We took another boat, a paddle boat before we entered the Underground River cave. We were more than 6 persons inside the small boat and it was a bit loud for me to understand what the tourist guide said as there were "chatter boxes" Filipinas who couldn´t just enjoyed the beauty of the cave but were interrupting the tourist guide. So the video I took for this hub is not useful to me now with all those "chatter" noise. Thanks to them. Anyway, I concentrated myself in looking at the huge giants limestone formations inside the cave. Thanks to my nephew who told me to bring flashlight with me as it was dark inside.
Viewing the cave was awesome. I have never seen such beauty created by nature. There were cavern, underground fortress and wide tunnels inside the cave. Stalactites in different shapes were hanging at the cave´s ceiling like crystals and some in egg shapes form while stalagmites risen from the dept of the cave in unique macro form.
While boating, every now and then the bats were flying above us. It was good to have worn the helmet for the ride because sometimes it happened that the bats sh...t upon us. The bats have their own burial site in the cave. We have seen the dark spots of the caves´ walls. Besides the millions of bats living there, there were swallows and other living organism as well.
As always, everytime I thought there was still something coming, the time was up and our paddle boat went out of the cave. We had to go back to our motorboat we took which was waiting for us at the beach park. The sun was very hot. I was able to take a video with only the sound of the motor boat. That´s the one on the top of this hub. I was glad we took the early schedule to visit the Underground River as the waves were getting higher and higher and lots of tourists were on their way to the cave.
Many thanks to my friend Susan M. Z. and her sister May Ann for helping us in organizing our travel tour in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines.
Sources: Wikipedia and You Tube
The Wonder Of Nature--The Underground River
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© 2013 Thelma Alberts
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