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The Amazing Natural Wonder and Beauty of Puerto Princesa and the Underground River
A journey to Puerto Princesa's famed Underground River; A UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, & Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site
This article is one that you will never forget. It will take you on a journey to one of the world's most beautiful natural sites that will leave you desiring to go there for yourself. It will captivate you with awesome photographs and amazing video that will leave nothing to the imagination. So, it's time to get going!
Puerto Princesa, a city in Palawan, which is located in the Philippines, possesses the world's longest navigable underground river. It just won the world wide competition for natural wonders titled the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
This underground river is quite a site to see in person. Having traveled to many locations around the world, it was by far one of the most interesting and neatest things that I have encountered. Therefore, I will be sharing with you some information and some of the wonderful and amazing photos we took on our trip there. Additionally I will tell you how to get there, if you are fortunate enough to go for yourself someday.
Once you enter the mouth of the cavern, it opens up into a large dark cavernous area that possess many beautiful and amazing rock formations that look like a variety of things including plants, animals, people, and food. Additionally, there are some fossils that lay inside as well. There are also multiple stalactites and stalagmites that are growing from the river floor as well as the cave walls and ceiling.
For this reason, each person must wear a hard hat protective helmet, so as to not become injured while floating down the river. Each boat that enters also needs to be manned by one person with a spot light so that you can see some of the natural beauties that await you as no natural light comes inside.
Let's take a look at some of the natural wonders you will see on both on the way to the Underground River located on the West Coast of Palawan, as well as the natural wonders inside the Underground River. Also, you will hear about our arrival in this beautiful place and hear how we arrived at our destination.
Arriving in Puerto Princesa
Once you arrive at the airport in Puerto Princesa you can easily book a decent tour to one of these places for around 30$ per person, which includes an air conditioned van ride, a tour guide that speaks both English and the local dialect, a boat ride to and from the entrance to the Underground River Park, a guided paddle boat tour with a special designated time for your tour, protective gear, and afterwards a buffet lunch, along with a van ride home.
We decided to avoid the airport booking and head to our hotel, where the employees there easily booked it for us for a bit cheaper. Almost every single hotel can arrange a booking. There are also many other people trying to sell you tours to various places including the Underground River, so don't worry you won't have any trouble getting on your way.
The van picked us up early in the morning around 6:15 a.m. and then took us on our way. After everyone who had signed up was picked up we headed out on the 2 hour van ride to the port where we would take our boat to the entrance.
Here a few interesting or beautiful things we saw along the way.
#1 Views of the West Coast of Palawan
#2 Bamboo Structures Lined with Tribal Art
We first stopped along the way for a bathroom break to breathtaking views of lush green forests overlooking a beautiful ocean that was lined by mountains. It was truly a sight to see.
After snapping a few photos and finding some local souvenirs, we headed back to our van to head towards the port where we would take our boat to the entrance to the Underground River. However, we still had more natural beauty to enjoy along the way.
#3 Karst Mountains
Karst mountains are layered mountains made of usually two materials. In this case the mountains we were treated to were made from limestone. These were surrounded by fields and jungles that were absolutely breathtaking.
A little while later we arrived at the port. Once there we took time to cover ourselves with sun tan lotion as the Philippines can get quite hot. Once finished we took off to the sound of rumbling motors as we headed out on our boat to the entrance to our destination.
#4 A Beautiful Port Set Next to a Beach, Lush Green Forest, Hills, and Mountains
One side of the port was loaded with boats, which was located next to a beautiful white sand beach that was set next to lush green forests and hills. It was truly a sight to see.
The other side of the port, is much less crowded. Here a few boats float in the beautiful blue waters surrounded by beaches, hills, and mountains. The beach is also more open on this side. This is where we would later enjoy our buffet lunch that was included in our package.
#5 The Sleeping Giant
In the background we were bestowed more natural beauty as we passed the large mountainous form known as the Sleeping Giant. It literally looks like just that; A giant sleeping on his back.
#6 Rock Formations and Beautiful Blue Waters
The landscape captivated us with its immense beauty. The clear ocean waters, the lush green hillsides, and the jagged rocky cliffs that hung high into the air, some of which even looked like faces of an ancient ancestor. If you looked closely at the formation on the top right hand side, a head with eyes, a nose, a mouth, and some kind of tribal hat or hair will appear. It was truly breathtaking.
#7 Tall Jagged Cliffs that Hang High with Beauty
These beautiful cliffs hang high into the air along the water line. They provide immense beauty and a real treat for any nature lover, traveler, or almost anyone else. A few seconds later we found ourselves on the beach and at the entrance to the park where we would find our destination.
After checking in and traveling through a lush jungle lined with tall trees and padded with bamboo walkways we came to an opening to the river. Where we were to take our guided river tour underground.
#8 The River
Once we reached the river we noticed it's immense green and blue beauty. In one direction it heads toward the beach sandwiched in between two pads of thick lush forest as it makes its way out to sea. In the other direction it heads toward the cavern that allows travelers to paddle underground.
Once we had our protective gear on in the form of hard hat and life jacket, we hopped into a boat filled with about 8 to 10 other travelers. And...we were on our way underground.
I have posted a video below, so you can get a true feel for what it was like entering this magnificent natural wonder, with large stalactites hanging over head, the light quickly disappears as it becomes dark minus a few camera lights and the spot light manned by one of the travelers. You will hear the serene sounds of dripping water from the roof and walls along with the voice of our guide as he begins to explain the sights and sounds we were to encounter.
# 9 Natural Wonders Inside the Cavern
Then we began to notice some of the amazing natural wonders located inside the cavern. From rock formations that look like everything from food, to sea creatures, to people. We also noticed giant fossils located inside the cave as well including one of a dinosaur that was absolutely amazing! You could see its claw and head hanging down as it had been trapped within the rock formation. There were also giant stalactites that hung from the ceiling and stalagmites that grew up from the river floor.
An easy way to remember which is which is that stalactites hang tight to the ceiling.
The walls glimmer and shine when light is directed at them. Water cascaded down the sides and displayed beautiful formations of rocks that were amazing for all to see.
A rock structure that appears as a giant mushroom attaches itself to the rock. This one is even better than that of Alice in Wonderland.
This fossilized dinosaur formation is even more breathtaking in person. You can clearly see its head, eye sockets, mouth, and even a claw hanging from the rocky cavernous formations. It was truly a sight to see.
Amazing rock structures that look like giant jellyfish hang from the walls nearby. It was truly amazing and provided even greater effect with water dripping down their sides.
More amazing rock structures and designs can be seen along the walls of the Underground River. They can be quite interesting.
Below I have provided some video of what it is like leaving the Underground River's cavernous mouth. Sit back and enjoy as you exit this natural wonder.
Once outside the green and blue waters once again greeted us. As we headed for shore we were once again surrounded by the lush green forest.
After heading back to shore we disembarked our paddle boat. After finishing returning our safety gear, we headed off back through the jungle to our transport boat where we took off to head towards the beach area and port where we enjoyed a delicious buffet full of rice, shrimp, chicken, pork, soft drinks and desert. This was all included in our tour package, which was a great deal to say the least.
#10 The Beautiful Boat Ride Back to Shore
Below I have posted one final video of our boat trip back to shore where we got one last glimpse of the precious beauty this amazing place had to offer. As our boat motored back to the sound of a rumbling engine, we took in the immense beauty that we had been so fortunate to experience.
After reaching shore, we enjoyed our lunch, had some time for swimming, sometime to relax and drink some beer, and then we headed back via our van with our guide towards our hotel location where we were dropped off at the doorstep. It was quite an amazing experience and one that we will never forget. Exhausted, we arrived, but much richer for the wonderful and gorgeous experience we had just encountered.
Someday, maybe you will be fortunate enough to make this journey too. We hope you have enjoyed this virtual one.