Puerto Princesa, Palawan (Part 3 of 4) – Underground River Tour

On February 23, 2010 by Mrs C

Day 2 of our Palawan trip was dedicated to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, more commonly known as the Underground River. It was an add-on to our itinerary for P800/head — and this included the transportation, tour fees, and lunch.

I am very much excited about it since it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What I am not excited about is the early pick-up and the 2-hour ride (partly on an unpaved dirt road) to Sabang Beach.

Before leaving, we were warned by our tour guide to be wary of the monkeys in the area. They’ve learned to steal human food (even junk food), and they recognize plastic bags as possible containers. So avoid bringing plastic!

Jollibee welcomes you to the Underground River

An older signage on Sabang Beach

Sabang Beach

From Sabang Beach, it’s a short boat ride to the shore that leads to the underground river. As always, it’s a scenic ride. 🙂

From Sabang Beach to the Underground River

From Sabang Beach to the Underground River

This beautiful shore will greet you.

Shore to the Underground River

From here on, it’s a short trail to the entrance of the Underground River.

Signs

The Path to the Cave

And finally, we arrive.

Cave Entrance

Once here, you will wait for your turn to get on a boat to get inside the cave. If your tour doesn’t include the entrance fee (like the students we chanced upon there), you can settle your payment here as well. Life vests and helmets will be distributed. Please note: the life vests are not for swimming!

Sign: "LIFE VESTS are only for paddle-boat riding not for swimming."

While waiting, there are signs you can read so that you can be informed or entertained.

Park Facts and Figure

Rules on Cave Tour

Each boat carries 10-12 people, plus the boatman-slash-tour guide. A passenger in the front end of the boat will be assigned to hold the lamp. Once everyone is settled, the boatman-slash-tour guide will steer the boat, and the boat steadily glides into the the cave and into the darkness.

Descending dragon. How I wish I had a more powerful camera.

Our boatman-slash-tour guide is an entertaining fellow. He points out stalactite formations shaped in familiar things such as corn, mushrooms, dragons, and even religious figures.  He talks like he has done it hundreds of times (which is not entirely unrealistic) and inserts bits of humor here and there.

Stalactite formation - Flower?

Stalactite formation - Corn?

Stalactite formation - Mushroom?

He also warns us to close our mouth when we look up at the roof of the cave. Fruit bats!

Bats!

Oh, how I was cursing my digicam for its limitations. There were so much I wasn’t able to capture because of my camera’s flash. It was such a beautiful,  beautiful place.

Light at the end of the tunnel

After the tour, we were treated to lunch near the beach, and near the monkeys and the bayawaks (monitor lizards).

Monkey!

Big, bad ass bayawak

After that, you are free to go swimming in the beach or shopping for souvenirs on Sabang Beach. At around 3PM or so, we were on our way back to the city. We rested for a bit before heading out for dinner.

Visiting the Underground River was definitely the highlight of the trip. You can’t get that anywhere else! For a P800 tour fee, it was definitely worth it! I’d love to go back, and this time, armed with a more powerful camera!

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