Puerto Princesa Underground River

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is one of the most distinguished protected areas of the Philippines. It was established as a National Park in 1971 primarily to protect and preserve the intact old growth forest, interesting wildlife, pristine white sand beaches, unspoiled natural beauty and one of the most impressive caves systems in the world. ~ source : http://www.puerto-undergroundriver.com It features a spectacular limestone or karst landscape that contains an 8.2 km long underground river.

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

This Underground River in Puerto Princesa Palawan Philippines was chosen as one of the new 7 wonders of nature.

THE TRIP TO UNDERGROUND RIVER

On the third day of our Palawan trip we headed to the famous Underground River. It was a 2 hour journey from the city proper but our trip took much longer because the van made several stops along the way. Our first stop was at Masagana Rest Area. We went to have some refreshments, toilet break and a few photos. I must admit that I was a bit chubby back then.

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

Next stop is at Buena Vista view deck. What a lovely view!

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

Third stop is at these beautiful rock formations along the road. I could see hard at work carabao's at the plains.

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

THE PORT

And finally we've arrive at the port. While at the port we had  to wait for more or less than an hour for our tour guide to arrange our bangka (small boat) to get us to the side of the Underground River. At the left side of the port facing the sea you can see tourists sunbathing and frolicking at the beach. However the waves at the beach are too strong. I bet surfers love it here.

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

I was so excited to finally board the bangka! Yay!! I'm finally going to the world famous Underground river. My excitement was immediately replaced by thrill because, guess what??, the bangka ride to the underground river side was too wavy. Our bangka was floating side by side especially when the big waves hit our small boat. It was really a tough and exciting ride. We'll don't tell grandma about this because she was not so thrilled with the experience. Ahahaha!

UNDERGROUND RIVER

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

When we arrived at the underground river side, we were greeted with beautiful white sands and rock formations at the docking area.

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

And we've a made friend along the way to the river.

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

We just followed the path leading to the river through this wooden walkway.

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

And so we've arrived. The water at the river is so clear that I could see small fishes happily swimming. Can you see them?

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

Again, we were asked to wait for our turn to tour inside the river. So I've killed the time by snapping a lot of photos around the area.

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

Now it's time to board the bangka (small boat).

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

CAVE ENTRANCE

Upon entrance at the cave one could immediately see the stalactites above.

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

And more of them inside.

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

The cave is very dark. The only light we have is the flash light carried by the tour guide, which also happens to be our bangka operator. My camera flash did a good job in capturing these shots. However others are just blurred. Keep quiet, bats are dozing off. Ssshh!!

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

Yeah, my photo of the bats is a bit blurry. Anyway all of us at the small boat decided to continue further the usual tourist route to catch a glimpse of the famous dugong (sea cow) fossil which got stuck at the cave walls thousands of years ago.

Puerto Princesa Underground River Palawan Philippines

So how did that dugong (sea cow) fossil got there?

Now, it's time to go back. All of us, at the bangka, felt the relief after seeing the first rays of light entering the cave. Oh, I can't wait to get out. Ahaha! Well it's because it was so dark inside the cave that I felt uneasy. But the experience was amazing especially when our tour guide, at the same time our bangka operator, turned off the light coming from his flash light (okay, that's when I got totally scared). The cave was total darkness, so dark that I couldn't even see myself. 

THE TRAINING

The bangka operator (also cave guide) then shared his personal training experience to us regarding his profession. He shared that the training happened at night. They were a few of them training to become cave guides. To become one they have to navigate the cave without the aide of any form of light. They have to master the cave route and get out of the cave. Well, that was really tough. The cave guide then told us how he managed to successfully get out. He said that he just followed the sound of the bats. Wow! That was really scary. From his sharing, I've concluded that cave guide training really needs a lot of guts and perseverance. This training is a must for them as a requirement to be cave guides which I think is really helpful especially when emergency situations arise like flash light battery low and such.

And so our cave journey ends. Time to go for lunch (which was also included at the tour package). The Underground River at Puerto Princesa Palawan, Philippines is really a must visit place.



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4 comments

  1. Palawan is part of my target list since last year. But will always gets diverted by other place to travel.
    Hope I could travel there soon. :)

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  2. i love Palawan...from the moment the plane landed in Puerto Princesa Airport, I already fell inlove with it... hopefully, i can go back there...

    wwww.channbear.wordpress.com

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