Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour


My hands, feet, body, mom, grandma, the cave guide and everyone else in the tour group disappeared. I was devoured by the absence of light!  The bat squeaks inside the cave grew louder and louder. Anxiety kicked in. "Is 10 minutes over yet?" I sat in silence until... times up! The tour guide switched on his handheld flashlight. "Geez, that felt like forever!"

Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour

The Tour Guide's Training Retold

Could you imagine the training these guides went through to do what they do? Training happens at night. To secure a spot as a professional guide, they have to get inside the cave without the aide of light in any form. They must navigate their way out from the dark recesses of the cave in order to embed in memory the route. You'll need guts, perseverance, courage and a strong will to do this. I admire them! It's great to be in the care of a trusted cave guide especially when an emergency situation arises.

Imagine, we only had the experience for 10 minutes. Furthermore, we are only required to sit still and feel the surroundings in the dark. I'd definitely pass out during training! Haha. How do you think you'd fare? Anyway, the cave guide shared the secret on how to make your way out of there. Just follow the sound of the bats. It's true, I'm no fan of them, but they do come in handy in tough situations.

About Puerto Princesa Underground River

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] It features a spectacular limestone or karst landscape that contains an 8.2 km long underground river.

Did you know? The Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan Philippines is one of the new 7 wonders of nature. Cool, right?

The Drive to the Underground River

The trip to the Underground River supposedly took 2 hours from the city. Since we made several stops along the way, the drive took longer. The first stop is at Masagana Rest Area. That's me and my chubby self right there. Scroll down to see where the road took us!

Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour

At the Port

And the wait begins! Our tour guide arranged a bangka (small boat) to get us to the side where Underground River is. The wait took about an hour. On the left side of the port, facing the sea, you'll notice tourists and locals equally enjoying the beach. The current is strong that day, I wonder how our trip will go as we venture to the other side.

The Bangka trip

Our little bangka dance from side to side to keep up with the waves. "This is going to be a thrill!" Holding tightly to whatever could give me a false sense of security, my stomach churned as we meet the big waves. I searched for my mom and grandma and their faces were equally appalled! "We're here. Thank God, it's over!" The view on the other side saved us. I mean look at that!

Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour

That's 3 generations of women from our family right there. Me, mom and my grandma. :)

The Underground River Cave Tour

It's amazing once you get inside. You'll see different rock formations, bats (if you're fond of them) and even the fossilized remains of a dugong (sea cow) stuck high up on the cave wall. What? Wanna see it? Scroll down.

Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour
Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour

So how did the fossilized remains of a dugong (sea cow) got in there?

Well, that was one awesome experience! Glad I took the trip to the Underground River with mom and grandma. Oops, I suddenly remember the crazy bangka ride to get us back to the port. Gosh!

And so our cave journey ends. I hope our experience at Puerto Princesa Underground River gave you an idea of what to expect when you come. Don't let the bangka ride intimidate you, it happens quick. It could also be because we came on a day with strong currents. I'd say the Underground River is a must-visit! This is the reason why we made the trip to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Have fun then! Talk to you soon. ;)




Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour