February 5, 2013

Puerto Princesa, Palawan Underground River Tour

On our 5D/5N Palawan tour, we made sure to visit Puerto Princesa Palawan Underground River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Of course we did not cover the entire area  for it was said to be the longest navigable underground river in the world. But, for those who are planning to visit with a DIY itinerary, like we did, I suggest you plan it ahead prior to your tour. Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour can be done in just 5-6 hours. Ours took only 5 hours but we made it a whole day event so we could still chill at the end of the day. Here’s to share you our experience:

From Puerto Princesa City (PPC), we traveled 2 hours to reach Sabang Port. This is where you will settle Eco Tourism Development Fees (ETDF) and wait for your boat going to the underground river beach front. If you have a tour guide, no hassle. They will be the one to settle it for you. You can just sit, take pictures or get to know fellow travelers.
IMG-20130128-01739Sabang Port
According to our guide, some days, there are boat shortage at Sabang due to many tourists. Too bad, we had to experienced it and waited for more than an hour for our turn. Atleast the boat ride took just less than 30 minutes to reach the beach front.
IMG_5541 Beach front of Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
IMG_5547
Upon arrival, you will be assisted to go to the registration area. Then, through the monkey trail where monkeys and lizards are just around the corner, but remember DO NOT feed them.
The trail won’t take much of your time, contrast to what I expected. It can be done for 5-15 minutes depending on how photo addict your group is. 
DSC02852 DSC02863 Monkey Trail
DSC02907To the cave entrance
DSC02909Water is just so clear!
DSC02914Our group all geared up
DSC02917 Cave Entrance
IMG_5640 Inside, this is how it looked like. Our tour guide reminded us to keep our mouths closed when looking up to avoid bat’s guano/urine.
DSC02931 Close up shot with the stalactites 
DSC02941 30 minutes of darkness  
Good thing we finished fast. I appreciated the place and the feeling of being silently scared due to the unknown creatures beneath the cold water, though I am not a big fan of caves.
After the exploration, we headed for lunch buffet where I tasted their famous tamilok, a slimy delicacy cooked in vinegar and served raw. Exciting it was! Indeed a must try on your first Palawan visit.

For those planning a visit to the Underground river, here’s something to remember.

IMG-20130128-01806
DIY Itinerary is good and I would recommend it for solo traveler, couple or barkadas. I have seen blog posts about Underground river tour which cost them 600-900 pesos ONLY. It amazed me how they managed that amount. However, if you’re visiting with your family, say your mom/dad/grandparents, I strongly suggest you get a tour package. This lessens stress due to transactions, fees and permits. 

For Underground River Tour, our total expense was 7,000 Php for 7pax. This includes van transfer, lunch buffet, tour guide, permits and ETDF. For tour guide, I recommend Jake, one of the best we’ve met. Just contact him via his FB, here.

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