Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan

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Sabang, Philippines
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan - monitor lizard
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan - entrance going in
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan - entrance going on
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan - around the area
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan - macaque

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan Sabang Reviews

crazychictraveller crazychi…
18 reviews
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park Feb 19, 2011
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a must see during the stay in Palawan.

The Underground River is considered to be the world’s longest. This subterranean river passes 8.2 kilometers of astounding cavernous limestone formations before flowing directly into the South China Sea. However only 1.5 KM part of the river is allowed. The remaining parts require permits and extra precaution before a tour is authorized. Also it is allowed for scientific research (can I be a scientist for once to be able to explore this part?)

From the shore, you need to pass a small trail (like trekking in the mountain). There are notes on some trees providing information on the species there. At the end is the entrance to the cave. Upon the entrance, you can see the majestic and cool water. And the place gives you a serene ambiance despite hearing people hustling for a picture or the boat ride.

The river smells a bit bad due to the bats excretion but it didn’t tone down my excitement. Our guide was quick in pointing out interesting formation outlined by the rocks and stalactites/stalagmites. Formations include the holy family, Pegasus, angels, vegetables, and 'faces' formed by blemish on the rocks. Also there are partitions on the Underground River depending on the structures formed. The famous is called 'The Cathedral', this is the biggest chamber, and known for its lofty heights.

There are also rock formations above as pinpointed by our guide. But as a reminder, be awed with mouth close. The reason for this is the drips coming from the ceiling can either be water (if cold) or bat piss (if hot). Also, he informs us that there's resident python in the cave that sometimes make its presence known to the tourists by 'passing through' the kayak before going in the water.

And we want our awed by what we’ve seen. Too bad the whole trip last for 45 minutes. Wish it’s more than that.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Densewave Densewave
2 reviews
Underground River, Palawan Mar 08, 2011
Basically, getting to know Mother Nature.

1. Travel to Sabang is travelling in the middle of the forest on pave road but some rough road also.

2. At Sabang port, you will see the clear water, sound of sea waves & lush green mountains.

3. From Sabang port to underground river boat staging point, check the sea as you see the waves rocking your boat like a mother rocks her baby.

4. From staging point to underground river mouth you will pass the forest, you will see the monitor lizards or bayawak passing in front of you walking just naturally. Philippine macaque post & jumps among the trees getting attention of people to take stills & video.

5. The UNDERGROUND RIVER, the amazing calm water & the majestic yet mystic cave, you will realize God's great gift to us.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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JeAr JeAr
13 reviews
Keep Your Eyes Open and Your Mouths Closed! Aug 20, 2008
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a must-see when one visits Palawan. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is also nominated for New 7 Wonders of Nature, or something like that.

Several tour agencies offer trips to the park, and you can also book with whatever hotel you're checked in. As far as I know, all of them charge P1,500, or roughly USD30. The package includes transportation to and from Sabang, lunch, round-trip boat transfers to the park, entrance and environmental fees, and tour guide. If you do it yourself, you might save a few bucks, but I can't tell you if it's worth the effort.

The guide/boatman to the river are lively and not shy with cracking jokes from time to time (albeit cheesy), which usually only Filipinos get (we have a weird sense of humor). They explain everything in English. My friend Sebastian appreciated that, so I guess it's good for foreigners visiting the place. Our guide even knows a few German words, to the delight of my homesick friend (sarcasm, sarcasm).

Although it has 8.2 kilometers of navigable water, we're only allowed to go as far as 1.5 KM, which took about an hour, more or less. You need special permits to go a further 3 KM, and a complete navigation of the river is only allowed for scientists and researchers.

First thing that I noticed as we go in was the stink. Natural-made, in case you're wondering. The cave is home to a big colony of bats, so naturally, all their 'produce' goes to the water. It gets less stinky inside, though. Aside from bats, there were swarms of swiftlets hovering all over the cave the entire time, and it's easy to assume that they're bats. We were told that there's also a resident python in the cave that sometimes make its presence known to the tourists by 'passing through' the kayak before going in the water. Nice!

I was quite impressed with the caves. There were stalactites and stalagmites everwhere, and big chambers left and right. Our decidedly funny guide was quick in pointing out interesting figures formed by the rocks and stalactites/stalagmites, including the holy family, Pegasus, angels, vegetables, and 'faces' formed by stains on the rocks. Further in, there were HUGE chambers, the biggest being called 'The Cathedral' for its lofty heights. Of course, there were several impressive stalactite formations high above.

There's a catch, though: We were encouraged to look up and see the formations above, but we're always advised to keep our mouths closed. Why? Because the 'ceiling' of the caves continuously drip, and we're not sure if it's water or bat piss. Our guide said that it's okay to swallow some of that stuff if we like lime juice, the joke being that the liquid drips from limestone, hence the name lime juice. Cheesy, I know!

We went out of the cave, impressed but left wanting for more. Too bad we couldn't go any further - we were told that further in, the walls and ceiling of the cave sparkles like there are diamonds encrusted in the rocks. Now I won't mind seeing that.

Just a note: Someone said that the underground river probably doesn't deserve to be in the New 7 Wonders list, mainly because it's not at par with other nominees such as the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, etc. I think I can agree with that; however, therein lies the folly of the whole 'contest'. How can anyone compare two different, equally beautiful and significant places and include them in a shortlist? I mean, Niagara Falls is so different from this underground river, and the Grand Canyon is not comparable to the Chocolate Hills. It's just... off.

So, I'd say screw that contest. That said, I still voted :D
entrance going in
around the area
entrance going on
macaque
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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tj1777 says:
I know - and the places which are gonna win will just be the places most people have gotten to. Basically because they are on the beaten path (or close to it) which mean a beutifull place of the beaten path will have no change because only people making an effort will have ever seen them.

One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen is the sandsea of libya deep in the sahara. But such a place got no change ever making a list like this - because it is so remote only a few thousand people go every year.
Posted on: Nov 28, 2008
JeAr says:
exactly! and for me, all these natural sites are equally important, so they shouldn't be ranked, know what i mean? it's stupid... if some falls or mountain or lake wins, it doesn't mean it's the most beautiful or important lake in the world... our planet is too big for its beauty to be 'boxed' in a contest like this... and also, beauty is subjective :)
Posted on: Nov 28, 2008
tj1777 says:
the contest is a hoax like the human sight one. The statue in Rio was no where near making the list - and then suddenly they started a huge campaing in Brazil by sms-chain. Then suddenly lots and lots of votes for the statue and it made the top7 list. Basically the whole contest is skewed towards big contry attractions because they can make a campaign.
Posted on: Nov 28, 2008

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