The Underground River

Sabang Travel Blog

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Sabang Beach

On our second day in PP, we decided to see the famous underground river in Sabang instead. Take a deep breath - the place is called (inhale) Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (exhale). We booked a tour with our tricycle driver for P1,500 each (for more details about the tour, please check the review below). Kinda expensive, but we just didn't have enough time and information to do it ourselves.

A van picked us up at the guesthouse at exactly 7AM. We were greeted by our very energetic guide, Pam. Seriously, she rocked! She knew everything about Palawan, and she made our trip very memorable and fun.
Seb and me
Also with us are 8 or so other tourists, all Filipinos, who were in Palawan for some R & R. It was a fun group!

The trip to Sabang took 3.5 hours (with only one short piss stop), half of which was on an unsealed road. Thank goodness our van was comfortable. Sabang is a coastal town (which technically is not a town since it is still administered in PP, but that's beside the point), and to get to the underground river, you need to take an outrigger boat, or banca, that runs the length of the coastline to the opening of the cave where the river flows directly to the sea. Each banca only takes a maximum of 6 people (plus 2 boatmen), and when the waves get pretty big, they take as little as 2 people per boat for insurance purposes. Well, glad to know we're insured!

From the banca, we had a very nice view of the rugged coastlines dotted with pocket beaches here and there flanked by the turquoise sea on one side and the thickly-forested mountains on the other.
the entrance to the cave
The jungle is actually an alternative way to reach the river - you need to walk/trek through the forest for 2 hours. Seb and I wanted to do that; however, Pam said it's not advisable since the recent hurricane destroyed the footbridge that crosses a river flowing through the jungle, and it's not safe to wade through it. So, there we were on the banca, doing it the safe way!

Before we docked, Pam warned us to not bring any plastic covered stuff because the monkeys (long-tailed macaque) would ambush us and steal the stuff, assuming they were food. So we left all but our basic stuff on the banca. Then, we walked towards the opening of the cave where we donned life vests and protective helmets. Then, we waited for our turn to get in the cave together with several others (it was a busy day). Seb used this as an opportunity to take pictures of the surrounding area, and we were also treated to some sightings of macaques and monitor lizards.
Sabang Beach
Now all we need is a python, and we're all set!

After what seemed like an eternity, it's finally our turn. Unbelievably, they fitted us and 8 other people (not the same group with us in the van) on a kayak, which triggered some unwanted phobia attack from me. Even though we had life vests on, I wouldn't want to fall into the water swarming with unknown creatures and worse, guano (bat manures). I hid my fear quite effectively, but deep inside I was screaming "please don't let us capsize!" over and over. I'm such a loser.

I'll save my impression of what I saw inside the cave for my review, but let's just say that I was impressed with the place! I wish we could've gone deeper in the river system, but alas, it wasn't possible. So, we left the park, boarded our banca, and headed back to Sabang for lunch.
viewing my kingdom
The beach at Sabang was very nice, kinda similar to Alona Beach in Bohol, but even better. After our sumptuous lunch, we had 30 minutes to bum around. Shame there wasn't enough time for us to take a swim.

The trip back to PP seemed a bit shorter, or maybe we just didn't notice the time. We spent it mostly talking to Pam, or me having my autistic moments looking out the window and admiring Palawan's scenery which I couldn't get enough of. At around 6PM, we're back in PP and at our guesthouse, tired but happy.

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Both Pam and our ancient guidebooks recommended a place called Kalui for dinner.
it's for you
Since it's famous among both tourists and locals, we were advised to book ahead. So, I called them up and made a reservation for 8PM. When we got there, we had to remove our shoes (in my case, flip-flops) before entering the restaurant.

The place is supposedly known for fresh seafood, but since I'm not a fan, I ordered chicken instead (shut it, you). I forgot what Seb ordered, but I'm sure it's not a German dish. Anyway, I found the place to be nice and quiet enough for a good conversation over delicious food. I was also glad to see that there were more local (meaning Filipino) people there than foreigners, although there were quite a few of them. I guess I'm just one of the many Filipinos who doesn't want Palawan to be super-touristy and overdeveloped.

After dinner, Seb and I looked for a place to drink.
yummy
After successfully dodging Seb's desperate attempt to convince me to check out a lady bar (those places with scantily-clad ladies 'befriending' customers, but of course you already know that), we settled for Kinabuch's, a resto-bar favored by the locals. I tried one of their cocktails called F*** Off! but I should have known better (it was whiskey, so eeewww). So, we just contented ourselves with San Mig Light (local beer, but not my fave, either).

We walked back to our guesthouse by midnight. So far, so good!

JeAr says:
thanks M!!! :)
Posted on: Feb 05, 2009
anne819 says:
Another collection of entertaining blogs, along with nice photos of beautiful places. :)
Posted on: Feb 03, 2009
JeAr says:
hoy hindi noh! nakilala ko lang to sa eroplano... dapat ipapakilala ko sa inyo kung nakadaan siya ulet ng manila bago bumalik ng alemanya pero di na kinaya... anyway, see u tomorrow! :)
Posted on: Nov 27, 2008
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Sabang Beach
Sabang Beach
Seb and me
Seb and me
the entrance to the cave
the entrance to the cave
Sabang Beach
Sabang Beach
viewing my kingdom
viewing my kingdom
its for you
it's for you
yummy
yummy
on the way to the river
on the way to the river
the entrance to the cave
the entrance to the cave
around the area
around the area
around the area
around the area
around the area
around the area
around the area
around the area
around the area
around the area
macaque
macaque
macaque
macaque
sharp limestone karst above the ca…
sharp limestone karst above the c…
going in...
going in...
going in...
going in...
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
limestone formations inside the ca…
limestone formations inside the c…
going out...
going out...
going out...
going out...
monitor lizard
monitor lizard
unidentified species
unidentified species
some more limestone karst
some more limestone karst
some more limestone karst
some more limestone karst
on the way back to Sabang Beach
on the way back to Sabang Beach
on the way back to Sabang Beach
on the way back to Sabang Beach
on the way back to Sabang Beach
on the way back to Sabang Beach
on the way back to Sabang Beach
on the way back to Sabang Beach
quick stop on the way back to Puer…
quick stop on the way back to Pue…
quick stop on the way back to Puer…
quick stop on the way back to Pue…
quick stop on the way back to Puer…
quick stop on the way back to Pue…
some weird masks
some weird masks
the menu
the menu
Sabang Sights & Attractions review
Keep Your Eyes Open and Your Mouths Closed!
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 … read entire review
Sabang
photo by: kremheild