Anything better than a trip to one of the 7 Nature Wonders of the World?
This Underground River of Palawan, Philippines indeed is something different. It won’t be named as one of the 7 wonders for nothing. Formerly known as St. Paul Subterranean River, its name is now shortened to just Underground River.
This is yet 1 hour and 45 minutes from the city centre of Puerto Princesa, Palawan launching from Sabang Wharf. So we need to brave some ugly waves lapping our boat. I’m not such a great fan of the boats and oceans and ferries and huge waves and seasickness but I know I’d have to go through this trouble to be able to see what’s this Nature Wonders all about. No hard work, no pay.
You will have 10 minutes jungle walk from that beautiful beach and limestone mountain at previous photo then you will arrive to this photo above, a little waiting area for the passengers going inside the cave. The very limestone stuff you see at the very end of the photo is already the cave.
Number of boats and number of passengers per boat is controlled.
I would say that : NOT for the faint-hearted, definitely for the adventure-seeker, absolutely for someone looking for something different. There are some things you need to consider :
1. I am not being finicky and whining like a Barbie but maybe bats are not for me. Inside the cave there are bats, and since this is their habitat, so we are invading them. Guess how they react to the invaders? Glad they didn’t attack like fighter jets that time when we toured but I could imagine that most likely. The guide says there are hundreds or thousands of them.
2. Bat poos and pees are everywhere so you need to prepare yourself for the daunting smell. Sometimes unbearable, really strong. But the guides will remind you of these stuffs and are even very helpful and friendly, and they have this scripted guide that they also make jokes and are funny as they try to convince you of how the Stalactites and Stalagmites form into images of different things, supermarket vegetables, fruits, people, the Virgin Mary, the Last Supper, etc. telling you if you could also figure out same imaginations from those stone formations inside.
3. It’s actually eerie. I was at thought of thinking there should be Anaconda (oh I hate snakes! well, who doesn’t?) and/or crocodiles just on how the brackish water looks like – but again, they assure you there’s none here. But it’s not impossible, right? But so far, no, they have been operating for years and there has been none reported to be anything troublesome happening. Maybe I’m too horror and negatively imaginative.
So there are these rare spots from the torch your boat has and one tourist/passenger will have the privilege to hold the torch for everyone but has to listen well to the boat guide on where to point, or else everyone will not be guided on where to look 🙂
The coward me felt like,
So to recap:
1. As of August 23, 2013 the whole tour is priced 1500 pesos (about 30 USD) that’s inclusive of a Filipino buffet lunch at the Sabang wharf area. We booked from Mistah Tours, and I’ve discovered there are others that offers 1200 pesos only.
2. Tour is inclusive of hotel pick-up, hotel drop-off, lunch.
3. They will pick you up early esp. from Puerto Princesa hotels because time travel to Sabang wharf from Puerto Princesa city is 1 hour and 45 minutes and time going back is same.
4. Some tourists wait for ages at the Sabang wharf to get their turn for the boats to leave for the Underground River area but could say that it should be with how active your tour guide could be. I would applaud Nelia, our tour guide from Mistah for the quick transfers, and we were assured safety from boats and huge van travels.
You’d learn a lot, surely. Stalactites and Stalagmites are not an everyday object in your neighborhood. So this tour is educational!
Enjoy yours at Underground River in Palawan! 😉