Spelunking and rock formations await tourists through the Underground River Tour. The Underground River is nominated to be one of the 7 wonders of the world. These has been our motivation to wake up very early.
Our schedule was at 9:30AM and we are required to be at Sabang an hour early for registration and trigger boat ride from Sabang to the Underground River. After a sumptuous breakfast at Casa Fuerte, we loaded the van of Kuya Jomat and left the hotel at exactly 7:00am. We have rented his van for Php 3000.
The 2-hour travel to Sabang is bundled with a lovely scenery. Limestone in some mountains is a feast to ones eyes, locals attend to their rice paddies, and abundantly rich forests of trees and mangroves adorned the vast lands of Puerto Princesa.
Arriving in Sabang, Kuya Jomat directed us to the Underground River Office. I think we are lucky to have Kuya Jomat as our driver because he acted more than a driver. He was more of a tourguide. While we were taking pictures of the Sabang port, he was at the registration office queuing and getting us a boat.
There are a number of tourists already at the port so we waited for about 15 minutes until we loaded our banca. The banca is worth Php 700 and could accommodate 6 people. An entrance fee of Php 3 each was also collected.
At the Underground River, another registration booth welcomes visitors. They arrange the number of tourists to fill each paddle boat. There are signature sheets to vote on the Underground River to be one of World’s 7 Wonders so grab the chance to vote. Campaign signature sheet to ban mining in Palawan is also present.
There are clean bathrooms available at the area. Since its a 45 minute long tour, we utilized their CRs to prep us up.
A wooden pathwalk led us to the take off point. Lush forests embellish each side of the pathwalk. Be wary, there are monkeys, free to worm around the forest, they could grab the food or drink that you are carrying.
At the take off point, we were provided with lifevest and a safety hat. It is best to really stick with your schedule or be there early as the line could get long. We waited for our turn to ride in the paddle boat.
I told my brother to sit in the front part of the banca. Those who lead the pack actually hold the fluorescent bulb used to light the limestones as directed by the tourguide. The downside however is we don’t get to hear the spiels very well. But I got to know which direction of the light my brother would point at, which aid my photography. It was hard to take photos in such poor lighting and in a moving paddle boat.
Inside the cave are various limestone formation. Images of the Holy Family, the face of Jesus, the Banana blossom, the mushroom, the cathedral, the lion’s head are among the thousand stalactites and stalagmite formation. Just let your imagination run loose and you will see more and maybe name one. The smell of bats is all over the place but you will get used to it.
The Subterranean Underground River or simply the Underground Tour in the River National Park is one exquisite experience when you visit Puerto Princesa. It shouldn’t be missed. Everybody gets mesmerized after going out of the caves. With a little bit of imagination and even humor, you will be amazed.
Sabang, Puerto Pricesa City