We went to Puerto Princesa in Palawan with the sole purpose of visiting the world famous underground river.
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is one of the most distinguished protected areas of the Philippines. The Park features a spectacular limestone or karst mountain landscape. It contains an 8.2 km long underground river that flows directly to the sea. The lower half of the river is brackish and subject to the oceans tide. A subterranean river flowing directly into the sea and the associated tidal influence makes it the most unique natural phenomenon of its type to exist. The presence of 11 minerals, scientifically and aesthetically unique speleothems, and a 20 million year old Serenia fossil embedded in the walls of the cave justifies the declaration of the Puerto Princesa Underground River as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
The first step in having an Underground River experience is to register with the booking office. Do note that tours should be booked months in advance because slots fill up fast.
We made arrangements a few months before our trip so all we had to do when we reached the booking office was to pay for the boat that will take us to the Underground River.
|Boats Waiting to Pick Up Passengers|
After just a few minutes of boat travel...
we arrived the Underground River.
Short walk down the jungle...
and it was time to suit up for safety.
It's best to go early to avoid long lines. Our early morning sacrifice paid off as we waited for only about 10 minutes before we were assigned a bangkero.
|On to the Underground River|
The tour lasts 45 minutes in complete darkness.
All we had was a trusty flashlight to guide the way.
The bangkero will tell stories about the Underground River and will point at mineral formations with interesting shapes. It's important to use one's imagination and bring one's sense of adventure in order to enjoy the experience. A little bit of humor won't hurt too.
Formations at the Underground River:
Do note that it was hard to take pictures of the more magnificent formations of the Underground River.
|Another Group of Tourists|
|Tour Almost Over|
Photo souvenirs are available at the end of the tour.
I was glad to see the Underground River but I'm honest enough to say that it wasn't as magnificent as I expected it to be. It's still worth a visit though and is a must see when in Puerto Princesa.