Zentraveler explores Palawans Underground River!

Underground River Cavern

The Puerto Princesca Subterranean River National park is located approximately 50 km North of the city of Puerto Princesca. One of the distinguishing features of the cave, including the amazing natural formations… is that the river winds through the cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea.

River flowing South China Sea

One of the highlights of our trip to Palawan was our tour to the world-famous Subterranean River. Reported to be the longest navigable underground river in the world, which is 8.2 kilometer that runs inside the cliffs of Sabang. This tourist destination is currently vying for a spot in the New 7 Wonders of the World and is a must trip for anyone visiting Palawan. Its a good idea while touring Palawan to include Puerto Princescas underwater cavern and use Sabang as a stopping point for traveling to and from Puerto Princesca, Port Barton, El Nido, and beyond.

Pumpboat Sabang to Park

Palawans Underground cavern is ideally situated just minutes from Sabang. Park Center Headquarters is centrally located at the marina in Sabang, where you can purchase your ticket for the trip across the body of water to the park entrance. It’s good idea to get the tickets ahead of time …so you can get on the early tour and be assured you will be able to get a tour for the day. During peak holidays etc. they often times have to turn visitors away as they can only accomodate so many persons per day. You can also walk to the park….simply go along the beach and follow the signs.

Perla aboard Pumpboat

Each pump boat can accomodate 4 tourist, a boatman and his assistant. We joined a family from Manila and crossed the waters in the direction of the Underground river park …everyone took out their cameras and began taking photographs of the scenic area and enjoying the ten minute boat trip as we traversed toward the park.

Arriving at the park entrance we walk on the wooden path down to the river, you can hear the monkies chattering and the birds chirping off in the distance. We spot a rather large monitor lizard just off he footpath in the jungle. We hope we are not on his lunch menu… as he looks large enough to make us his dinner if he so desires. At the end of the jungle wooden path is the underground river cave.

Monitor Lizard

The mouth, on the right side of the cave serves as the entry point to the river. The water is a dark blue-crystaline… reflecting the blue skies above the mountain and cliffs.

Cave Entrance

At the cave site you put on your lifejacket and your bright orange hard hat, meet your tourguide, and board the canoe-like eight seater boat. Excitement is mounting as we silently move towards the entrance and can hardly beleive our eyes as we see the natural formations of the cave.

Guide Boat with Passengers

A pod of fish swim frantically just outside the cave. Our guide paddles straight through in the dark. My travel companion Perla is in the front of the boat and shines a bright spotlight as the guide points out the different features of the cave, Our boat tour, which is approximately 45 minutes is concentrated on the first 2 kilometers of the underwater cave system…. and is loaded with great images and stories to last you a lifetime. Scientists, and professionals can make special arrangements at park headquarters to penetrate further inside the cave for exploration and discovery.

Slowly we move inside the cave… water dripping on our helmets, the spot light was on and being held by my travel companion Perla. Inside the cave the guide points out areas that represent religious factors and images that stagger the imagination. The guide used humor… sprinkled with stories giving us a magical journey inside the cave. It was dark! The only light you can see is the one coming from the spotlight in the front of the boat. The guide tells us where to look. and has a story to tell about many of the different cave formations…. every stalagmite and stalactite has a story and a meaning that challenges your imagination. The cave has several chambers. The one chamber off to the right does not allow boat traffic (no motor boats allowed in the cave) and is strictly reserved for thousands of bats who take residence deep inside the cave. They need their own sanctuary… devoid of humans, noises and intrusions.

Cave Image of Christ

The Cathedral, near the entrance houses the Bat cave at the right side where fruit eating Philippine Bats lives and is not accessible to tourists. “Don’t mind the smell and water dripping over head its “holy water”.” Our guide instructed us not to look up and open your mouth because who would want a mouthful of bat doo doo! The chamber is called the Cathedral because of its high dome shaped ceiling. It looks like a Cathederal!

Moving through the cave our guide points out limstone images like St. Peter, and the face of Jesus. You have to look close and open up your imagination to clearly see these images and of course try and photograph these images using flash as the boat glides along. The guide stops the boat in the middle of the cave and declares this as the “food market” depicting various vegetables and food like formations.

Near the end of the tour before the U-turn, you can see a long strip of stone above your head representing a highway. Throughout the tour our guide interjected humor and pointed out other formations like the “Curtains” a vertical stalactite extended in the walls of the cave that’s expands our imagination beyond normal limits.!

Mushroom cave Formation

What a great tour ! You can also vote online to make this one of seven natural wonders of the world and you will feel like you are doing your part to allow the world the opportunity to experience one of the great natural wonders of the world.

Jungle Monkies

QUOTE:”When you are aware and accept that everything around you is constantly changing, and that you have no control over 99.99% of it, you are able to embrace change like a close friend! Change is a like a river, constantly flowing and moving things around. The river of life is constantly bringing you ideas, people, situations each one is an opportunity to be enriched or to enrich others, and to learn. Change is the play of the universe as it entertains us in the biggest light and sound show of all time. Why not sit back and enjoy the show!” -Innerspace

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The navigable 8.2 kilometers of cave system of Palawan was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999. No wonder it is one of the major tourist destinations in the City of Puerto Princesa

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Caves and underground rivers! Don’t laugh! Large corporations operating in West Virginia, a beautiful state, are currently taking entire mountains apart…. destroying the streams and natural rock formations… just to get at the natural resources. Anyone ever heard of solar technology?

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Plan a trip to Palawan in the Philippines and witness one of the greatest natural wonders of the world….also log onto new7wonders.com and cast your vote online to insure the underground river receives international recognition. Don’t foget your camera and respect the sign: don’t feed the monkeys!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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