We only had four days to spend in Palawan (with land and boat travel consuming about 16 hours of it), so you can just imagine how cramped our schedule was. After island hopping on our second day in El Nido, we went back to Puerto Princesa the day after. And what’s a trip to Puerto Princesa without a visit to one of the recently proclaimed New7Wonders of Nature right?
For us to be able to make it to the Underground River tour, we had to take the first trip from El Nido at 5:00 am but we missed it. The only instance we weren’t on time and we got left by the van! On top of that, the next trip would be at 7:00 am. FML! Frustration started to sink in and I was resigned to the fact that we won’t make it to the tour, and just head straight to the hotel to rest. But the universe had different plans for us (weh?!) One of the van owners was going home to Puerto Princesa anyway so he offered to drop us off at Salvacion Junction (for Php500.00).
After about four hours (with two stopovers in between), we reached the junction and before I could blink, we were already inside another van bound for Sabang. Everything happened so fast I almost left my bag in the previous van! *facepalm*
From Salvacion Junction, it was another 45 minutes to an hour drive to Sabang with several stopovers for refreshment/bathroom break and picture-taking.
Ulugan Bay as seen from Buenavista Viewdeck
The scenic view made the ride to Sabang a pleasant one.
At exactly 12 noon we reached Sabang for lunch. The guide led the group to Robert’s and left to take care of the permits when another boo boo happened. I don’t know why it never occurred to us that lunch might be included in the tour (because we really did not avail of the package. We just joined my friend’s tour group. Read: sabit), so when we found out that the buffet costs Php200.00, we opted to skip lunch. We had brunch during the trip from El Nido anyway.
We left Sabang around 1:30 pm and reached Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park 15 minutes after.
It rained the day before so the water was a bit murky.
Each boat has a battery-operated light and can accommodate 10 people plus a guide. Guests are also provided a life vest and hard hat.
|TOP (L-R): T.rex (?), Fish Head, Holy Family/Nativity
MIDDLE: Giant Corn, Mushroom, Giant Peanut
BOTTOM: Sharon Stone (go figure :p), Shark Fin, Python
Once inside, we marveled at the numerous stalactite and stalagmite formations resembling animals, fruits and vegetables among others. Our guide would often crack a joke while describing the formations so he advised that we keep our mouths closed (especially when staring at the stalactites) unless we want a taste of bat droppings :p He was such a riot we were probably the noisiest boat inside. We were lucky to have him as our guide because he made the tour not only educational, but entertaining as well.
The view that greeted us after our Underground River experience
For affordable package tours, you can check out La Tiara Tours and Convention and look for Charisse Sanchez.