Counted among the seven Wonders of Nature which include Vietnam’s Halong Bay, South Africa’s Table Mountain, South America’s Amazon River, Argentina’s Iguazu Falls, South Korea’s Jeju Island, and Indonesia’s Komodo Island is the Philippines’ Underground River found in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1999, the park encompasses one of the world’s most impressive cave systems, featuring spectacular limestone karst landscapes, pristine natural beauty, and intact old-growth forests and distinctive wildlife.
En route to Sabang where the Underground River is located, enjoy a panoramic view of Ulugan Bay where Vietnamese refugees landed to escape the war. They later on established Viet Ville in the area which exists to this day.
The pier in Sabang is around 2 hours away from Puerto Princesa City by van, jump off point to the beach where the Underground River may be found. You have to get your permits and travel ticket here before taking a 30 minute boat ride.
Docking station is a beach. As soon as you alight from the boat, you have to register, and then take a brief 10 minute walk through a forest inhabited by monkeys before coming to the start of the Underground River boat ride.
As only one flashlight per boat is allowed to keep to a minimum the disturbance on cave dwellers (bats & snakes), tour guides are adept in entertaining visitors with a run through of the rock formations and trivia pertaining to the site. The entire length of the river is pegged at 8 kilometers with a dead end, although only a portion of it is part of the regular tour. You need a special permit if you want to traverse the whole 8 kilometers.
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is also home to monitor lizards and the Palawan Peacock aside from the monkeys.
This coverage was made possible as a part of USAID’s Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) project which seeks to increase competitiveness of economic growth areas including Palawan, in partnership with the Department of Tourism and the Province of Palawan.
Special thanks to Air Asia Zest Airlines for sponsoring our roundtrip airfare from Manila to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
(left to right) Mr. Stephen Yee of the Palawan Tourism Council, Mr. Oliver Quingco II of DiscoverthePhilippines.com, Mr. Alexis Romero of The Philippine Star and Mr. Merwin Rey Ledesma from the Office of the Governor.