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Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a protected area of the Philippines located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of the city centre of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. The river is also called Puerto Princesa Underground River. The national park is located in the Saint Paul Mountain Range on the western coast of the island. It is bordered by St. Paul Bay to the north and the Babuyan River to the east. The City Government of Puerto Princesa has managed the National Park since 1992. The entrance to the subterranean river is a short hike or boat ride from the town Sabang.

In 2010, a group of environmentalists and geologists discovered that the underground river has a second floor, which means that there are small waterfalls inside the cave. They also found a cave dome measuring 300 m (980 ft) above the underground river, rock formations, large bats, a deep water hole in the river, more river channels, and another deep cave, as well as marine creatures and more. Deeper areas of the underground river are almost impossible to explore due to oxygen deprivation.

On November 11, 2011, Puerto Princesa Underground River was provisionally chosen as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. This selection was officially confirmed on January 28, 2012.

[Notes from Wikipedia]

Around 30 minutes departure from Ugong Rock adventure, we reach Sabang beach. After having our lunch here while our tour guide settle our registration for the entry to Underground River, we on board the banca and depart towards the entrance of it, which seem only accessible through water.

Beautiful beach of Sabang.

Very colorful jeepney by the beach.

The wave on the beach is very strong.

Welcome to Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.

Basketball court by the sea, love it a lot!

Waiting for our turn to board the banca.

Depart to the national park!

The journey on the banca was just around 15 minutes, where we stop by another beach area next to Sabang beach. Immediately we are routed through a walk way into a wooden huts area, in which the crew help us to equip safety helmet, as well as install the audio device from various language to select from, which will explain all the things that we witness through the journey into the Underground River. A short walk from the area, we can saw many tourists are waiting by the river for banca to pick them up for the cave visit. The entrance and green atmosphere around the area looks so magical and peaceful. We queue for around 15 minutes to start the journey.

Arriving beach.

Entrance to the national park.

Wooden hut area to equip safety helmet as well as installing audio device.

Lots of tourist waiting by the river.

Empty boat on the way to pick up next batch of tourists in.

Mystical green atmosphere view on the river and the cave entrance.

Panorama view from the river side.

Some fishes swimming in the river.

Boat with tourists entering the cave.

Boat that exit from the cave.

The boat slowly sail over into the dark cave, it was a long river under the cave which you can witness various stalactite and stalagmite that having unique appearance. The boatman will use the flashlight to direct you on what to see while cruising in the cave, but due to the detail explanation was from the audio device, the synchronization between the audio and the actual boat sailing was not really in sync hence I really confuse on the thing I saw to relate with what being mention from the device. It was quite disappointing for me, hence at least what can be done better was to get everyone to click on the play button on a specific timing, e.g. when start to enter the cave, then with proper speed control by the boatmen, it should be helping to sync it. If the sync is proper, it would be much more amazing while cruise inside the cave.

At the end of the cave, we can see a lot of black creature on the high roof, after watching carefully with lighting from the boatmen, those was actually sleeping bats! It was a lot, really a lot of them resting on top there!

It take a U-turn at the end of the cave, and take the same path back to the entrance again. We totally lost the details being presented in the audio device with what shown by the boatmen, and I give up at last, hence I basically fall asleep on the boat on the journey back to the cave lol. There was room for improvement indeed to better tourist experience in the cruise journey.

Start to enter the cave.

Limestone rock at the entrance of the cave.

Boatmen use the flashlight to show us interesting view point, but most of the time we can't interpret it with what we heard on the spot from the audio device.

Another boat coming from the opposite direction.

The roof getting higher and higher when we enter deeper into the cave.

Some marking from the National Research Council.

This was at a huge open area, with the roof of at least 100-200 meters high!

The boatmen focus on the roof most of the time on journey here, lots of black dot hanging on the top.

Those are all resting bats!

This is when I am using the word countless.

This scenery was at least 5 minutes long! Can't imagine if they wake up and launch an attack on us!

After around 30 minutes of cruising, we are back to the river side of the national park, where we board the boat.

While waiting for the boat back to port at Sabang beach, we encounter a monkey, which the first impression is cute from our perspective. But then we slowly aware that the purpose she get closer to us was aiming to grab our bag from us, where she nearly successfully attack on Briseis! Luckily I yell in time and Briseis immediately jump from the tree branch to avoid that, it was very close indeed.

There was another sub scene when we finally return to the port. While waiting for everyone to re-assemble on the return van to Puerto Princesa, suddenly Briseis realize that she forgotten her phone in the safety jacket on the return boat. Immediately we inform the front desk folks in the National Park counter that manage the boat transportation, that try to contact the boat in order to look for the phone. Finally, we are very fortunate and glad that they manage to found it and return the phone to back Briseis. We do really appreciate the kindness and honesty of these boatmen!

Initially 'cute' monkey with her banana.

Sitting on the tree branch while waiting for the return boat to Sabang beach.

Crew having some rest on the tree branch.

The same monkey approach us slowly.

Seem she is thinking of something.

Seem she decided to do it, trying to grab Briseis bag!

Still act innocent after the failed attempt lol.

Thanks to these honest boatmen, Briseis manage to get her phone back!

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park - Philippines

February 2017

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