Sunday, January 23, 2011

PALAWAN SUBTERRANEAN RIVER CAVE - Descending into darkness

UNESCO has recognized it as a World Heritage Site and it has a reputation of being the world's longest underground river. The Subterranean River Cave is one of the most visited national park in the Philippines. It is now being managed by the government of Puerto Princesa under a program of development centered on environment.

The Subterranean National River Park is also known as the Underground River in Palawan. It is a must see and it is worth it to visit. 

How to get there:

The tour to the cave usually leaves early in the morning. It takes 2 1/2 hours on the van before you arrive at the port of Sabang.. Do not worry the roads are well paved and it is a pleasant journey. .You will have to take an outrigger pump boat ride ( around 20 minutes ) to the Subterranean National Park.

After getting off your boat you will have to walk at least a hundred meters following a wooden footbridge passing by a dense growth of forest to get to the Underground River ride.. I was impressed how they managed this National Park. The place is still pristine and if you are lucky, you might be able to catch a monitor lizard crossing in front of you.

There are strict rules to follow before you take the river ride like wearing the bright orange life vest and helmet ( to protect you from the water dripping from the mineral deposits off your head ) after you register. The boats to the underground river can only accommodate 8 persons plus a guide who will be paddling the boat. The two persons sitting in the front of the boat will act as torch-light bearers.

The package tour which includes the transportation on air-con vans and a buffet lunch costs around 1500 pesos per person. The boat to the Underground River is 700 pesos for 6 persons.

The boat trip down the river was totally surreal. It was total darkness inside the cave. The only light shining inside was the flashlight which one of your boat mates will be holding while you listen to the explanation of your boatman who acts as your tourist guide inside the cave. The boat ride takes a total of 40 minutes which covers only 1.5 kms down the river...The whole river is around 8 kms. deep. This river flows directly into the sea. It houses and serves as a habitat for 1500 bats. Other fauna found inside the cave are reptiles and amphibians.

The limestone shapes inside looked awesome. I tried to take some photos of the limestone formations inside but failed... It was too dark. One advise when you enter the cave-- do not look up or open your mouth in awe... Water drips along the way---- even bat pee. You will need to wear a raincoat in case you do not want to get any of the drippings or droppings of the bat inside the cave.

Here are some photos which I took inside the cave..

the giant mushroom

some areas inside the cave are 30 meters high..

Bats in the ceiling..

The giant candle..

The dark line is the water level line of the river. Fortunately --- we were there when it was low tide.

The limestone formation inside the tunnel have been formed through thousand of years by droplets coming from the land above. The water is jade green.

" Light at the end of the tunnel "

Having a tour to this underground river cave was really an educational thing for me ... It is the first time I saw a wide river under a cave with stalactites and stalagmites of various forms. Although it was really dark --- it was worth going in to. It is another MUST SEE when you go to Puerto Princesa. I love it!! Truly a world heritage..... a wonder of nature right here in the Philippines!!! Makes you proud to be a Filipino!

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River and National Park has been nominated as one of the wonders of the world. It is now included as one of the finalist in the Seven Wonders of the World. If you think it is one indeed please VOTE!!! Please click on the link below.

If you have not been to Palawan, I really encourage you to start planning your trip now!!! Palawan is a stunning place. I can think of so many words to describe my experience on the underground river ride------amazing, magnificent, wonderful, marvelous --- truly a gift from God! You have to see this for yourself.

1 comment:

  1. so we are allowed to take pitures inside even if using slr?