Our travel to Palawan wouldn’t be complete without visiting the famous underground river. On 2012, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (also known as Puerto Princesa Underground River) was selected to become part of the New7Wonders of Nature. It also considered as a UNESCO Heritage Site under the Natural category. But the fascinating facts doesn’t just stop from there.
According on this website,
“The 8.2-kilometer river is said to be the longest navigable underground river in the world, winding its way underneath a mountain range, through the St. Paul Underground River Cave, and then goes out into the South China Sea. The journey through the cave system alone is 24 kilometers long.”
On the 8.2 kilometers of the river, only 4.3 kilometers are open for the public tour. The rest of the National Park is still open for more discoveries! The St. Paul’s Underground River Cave is not only what it’s astounding for. The rainforest is home to various kinds of vertebrates and plants.
From Pawikan Hostel in El Nido, the private van departed at around 2:00am. The travel time was only around 5 hours, faster than the usual 6 hours. We arrived at Sabang at 7:00 in the morning. We ate breakfast while waiting for the National Park to open.
I honestly didn’t expect too much about the National Park. I was only really looking forward to the island hopping in El Nido, but our experience to the PPS Underground River was also surreal!
At 8:00 am, our tour to the underground river started. From the Sabang Bay, we rode a boat going to the National Park, which took us 15-30 minutes to get there. The employers of the PPS National Park handed us devices that we’d place on our ear to listen to a recorded tape, which narrates the wonderful facts about the place, making the tour educational. They also handed us each a life vest and a helmet to keep our heads off from guanos (bat droppings) and sharp rocks inside the cave. The boat is shared, usually by 8-10 people, including the tour guide.
The whole tour from the cave lasted about 1 hour. The guide points his or her flashlight to stalactites and stalagmites that resembles a fruit or a person. These beautiful rock formations took years to form the way they are now, and are still evolving. A beautiful lesson given by Mother Nature to us. The cave is also full of sleeping and wandering bats. The place is hauntingly beautiful! Never had I thought I’d be so captivated by this.
Never leave Palawan unless you’ve visited this coolest and longest underground river in the world! It didn’t mean anything to me at first, but now I know why it’s gained a spot in the New7Wonders! Immense yourself to the PPS Underground River, and enjoy this wonderful moment.
- How to Get to PPS Underground River: From Manila, book a flight going to Puerto Princesa (PPS). Travel time: 1 hour and 20 minutes. From Puerto Princesa Airport, rent a van prior to your arrival date bound to PPS Underground River, located in Sabang . Alternatively, you could ride a tricycle bound to San Jose New Market, and alight at the bus terminal. Ask the bus driver to drop you off at Sabang, where the PPS Underground River is located. Travel time: 1-2 hours.
- Before your trip, secure a permit. Prior to your desired travel date, book a ticket as early as possible due to increasing tourists that want to visit the place. Visit their website to get more details.
- I suggest you book the earliest tour so that there would only be few people when you get there.
- Pawikan Hostel: Where to Stay in El Nido?
- Tour A (Lagoons & Beaches)
- Tour B ( Caves & Islands)
- Tour C (Hidden Beaches)
- 5D/4N in El Nido, Palawan + PPS Subterranean River Itinerary and Expenses