#SundayStopover: The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

Here’s one tour I never thought I’d actually enjoy: The Tour of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, more commonly known as the Palawan Underground River.

A trip to Puerto Princesa (or to the Philippines, for foreigners and Balikbayans for that matter) will not be complete without touring this wonder of the world. Declared in 2012 as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, the Palawan Underground River should definitely be part of one’s bucket list. More about the tour after the cut. It took us approximately 2 hours to get to the Underground River from our Hotel in Puerto Princesa to Sabang. The Hotel’s van brought our family there together with other tourists. It was unfortunate that we visited Palawan at the height of a typhoon. As such, tours to this magnificent wonder have been cancelled for successive days. Thank God, we were able to squeeze it in on our last day in Palawan. Only 1000 people per day are allowed to tour the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. Upon reaching Sabang, our tour operator helped us secure permits to be able to view the Underground River. Mind you, this is very hard to secure. Be sure to book a trip with your hotel. Because we have a flight on the same day, we were given priority by the tour operators. A small pump boat took us from the terminal to the entrance of the Underground River. On the boat ride to the Underground River, visitors will witness the natural beauty of the St. Paul Mountain Range which houses the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. With this scenic and breath-taking view, you begin to appreciate how beautiful this country is. It is just most unfortunate that our some people destroy our perfect image.

Twenty minutes later, we are at the entrance of the National Park. We had to walk from the entrance to the terminal for the small boats that will carry us to the underground river. For me, while the distance we had to walk on foot was relatively short, this was the scariest part of the tour as monkeys run lose! Because we’ve got the best tour guide, she told us not to bring plastic bags because monkeys are fond of grabbing them, searching for food they can munch on. After standing in line for approximately ten minutes, filled with anticipation for this wonder of the world (as well as with anxiety knowing that at any minute, a monkey may land on my head hehe), we have finally loaded one of the pump boats that would carry us inside.

Grandeur filled the air as our boat entered the underground river. Sure, it smells bad inside but nothing can compare to the wonder that you can see. Rock formations that are over a thousand years old line every corner of the Subterranean River. Rock formations take the shape of different figures from vegetables to animals to religious icons. I’ve got goosebumps as we approached that part of the underground river called “The Cathedral.” This is the portion where the rock formations resemble religious icons. It’s unbelievable that no human took part in shaping these rocks. No one but God. Indeed, it is a manifestation of the beauty of this world and what God can do.

Alas, the trip was very short. Apparently, the other parts of the Underground River remain accessible only to scientists and discoverers who study these rock formations. I can only imagine the beauty lying deeper into the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River.

Originally published at shesparklespink.blogspot.com on October 27, 2015.