One of the best places to visit in Palawan is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, also known as the Underground River. It was considered as one of the 28 finalist for the New Seven Wonders of the World. . It was recognized as a World Heritage Site similar to the Banaue Rice Terraces. It is the world’s longest subterranean river located in Sitio Sabang, Puerto Princesa.The Underground River features a limestone karsts mountain landscape with an 8.2 Kilometre Underground River that stretches through a spectacular cave flowing directly to South China Sea. The lower part of the river is subject to tidal influences .Tourist are only allowed to travel for about 1.5 Kilometres which is equivalent to 45 minutes tour.
At the mouth of the cave, a clear lagoon is framed by ancient’s trees growing to the water edge. Monkeys, squirrels, and large lizard can be found near the cave. Visitors can enjoy bird watching, mountain trekking, and exploring deeper parts of the forest. Upon entering the cave, it is dark, cold and peaceful inside; you can only hear the sound of water running. Bats are hanging and sleeping, other insects live inside the tunnel creating some unpleasant smell during the cruise. Inside, you can see stalactites and stalagmites formation resembles amazing images shapes like banana blossom, bell pepper, corn, mushroom and nativity.
How to get there
Puerto Princesa is easy accessible either by air or sea. Flight from Manila to Cebu will only take approximately 1 hour and half hour flight from Metro Manila to the Puerto Princesa City. From Puerto Princesa, Underground River is accessible by land; it will take about 1 and half hour to travel. There are Bus, air-conditioned shuttle van and public jeepneys that will take you to Sabang and a pump boat directly to the river.
Paddled power and kerosene powered outriggers (boats) will take every visitor to explore the Palawan Underground River. There are numbers of outrigger outside the cave which is very affordable. You can hire a big outrigger which can carry 4-6 persons. To avoid accident, and for your safety a life vest and helmet is provided before going inside.
The Palawan Underground River is open to the public; however the best time to visit is from the month of December to June wherein the weather is fine. Visitors can also enjoy other activities inside the Park like jungle trekking, wildlife watching, and mangrove paddle boat tour, swimming, snorkelling and diving in the famous diving sites.