Palawan is truly one of the most beautiful islands in the world with hidden gems of destinations in each municipality.
In Puerto Princesa, the Underground River, known as Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National is the top tourist attraction. It is one of the most impressive caves in the world and was awarded as part of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2012. Official as it is, I am also officially ticking this off my travel bucketlist. Thank you to the DOT – Mimaropa for the invitation. This experience came earlier than I planned to. I am happy to experience something so amazing with such a fun crew.
Read: My Bucketlist Series
Interesting Facts about the Puerto Princesa Underground River
8.2 km. navigable underground river
inhabited by almost a thousand plant species
about 250 bird species
30 mammal species
19 species of reptiles
nine species of bats
it flows directly to South China Sea
How to Get to Puerto Princesa Underground River
From Manila, you can take flights via Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, or Air Asia to Puerto Princesa. Flight time is around 1.5 hours. From Puerto Princesa (city proper), you can commute via bus or jeepney to Sabang Port. I would suggest that you book a tour for more convenient travel. Our tour was arranged by Ellen’s Travels and Tours Palawan.
From our hotel, we traveled 1.5 hours to Sabang Port. From the port, we boarded a small to the entry point of the cave. It is just a quick 15-minute boat ride.
Dropping some tips for your travel to Puerto Princesa Underground River:
- Wear comfortable clothes. I prefer wearing sleeveless tops and shorts when riding a boat.
- Use a secured bag (with zipper).
- Make sure that your phone has a grip holder. It is very dark inside the cave – and when you drop something, it is very unlikely to recover it.
- Just take random videos and photos for memories. They do not need to be perfect.
My Puerto Princesa Underground River Experience
We were all geared up with helmet and life vest as we walked a short hike to the entry of the cave. We waited for our turn for a boat that would take us on the journey inside.
PP Crew: Mikyle, Arshie, Melo, Justine, Denise, Lissa, Chuck, Paxie, Joe and Ruth
We were handed with audio guide that you can play in different languages. I am so impressed and proud of this moment. This is something that I only get to use when I visit museums and tours in other countries. Even before the journey began, I already felt the world-class quality of this tour.
The boatman slowly started paddling and we entered the cave as the bats started flying out. There was a musky smell (from the bat’s poop), and we were often reminded not to open our mouth when looking up.
As we drifted inside the dark and quiet cave, the boatman would then light specific formations, timing the audio guide’s narration. We spotted a lot of different formations – from vegetables, faces, body parts, and even, Titanic. I really like the tour’s script and witty references made even more engaging with the right musical scoring.
I felt like I was in a different world as I looked at the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites carved by nature hundreds of years ago. The experience allowed us to be creative with the images that we see, and to stay curious about what is inside the unknown parts of the cave.
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The whole tour took a total of 1.5 hours. I find it really quick as I got swayed by the world inside the bat cave. Another surreal and out-of-this-world experience.
For lunch, we headed to Cacaoyan. The place is really nice and airy, and well-decorated with paintings and art collection. You can also try the famous Tamilok – an exotic Palawan delicacy (don’t worry, it is not worm). At the back of the dining hall is a haven for photographers and nature – lovers.
Truly a wonderful experience in one of the wonders of the world!
Thank you to DOT – MIMAROPA for having me on this trip!
You can check out other Things to Do in Puerto Princesa in this blog.