On Day 2 of our trip to Puerto Princesa, Palawan last year, our primary destination was the famous Underground River. After all, how can one not go to Puerto Princesa and miss this specific tour. Whether it lives up to its reputation or fails to measure up to its own hype is irrelevant. You must go here.

We woke up early as instructed. We were picked up from the hotel and we made the long van ride northward to to jump off point to get to the underground river.

It was a long trip, so every now and then, we had stop for bio breaks and occasional snacks… and of course take in the views.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 120

We than arrived at the Tourist Assistance and Information Center where we had to register and catch the boat to head for the (hold your breath) Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 140

Apparently we were relatively early as the parking lot of the center wasn’t that full yet.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 137

… and there were still a lot of boats waiting for passengers

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 143

We hopped on board for our brief boat ride around the bend.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 153

We landed

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 155

And we’re almost there…

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 249

Here are the fees…

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 162

First, you had to hike through lush foliage. At least there was a wooden path for us to follow.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 163

Apparently  there are a lot of monkeys here.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 164

We got down to the end of the path where there was a visitor’s station where once again we had to sign in our names and we donned life vests.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 168

Some fast facts and the rules…

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 232[11]

Approaching the moth of the cave, you can feel the excitement of something mysterious…

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 176

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 177

Taking pictures inside the cave was quite a challenge. Low light, high ceilings, the camera had a hard time focusing. Plus with the boat moving… when you get my point.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 181

As one would expect… cool rock formations.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 188

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 187

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 189

And every now and then we would run into other tourists’ boats

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 193

The whole trip takes around 45 min. You go one direction slowly for around 20 minutes with our guide sitting in the back delivering a spiel complete with corny jokes. Then we make a u turn at a point and head back out again. At the uturn point (I would rather not say end, because the river goes on a little father but with a low ceiling) you could see “graffiti” left some American explorers from way back.

The cave of course would stink the aroma of bat waste… see those black streaks on the cave walls?

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 201

Passing through near the opposite wall, we then exited the cave.

The experience was a little anti-climactic, but it was still a very good trip and definitely a must see.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 209

Ok, so we should have used a flash on this one.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 227

We then ventured out back to the boats

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 239

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 245

With Jasper

Puerto Princesa 236

It was a good thing we went back when we did. Because it started to rain on the way back…PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 254

It was now time for lunch. A buffet lunch with varieties of fish and pork were served.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 260


PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 259

I took a short walk around the when I was done.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 263

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 272

While on the beach, I saw the most awesome thing. It was a carriage pulled by… a carabao!

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 287

On the way back to the city, we stopped by a few other sights…

First, Viet Ville. A small Vietnamese town build for Vietnamese Boat People during the day. It was funded by the UN way back. Most of the town is abandoned as the former residents were relocated in various final destinations.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 292

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 297

Finally… we went to the Palawan Butterfly Garden. At first it seemed a little ho-hum until I started taking picture of butterflies.

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 340

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 330

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 332

PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 328

It was another great day! Time to forage for an evening meal!


PuertoPrincesa20090821-N 281