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.
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.
Apparently we were relatively early as the parking lot of the center wasn’t that full yet.
… and there were still a lot of boats waiting for passengers
We hopped on board for our brief boat ride around the bend.
And we’re almost there…
Here are the fees…
First, you had to hike through lush foliage. At least there was a wooden path for us to follow.
Apparently there are a lot of monkeys here.
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.
Some fast facts and the rules…
Approaching the moth of the cave, you can feel the excitement of something mysterious…
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.
As one would expect… cool rock formations.
And every now and then we would run into other tourists’ boats
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?
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.
Ok, so we should have used a flash on this one.
We then ventured out back to the boats
It was a good thing we went back when we did. Because it started to rain on the way back…
It was now time for lunch. A buffet lunch with varieties of fish and pork were served.
I took a short walk around the when I was done.
While on the beach, I saw the most awesome thing. It was a carriage pulled by… a carabao!
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.
Finally… we went to the Palawan Butterfly Garden. At first it seemed a little ho-hum until I started taking picture of butterflies.
It was another great day! Time to forage for an evening meal!