It was such an achievement to have had a personal experience of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park which is popularly known as Puerto Princesa Underground River. Digging a bit of history of the Underground River, our local tour guide said that the depth of the underground river was discovered by an American professor who toured in the Islands of Palawan. However, the residents were already aware of the existence of the cave at that time. They believed that the cave was being inhabited by spirits so they did not want to disturb them.
In January 2012, it was officially confirmed that PP Underground River was one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in the world. Environmentalists and geologists have discovered many rock formations, various mineral formations like stalactites and stalagmites, cave dome and rooms, small and large bats, more river channels and marine creatures in the cave.
When we entered the cave through a small boat, you’ll hear everyone’s amazement and excitement. This was especially when the audio recording started playing. The audio presentation was of excellent quality and was very much in sync with the highlights within the cave. The boatman told us stories of each highlights. Stories that we found amusing, funny and religious. The overall experience was liberating and proud of what Philippines can offer to the local and international tourists.
There are a few tips to know when you go to Palawan to experience the tour in the Underground River. If you are traveling on a budget, I will recommend Treffpunkt 5300 Hostel. It is located in Manalo extension and is just near the International airport. The place is cozy, nice, clean and you can even cook food in their open kitchen. Here, you will be with travelers and backpackers from different parts of the world. You can share rooms or have your own. But, if you have enough budget to afford luxurious hotels – that will be more comfortable for sure!
Reservations to the Underground River must be done at least a day in advanced. The Underground River is a government protected area and they only allow a certain number of tourists a day to preserve it as well for the next generations. The cost of the tour is about $40 but it is worth it. This includes the van transportation to-from, boat transfers and the tour itself inside the cave.
If you are looking for awesome white beaches, just search for Puerto Princesa, El Nido and Coron, Palawan. It is just a 1-hour plane ride from Manila. I am pretty sure, if you are a beach or a nature lover, you would never want to leave again or will keep coming back.