Friday, August 2, 2013

Our 5 days Honeymoon Escapade Part 4 - Puerto Princesa Underground River

Puerto Princesa Underground River which is officially known as St. Paul Subterranean River National Park   is definitely a wonder of nature. It is the longest navigable underground river in the world which runs for 8.2 kilometers, a World Heritage Site and  voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.  So of course it is the first thing in my list to see in Puerto Princesa.

You will need a special permit to visit this place so I booked this earlier with the hotel for a fee of P1,600 per pax,  what is visiting Puerto Princesa without seeing this place right? Some of the tourists are encountering problems in getting a special permit even wasting a day to apply for it in the main city so make sure to secure one before you go to avoid any hassle during your trip. And boy it is surely worth the effort, for me this is the highlight of our Puerto Princesa trip!

We woke up early for this tour, it will take you 2 to 2 and a half hours land travel from the main city to Sabang pier then a boat ride of about 20 minutes (add up the waiting time to ride the boat of 30 mins. to an hour!). Thanks to our tour guide the land travel was exciting,  we were able to stop here and there to enjoy some of the  beautiful scenery  along the way, and for a photo opp addict like me and my hubby, we will surely not complain, check some of our photos:

We had the chance to enjoy the view at Buenavista Viewing Deck and oh boy what a view indeed!

And another stop at Karst Mountain Elephant Cave which was featured in Amazing Race Asia.

Arriving at Sabang Pier, we found ourselves in a long queue of tourists and travelers on the wait for the boat ride to the underground river.  Since we joined a tour group, we just stayed at the waiting area and let our tour guide arrange a boat for us.They will need your personal identification here, so for foreigners, don't forget your passports!

Instead of getting bored while waiting, we had the chance to enjoy the scenery at Sabang beach and endless order of halo-halo from the nearby store.. hehe.

The local government used to allow the public to use the Sabang beach, unfortunately during the time we were there they already disallowed it so while waiting you are left with other activities, well you can try their famous Tamilok while waiting!!(check my separate Tamilok blog here)

And thank God, finally it's our turn to take the boat! Around 20 minutes boat ride and viola a paradise on its own! We were welcomed by a beautiful beach with a magnificent rock formations. The national park is located in the Saint Paul Mountain Range on the northern coast of the island.

From the main beach, you will walk a few minutes to the main entrance of the underground river which is enjoyable in itself, they created a wooden walkway for the convenience of the tourists. Wild animals are everywhere and check these huge lizards!

At the mouth of the river is another wait, yes, but don't worry it's not that long they just have to regulate the people going inside. So what does it mean for us? Another photo op!

And finally it's our turn! I don't know what to expect and we are scared of the dark (hehe) so we decided to seat at the back. Only these type of boats or bangka are allowed inside the cave , no motorized boats  since water depth in the cave is irregular , it will also avoid disturbing the bats and damaging the limestone formations. They are very strict with the  maximum number of people per bangka, they only allow 9 including the guide.

They allow taking pictures or videos inside the cave, the problem is, with the limited light you won't be able to take good shots. I tried my best but here's the only "good" photos I were able to snap:

 One of the  passenger in front will be assigned to hold the big flashlight for the group, which is a bit  hassle for me since you have to hold that heavy flashlight for the whole 45 minutes of the tour and you always have to listen real hard for what the guide is saying to know where to point it!

Inside the cave expect a magnificent limestone formations or stalactites and stalagmites, and of course  bats!  The 45 minutes tour though too dark and a bit scary is very enjoyable thanks to the expertise of the local guide. They are fond of making jokes, like resembling the rocks to animals, funny stories or situations that would make you laugh your heart out.

. If you don't want to be responsible holding the flashlight for the whole 45 minutes duration of the tour, don't sit in front of the boat.
2. If you don't want the hassle of getting the special permit to visit the Underground River, go through an agency and book it before your trip.
Back at Sabang beach, we had a free buffet lunch included in our tour,  yey! We had a chance to try their famous Tamilok delicacy here :

The last leg of our tour is Ugong Rock Adventures, unfortunately my hubby is scared of heights and he said he is too lazy to hike and zip line is not his thing (excuses excuses!) so we let the others enjoy the Ugong Rock while we both took a long nap below the trees at some wooden bench with singing birds as our background music..

P1,600 for the complete day tour per person: transpo arrangement, side trips to Buenavista Viewing Deck, Elephant Cave, Sabang beach, Underground River, free buffet lunch  and Ugong Rock, well for me it's worth the price! You can visit those also on your own if you don't want to join a tour group. You can hire a van, process special permit on your own, secure a boat ride at Sabang Pier going to the Underground River and prepare your own itinerary. I am sure you can have all those and more for  a lesser cost  but of course it all depends on you, your time availability, budget and convenience. What matters most is your enjoyment, so go go go and enjoy Puerto Princesa like we did!! 

Next in our itinerary is Honda Bay!! Till next blog post!

                 Intro                                                                                                     PPS City Tour

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  1. one of my dream destination :) Hopefully, I can visit it next year..

    1. yeah go for it!! Next in line for me is El nido hopefully soon. ;) TRy Coron too, for me it is better than Puerto Princesa.

  2. Hmn, bago ba ang Ugong Rock Adventures? I've been to Puerto Princesa several times already and it's the first time I've heard about it. Pero sabagay, medyo matagal na rin since my last visit.

    Looking forward to your post on Honda Bay.

    1. thanks for dropping by! ;) Yeah bago lang ang Ugong Rock Adventures kaso maigsi lang zip line nila but the climb is good.

  3. Honeymoon is very special time for every married couple. It is a time which we expect to be very special and most memorable. There are many places which you can finalize as your honeymoon destination. You must have had a lot of fun in that place. Holiday is a very special time which brings with it lot of fun and memorable moments in return. I love going on holidays. Your photographs are looking amazing. You must have enjoyed a lot at all these places

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