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Palawan Underground River Tour: World Wonder?

I got into Puerto Princesa airport. I try to orient myself for a bit. One thing that surprised me about Puerto is how efficient & organized the tourism is. As soon as you step out the airport, all the choices are laid out before you & just awaiting your approval (& money). Tricycle for hotel hopping (P50/$1.17), underground river (P1500/$35). The whole place is conspiring to get you to follow the exact same tourist trail. I thought about doing the monkey trail so I wasn't sure about joining the tours. My tricycle driver gave me a tour company brochure & was trying to get me to book the tour. I told him I thought about doing the monkey trail. Long pause. He offered me P200 discount on the trip. I thought about it for a bit. I read some info that transportation, especially going back to Puerto, is hard. I ended up calling them to reserve a spot.


Highlights: Probably the most amazing thing for me is how they have managed to keep the place pristine. The underground river gets a ton of tourists per day yet when you get to the island- everything is pristine. During the boat trip, it was pretty amazing how the cave can go up so high carved inside the mountain.
Cast of Characters: Just me. I joined a tour group.
Logistics/ Links: the website for voting. Some wiki info. In Puerto, the tour is offered everywhere you look. I booked my trip the day before no problem.
When: I went early December. Weather was a bit warm & humid. Am just glad it wasn't raining.
Location: Sabang, Palawan, Philippines
Cost: The standard price is P1,500/ $35. This includes all transportation from your hotel, simple buffet lunch, underground river fees & expenses. The trip takes a whole day.
Trip Report:  Was picked up at the hotel around 9am. Our van went to pick up a few more people before heading out. The drive took maybe an hour(?). We stopped by Ugong Rock because we had some extra time. We were given the option to try the spelunking. I saw this offered on the tour brochures for a lot more extra. It was cool we would only have to pay the actual entrance fees. 

The roads were in decent shape (except for a short section). Your group is given a scheduled time frame for visiting the underground river. We were scheduled for noon. We got to Sabang beach & had our buffet lunch. Walked around the beach a bit, took pictures till it was our turn to go.

I sat at the front of the boat & had absolute control over what everybody else sees, hah! You're the default flashlight holder when you sit at the front. So when the boatman told me to shine the light at another imaginary Holy Trinity, I shone the light at some weird rock formations instead. I thought the trip was good. Not sure about the place being a world wonder though. Maybe it was just completely over hyped for me. Dunno. It was nice trip overall. If you're in the area you might as well go.



Nice beach at Sabang. The waves look a bit rough though, not for an easy dip. And I heard there's sandflies. Walking by the beach is nice. Not too many people.

Tour buffet. Chicken dish, pork dish, rice, veggies & bananas. Its ok.

Sabang beach

Its all very orderly & organized. Good for all ages.

Landing at the underground river beach

Refreshing, short walk to the cave

Yeeey

Beautiful scenery by the mouth of the cave. The water looks nice & clean. There's small fishies swimming about. It does look untouched (except for the boat dock of course).




I could not resist buying the souvenir pic. P150/ $3.50



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