The Palawan underground river is always a hot destination for travelers. Influx of tourists both foreign and local head to this natural wonder whole year round.
Now that Boracay is on a 6 month Rehabilitation Plan (which I 100% support) it now opens more doors for the Palawan underground river to accommodate more tourists. After all, one must find alternate summer routes to satisfy the itchy feet cravings of a hungry traveler.
However, there are still misconceptions that a lot of first time travelers assume when they visit this natural wonder. Thus presenting to you 7 Facts for Palawan underground river Vistors
1. Puerto Princessa Aint Like Boracay
The best way to go to the Underground River is to book a flight to Puerto Princessa. That’s where your adventure starts!
Being that I am a proud Cebuano my best route was to fly from Cebu to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Upon landing, I expected beach and sand to welcome me upon setting foot. But low and behold I was dead wrong.
Puerto Princess, Palawan is like any other somber and peaceful towns in the Philippines. Surrounded by lush fauna and flora but its not a beach haven as you may expect. Like any other great adventures. You have to go through some long and spiral roads to get too the good spots . This brings me to my second point.
Number 2: The Travel Time Can Be A Pain
From Puerto Princessa one must travel 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the city proper to reach the majestic underground river. Hence, from my experience it was more or less a half day travel heading to the said tourist attraction. The tour van picked me up at around 6 am. The bus arrived at the boat port around 10 am.
Upon arriving at the port you will wait an indefinite number of minutes or hours for you to hop on a motorized boat to take you to your destination.
In addition, the waiting game would depend on the number of tourists who by some serendipitous fate decided to visit the natural wonder the same date as you did. Another her factor to anticipate is how rough the seas are. Sometimes boat rides get delayed or even canceled due to rough sea conditions.
Luckily our tour guide did all the leg work on registering us for a boat ride and the day was bright and sunny thus all we had to do was wait, wait , eat and wait. For my experience I had to wait for 2 hours to hop on my designated boat. The good thing is there are a lot of food stalls and beach scenery in the area so you would not die of hunger or boredom.
As soon as your hear your batch number called then you can finally jump on your designated boat and start the 15 minute (max) journey to the the entrance of the Palawan underground river .
Upon stepping foot on the island one must do a 5 minute trek to reach the spot where you start the real Palawan Underground River tour.
Number 3: Book a Tour Ahead of Time
If you want to be spontaneous in your Palawan Underground river , DON’T. Chances are it will just be a waste of your time and money. Like I mentioned in item no.2 my tour guide did all the leg work and all I had to do was wait for my van number.
Aside from that all tourists must have an environmental permit for them to visit the said attraction. The permit will be process ahead of time by your tour guide.
I got my Puerto Princesa tour package for : Php 1540.00 inclusive of Van , Boat and Lunch buffet you can send them an email at [email protected] and address it to Romy Bacuel. They also do tour packages for El Nido and Coron aside for the package tour for Palawan underground river.
Number 4: Travel time is Longer than the Tour itself
With all the travel and waiting time you have to go through just to reach your destination the Palawan Underground River tour only takes about 15 minutes. Similar to the process when securing a boat ride to the island one must wait for their turn to ride a small paddled boat that will take you to the Palawan Underground River itself. The good thing about waiting at this moment is you get to take photographs of the beautiful scenery and dab your toes in the cool waters at the mouth of the river.
Number 5: Beware of Monkeys on the Islands of Palawan Underground River
Prior to stepping foot on the island your tour guides will time and again (at least our guide did) warn you about the monkeys inhabiting the forests. Mind you they are not the shy type primates.
Never make loud noises as it will attract these primates. Always be cautious of your gadgets/ bags or food. They are known to grab a hold of your belongings and not return them for obvious reasons. Despite the warning of our guide I never encountered the monkeys. That for me was a good thing.
Number 6: It gets Extremely Dark When The Tour Starts
Now this one’s pretty obvious. As this is the Palawan subterranean river (a posh way of saying Palawan underground river wink) the tour is pretty much a cruise in the dark and I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s pitch black.!
In a paddled boat along with 12 victims err I mean tourists is your vehicle for the tour. The Palawan Underground river tour starts at the caves entrance and culminates at an open space. A far distance from the caves mouth before heading back to the shore.
Number 7: Heading to Palawan Underground River Is Worth it!
You may think that I do not want you to visit this Natural wonder of Palawan Underground river but that’s not the point of erikthehungrytraveller.com blog post at all.
Getting there will definitely consume a full day and yes you need to have of patience (a lot of it). But as soon as you start the tour it will be worth it.
Despite the challenging realities of getting to the destination it was still an amazing and educational tour. Puerto Princess government did a good job of organizing and putting everything in order.
Inspite of the long line of tourist. There was no special treatment and every one had to fall in line to marvel at Palawan Underground River.
Being in the Palawan underground river/cave takes you to a different world. A world that was millions of years in the making. A world untouched by reality and where mother nature is in the driver’s seat.
Yes part of the package is the eeriness of the cave. But as soon as your eyes adjusts to the place you’ll appreciate its beauty.
As an article ender my trip to Palawan underground river taught me that masterpieces take time to build. Besides its natural beauty. You get to appreciate the time heading there.
If you want to see and experience the beauty of Palawan underground river one must endure a days worth of travel via air, land and sea. After all something that took millions of years to build deserve all the time in the world.
About the blogger: erikjames is a lover of arts, travel, photography and of course food. Visit his instagram pages for more adventures: IG: erikjamesart, ejrequina, erikthehungrytraveller or email him at [email protected]