Saturday, July 28, 2007

2nd Day at Palawan

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

We traveled for about 3 hours from downtown Puerto Princesa City. (Sabang is still in Puerto Princesa). The paved road only lasts for about 30 mins and the rest is dirt/bumpy/rough and winding roads: a back-breaking yet immensely enjoyable trip. Package tours range from P1,200 to P1,500/pax depending on which agency you book. This already includes ride to Sabang, lunch, boat and entrance fees. If you wish to arrange for your own tour, the boat is rented for P600 ( maximum of 6 person ), entrance is P150 per head, rented van costs P3000. You provide for your own lunch. Restaurants at Sabang is limited, not much choices. Aside from the boat ride, another way to reach the underground river is by "monkey trail".

When we arrived at the entrance of underground you can smell the "poop" of the bats...then later on we got immune with the smell... We waited for almost 30 mins before our turn. In each boat only 10 passengers are allowed. The one sitting in front of the boat will hold the light. The "bangkero" will instruct you where to point the light. It's a bit creepy inside... What will happen when the battery is gone??? Any accident might happened. What if there's something unusual under your boat like a big whale or something like the character in Ice age 2?

Too childish idea but we'll never know. I haven't heard someone tried to dive inside that river and check what's under it. Before going in the cave we saw a group of fish but what else under the when your inside the cave???

Deep within the limestone and marble peaks of Mt. St. Paul flows the Underground River, one of the Palawan's most famous spots. Outside the river's mouth is a beautiful lagoon with crystal clear waters that teem with fish. Running eight kilometers inland, St. Paul's Underground river is easily navigable for at least four kilometers. Quietly, the banca pushed through the dark caverns. We saw but a single beam of light, heard nothing but the rowing of our boatman, in unison with the calm flow of waters. Occasionally, the boatman would motion the light bearer to highlight a particular mineral formation. Every turn and bend reveal huge stalactites, delicately structured columns, irregular caverns, and huge awesome chambers merging at the water's surface and reflecting colors from yellow to reddish brown. Dripstones glittered with amazing rainbow colors, caused by the impurities that created what seemed like a perfect work of art even in the dark. Esitamated to be 15 to 20 million years old.

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