Thursday, August 29, 2013

One of the New 7 Wonders of Nature

Our long planned trip to El Nido, Palawan was aborted due to low registrants for that group tour. The plane ticket in going there is via Puerto Princesa, and land trip to El Nido from there. We already had plane tickets so we decided to use them at least only to Puerto Princesa instead of continuing to El Nido. One month before the designated date we registered online for the Underground River, because access to this UNESCO Heritage Site is now limited to 900 persons per day unlike the 1,500 before. I have actually visited it more than 10 years ago, many years before it was voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. It is high time that i refresh the memories, or maybe compare the differences accruing from the so-called "development".

There are 12 persons in our van plus a tour guide. It took about 1.5 hours from Puerto Princesa City to Sabang town, where a boat takes the tourists for 30 min to the front of the Underground River. A boat rides only 4-6 persons including the boatman. Then a short walk brings us to the other side of the Cave's entrance. Here, another boat takes us directly inside the cave, this is manually paddled by a boatman who at the same time acts as the tourist guide. He sits at the back of the boat and while paddling tells us information about the Cave and the Underground River. We are very fortunate for having someone who delivers his messages with amusing, sometimes really hilarious punchlines that make all of us laughing all the way!

Part I. Way to the Underground River

The Van that took us from Puerto Princesa City to Sabang town, jump-off point to the Underground River. The man on the left is our tourist guide. There are 4 mini groups in our van. 

This is the makeshift pier in Sabang town, where tourists board on the boats. That mountain is a tropical virgin forest where no patch of agricultural activity can be viewed from the plane or from the way we were.

The above view of the mountains and the sea might already entice you to stay in this area to explore for more happenings and experiences. There is a zipline here, a mangrove exploration tour, a monkey trail hike, among others.

 The view at our right side from the boat. Our guide said the range looks like a reclining giant.

 Another peak on that range, these mountains are limestone in character, that eventually resulted in having the Underground River and cave. It is not yet very well explored but many caves are in those mountains.

 The shoreline cliffs viewed from the boat. The occlusions or deep contours at the rock facade shows the level of sea water long ago. It was now way up the present sea level because the rocks are pushed up due to the tectonic plates merging in these parts, making big movements.

Boulders fall now and then due to constant movement of the crust and constant weathering

This big boulder originally has an arch but now blown away

 This long rock wall lines the way to the shore where the boats dock going to the UR

 Another view of the rock wall

Big old trees of >1 meter diameter can be seen on the area to the UR. Monkeys also roam around like that one above right. We saw five of them on the ground and some tourists even pose with them for photos. Another group with monkey kids are on top of the concrete structure that serves as the toilet and comfort room. They seem to be gentle and are used to be with a lot of people. 

Part II follows tomorrow.


  1. Wow wow wow! Palawan's such a stunning island and would love to visit the underground river someday soon hopefully!

    1. You should and you must! It is better during the off season.

  2. That is awesome, Andrea... I'd love to have taken that trip and boat ride with you.. Can't wait to see more.

    Beautiful scenery from the boat. WOW!

  3. incredible sights and i hope the forested areas remain forested for years to come.

  4. Looks like a beautiful and wild area. Looking forward to part II!

  5. It's a shame your original plans got changed, but this looks as if it was a fantastic trip. The scenery is spectacular, and I could see the sleeping giant your boatman mentioned. Your photos are beautiful.

  6. Marvelous trip, I much enjoyed reading about it.

  7. you've created a beautiful and fascinating travelogue.....I wanted to see more of the UR (as you put it)!

  8. Fascinating trip! Thanks for introducing this place to us. My OYGIF:

  9. Stunning mountain views. But especially love that broken rock and the cliff face.

  10. I've never been to Palawan but I hope to visit someday. Your photos are amazing and I see lots of orange.

  11. Looks like a beautiful place!! Stunning pictures...Enjoy your trip.

  12. Those lime rock formations remind me so much of the west coast of Thailand. I just love the beach third shot. Gorgeous!

  13. I would say this is an amazing natural wonder with that beautiful water and those incredible rock formations.

  14. The UR is one of the places that's on my travel wish list. Hope to travel there soon.

  15. Again, what an amazing place. Thanks Andrea for telling me (over on my blog) where you were! The cliffs are fantastic -- and the zip line would be wonderful ... but I'd settle for the cave tour.


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