Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
Can we now proceed to UR? the driver asked us after our short stop in Nagtabon Beach. In Puerto Princesa, “PPUR” or “UR” means “Puerto Princesa Underground River” especially for those who work in the tourism industry. Palawan is really filled with wonders that’s why it’s called the Philippines’ last frontier. And speaking of pristine beaches and other wealth of wonders, there is definitely no better place to visit in the Philippines other than the island of Palawan!
Puerto Princesa Underground River – The New 7 Wonders of Nature
While in Puerto Princesa with fellow travel bloggers, We visited the famous Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park courtesy of Microtel Puerto Princesa. This is actually my second time visiting this newly recognized “New 7 Wonders of Nature”.
To get there, it took us more than an hour and a half drive to Sabang via a tourist van courtesy of Ellen’s Travel and Tours, all the way to the Northern side of Palawan. The park is extensive and is a huge eco-tourism destination which is home to fifteen species of endemic birds and 165 other bird species.
There are also thirty species of mammals from pigs to porcupines, bats, reptiles, and amphibians. The mountainous rain forest has unique species found nowhere else in the world, and of course, the underground river is totally incredible. The Subterranean River National Park also known as the Puerto Princesa Underground River was a finalist for the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition and after seeing it again, I think it deserves to win. Totally mind-blowing especially now that I saw a lot of improvement in the park.
Formerly known as St. Paul Subterranean River, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park flows about 50 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa City. There are a lot of underground rivers in the world, but this one has over eight kilometers of navigable length in huge limestone karst caverns filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and massive columns.
UNESCO has recognized it as a World Heritage Site and it has the reputation of being the world’s longest underground navigable river though according to what I found on the web, it is actually the second-longest. No matter though, the boat trip through the caverns was totally surreal but I almost gave up at first with the unpleasant smell of bat poop after entering the underground river. Surprisingly, as you go along with the river tour, you will soon forget the unpleasant smell and will instead be mesmerized with the natural wonder.
The limestone shapes inside take on crazy images in the dim lighting and it’s easy to see why some have been given names like ‘The Holy Family’, ‘Face of Jesus’, and ‘Big Bacon’. The boat ride inside the underground river took about thirty minutes and was worth ten times the price of 200 pesos.
There are unpleasant things that you will experience in each journey but that is an integral part of the trip. Learning new things from each trip is an education in its highest form… Just learn how to smile and be thankful for having new friends, experiences and pictures… pictures and lots of pictures… Travel Safely, everyone:)
List of Hotels in Puerto Princesa Palawan providing Online Reservations
Deep Forest Garden Inn
Ardent Suites Hotel and Spa
Dos Palmas Island Resort & Spa
A&A Plaza Hotel