November 10, 2011

Underground River National Park, Sabang, Puerto Princesa Palawan, Philippines

MY PALAWAN STORY: It was a group-barkada plan to discover the last frontier of the Philippine archipelago-Palawan, when one of our barkada has booked several tickets for us-to go together have fun on the second week of December 2010. Exhilaration hype up until the day has come. Guess what had happened?  This time, it was not a failure of planninig; instead, we have planned it so well, for it to just fail. This was exactly what happened. Seven of us originally planned for this escapade but only four of us has been pushed through and able to explored Palawan in our own separate ways. Oh! one more catch… I ended up exploring alone under a heavy rain and thunder storm. Why? because of this dilemma of this Airline Company to cancel pre-booked promo flight and move back early or late schedule or be re-routed to other place and further connecting flight before you can reached your destination. We were able to see each at the hotel the night before our scheduled flight back to Cebu. Ended up, very satisfied with what happened with my Palawan Extreme Adventure. It really holds true that something happened for a reason with God’s grace and power bestowed upon us. I hope this blog will somehow inspire everyone especially to those want to travel but do not have any companion, to try travelling with yourself because I believe that being passionate of anything does not need someone to make it happen.

THE FULL SCOPE: I had to fly out from Iloilo to catch up my flight to Palawan from Cebu but unfortunately the original flight schedule was cancelled and re-routed to manila connecting to Palawan. Since I cannot make it to that arrangement, I have no choice but to re schedule my trip to the next day, one day has missed up considering that we already have done booking for our hotel with some down payment paid already inclusive of the package tour that was set also. Disgusted but what you can do? Nothing, walang namang choice! My barkada was there already a night earlier since they took the Manila re-routed flight to Palawan. It was okay pa rin nonetheless. Upon arrival at the Puerto Princesa Airport, I rushed to the hotel hoping to catch up the van going to the town of Sabang, where Subterranean River National Park or Underground River is located but I was not able to make it. 

What was painful was not about being left out for the tour but the money I spent for a night hotel and the tour {quite expensive}. Well, learning experience, adventure must go on, I grabbed my wallet, cell phone and camera, no food, no clothes, no other things I have and went out to the city, rode a tricycle and asked the driver to get me to the Public Terminal to find any means of available transportation going to Sabang town. It was already 12:00 noon that time. Thanks God, I was able to catch up the last trip. 

HOW TO GET HERE: I was naive then and thought it was just an easy ride but it was not. It took 3 hours adventure ride going to Sabang Town under a heavy rain through a public jeepney and 2 hours by chartered private van. The jeepney has left the terminal at around 2:00pm with several local with their groceries and with few foreign travelers and local tourist too. It was raining hard that time to the point that you cannot see any view in Palawan. I was excited to take my first shot then.  As I spoke with the local, I learned that we will be crossing a rugged mountain side to get to Sabang town. It was a mind boggling then, whether is it worth to proceed or just sleep at the hotel cuddle with a soft pillows, watching travel and living channel while eating some local delicacies and just wait for tomorrow’s itinerary considering that it was already 2:00pm and it was raining hard with scattered  thunder storm. 

My mind was fixed and decided to go despite uncertainties ahead of out there as I recalled what the local have said "rugged mountain side", I was thinking a nice mountain view then, towering limestone and different rock formations. It was really a literal "adventure". It was an extreme choice since I don’t have complete information of the place that am I going into. I’m feeling anxious being a complete stranger to my destination which my mind cannot even picture out. The jeepney finally left and I was setting at the front seat holding in both hands my camera ready to shot. I was very excited knowing Palawan from several facts in the travel magazines plus stunning photos and the likes. I cannot wait to take my first shot until we were in the mountain-winding road, my eyes were widely open as the eyes of a tarsier to watchfully see some towing limestone and other mountain views that can be taken photos, but my excitement indeed  diminished, the rain poured it harder and harder for 2 hours until it was done and the skies turned into bright and blue. This is it, I said to myself, trying to convince that I have made the right choice. What was left was a fog that envelopes the towering limestone of mountain and its ranges. WOW! beautiful.

It was very cold since I got wet during the whole travel and finally took my first shot at it. It was really amazing, looking intently at those towering limestone notwithstanding the uncertainty ahead. It was past 5:00 pm when I got to Sabang Town. It was a very pleasant feeling while heading to the Tourism center where you can register for a tour to the Underground River.

The rain has gone totally but it was a bit dark already since it was past 5:00 pm. I registered and reserved for the first tour tomorrow morning. Then after, I explored a bit of Sabang town, the beach, street foods and talk to the locals for some info, bought some souvenirs and finally look for a bed for the night.

 It has several native huts available around the beachfront for P500 a night or if you wish to spoil yourself a bit, Sheridan Resort & Spa is a few steps away for a few thousand a night. Sabang Town is such a peaceful and very laid-back town, very nice. As of this travel, no commercial electricity has been operating the whole town. High-end resorts have their own generator set for power. I have opted for a villa type-native hut right at the beachfront.

Left my souvenirs at my Villa and explored on their local street foods and nightlife a bit. I had a very romantic dinner alone under a “lampara light” {which I used to have during my childhood days in Camotes Island} with vegetables and fried fish. 

Toured around the place and give some of my killer smile to the locals and back to my Villa. No lights off since there was no light, ehehe.  Oh my! my cellphone was almost dead bat already can’t call anymore to my ex girlfriend. This was it, no electricity, no communication, wow! I pulled it off and called it a night at 6:00pm {too early to bed alone} Good night! I slept for ten hours from a very tiring adventure. Woke up at 4:00am, nothing to do, it was still dark inside and out. I had a lot of thoughts though since I don’t have something to do, just kept on thinking and mesmerizing of the so many things that had happened to me the previous day. I went out at 5:00am and hurriedly scrambling to the beach half naked since I don’t have extra shirt to wear on. I sat on a piece of log waiting for the sun to rise. It was low tide and the sand was glimmering as the sunrise slowly rising up, It was so beautiful. The place was enchanting while the sun rises behind a cloudy morning. Took some shots and headed myself back to my Villa to prepare for my early underground river tour.

The place were getting alive tourist were coming in. I immediately approach the tourism officer for the tour and lined up while waiting for the first boat ride. Finally, boarded with a small motorized “banca” heading to Underground River, I have had met new friends which eventually be my travel buddies for the rest of the days in Palawan. I was blessed to have them along with me in my escapade.

As we off the port of Sabang, you can find a lot of towering limestone and mountain ranges that will catched you attentione. Very fascinating rock formation and crystal clear water. As we were approaching to the Underground River, my God, the cliffs were so beautiful. Can’t help but to shot and shot and shot! Wow really amazing Palawan.

We finally boared on our secondr boat ride going inside the Underground River. Yes! This is it! as i said to my self. The boatman was trained to be a guide also inside the cave.

 Manong boatman was so funny; he told a lot of jokes while paddling inside with a battery operated flashlight to shed light inside the cave. It was so dark behind your back, so it is advisable not to see what is in your back, you might see something unusual “ika nga-huwag kang lilingon” ahaha. One thing, do not also lifts you head up with your eyes and mouth widely open, you might be ended up chewing bat shit ehehe {line was quoted from manong boatman}. As we paddled our way to the 4km long stretch of a very quiet and dark Underground River, you can find spectacular stalactites and stalagmites in various formations.

 It was really beautiful from human the eyes. The walls of the cave were so pronounced and thick lime stones. As if it was built with superb technicality and brilliant engineering.  Different images have been depicted in the caves ceiling and walls. 

The tour was culminated at the cathedral part of the cave-a very wide and high ceiling part of the cave where you can find a lot of bats inhabiting the place.

 We finally did our u turn going out from the cave. It was amazingly spectacular site and deserves to be preserved for future generation to experience it.  It may or may not be voted as one of the new seven wonders of natures, it does not matter to me at all, as long as this place can be kept for this is a truly {our} Philippine wonder our treasure to keep. Flora and fauna has remarkably visible around the area and this too as well have to be taken cared off.

On our way back to Puerto Princesa for the city tour, of course with my newly found “girl friends” we took a minibus that left Sabang town at 12:00nn. It has 2 regular trips per day, first trip is at 7:00am and last trip is at 12:00nn. Fare as of this travel, was about P150 pesos one way. Fastest option is to charter a Van for 3,500 to 5,000 back and forth already.

To finally maximize my obsession for Palawan scenery, I opted to sit at the top load of the minibus we rode in. Along with few locals and foreign travelers on top, we shared our story and fascination about nature and how beautiful the Philippine archipelago. We dropped by for a couple of minutes at the view deck where you can see a panoramic view of Palawan. From my spot, you can see numerous mountain ranges of limestone that awestruck every traveler interest.


1.) The Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center has a lot of wildlife attraction to offer. Crocodiles were scary. Ostrich-the largest living bird on earth are scary too but awesome with their long bared neck and other other wildlife. Souvenir items like crocodiles stuff toys were available too and other items.

2.) The Nothing Hill is a very romantic place for lovers and has a magnificent panorama of the city view and the Honda bay and other neighboring island and islets.

3.) The best christmas decorations at the sea wall and other parts of the city proper, countless number of giant Christmas trees, very nice light and cultural events during that night was beautiful. Plus take note guys, only in Palawan that you can buy very cheap genuine peal for gifts and other unique items worth buying. I bought a holy rosary and bracelet made of real pearl for my ex girlfriend.

My Palawan escapade ignite my passion for traveling. It was indeed a very extreme all-weathered adventure that proved myself that you do not need to be with someone for you to enjoy every moment of it. Happiness comes from passion with in you and not from somebody else.


HaRoVzKi said...

Wa lagi nimu gikuyug si mam i sir. tsk. kamo kamo lang.

anyway, niderecho tah mo sa el nido. nice place too!

Eduard P. Pugosa said...

December pani har last year 2010, 9 month preggy c Irene ani ni Ehno, mao la cya ka kakuyog. Yes, waiting lang for perfect time. Will explore El nido jud puhon. Thanks for the visit sa page. God Bless.