Monday, January 19, 2015

Palawan: Puerto Prinsesa: Underground River

If there's one thing you shouldn't miss while in Palawan, it's the Puerto Prinsesa Underground River (PPUR). How could you when it's named as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and New Seven Wonders of the World?
Puerto Princesa Underground River

There are 2 ways to go to the underground river. First is via 20 minutes boat ride from Sabang Beach or via 2 hours of trekking (one way) to the underground river.
 Sabang Beach

The sun was shining brightly, the clouds clear and we were ready to take the boat ride to PPUR... or not thanks to the not so calm waves that prevented the boats to set sail. And so our 2 hour long journey begins.

We walked along Sabang Beach for a few minutes until we reached a river? which you have to cross. It looks like you can walk to the other side but the middle portion is actually deep.

And that was just a warm up. The 3.56km trail starts after you cross the river XD. I have a history of asthma so this is really a big deal for me. 

The trail reminds me of the mobile game "Temple Run" because there are a lot of tree roots you have to get pass. It's not that hard but it feels like forever when all you see are trees.

When your tour guide tells you that you're just 20-30min. away from the underground river DO NOT BELIEVE HIM!!! because he will probably say that a dozen more times.

Now when you see this cave, Congratulations! you are already half way through the trek XD.
Half way marker

There are a lot of signs and the trail is pretty clear so there's a very slim chance of getting lost.
If ever you do get lost, look for red/orange markings on trees and you will find your way back to the trail.

You know you're already near the underground river when you see monkeys along the road. Cute as they are they are cunning little creatures so be careful with your belongings because they might just snatch them away.
Finally, the board walk to the underground river.

Entrance to the underground river.

Before we go deeper into the cave, let's talk about permits and fees. We bought a package which includes the tour to the underground river, environmental fees and permits, transportation and lunch for just PHP1060 (Jan2015). So everything was already taken care of when we arrived.

Now back to the cave. The underground river is about 8km long but the tour only covers around 1.5km (back and forth? sorry can't remember). If you want to go deeper into the cave, you'll have to get special permits. These are usually given to those who study the cave.

Inside the cave, you will find different rock formations, your imagination is the limit.

Of course there are also a lot of bats inside so be sure to close your mouth when looking up.

The water level is around 30-40meters inside the cave or at least that's what I remember the boatman said. XD

 Boatman smiling while his guest takes a picture of him

There may be other caves as much or even more captivating than PPUR but I think one of the selling points of PPUR is the Filipino humor through manong bangkero (boatman). Where else can you find a boatman who can greet you in multiple languages and make you laugh? Now for me that's priceless :)


  1. hello may i ask who is your tour guide and is it possible to contact him when we are in palawan thank you
    can you email me at

    1. hi, wala kaming tour guide nung sa underground river. sinundan lang namin yung trail. :)

    2. hi, wala kaming tour guide nung sa underground river. sinundan lang namin yung trail. :)