Archive for May, 2011

Palawan 8-day trip [26 Mar ~ 2 Apr 2011] – Part 2

May 2nd, 2011 No comments

2nd day – Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

Unlike its name suggests, this World Heritage Site (Natural category) which inscribed in year 1999, is not situated at Puerto Princesa City (PPC) but at Sabang. Sabang is a tiny seaside town on the west coast of Palawan, 2 hours drive from PPC. Due to the proximity to PPC (well, it is all relative, Palawan is a huge island), this national park is one of the 2 most popular day-trip excursions from PPC, another one being Honda Bay at the East coast nearer to the capital.

The subterranean river national park is famed for the limestone karst formation, the fauna and flora in the area, as well as the longest navigable underground river beneath a mountain.

We booked the day trip package with Raq Pensionne the day before, paying P1350/pax. Trip included 2-way van transfer to Sabang, buffet lunch, national park entrance fee, spider boat from Sabang jetty to underground river entrance, then another row boat ride for the 45-min guided underground river tour.

Instead of 7am, the van was arriving late at Raq Pensionne  at 740am. It already picked up 4 persons, and later another 5 more so it is a pretty crowded van. Our guide is Ray, a friendly shorty. Journey to Sabang was about 2 hours, and there is one souvenir/toilet stop. Some stretches of the road are undulating, but in general the road condition is fine.

Arriving the national park headquarter at 10am, it is already so crowded, partly because it is already late (some arrived at 6am to avoid crowd!), partly because it is the summer break – super peak travel season for the filipinos (from late March to early May).

We ended up waited for 2 hours here, including having a buffet lunch in the nearby beach cottage. Food is not bad actually.

Strong waves throughout the trip (here and later at El Nido).

Selling salted-fish.

After the early lunch, there is another waiting period of 30mins before our turn to take the spider boat, which takes ~30mins to reach the entrance of underground river.

The wave is so strong that one of the spider boats got overturned from the tail up, and luckily not one gets hurt seriously. Karst landscape.

Registration booth, then a short 5min walk to the entrance of the underground river.

Lo and behold, the waiting crowd is even bigger here, probably about 100~150 heads. Most in good mood




  • Go early. Take the earliest package tour from PPC to avoid the crowd and wait. Staying overnight at Sabang might be another good option too. Ask the hotel regarding the transportation options to Sabang from PPC.



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