Eurovision / potential natural wonder of the world
Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
The House of Rose
The alarm went off at 7am and Andrew woke up having one of the Korean girls who were sharing our dorms flip flop on his head, a total mystery (andrew edit – they were looking for it for 30 minutes previous so we chucked it on the floor and asked if that was what they were looking for). We had a cup of tea and coffee to completely wake us up and then the minibus arrived with our tour guide for the day Jackie to take us to Palawan's famous 'Underground River’ or to give it its proper title The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park . The Koreans were on the same trip with us and we were also joined by a few other people that we collected from other guest houses around the town
It took us about 1 ½ hours to get to Sabang, the town that is home to the river, after stopping once for refreshments and listening to Jackie’s hilarious commentary en route. She clearly didn’t know her left from her right so watching everybody desperately trying to view P.O.I’s out of the left hand window while they sailed past behind them on the right was very amusing. We were dropped off on the beach and were surprised by how crowded the whole area was with mainly Filipino tourists. We were told that we were free to wander for half an hour and then lunch would be served at 11am (Andrew edit we arrived at about 10:20). Andrew and I had a ten minute look around and then we walked back only to find everybody about to eat! Jackie said that she had been searching for us all around?! We ate a lunch of chicken, tuna, squid, rice and greens served on a banana leaf and then had another wait until we could get our boat over to the entrance to the cave (ten minutes away). When we got to the location we found it was in the jungle which was home to two metre long monitor lizards and monkeys. We unfortunately didn’t see a lizard but the monkeys were hilarious to watch as we were waiting for our second boat to take us in to the cave itself.
The river is officially, at 8km long, the longest navigable underground river in the world (Andrew edit a nominated for Natural Wonder of the world)
The cave was really beautiful with lots of different chambers opening up in to the huge ‘cathedral’ and the guide hilariously pointed out the stalagtites and stalagmites to us and what they resembled. It was like one huge game of ‘Lookeylikey’ but a very poor version (if you ask me). We had the ‘grocers’ section where he pointed out carrots, mushrooms and grapes, then we moved on to candles, the ubiquitous Virgin Mary, a farcical ‘nativity’ wise men the lot, jellyfish, shark and the only amazing one of Jesus (see photos), we were both gob smacked.
We all met back up at the original meeting place on the beach and waited and waited and waited, no not for a stray member of the group, but for Jackie the tour guide! We even got back on the coach thinking that she had abandoned us and then she appeared with what looked like half a Jollybees around her mouth. We headed back to Puerto Princesa and she fell asleep in the back of the bus with her head lolling on to one of the tourists. She was hilarious.
Back at the guest house we sat down to dinner and were surprised to see the ‘mail order date’ Finnish guy back but alone and sat with Andy the owner. To our sheer amazement he openly told us that the other girl had not been up to scratch and therefore he had’ returned’ her and was expecting another delivery that night. Sure enough half an hour later a young girl about 20 escorted by an older woman arrived and just sat on his knee once he said that she was suitable. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed the boldness of it. Watching him with his hands all over her was quite sickening so we made a hasty retreat to bed promising to pay the bill in the morning at breakfast when we had got our appetite back.