Puerto Princesa: Underground River

Trip Start Apr 04, 2009
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Trip End Apr 18, 2009


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Flag of Philippines  , Palawan,
Friday, April 10, 2009

We only stayed for 3 days/2 nights in Puerto Princesa. We arrived at our guest house, located about 15 minutes from the city center. Since we arrived in the city on Good Friday, all of the tourist sites were closed. We just went to church instead, had dinner and called it a night. We also booked a trip to the Underground River for tomorrow.

The next day, we were picked up at 530am by the tourist van and was transported to Sabang, the gateway to the Underground River. The trip took around 2 hours on mostly paved roads. Some of the sections of the road were still under construction, and when finished would definitely cut the trip shorter. In Sabang, we had to pay for our government permits, which cost 150pesos/adult and also for the boat and transfers which cost 700pesos for a 6-person boat. From the Sabang port, we sailed for roughly 15 minutes to get to the other side of the mountain, where the river is located. The road to get to the mouth of the cave was well-maintained, and monkeys and monitor lizards (bayawak) were abundant.  As a safety precaution, we were required to put on lifevests and helmets before navigating the underground river.  Inside the cave, we saw several interesting formations of stalagmites and stalactites. After the tour, we sailed back to Sabang, where we had a buffet lunch in front of a beach. We returned back to Puerto immediately after lunch.

Cost: This trip is being offered by travel agents around Puerto for 1500/head inclusive of transportation, food and transfers. What we did was we rented a tour van for 3500 and paid the cost of the boat and the permits. The latter option is good for big groups as it would save them a lot of money. Just be sure to get permits ahead of time if not traveling through an agency. The buffet lunch in Sabang costs 200 pesos/head.

We arrived back at Puerto at around 1430. We decided to visit the PPC Crocodile Farm, which was located about 20 minutes from the city center. The animals were plentiful here, but the place was poorly maintained and the condition of the cages was uninhabitable. Poor animals! This site is normally included in a typical city tour, which costs around 600 pesos/head and is usually being offered by travel agents all over Puerto Princesa. What we did was we hired a tricycle driver to tour us instead, which significantly cut down our cost.

Afterwards, we had "halo-halo" at a local Chowking, and then had dinner at Kalui's, one of the most popular restaurants in Puerto Princesa.
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