Underground River: A Nature’s Gem
27 Feb 2015
Talk about the modern Seven Wonders of the World and the Underground River will easily come to mind.
The Underground Riveris a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. It is located in Puerto Princesa Subterranean National Park, 50 kilometers north from the city and 362 kilometers southwest of Manila.
The Underground River is one of the glorious and most celebrated natural escapades of the Philippines being the world’s longest navigable subterranean river.It is 8.2 kilometers long that streams beneath a mountain range, winds through the St. Paul Underground River Caveand flows directly into the South China Sea.
The river’s cavern has remarkable stalactites and stalagmites formations and large chambers. It features striking limestone karst landscapes and mountain-to-sea-ecosystem allowing distinctive wildlife and the intact forest to have an abundant natural habitat. The whole property is home to over 800 plant species, 195 bird species, 19 reptiles, 30 mammals and eight bat species.
The magnificence of the Underground River doesn’t end there. The mouth of the cave features a clear lagoon that offers cold and breezy atmosphere. It adds beauty to the must-visit world natural wonder.
The Underground River is internationally notable for being one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.It was officially proclaimed in November 2011, after topping the first round of voting and being one of the 28 finalists on July 29 of the same year.
How to get there
Located in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, travelling to the Underground River is indeed challenging especially when you don’t have itineraries to follow. But rest assured, your adventure will be worth it.
When you arrived in PuertaPrincesa, you need to beat a 2-hour ride from the city down to Sabang port. Just a heads-up though, you will pass by mountainous region, concreted zigzag roads and rough roads.
From the Sabang port, you will ride a boat to get to the shores close to the underground river; approximate travel time is 15 minutes. Before leaving the harbor, make sure to secure permits from the Tourist Information Center that would allow you to enter the river, this is aside from the advance booking you need to do to have a scheduled visit.
After arriving at the beach, you need to pass through a jungle trail to reach the wharf of the famous subterranean river, where registration for the Paddle Boat Tour is conducted.
What to expect
The Paddle Boat Tour is what will fulfill your quench for the world’s longest navigable river. Along with a boatman that will also act as your guide, you will see awesome rock formations and flora and fauna inside. Expect to encounter bats as the nature’s wonder is home to over 400,000 bats.
One of the most notable features that you will see is “The Cathedral”, a huge chamber that contains stalactites resembling Jesus, Mary and friends. You will also appreciate the 62-metre-high cave that ascends into darkness.
While most travelers only see 1.5km of the cave, with approximate 45 minutes of tour time, you have an option to explore the river as long as 4.3km into the system. However, you need to secure a special permit from the park office in Puerto Princesa three days before your desired tour.
The Underground River is indeed one of the glorious gems of nature. Its beauty is captivating that offers tourists one of a kind experience that no other city or country can offer. Visit one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and have the best adventure of your life!