It’s no wonder Palawan was given such prestigious awards and worldwide recognition that equals other world’s famous islands, such as Santorini, Maldives and the French Polynesia. I mean look at the photos of the turquoise waters, rock formation, and best of all, the friendly Filipinos. 🙂
*click images to enlarge
Although El Nido and Coron are the most popular destinations in this Philippines island, let’s not underestimate another gem found here, the Underground River.
The Underground River, officially called as the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was recognized in 1999. It’s also one of the New7Wonders of Nature last 2012 based on international votes.
Since its global recognition, I remember how more Filipinos, other than foreign visitors, wanted to go to this place. We were among those enthusiasts. If you haven’t been there but thinking about going sooner or later, I have some quick tips for you and make your preparation a little less of a hassle.
1. Planning the trip.
Making a schedule 3 to 7 days before the trip is a must. You can directly book at the Local Tourism Office or contact a travel agency for assistance. The number of visitors per day is limited. Make sure to book as early as possible.
What’s the best time to visit the Underground River?
I know you have that question in mind. If you’re not familiar with the Philippines weather, we experience only two seasons. These are dry and wet seasons. Dry season, which starts from January to April, is the best time to visit the place (or anywhere in the country as a matter of fact). You may also consider going there any day in November or December.
Entrance Fee Per Person:
$3.5 to $5.5 (PhP 150 to 250) for Filipinos
$5.5 to $7.5 250-350 for international tourists
around $15 or PhP700 (good for 6 people)
If you book through a travel agency, prepare at least $43 or PhP 2,000 per head. This amount typically includes a round-trip van transportation from your hotel to Barangay Sabang, a day tour in the Underground River with a guide, and buffet lunch. It costs more if you include a hotel accommodation. If you can find a much cheaper price that includes all, then great! Take note, I’m only providing an average estimate, not exact prices. Plus, tour rates may be subject to change – they may vary year after year.
2. Booking flights.
Whether you are traveling from the Philippines or outside the country, you need to book a flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa. Although the Puerto Princesa airport is considered an international airport, only domestic airlines come and go so far. Regardless, there’s no problem getting there any time of the day since flights for this destination are available on a daily basis. It takes about an hour to get to Puerto Princesa airport.
Tip: Flights are cheaper if you book dates that fall on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
3. Packing your bags.
This is very elementary these days, especially for pro travelers. But you must know that a mask can be very handy. There are bats living in the cave. You certainly don’t want to smell their wastes. A raincoat can also save you from their urine. Sorry if you find this gross, but these flying animals just “pee” anytime they please and that’s a reality. Like what I’ve said on my other post, Palawan is eco-friendly. They can’t just shoo them away.
Essential Things to Bring:
nose and mouth mask
Philippine peso money
map/tour guide booklet (optional)
medicines/vaccines (for non-Filipino tourists)
passport (for non-Filipino tourists)
4. Creating your itinerary.
Anywhere you go there are additional spots and extra activities you can do. So spoil yourself exploring the city of Puerto Princesa. You can make a list of other places to visit other than the Underground River. Make your own research. At least for me I find that super helpful. I’m not a whatever-may-come kind of traveler. I’m more detailed and organized. From map screenshots to time details to estimated expenses, I do list everything. The last thing I do is wasting time wondering what to do while on holiday adventure.
Other Places You may Consider Visiting:
♥ Honda Bay (island hopping)
♥ Baker’s Hill
(I’m not really into hopia, a Filipino & Indonesian delicacy, but this bread house makes fine, delicious ones that I love.)
♥ Crocodile Farm
♥ Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village
♥ Marina de Bay Resort and Spa
(This is where we stayed during our time in Puerto Princesa. What makes it a good spot for some quick photoops is the boat-looking hotel. You may also enjoy their spa, water activities, i.e. paddling and kayaking, and package tours.)
Just let loose. I’m a pretty shallow person myself. I enjoy nature, and appreciate simple and small things. I did enjoy my trip here. It’s educational, awe-inspiring, and needless to say, memorable.
*click the image to enlarge
Hope you had fun reading! If so, let me know your thoughts by leaving your comments below.