Philippine’s food and travel blog.
Our second day itinerary is to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site-Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, also known as the Underground River. We are six in the family and for this special tour, my dad rented a guide going to Sabang for Php 3,500 which includes hotel pick up and the land travel to and from Sabang beach.
The land travel from the city to Sabang beach took us approximately 2.5 hours. We traveled rough and bumpy roads but there have been road constructions going on. During our trip, Kuya Danny, our humble shy tour guide/driver stopped in a tiny house with a sari-sari store to inquire of the fresh catch crabs for lunch. It was because my dad wanted some fresh sea foods, he was maybe hungry and he could not forget the taste of food in Badjao Seafront Restaurant. We bought big crabs around Php 400 Kuya Danny was so kind and accommodating to suggest that we could have it cooked in Tribal Restaurant in Sabang (Php 150 cooking charge) and order some rice (Php 90 platter). It was just perfect for lunch, my parents coordinated with the restaurant owner on how they would cook and prepare the crabs and requested to serve it just perfect after our Underground River tour.
Meanwhile, Kuya Danny went in the park office to get a permit to visit the Underground River, booked for a boat to the river entrance. We paid Php 700 for the round trip boat rental from Sabang-Underground River-Sabang, terminal fee Php 40, Underground River entrance fee for adults is Php 150 each and around Php P100 for kids/students. It was budget friendly since it would cost us more if we would be availing group tour packages that would cost us Php 2500 each.
We waited for our turn to get in the boat, the park office has a numbering system per group making it more systematic. The boat requires 6 people only, so if you’ll be 7 in a group sorry the other one must be with another group completing 6 in a boat. We were cautioned not to bring in foods in plastics because monkeys love to get them.
On our way to the Underground River entrance, we were so amazed of the dazing sight of limestone. Our boatman told us that we are actually traveling in open seas, I just imagined the map. In few more minutes we arrived in the entrance. Awesome. Swimming is not allowed in the river entrance however, you may hike up and down to the Monkey trail to get to the beach and swim.
After the registration, we wore our life jackets and protected helmets then waited for our turn to ride in the small boats that would take us in the cave. It’s best to be there early as the line could really be long. Each boat has a battery-powered lamp in front, I took charge in holding it and assist the boat guide as he points to the formations and crack jokes.
Our boat man’s witty stories break the silence inside the cave. It was dark and cold inside, looking above there are bats (guano, or bat dung) hanging and sleeping. Their distinct smell was present all over the cave.
The Underground River is the longest searched underground river in the world. Approximately 8.2 kilometers have been discovered wherein, 4.3 kilometers are passable, but for the tourist it would only be limited to 1.5 kilometers equivalent to about 45 minutes tour. According to the tour guide if we go further it’s actually a dead end and a bit dangerous, and if you wish to explore more you’ll be needing a special permit to explore the rest of the river.
After lunch in Tribal Restaurant, we spent few hours swimming in Sabang beach had some shower for Php 10 in the restaurant’s c.r. and made our way back to the city. I fell asleep, I forgot to tell Kuya Danny to have a quick stopover at Viet Ville and get a quick bite in the Vietnamese Village.