A few months ago, thein Puerto Princesa Palawan was declared as one of the new seven wonders of nature. Before it was officially announced, there were many advertisements persuading people to vote for it. Definitely, I was one of those proud Filipinos who voted online and through text. I was vigorously, promoting it in Facebook and Twitter when it occurred to me that I, myself, have not yet seen how wonderful Underground River is. I mean, I voted for it because it is in the Philippines, that’s a given. But does it really deserve to be one of the world’s new seven wonders of nature?
And to answer that question, my family and I decided to see with our own eyes the natural wonder that is Underground River and witness why among many other tourist destinations it was nominated. Known as the Philippines’ last frontier, Palawan has a lot to offer. Delicious delicacies, affordable hotels, hospitable people, fresh air, and world class sceneries!
Here is how our trip went. We took Philippine Airlines’ first flight bound for Puerto Princesa City. When we arrived at the airport, the van which we contacted a week before the trip was already waiting for us. Then we had a city tour for the whole day. We went to Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm where we were able to see the minimum to maximum security prisons and actually eat with some prisoners. Yeah, it was such an experience which I’m going to post soon. We also had fun at Bakers Hill where we bought delicious delicacies, and since the weather wasn’t cooperating that day, we just decided to go to the market to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and sea foods.
The next day, we went island hopping in Honda Bay. We spent the whole day visiting one island to another and experiencing the underwater and the rich marine biodiversity of Pambato reef which I also posted here.
Before going back to the hotel, we dropped by the city office to book our Underground River tour for the next day. Disappointment filled our hearts when we read the sign on the front door that the tour was fully-booked for the next three days. Apparently, the water level rises due to continuous rain and so the entrance of the cave was close for two days. It was heartbreaking! We were just staying in Palawan for three days and two nights so we will be flying back to Manila by the time they could accommodate us. But we still took our shot and waited there for more than an hour hoping that we might be included in the waiting list. And we were so delighted when the lady with a good heart gave us slots! Probably because we were traveling with my grandparents, senior citizens, you know. And so we went back to our hotel tired but excited! It was worth all the wait though.
The next day, we woke up really early because Underground River was almost two hours away from the city.
When we arrived at the place where the registration office was, we waited for the boat that would take us to the island where the cave is. It was a 30-minute boat ride. After going against the waves, we reached the island safely. And finally, we were able to experience one of the new seven wonders of nature!
Here are some photos from our trip.
My family and I love Philippine Airlines. We feel safe and comfy!
Here we go! Yay!
We were entering the cave. The hard cap is to protect our head from the bats’ pee… Haha! Not really for the stalactites.
Here we are inside the cave. It was so dark. The boatman, sitting on the tail of the boat asked my uncle who was in front to hold the flashlight and he was guiding my uncle where to direct the light so we could see what he was describing inside the cave.
It took us less than an hour looking at the different figures formed by the stalactites. There was a part called the cathedral because the rocks formed figures of Mary and Joseph, and saints praying. There were also some vegetable-like figure, animals, and even a sexy figure of a girl. I wasn’t able to get nice shots inside the cave because for some reason I wasn’t able to apply the right camera settings. Too bad. But here are some shots inside the cave.
This Underground River cruise did not give us adrenaline rush like any other adventures but being inside the cave for an hour made us realize how wonderful nature is. And yes, for me it deserves to be one of world’s new seven wonders of nature!