Puerto Princesa Underground River

Sonal Agarwal
Gian and Sheila
We woke up early the next day at around 5:30 AM to have a quick breakfast. Even though eyes drooped and tired limbs gently screamed for us to crawl back into the covers, everyone was filled with excitement. It was the start of the real adventure, which begins with a visit to the eerie and majestic Puerto Princesa Underground River, one of the most well-known UNESCO Heritage Sites and one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World. After more than an hour’s drive toward the town of Sabang, we took a break at a popular stopover. Check out the name of this stopover. Quite a tongue-twister, isn’t it? We arrived at Sabang around 8:00 AM. Even at this early, there were already plenty of people. In fact, we needed to wait more than an hour to board our boat that will take us to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park at the other side of Sabang Bay Like guardians watching over the denizens of a clear, green sea, the towering limestone cliffs and secret beaches of Sabang Bay never fail to hold us spellbound. After a 30-minute ride, we reached the beautiful, white-sand Sabang Beach and the entrance to the National Park. Swimming is not allowed here because this is a marine protected area. The waters do look tempting. Entering the PPUR was like entering an alien world. Squeaks from thousands of bats, the calls of thousands of swiftlets, and the sound of dripping water from stalactites all form a strange cacophony of otherworldly music. Those dark spots are actually bats hanging upside down from that gigantic slab of rock. The streaks are their waste, called guano. Guano is used for many things such as fertilizers, lawn treatments, fungicides, and composting activators. The guys and gals listened intently to the guide and rower as he blurted out interesting facts about the PPUR. It was actually fun listening to the guides as they mix amazing facts with wisecracking jokes. If you’re the lazy type of person, don’t sit up front of the boat. That’s because the people sitting up front hold the floodlight. After an hour in darkness, we exited the PPUR and welcomed the warm, bright daylight. When we asked them how was the tour, everyone answered that they were simply amazed beyond words. No wonder they were very quiet inside the cave during the entire tour! Hehehe!