Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Marvelous Trip to Underground River

Time check: 2:35 AM…the frap kept me awake until this time.  Instead of counting sheep, I settled on blogging my way to sleep.  I surf first about the result of the New Seven Wonders to see if our very own Puerto Princesa Underground River made it to the list.  The result was announced last November 11, 2011 (11/11/11)  Wow! How great it is to know that it was included in the “provisional list” (one vote from me \(*_*)/).  The provisional list was arranged alphabetically so it means there was no significant order.  The final ranking has not been revealed yet as it will be announced in the first part of 2012. 

That news brought me back to my Underground River experience with one of my best buddies Cecil way back in 2008.  That time, the voting for the elimination round for the New7Wonders was ongoing and the Underground River already made it to the semifinals.  When we went to Puerto Princesa, a tour to Underground River was not in our itinerary but through the advice and goodness of great people we met there who offered to provide us a free tour to the site as they said that it was a very rare and precious chance to visit one of the would-be seven wonders, it was an opportunity we could not resist. We were told that the road trip would be more than 50km from the city proper to Sabang pier thus we need to leave early at 6AM the following day to be ahead of the throng of other tourists.  They already made a prearranged tour for us so as to avoid the hassles of waiting for many hours (they did not want us to waste much time waiting for a boat ride since we also have other places to visit in Puerto Princesa and we need to leave early the next morning).

On the day of our trip, there was typhoon in Puerto Princesa but our adventurous attitude was more profound than our fear of being stranded in the midst of the storm.

It was great that the road was paved that made our three-hour road trip more bearable. Halfway through, while traversing the mountainous road and our vehicle beaten with gusty wind of 150 kph, Ces and I were praying for better weather and were being optimistic.  Our companion told us that if there would be no motor banca available to take us to the site due to the bad weather, we would be traversing what they call as the “monkey trail”.  It is an alternative route to get to the Underground River but one has to walk about 1-2 hours to get there.  It sounded more exciting but we didn’t think we could take the chance to push our luck further at a stormy weather.

It was an answered prayer that when we arrived at Sabang pier, the weather was clearer and there were motorized outrigger boat to take us to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean National Park. 

What was more unbelievable was that the sea was calm despite the typhoon. The boat ride was one superb experience as we get to see the picturesque beauty of Palawan.  It took us about twenty minutes to get to the park’s entrance.

Then we walked the wooden trail

until we arrived at the site where other tourists were waiting for their turn to get inside the cave.  As it would be another boat ride, we were told to put on appropriate clothing gears first, a hard hat and a life vest which were mandatory to be worn by every passenger.

We had an orientation while waiting for our turn and took pictures of almost every spot.  The guides told us about what to do and not what to do inside the cave. 

So off we went inside the world-famous Underground River…

it was too dark inside the cave and the only light we had were those on our hard hats.  We were greeted with “Good Evening” by American tourists on another boat we met along the way.
I just can’t explain the feeling I had while inside the cave.  It was more like I was taken inside an unknown dimension.  Our boatman explained every detail of the rock formations we encountered, the stalactites and stalagmites, and even scientific details on acidity factors affecting the formations of those rocks.  Whew…I was amazed of all the knowledge he imparted to us that reminded me of geology in high school.
water reason we need something to protect our heads
glossy rocks
my cam caught a bird creature..obviously not a bat which is aplenty inside. But this one, I can't tell what exactly it was
just one of those astounding rock formations
Refuted to be the longest navigable underground river in the world, the overall trip took us almost an hour.   

Cecil and I were too thankful that we were given the opportunity to visit one of the seven wonders.  An amazing design of nature that every Filipino should truly be proud of.

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