Tired from the plane trip and city tour, we woke up early the next morning for our Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour. After our buffet breakfast served at the hotel, the tour guides Ate Divine and Kuya Eric picked us for the 2-hour travel to the jump-off point. Along the way, the guides informed us that an event every February 14 is being held in the city named as “Love Affair with Nature”. The event is organized by the city government as a mass wedding headed by their Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn wherein after the wedding, every couple will plant a tree, a way of caring for the environment.
Midway is a stopover for us to have a bladder break and snacks. In that area, you can see afar the island they called as Tres Marias, a somewhat 3-coned island. Jeepney is the only means of transportation from the city proper to the northern part of Puerto Princesa where we saw an overloaded one with passengers up to the top of the vehicle and others were already hanging on the sides.
After an almost 2-hour trip, we reached Sabang Port, the gateway to the Puerto Princesa Underground River. As per our guides, there are two ways in going to the underground river, first is by a 15-minute motorized boat (pump boat) ride and the other is a 2-hour trekking along the Monkey Trail. The first way is the one included in our package since we only have a limited day tour to Sabang.
We waited for about 15 minutes for our turn to ride the paddle boat to the underground river. Before the ride, you need to secure your life vest and head covering for your safety. As per Kuya Rene, our funny boatman, tourists visiting the park are only allowed to go 1.8km and going beyond that will require another permit from the city government. Its length spans for a total of 8-kilometers but only explorers are allowed to go that point.
Inside the cave, you can see stalactite and stalagmite formations such as the Last Supper, The Holy Nativity, a deck full of Saints and angels; vegetables and fruits such as mushroom, corn, carrot, sayote, banana blossom; animals like a head of a dinosaur, fish, tiger, and crocodile. There were 3 formations that caught my attention; first is the one that looks like a half-face of Jesus, second is Sharon Stone, a nude girl with her butt exposed and an inverted shit where Kuya Rene joked that the one who did that shit was amazing ‘coz it’s inverted making it a “Holy Shit”.
Kuya Rene advised us to shut our mouth every time we look up because he’s not very sure if the thing dropping from the ceiling of the cave is water or batshit/piss. I didn’t enjoy the underground trip that much because it was too dark inside only lit by a headlight in front of the boat and I kept on balancing during the ride making my neck stiffed after the tour. Monkeys and lizards freely wander in the area.
We headed back to the Sabang Port to have our buffet lunch. Kuya Eli wanted to try the exotic food woodworm or commonly known as “tamilok” so we purchased a set for 100 pesos. The worm tastes like oyster and nice to go with a little bit of vinegar. After lunch, we walked by the fine sand of Sabang Beach and rested in hammocks under the tall coconut trees. We also saw a python and a bearcat who enjoyed posing for the camera.
At exactly 2 o’clock, we left Sabang dropping to the under-construction Karst Elephant Cave. Our next destination was the Ugong Rock Adventures located in Barangay Tagabinet, Puerto Princesa. The place was named “Ugong” as there is a rumbling sound produced when you tapped a column upon entering the cave. The Ugong Rock is 75 feet high and can be climbed through spelunking. The price for the caving is 200 pesos and another 250 pesos if you want to ride the 300-meter zipline going down. We didn’t ride the zipline since caving is more exciting. A tiring day at the Puerto Princesa underground river ended in a nice dinner at a Puerto Princesa seaside restaurant.