Palawan-ventures, Day 2: Underground River + Transfer to El Nido

June 30, 2016 Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

Day 2, touring the Puerto Princesa Underground River

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, commonly known as the Underground River, is located north of the city. Hidden under the mountain ranges of Saint Paul, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was also proclaimed as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature last 2012, and I was more than excited to experience and witness this myself.

Our tour guide, Steve, fetched us at around 6 am from Balai Felicisima and we took a 45-minute ride to Sabang Port, the gateway to the Underground River. Upon our arrival at around 7 am, the port was already crowded with a lot of tourists in line, waiting for their turn to get a boat. We got ours an hour later and sailed the sea for another 20 minutes to get to the entrance of the Underground River.

Sabang Port, Puerto Princesa
View from the Underground River entrance, Palawan

Fair warning: I was not able to take pictures inside because 1) my phone isn't waterproof and I'm not ready to risk that just yet and 2) the GoPro cam that our group have doesn't have a flash. So I'll try to share every detail of my experience while you're gonna have to use your imagination/google. Haha!

We were given a set of earphones attached to a remote control which served as our guide inside the dark cave. Noise should be kept to a minimum because there are living creatures trying to get some sleep inside.

Before entering, our boatman also warned us about the slightly pungent smell coming from guano (excrement of bats)... the same reason why we should keep our mouths closed despite being in awe.


The mountain range extends up to 24 km, while the river underneath it stretches around 8 km, but only half of it is navigable by boat. The color of the river is normally blue green (as seen on the picture above), but turns brown during rainy season. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to catch it at its best even in the rainy month of June.

The entire area where the Underground River is located is actually a national park and a model of biodiversity. More than 800 plant species, including almost 300 trees, 195 bird species, 30 mammals, 19 reptiles, and eight bat species call this area home.” (It’s More Fun in the Philippines)

Upon entering the cave, it got a little bit colder. I did notice the smell, but it became bearable as we went along. Then it went pitch black for a while. The only light we had was coming from our boat man, as he pointed out the different formations on the walls, floors, and ceilings of the cave created by stalactites and stalagmites. These formations shaped by the current, rain and other natural occurrences are continuously changing over time. 

It was breathtakingly beautiful and even pictures from Google don't do justice.


While inside the cave, I constantly had to remind myself not to open my mouth. All of the structures inside seem to fit together to create an entire masterpiece. And I must say, I was pretty impressed with the pre-recorded narration because it was perfectly-timed with our pace and was very helpful with the entire tour inside the Underground River.


We were in and out the cave within 45 minutes. And I can say that it was one of the most magical experiences I've ever had! Up to now, I still can't seem to wrap my head around the beauty that the world has to offer, and our country is truly blessed with a lot of great ones.

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After having our lunch back at Sabang Port, we met up with Kuya Steve and proceeded on a looooong and winding 6-hour road trip to El Nido for our island hopping tour for the next day.
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It was half past five when we arrived at the Pension House where we stayed at. We decided to walk around and look for a place to eat and found ourselves heading towards the beach/port area. Apparently, this is the area where the tourists would get picked up for island hopping.

There were a lot of restaurants and food bistros along the shore. But the best part was ending the day by having dinner with this amazing view of El Nido's candy-colored sunset.

El Nido sunset 1 of 2

El Nido,Palawan sunset 2 of 2


22 comments

  1. Ahh! Underground River is soooooooo damn pretty! I can't wait to go to PPS. I booked a flight but it's not until next year. Bummer.

    So excited!

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    1. Hi Jhanz! Yes, it truly is!! Have fun on your upcoming trip and I'm sure you'll have a good time as well. <3

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  2. Your photos made me want to open Cebu Pacific website and book a flight to PPS! :)

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    1. Hi Bea! Yes you should! Haha. Palawan should really be on everyone's travel bucket list.

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  3. After witnessing the PPUR, all I could mutter was, "May Diyos talaga." It's really a wonder to be wandered. :)

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    1. Yes, that's true, Bianca! This work of nature is amazingly beautiful and even words aren't enough to describe it. :)

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  4. You enjoyed reading this, you seriously know what you are talking about. The underground river sounds interesting and creepy, so many species living in there.

    kandice.me

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    1. Thank you, Kandice. Don't worry, it's more interesting than creepy! Haha. The species are nice naman unless you bug them, of course. Actually, you won't even notice they're THAT many because it's super dark inside. All we could hear are bats flying around but it was okay. :)

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  5. Ang ganda naman!! I'm still planning my trips around the country. I hope to get a promo flight to Palawan soon and take a tour at the underground river too! I love the sunset photos! ♥

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    1. Hope you get to visit soon! There are a lot of promos online naman. But don't forget to book during the sunny season. ;-)
      And the sunset really is lovely. Hihi. Thank you. ♥

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  6. I still haven't got around to visiting Palawan. I will. I swear. It seems really really beautiful there.

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    1. Hi, Veronica! Yup it's too beautiful and I swear these pictures aren't even close to how it really looks. <3 You definitely must visit Palawan.

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  7. I'm still bugging my friend to let me visit her in Palawan, haha! She mentioned once that you need to pre-book the tour a month in advance since a lot of people are flocking in to see the Underground River. I can't wait to visit it myself.

    xx, Richel Goes Places

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    1. We just availed an online promo for the PP + El Nido tour so I don't really know the details. But I think you really have to book with the Underground River based on the amount of people who were there when we visited. Haha!

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  8. Your photos are really beautiful!! This makes me wanna go to Palawan even more! Huhu. If only I don't have a lot of responsibilities, I could save up more! HAHA

    xx, Ella | Wandering Ella

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    1. Thank you, Ella! I try(even with my not-so-high-quality phone cam). Hehe. <3 Don't worry there are a lot of deals & packages online naman. Haha. Hope you could visit it soon too!

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  9. Our PPS Underground Rriver experience was great, we took the challenging way! :D
    Sharing it here - > http://www.iamjmkayne.com/2016/06/underground-river-palawan.html
    Great photos Da!
    God Bless!
    JM Kayne | www.iamjmkayne.com

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    1. Thank you, JM Kayne! Checked out your PPS Underground River experience too. Haha. ;)

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  10. OMG! Those photos of the cave interior is so beautiful! When we went there I couldn't capture anything with my phone also. It's so dark. And the flash didn't do any better. Can't wait to come back here!

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    1. Hi, Angelica! Too bad, those photos were from Google lang din. We didn't have a high-quality cam to capture that moment with us. :( But I guess that adds to the mysterious factor of the cave, so people would come and see it themselves. Haha!

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