Puerto Princesa’s Underground River National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and one of the longest navigable underground river in the world.
After being chosen as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature on November 2011, Puerto Princesa Subterranean National Park, also known as the Puerto Princesa Underground River, began gaining more attention as a tourist attraction in the City of Puerto Princesa.
The Underground River reaches up to 24 km (15 mi) long where 8.2 km (5.1 mi) is composed of the section from Cabayugan River that goes through the cave before flowing directly into the Western Philippine Sea and can be explored by boat for up to 4.3 km (2.7 mi) from the sea. Aside from the river itself, another highlight for the tourists is the various stalactite and stalagmite formations that have been naturally molded inside the cave as years passed.
In the year 2010, a group of geologists and environmentalists visited the underground river and found out that it has a ‘second floor’ which means that the cave has small waterfalls. Aside from that, these researchers also found a 300m/ 980ft cave dome above the underground river, rock formations, large bats, a deep water hole in the river, more river channels, another deep cave and many other marine creatures.
Aside from the wonders of the cave, the Puerto Princesa Underground River also has a karst mountain landscape and a ‘full mountain-to-the-sea ecosystem’ and has some of the most important forests in Asia.
It is not only the ‘Flora’ of the area that is rich with various species, it’s ‘Fauna’ composed of animals from birds to mammals to reptiles and fishes also makes the Underground River more interesting.
The park has a total of 165 species out of the 252 species of birds known to occur in Palawan. Some of these birds are a Blue-naped parrot, Tabon scrub fowl, hill myna, Palawan hornbill, and the white-breasted sea eagle. Certainly a great place for bird watchers, right?
According to records, the park also has some 30 mammal species which are most often observed in forest canopies and along the shoreline feeding during the low tide.
Some of these mammals are a long-tailed macaque, bearded pig, Bearcat, Palawan stink badger, and Palawan porcupine.
Monitor lizards also roam around the area freely but they are not the only reptiles to wander about in the area. There are actually 19 species of reptiles identified in the area where eight of which are endemic. These reptiles include large predators like the common reticulated python, the green crested lizard, and what was mentioned earlier, monitor lizards.
Nine species of bats are found inside the cave along with two species of swiftlets and whip spider. Sea cows and hawksbill sea turtles that feed on the coastal areas of the park also occurs in the area.
Get the thrill as you ascend to the summit of Ugong Rock for the splendid views of karst mountains and paddy field surrounding Barangay Tagabinet. From the top, take an exhilarating plunge down through a zipline for that extreme adventure.
After visiting the Underground River, adventurous travellers might want to return to Sabang on foot over the 5km-long Jungle Trail.
In this easy trail that starts from the ranger station near the underground river, trekkers have the opportunity to experience the forest and spot wildlife, especially long-tailed macaque (macaca fascicularis) and monitor lizards.
The trail initially climbs steeply over overgrown karst limestones before dividing into two paths; one is the continuation of the Jungle Trail and the other one is the Monkey Trail.
You can also walk the Jungle trail in the opposite direction from Sabang to the Underground River.
To be able to walk through the Jungle Trail you will have to get the permit from the information office in Sabang. Also, keep in mind that the trails are only accessible until 3.00pm.