A typhoon hit Palawan the day before our arrival. The same typhoon was expected to move out of the province late afternoon of our arrival. And so with fingers and toes crossed, our group of 9 pax trooped to the airport ready to be crushed. All those weeks of planning for this family vacation wasted? Not so for this group of intrepid travelers.

 

 

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On the airport bus, we were asked to get off and wait for further announcements. After over an hour, we boarded the bus to the plane, and flew out of Manila. Just a 2 hour delay.

 

 

Our flight out of Manila was delayed by 2 hours but we had a good flight and landed safely in Puerto Princesa. The Underground River Tour was cancelled though so we decided to rebook on the day of our departure instead. This was the wisest decision we ever made. There was time to drive north to El Nido, hop around the many islands, drive to the twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang and then drive back to Puerto Princesa early morning of the day of our return flight to Manila.

 

 

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This is Buenavista where we made a brief stop to take photos before reaching Sabang Port.

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This is Sabang Port. Those small boats literally “flew” over the waves and swells of West Philippine Sea aka South China Sea.

 

 

Just 2 stopovers on the day we were to fly out of Puerto Princesa. A  pee-stop in Buenavista, then on to Sabang Port where we took the boat to Saint Paul Subterranean Park. Not my first time, but it is for my family and some friends making up our contingent of 9 pax. West Philippine Sea was far from calm, but we braved the short boat ride. Mercifully, the monkeys and monitor lizards “guarding” the boardwalk in the park were tame and didn’t add to our anxieties.

 

 

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This monkey guarded the entrance to the Underground River Tour.

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The Boardwalk towards the mouth of the Underground River. Watch out for monkeys and monitor lizards.

 

 

I purposely didn’t tell my family how the Boatmen cum Tour Guides conduct the Underground River Tour. The “spiel” on the rock formations inside the cave is a carefully crafted one. Tinged with witty humor, it was no surprise that our group thoroughly enjoyed the hilarious narration on the stalactites, stalagmites and the colony of bats inside while doing the slightly more than a kilometer boat ride. The entire length is not open to the public, but the kilometer boat ride is enough for the slightly over an hour’s tour. Hailed as one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, my family and friends were only too happy to have experienced this adventure and visited this heritage site which renders every Filipino proud.

 

 

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All set and ready to enter the Saint Paul Subterranean Underground River.

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An interior shot showing another boat of tourists with our light focused on some rock formation.

 

 

The references to Sharon Stone, a variety of fruits and vegetables, animals and holy images were most interesting. Amazing how natural forces like water and wind shaped  these rock formations to resemble such. As we sailed out of the cave, we met other boats filled with tourists sailing in. Our guide remarked we were 10 coming in, and now number 9 going out, with a request for the next boat to pick up our missing companion. I’m sure it’s part of the script. I’ve heard that spiel before, yet I laughed just as hard like I heard it for the first time. 🙂

 

 

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Inside the Cave. And yes, Martin, this is right inside that limestone mountain you saw outside!

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The Holy Trinity.

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Is it a coconut husk?

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Towards the exit.