Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Indeed, the whole island of Palawan is an attraction by itself. I would not leave out any square kilometer as a non-attraction area. It is hard to enumerate the things to do or the places to visit in this paradise-on-earth kind of place.

The underground river in Puerto Princesa, my new hometown (ehermm), is the main attraction of this city in a forest and the surrounding area or the whole park, including the boat ride to get to the island where the cave is, is simply spectacular!

The whole package cost PHP 1,000 or US$25 (late 90s) per person. The duration would last for the whole day, inclusive of transport from your hotel for the 2 hours or so ride going to boat quay, the boat ride is also included that will take you for a sail to the island/forest park, packed lunch and an english-speaking tourist guide, and of course the way back to your hotel.  Isn't that a huge deal?  

We woke up early morning to be fetched by a van that was sent by the travel agency we have contacted.  Took the noisy-engined boat ride... the sail itself is just exhilirating, crystal clear bluish-green water, you could see the corals, fish and it's like looking at an aquarium without the glasses. It's a 360 degree-full of postcards scenes - the water, the cliffs, the vegetation, the wind. Perrrfect!
Upon reaching the island, we sat on table, took the lunch with monkeys in their natural habitat, and friendly monitor lizards - those huge ones that looked like komoto dragons, looks freightening but harmless though. There are scout rangers around to keep the place safe for tourists, and there is also the monkey trail if you want to do that tour first or directly go to the underground directly which we did.

That was more than a decade ago.  I visited Puerto Princesa Underground River or PPUR once again.  Lots of improvement, there's a concrete platform quay now in Sabang and buffet lunch is also in Sabang, it’s no longer at the underground river park where the monkeys are grabbing your food, at least that’s how I remember it way back then.

I’m a bit disappointed that I did not see much of those big dinosaur-looking monitor lizards like before when they're roaming around the park.  I did see one this time that prompted me to ask one of the resident ranger, well, he said they’re around, a bit inside the jungle though.  And so, they were forced to move back, another jungle story that made me feel depressed.  Things has to change, though it's changing for the worse.

Modernity basically pushes back inhabitants of the forest deeper into the jungle where they’re far from civilization and the cruelty of modern men.  At least the more daring and sociable monkeys are still plenty.  Not for long, that's certain.
The boatsmen are funny with their comic tales of what's inside the cave, those interestingly-shaped stalactites and stalagmites while paddling their boat, I didn’t remember stories delivered that way, back then.

How to get there:
Single traveler or groups can book with any tour operators in Puerto Princesa City or the hotel/accommodation where you’re staying at, they basically offer all Palawan tours and packages, at the same rate or may slightly vary.
Address: PPUR, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines

Google Map Location: Puerto Princesa Underground River.


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