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Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrChosen as one of the “New Seven Wonders of Nature” is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. It is one of the major tourist attractions in the entire country and is the biggest name in the Philippines when it comes to breathtaking natural wonders. The national park is located in the province of Palawan, approximately 80 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa City.
HistoryThe national park was established on March 26, 1971. It was formerly known as the St. Paul Subterranean National Park which consists of over 3,900 hectares of land reservation. The park was then expanded to over 22,200 hectares in order to effectively protect the entire watershed and its significant biodiversity. The park was also renamed ‘Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park’ during its expansion.
In recent discoveries, a group of geologists and environmentalists have determined the possibility of small waterfalls inside the cave through the discovery of the “second floor” and of the underground river. They also found a cave with a 300 meter-wide dome.
In 2011, through the efforts of the local government and the Filipinos all over the world, the underground river was declared one of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature”.
Permits and FeesBefore visiting the underground river, tourists must secure a permit at the Puerto Princesa Underground River Office in the city proper. The local government limits the visitors to the attraction in order to properly maintain and protect the area, some tourists usually end up not being able to visit at their intended schedule so it is very important to secure a permit at your earliest convenience. It is recommended that you visit their office during weekdays and avoid weekends because of the large volume of applicants.
When you reach Sabang, the registration office will process your permit. Unfortunately, the center does not issue permits and you have to go back to the city in order to secure a permit.
There are several fees that are required when visiting the national park, these are:
- Environmental Fee – ₱40 ($0.88)
- Adult / Minor (Filipino) – ₱100 ($2.20) / ₱70 ($1.54)
- Adult / Minor (Foreigner) – ₱150 ($3.30) / ₱100 ($2.20)
- Senior Citizens and Differently Abled – ₱100 ($2.20)
- Adult / Minor (Filipino) – ₱175 ($3.85) / ₱100 ($2.20)
- Adult / Minor (Foreigner) – ₱250 ($5.50) / ₱150 ($3.30)
- Children 3 to 12 years old – ₱75 ($1.65)
General Entrance to the National Park
Cave Entrance Fees
Children below 2 years old are not allowed to enter the cave for safety reasons.
VisitingTourists can enjoy several activities when visiting the national park. For starters, outdoor lovers can enjoy jungle trekking through the rich verdant forest of the park. The trek starts from an alternate route of Sabang Beach to the Underground River entrance. The long trail is about 5.3 kilometers that features an observable wildlife (common animals you can see are monkeys and monitor lizards, there are also 165 birds species, 15 of which are endemic to the province) and different forest formations.
Within the area of the national park are the beautiful white sand beaches of Sabang Beach, Panaguman Beach, and Marta Fe Beach. These places are perfect for swimming due to its refreshing and crystal-clear waters.
The main attraction is none other than the adventure caving, which includes the underground river cruise and the Ugong Cave, where tourist can climb inside and see spectacular karst formations and its beautiful natural surroundings. Other caves that can be explored are the Lions Cave, Kawili Cave, and the Daylight Hole.
Displays and exhibits about the culture and history of the Batak and Tagbanua (indigenous tribes settled in the area) can be seen at the Ethnographic Museum located at the Park Visitor Center.
Getting ThereVisitors coming from both Manila and Cebu (where most international flights to the country arrive) can take a direct flight to Puerto Princesa City. Upon arriving at the airport, you can either book a tour package at several travel agencies around the city (recommended for most tourists), these packages include a private tour van that will take you to the national park, payment for entrance fees and boat rentals.
If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you can get there on your own by commuting. After securing a permit for your visit, take a tricycle or multicab ride to the New Market Jeepney Terminal. Once you get there, several jeepneys and minibuses going to Sabang Wharf are available. There are four trips going to Sabang from 7 AM to 2 PM. Travel time is approximately 3 hours and the fare costs about ₱150 ($3.30).
Upon reaching Sabang Wharf, boat rentals going to Sabang Beach (where the national park is located) are available. Rental fees are negotiable which is around ₱500 ($11) to ₱800 ($18), depending on the boatmen.
- The management prohibits the feeding of monkeys and lizards in the national park since it can alter the normal feeding patterns of these animals. Littering of garbage anywhere in the park is also prohibited.
- Waterproof your things and gadgets by putting them inside zip-lock bags.
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Author: radiantan. Last updated: Jan 10, 2015