puerto.princesa

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located about 50 kilometers north of the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. The National Park is located in the Saint Paul Mountain Range on the northern coast of the island. It is bordered by St. Paul Bay to the north and the Babuyan River to the east. The City Government of Puerto Princesa has managed the National Park since 1992.

 

The Philippines may be lacking in man-made monuments as majestic as the Taj Mahal in India, but where we fall short on architectural wonders, we more than compensate with our natural attractions.

This is strongly evident in the Puerto Princesa Underground River which is a finalist among the 28 candidates for the 7 New Natural Wonders of the World, an online poll competition sponsored by the Swiss-based New7Wonders Foundation.

Online voting is currently ongoing, and although the results of the poll won’t be announced until 2011, I think that now is a good time to know all about this natural jewel which is a source of pride for the Philippines, and deserving of a place among the 7 New Natural Wonders of the World.

I personally visited the Puerto Princesa Underground River in 2000 together with my parents, and I can attest that it ranks high among the most beautiful natural site of its kind on Earth.

The national park where this River is located is nearly 50 kilometers north of the provincial capital of Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

Flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa are frequent and regular, and the plane ride is less than two hours.

It would be wise to book a reservation at a hotel in the capital for two to three nights, in order to allot yourself enough time to see the surrounding sights in the city, as well as to set aside an entire day travelling to the Underground River national park, which may take two hours ride outside of the capital.

The land trip to the national park is admittedly rough and bumpy as large portions of the road infrastructure are yet to be further developed.

But for those who yearn to experience nature at its finest, then this road trip is worthwhile.

Travelling to the park from Puerto Princesa, I can still vividly remember towering limestone cliffs and lush vegetation alongside the highway close t our destination.

There were even a few occasions where I could see bayawaks (giant monitor lizards) scampering alongside the road!

Although the trip was indeed bumpy, the natural sights around us were more than enough to keep us calm and engaged.

Once we arrived at the park, we hiked towards the Underground River, while observing the fantastic view of the limestone-laced mountain landscape overlooking the River.

We could already see a number of gentle and harmless bayawaks freely walking about, and there were even several long-tailed macaque monkeys hanging up in the trees and hiding behind the bushes, watching over us and seemingly waiting patiently for us to leave behind food leftovers for them to pick (monkeys in this area are notorious for being crafty and occasionally snatching personal belongings from unsuspecting victims, so always be on your guard).

Finally, we came upon the lagoon entrance to the Underground River, and what a beautiful sight it was.

The lagoon waters were pure blue and I could see swimming here and there well-fed brightly-colored fish.

The temperature was hot and humid, but we could all feel a refreshing breeze as soon as we boarded our bancas to begin our one-hour tour of the River.

Awe and wonder enveloped us as we headed towards the stalactite-adorned cave entrance.

I could reveal what else we saw upon our descent through the enigmatic caverns of the River, but to do so would spoil the adventure of exploring it yourself!

Go on visit the Puerto Princesa Underground River and vote online for it as one of the 7 New Natural Wonders of the World at www.new7wonders.com