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My Travel To The Awesome Underground River, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

Thelma is a Filipina Expat living in Germany. She shares her Philippines life and travel experiences about her beautiful home country.

The limestone karst mountain landscape.

The limestone karst mountain landscape.

Flying To Puerto Princesa, Palawan

At last, I have made and checked my one of the to see list. That is, traveling to the one of the New 7th Wonders of Nature in the world. The awesome Subterranean Underground River in Puerto Princesa,Philippines . It is located 2 1/2 hours drive by car from Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan.

My travel started with a flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa with my hubby and my father. It was the first time we flew to Palawan. The flight was about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Up from the plane I could see how beautiful Puerto Princesa is. It is surrounded with a forest. I have never seen such a place with loads of trees still existing in the Philippines. Everytime I flew home to Mindanao, I could only see mountains getting balder and balder, which in my childhood time had abundance trees like coconuts and other tropical fruits. So, I was delighted to see the forest of Puerto Princesa. I took a lot of video of the forest from the window of the plane.

Landing at the airport, I could smell a different air from what I used to smell coming to my home country. A fresh moisty clean air! We were collected from our hotel airport service car. The woman who collected us was nice and explained us what we should know when travelling with a tricycle to the city, how much fare we have to pay from our hotel to the city. 60 Pesos (day time) to 100 Pesos (night time) per ride with 3-4 persons and depending how far it is from our hotel which is a bit far from the center of the city. To be sure, just asked the receptionist.

Subterranean River, Palawan, Philippines

Philippines Travel Guides

Philippines Travel Guide

Philippines Travel Guidebook is a must. It is a gadget that prepares you for places and things you have not been to. Even if you have been there already, this book will give you the information you need to know while traveling to my home country Philippines.

Deep Forest Garden Inn

We stayed in Deep Forest Garden Inn which is a bit far from the city´s action but still near when we wanted to go shopping to Robinson Mall for European food like cheese and fresh milk. We did not go out everyday as the hotel has a lot of ammenities to enjoy. There were swimming pool, chess pool, jacuzzi, restaurants, wine bar and free wifi. Besides that, the garden is awesome enough for us to relax while drinking a cup of tea or a glass of beer.

On the way to the Underground River.

On the way to the Underground River.

No Permit, No Entry

"No Permit, No Entry." That´s the official motto in visiting the Subterranean Underground River. As I have a Puerto Princesan friend who´s name is Susan, I knew what to do. She and her sister helped us in getting the Underground River permit in the Coliseum building office in the city. We had to apply personally, bringing with us our Identification cards or Passports and our plane tickets (especially for my hubby as a foreigner). Payment for the permit was made at Sabang port where our boat ride begun.

We started our travel with a rented van at 5 o´clock in the morning to Sabang, which was about 2 1/2 hour ride from our hotel. It was a very fresh but clear morning and there was no traffic jam. The road to Sabang reminded me of Ireland which was serpentine but beautiful. The road was sometimes rough. We stopped halfway in a village tourists shops where we were able to go to the loo and some of us bought hats for protection from the heat of the sun.

Arriving at the tourist office at Sabang port before 8 am (our scheduled boats ride), we queued for paying and presented our permit. With a senior discount for my father, we had paid only 650 Pesos for the permit including the environmental fee taxes. After that we went to a tent "office" where we paid for our boat for 700 Pesos. Then, with only 3 of us in the boat the amazing journey to the Underground River started after we wore our safety life jackets and helmets.

What we needed:

  1. Passport, ID and travel ticket
  2. Underground River Permit
  3. Money
  4. Water and other drinks for the trip
  5. Food
  6. Flashlight
  7. Hats or caps
  8. Sunglasses
  9. cameras

What to wear:

  • sunblock
  • short pant or mini skirt
  • flip flop or other plastic slippers

The Boat Trip

The boat trip to the Underground River from Sabang port was awesome to me. It was my first travel with a small motorboat with only 5 persons including the 2 boatmen, which took 15 wavey minutes of my life. I was excited seeing the beauty of the blue see and the rock formations along the way.

Arriving at the beach park where a huge limestone karst mountain landscape looking upon us, the entrance to the Underground River, a camera man was awaiting and took a photos of us 3. Then we went to the entrance of the forest where we presented our permits and tickets to the women who were waiting for the tourists and told us to wear life jackets. One of them told us not to bring plastic bags with food as the monkeys who are living in the forest would steal them. We should carry our cameras across our shoulder as they might be stolen as well from the monkeys. To tell you the truth, I have not seen one but my hubby and my father did. The monkeys were just hiding and were waiting for their victims.

Video Camera

Video Camera, A Must

Traveling without a video camera is not good. I mean, how can you preserve the beauty of the places and things you have seen without having a camera? Through the video camera, you will remember where you have been to and what places you were having a great memory. For me, my video camera is my partner in visiting awesome places.

The Wonder Of Nature--The Underground River

The Underground River

The Underground River is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It is located in the Subterranean River National Park. The main attraction is actually the long cave which is more than 24 kilometers.

We took another boat, a paddle boat before we entered the Underground River cave. We were more than 6 persons inside the small boat and it was a bit loud for me to understand what the tourist guide said as there were "chatter boxes" Filipinas who couldn´t just enjoyed the beauty of the cave but were interrupting the tourist guide. So the video I took for this hub is not useful to me now with all those "chatter" noise. Thanks to them. Anyway, I concentrated myself in looking at the huge giants limestone formations inside the cave. Thanks to my nephew who told me to bring flashlight with me as it was dark inside.

Viewing the cave was awesome. I have never seen such beauty created by nature. There were cavern, underground fortress and wide tunnels inside the cave. Stalactites in different shapes were hanging at the cave´s ceiling like crystals and some in egg shapes form while stalagmites risen from the dept of the cave in unique macro form.

While boating, every now and then the bats were flying above us. It was good to have worn the helmet for the ride because sometimes it happened that the bats sh...t upon us. The bats have their own burial site in the cave. We have seen the dark spots of the caves´ walls. Besides the millions of bats living there, there were swallows and other living organism as well.

As always, everytime I thought there was still something coming, the time was up and our paddle boat went out of the cave. We had to go back to our motorboat we took which was waiting for us at the beach park. The sun was very hot. I was able to take a video with only the sound of the motor boat. That´s the one on the top of this hub. I was glad we took the early schedule to visit the Underground River as the waves were getting higher and higher and lots of tourists were on their way to the cave.

Many thanks to my friend Susan M. Z. and her sister May Ann for helping us in organizing our travel tour in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines.

Sources: Wikipedia and You Tube

Map of the Philippines

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© 2013 Thelma Alberts


Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on August 17, 2016:

Hi Carmela Alvarez,

First of all thank you for writing me a comment. I appreciate your visit but sorry, I don't own this site to let you write for me. I am just a writer spreading my wings at Hubpages. Of course you can write everything you want and be a member of this site. I will be glad if you will become my fellow hubber. Why not be a member? Think about that.


Thelma Alberts

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 20, 2014:

You are very welcome vespawoolf. I know, every now and then I browsed through my old videos like this one in Puerto Princesa just to have a bit of relaxation by looking at it. Thanks for your visit as well.

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 20, 2014:

Hi MartieCoetser,

I´m so sorry to have missed replying your comment. Thanks for your visit anyway. Happy New Year 2014! I need this kind of holiday again. Take care.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 19, 2014:

I came back by to browse through your photos of Puerto Princesa. What a beautiful place! I feel like I've just taken an exotic vacation. Thank you for sharing.

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on May 14, 2013:

Hi dionm! Thanks for stopping by. I´m sure you´ll love the Underground River in Puerto Princesa and besides that you can go island hopping there if you like. Have a great day!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on May 14, 2013:

Absolutely awesome! Your pictures and videos and narration make this hub a fantastic instant-holiday in the mind of a reader.

Voted up and awesome :)

Dion. from Somewhere on Earth. on May 14, 2013:

Hi Thelma, I thought I'd stop by and read some of your work. This place looks amazing! I'm a fan of destinations with fun, sun and nature. I think you've just added a destination to my bucket list. Thanks for sharing.

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on March 09, 2013:

Happy weekend Vinaya! I hope you will be able to visit the Philippines and your friends someday. Thanks for giving a nice comment. Take care;-)

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on March 08, 2013:


many people from Nepal travel to Philippines to study and travel. I have some friends there, and I hope to travel some day. Thanks for this great travel article.

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on February 27, 2013:

Hi unknown spy! For me, chocolate hills of Bohol, Baguio and other beautiful places in the Philippines are still on my "to go" list. I hope you will have a sister bonding in and at the Underground River. Thanks for stopping by.

DragonBallSuper on February 26, 2013:

The underground river and the chocolate hills of bohol are the topnotchers on my list too.. i am from phils but never been to this place..only baguio and northern Luzon part :) But hopefull after my sister graduated from college, we'll have some sister bonding and go to this palces...

this is one great experience!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on February 19, 2013:

Yes, indeed. It was so relaxing and a beautiful nature to visit. I just wish, there were not many tourists there. Thanks for stopping by.

Elena from London, UK on February 18, 2013:

It's looks like a very relaxing/natural/beautiful place to visit. Thanks for sharing the video and photos.

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on February 09, 2013:

Hi Jason,

Thanks for your visit. I appreciate that. I´m sure you will like the Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Besides this awesome place, you can visit more of the other tourist attractions and of course the beautiful beaches there while having island hoping. Have a nice day;-)

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on February 09, 2013:

Hi Peggy,

Thanks for dropping by and giving a wonderful comment. It´s a pleasure for me to share the beauty of the Philippines. You know, I live more years in Germany than in the Philippines that I still have to explore more about the interesting and awesome nature of my home country. Thanks for sharing, too. Have a great sunday;-)

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on February 09, 2013:

Wow, this place is awesomely beautiful. Love all of your pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 09, 2013:

This was one mesmerizing trip. Nature at her best and you have captured the beauty of it all so well in the pictures and video.

Thanks for sharing this, Thelma. Voted up, beautiful and sharing.

Jason Matthews from North Carolina on February 09, 2013:

This is amazing. I would love to visit the Underground River someday! Thanks for sharing--voted up!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 09, 2013:

Hi Thelma,

I just spent a lot of time watching the videos and viewing your wonderful photos and reading about the Underground River at Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Phillippines. What a fabulous site! Thank you so much for taking us along on your journey to this natural site. The hotel and grounds where you stayed also looked great. All the votes except funny on this hub plus definitely sharing. This would be a delight to experience in person!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on February 05, 2013:

Thank you kingkos. I´m sure you will love the place. Thanks for stopping by.

kingkos on February 04, 2013:

Kababayan got a nice hub! I want go there with my family so beautiful the picture you post.

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 28, 2013:

Hi ryanjhoe! Nice meeting you here in HP. The place is really awesome. I hope one day you can go there. Thanks for stopping by.

ryanjhoe from Somewhere over the rainbow on January 28, 2013:

Wow! I'm speechless, the place looks beautiful and stunning. I live in North Celebes that basically near Philippines, I hope I can reach that place someday! Thanks for the info, love it! and voted up!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 11, 2013:

Thanks for stopping by Nell. Have a lovely weekend!

Nell Rose from England on January 11, 2013:

Absolutely awesome! I would love to go there! How lovely, voted up!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 11, 2013:

Thank you too, Eddy. You are always welcome to visit my hubs and I do appreciate your comments. Have a lovely weekend!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 11, 2013:

Yes, we did have a great adventure. It was really fun seeing those beautiful creations of our nature. Enjoy your visit to one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in the World. I´m sure you´ll like what you see. Thanks for sharing this hub to others, iguidenetwork. Have a lovely weekend!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 10, 2013:

Thanks for your comment randomcreative. You are always welcome to stop by. Happy New Year 2013!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 10, 2013:

Thank you Ann. Have a great day!

Eiddwen from Wales on January 10, 2013:

Thank you Thelma for sharing this well presented and interesting hub. Here's to so many more to share on here.


iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on January 09, 2013:

You must have had a great adventure going there, Thelma. Great photos and a video, which makes me feel that I am too riding in a boat ride and admiring all those limestone cliffs in and around the sea. One day we should visit one of the new seven wonders of the world.

Voted up, awesome/beautiful and shared. :)

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 09, 2013:

What an amazing experience! Thanks for sharing your stunning photos and interesting stories with us.

Ann on January 09, 2013:


Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 08, 2013:

Thank you for stopping by and for giving a wonderful comment, prasetio. I appreciate that. Have a great day.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on January 08, 2013:

Wow....beautiful. I really enjoy this virtual travel to the awesome underground river, Puerto Princesa. I also enjoy the video as well. Thanks for share with us. Voted up!


Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 08, 2013:

Thank you onlinecashdigest. Our country is beautiful and there are loads of places to visit and explore. Thanks for stopping by.

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 08, 2013:

Thank you drbj for your wonderful comment. I appreciate that. It´s always a pleasure to talk to you virtually. I hope you had a good start this year. Take care;-)

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 08, 2013:

Thank you Bas. I hope you´re all in good health. Take care and regards to your family.

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 08, 2013:

Happy New Year billybuc. I´m sure there are many in USA. That would be a great fun for you visiting them. Thanks for stopping by.

onlinecashdigest from Manila, Philippines on January 08, 2013:

Your Hub is awesome! Good promotion for the Philippines and the Palawan province! :)

drbj and sherry from south Florida on January 08, 2013:

What a fascinating underground river to visit, Thelma. Thanks for this outstanding introduction and the videos. I felt as if I was there with you and was reaching to make sure my helmet was in place on my head when all those bats and birds started flying around overhead.

Bastinck from The Netherlands on January 08, 2013:

A nice hub, as you always make them. Nice photo's. Keep up the good work.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 08, 2013:

Such a great experience. There are some huge underground rivers in the United States; most of us aren't even aware that they are there. This was a fun hub.

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