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Palawan: Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

Located 80 kilometers north of the city center of Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a protected area that had recently brought not only Palawan but also the country into International spotlight. 

Famously known as Puerto Princesa Underground River (due to the shorter and easier to memorize name) or PPUR, this national park is actually found on the western coast of the Saint Paul Mountain Range, hence its other name St. Paul's Underground River Cave.
Here we go!
get ready for your boat ride!
La familia enjoying the boat ride (gets rough at times)
This is the drop off point...
Who wouldn't recognize this cave?

A quick family picture near the beach
Stay there bro!
Passing through the registration area...
Careful these monkeys would love to take your stuff...
Can you read it?
Spot the bats
Let's go!
check out the blueness of the water...

As I have mentioned, PPUR brought great pride and joy to the nation when it became part of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Prior to that though, it was also declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO on December 4, 1999.
Spot the swiftlets...

I got to visit PPUR with my family when we toured Palawan a few months back. We went there straight from our 4-hour van ride from El Nido. We had to endure an additional 1 and half hour of van ride and when we arrived about half past noon, I was shocked to find that there were still dozens of tourists waiting to board boats to the beach near the mouth of the cave entrance of PPUR. 
What object does this resemble?

We had to detour and try the nearby Mangrove Paddle Tour just to kill time (I will write about that experience on my next blog article). When we got back, we ate in a buffet restaurant near the port first before proceeding to PPUR. After eating, I was happy to find out that we got the port all for ourselves.

Going to the beach near PPUR by boat is a memorable experience but being splashed wet by sea water from the few big waves is an even more memorable experience. Before boarding the boat, we were briefed and warned about the free roaming monkeys in the area near PPUR. They are said to be notorious in stealing colorful things and also bottled juice. I have kept this in mind however, I stupidly failed to hide the milk bottle of my daughter which I placed in the side pocket of my backpack... In the end, it ended in the hands of one of the monkeys. 
Check out those fishes!
The Entrance/Exit
My mom and dad enjoying the trip
What I love about Puerto Princesa Underground River is its boat ride tour. You get to wear these pre-recorded tour guide piece that bombards you with information (in English) about PPUR. Despite having that guide piece plugged to your ear, the boatman would still talk and share his own version of the info injected with well timed humor which for me is better than the recordings. However, I do suggest that foreign tourists be spared from the boatman talks due to the fact that they would not understand the context of most of the jokes plus it's mostly in Filipino. The Singaporean woman who was in our group actually complained that she couldn't understand the recordings because her boatman kept on talking.
Careful! Monkeys ambush tourists walking this path

Overall, you won't actually go the full 24 kilometer length of the underground river. The tour would last about 30-40 minutes and would probably cover only 3-4 kilometers. Despite of this, one would still learn a lot about PPUR by joining this tour. I would highly suggest that visitors should not miss visiting this beautiful place. 

Getting there:

From Puerto Princesa City, you can ride UV express vans that would bring you to the port. You may also opt to rent the van to wait for you to finish the tour and bring you back to the city. 

From the port, ride a boat that will bring you to the beach near the mouth of the river. From there boat rentals complete with guides are available.

Overall ratings


  1. Years ago, I heard that we have to register our name to the local tourism office nearby before entering/joining the tour to this one of 7 wonders. Is it right, Neil?


    1. Hi there George.
      Yes that is sort of a visitor's log.

  2. Very nice place looks enchanted proud Filipino here truly Philippines is the lost garden of Eden

    1. Thank you Giovanni. Please do visit Puerto Princesa Underground River. =)


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