Just a one-hour plane ride from Manila is the island province of Palawan. Its capital is Puerto Princesa City (Princes of Ports). Palawan is known as the last frontier of the Philippines and is also known as the country’s cleanest and greenest city.
Last summer, my officemates and I went to Puerto Princesa for a tour of its well-known Subterranean River National Park.
The trip to the underground river takes about two hours through a rough and winding road. A stopover gave us a glimpse of what to expect from the beaches of Palawan. After the long and bumpy trip, we arrived at Sabang Beach. This is the jump off point to the famous Subterranean River National Park. We were then treated to breathtaking views, rock formations, and crystal clear waters during the whole 30-minute boat ride to the river park.
Tip: Monkeys and monitor lizards steal food and plastic bags from unsuspecting tourists so don’t let
them see you put food/plastic in your bags because they will also snatch it from you. Haha!
Tour guides/boatmen will take you inside the underground river. They like to crack jokes so I’m sure you won’t get bored during the 8.2km tour. Inside, you will see magnificent stalactites and stalagmites which resemble vegetables, dinosaur feet, mushrooms, a sexy lady, and more! The highlight of the tour is the majestic “Cathedral” a 100ft tall chamber.
After the tour we enjoyed a nice eat-all-you-can buffet near the beach with fresh coconut juice for P300 ($6). I had to try one of Palawan’s delicacies known as “tamilok” or wood worm and costs P50 ($1) for a small bag. I was the only one who was brave enough to eat those “worms” because they do not look appetizing at all haha… It is best served as “kinilaw” (dipped in vinegar and onions) – similar to ceviche, and downed with ice-cold beer. The locals told me that the wood worms taste like oysters, well it does taste like oysters so, phew! I thought it would taste like wood haha…
After all the worm eating and slurping we headed back to the city tired and exhausted but carrying with us great memories of the tour.
If you’re new to the place, just drop by the the local tourism office for details about the trip and don’t be scared to ask the locals for directions because they are very friendly and will wholeheartedly help you :)