Where To Go In Puerto Princesa: Ugong Rock, Sabang Beach and Underground River

Published on July 03, 2011

Day 1 in Palawan was not as exciting as I anticipated it to be. So Boyet and I made sure that we’d make the most out of Day 2. We availed of the underground river tour being offered by Hotel Fleuris. The tour costs PHP1500/person which includes transportation and lunch. The hotel arranged everything and just informed us the day before of the pick-up time. Our tour guide arrived at 8 in the morning. We finished fetching other tourists after an hour.

Our tour guide Kuya Jun encouraged us to maximize our stopovers because it’s going to be a two-hour drive. We stopped after an hour, bought some snacks, used the restroom and of course took some photos.

DSC_0465First stopover

Kuya Jun kept on talking all throughout our trip. He explains everything we see and shares a lot of interesting stuff about Puerto Princesa. There were no dull moments as he kept on cracking jokes as he talks. I remember somebody asked about the Dos Palmas incident which involved the Abu Sayyaf group. He reassured us by saying, “Wala na pong Abu Sayyaf ngayon dahil marami ng ikabubuhay sa Puerto Princesa. Karamihan po sa kanila tour guides na. Sa katunayan po 'yung driver natin ang dati naming kumander.” Hahahaha!!!

We had another stop before reaching the first destination. We stayed at the viewing deck for a few minutes. Boyet bought a cap while I got myself a cute pink hat.

Another nice thing about Kuya Jun is that he knows how to use a DSLR! Nyaha! We didn’t bring our tripod so all our pictures together were taken by him.

DSC_0470Second stopover

Even before we arrived at Ugong Rock – our first side trip, Boyet’s cousin already discouraged us from climbing. He said that it’s going to be slippery since it rained that morning.

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Another tour guide told Kuya Jun that the zipline is already operational. Kuya Jun told us that there was a conflict with the land owner so it was closed for some time. We were with two college instructors and two other couples who also opted to skip the adventure. Only the four all-girl group was up to the challenge. Kuya Jun told us that it’s probably going to be a 30-minute climb then 20-second zipline. But we were informed that the operation of the zipline ceased again so the girls had no other choice but to go down the hard way.

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While waiting for the girls, Boyet and I had a chat with the two college instructors inside the Ugong Rock Café. It’s a humble café which I believe also serves as the owners’ house. Boyet and I had soda while listening with amazement as the wind blows the wooden chimes hanging all over the house.

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We got a little bored waiting for the others. I think this is one disadvantage of being part of a tour. You don’t have full control of your time. I think we stayed inside the van for another 20-30 minutes waiting for the other girls.

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We arrived at Sabang Beach just in time for lunch. We passed through a long line up of beach resorts including the posh Sheridan Beach Resort. We saw it online and were impressed with how lavish it appears in photos. But its price wasn’t impressive at all! Haha

We stayed at Taraw Resort along with other tourists and tour guides where we all devoured on the buffet lunch. I loved the grilled liempo and kangkong with oyster sauce. Yum yum! :)

Our tour guide gave us an hour to enjoy the beach before heading to the main part of our tour. Some took a dip amidst the scorching sun but most, including Boyet and I, just took advantage of the scenic view of the beach.

DSC_0510The pink hat I bought from our second stopover :)

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At around 1:30, we braved the strong waves and headed to the Underground River. After the 30-minute boat ride and a few minutes of walking along the nature trail, we finally reached the underground river.

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The starting point was a little crowded because there were a lot of tourists. And it’s not even summer break! It was a good thing though that the management is really organized. They ask everybody to register, make sure that tourists wear the proper protective gears and give last-minute instructions.

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Boyet and I were separated from our group since most of the boats can only accommodate 8-10 people. Fortunately, we were seated in front and Boyet was tasked to hold the light.

Kuya Jun told us before heading to the underground river that just in case we look up and feel amazed at the wonders inside the cave, make sure that our lips are closed because only 90% that drops from above is water, the remaining 10% is something that we don’t want to drink. Remember, there are bats inside the cave! :p

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There are different parts of the underground river. There is the cathedral where you can see formations that look like religious figures. There is the market with all the fruits and vegetables. I forgot the other sections. Hehe!

The tour guides are amazing! They know the cave by heart. Their job requires precision because you can only appreciate the formations at certain angles and positions. One miss and the tourists will not be able to see it. I think it is also a requirement that tour guides and bangkeros must have a sense of humor. Kuya Joy, our bangkero, made us laugh a lot of times because of his funny descriptions of the formations. It’s not easy cracking jokes while rowing a boat. They also all join hands in promoting Puerto Princesa and asking for everybody’s help in voting Puerto Princesa Underground River in the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

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We were able to return to our hotel by 6 p.m. It was indeed an excruciating trip. I was already starving and we both stink at the end of the day. But it was all worth it. Not everybody is given the chance to see something as marvelous as the beauty of Puerto Princesa.

I imagined having a laid back honeymoon where we could wake up in the afternoon after a late night walk in the beach. The one we had in Palawan was far from what I imagined. But still, it was awesome! ^_^

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