Monday, August 30, 2010

Puerto Princesa: Sabang and the Underground River

Sabang Town, on the outskirts of Puerto Princesa around two hours drive from the city, looks like the usual small fishing village I have seen a number of times throughout the country. It has one teeny tiny difference, though. It has a UNESCO World Heritage Site under its belt.

Sabang

The entrance to Palawan's Underground River National Park is located in a cove about 30 minutes by boat from Sabang Beach. The beach is on the side of Palawan facing the South China Sea, definitely a much bigger body of water than the Sulu Sea. Naturally, this is the part of the province that gets the gloomy weather.

Sabang

We arrived at Sabang Beach around lunch time. Restaurants line the beach, so this is where most, if not all, visitors to the river would have their midday meal. It was around this time, though, when our luck in the weather department run out. It had been cloudy earlier but we were still counting on sunny weather, obviously a little foolish, looking back. It did not stop people from swimming on the wide beautiful beach, though.

Sabang

Most locals tell us that their rains usually last for just about one to two hours a day. Some part of me did not believe them. But impeccably so, the rains did stop after about an hour, allowing some of us to get out our cameras and try to capture Palawan's rainy day charm.

Sabang


Sabang


Sabang

It started raining again when we arrived at the registration desk of the Underground River National Park, forcing me to keep my non-waterproof camera inside its waterproof bag and then wrapping that with plastic bags. I knew I was pushing it still hoping I was going to take pictures of the site.

No, I did not take the risk. Which is okay really. I doubt I would have been able to capture the enormity of what I was experiencing under that limestone mountain anyway.

In fact, I don't think I have seen a travel show capture the sights in and around that river. The caverns you would be passing through while on the 45-minute boat ride were just too grand to be photographed or filmed by any ordinary equipment. It is a sight to behold. And it is a must-do activity, touristy as it is, not just in Palawan but in the country.


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