..permit to Underground.
Most Filipinos and probably all residents of Puerto Princesa knows that The Underground River just went out of the provisional list of The New 7 Wonders of Nature and is now an official ‘Wonder of Nature’.
Due to the influx of people visiting the site, the Park and the staffs encountered some problems. A park staff once told me that everyday (on her duty), arguing with tourists (local and foreign) is a regular thing. If a day passed without a single argument between the staffs and the visitors.. then something must be wrong.
Usually, the root of all the arguments is the “No Permit, No Entry” policy of the park. Apparently, even though the Underground River is widely known, the tourists have no idea that they need to have a permit to enter the cave.
The official site of the UR (underground River) also had that policy but they’re not very specific on the location of the booking office. So, even though I also don’t know the exact address of the Underground River Booking Office, I’ll tell you where to find it.
The booking office is on the left side (if you’re from the airport and it’s not that far) along Rizal Avenue. You can’t miss it. It is near the Badjao Inn, like next door to it. It looks like this:
Don’t worry about getting lost or anything because Rizal Avenue is like the main street in Puerto Princesa. Along this avenue you’ll see restaurants, inns, bars, banks, ATMs.
You can either walk from the airport (the other end of Rizal Ave starts from the airport) or if you have a lot of luggage you can hire a tricycle to drop you by the booking office. I suggest securing a permit first before going to other tourist locations like El Nido.
If you availed a tour package with tour guides and everything, the agency will handle it so no worries.
There are two ways to get to the cave. One is by a boat (30 minutes ride) or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take the trails (Monkey Trail and Jungle Trail). The trails also need a permit but you can get it at the Sabang Info office.
I’ve been told that the Jungle Trail is a bit more ‘challenging’ than the Monkey Trail but I haven’t tried it yet.
The Jungle trail (my friends and I took it the last time we went to the UR) consists of a lot of wooden stairs. You see stairs going up, then you see more stairs going up, then a lot more, and a lot more.. you’d think it wouldn’t end but it does.
It is tiring though, and my legs ached the next morning.
Also, visitors are advised not to bring any plastic bags inside the park (or you can store them in your backpacks) in case you want a game of tug-of-war with a monkey or monkeys for that matter.
If you take the trails, you’ll see stuff like this:
So, if you’re going to visit Palawan, bring a camera, don’t forget the permit and hope you enjoy. 🙂