Underground River

After being chosen as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature on November 2011, Puerto Princesa Subterranean National Park, also known as the Puerto Princesa Underground River, began gaining more attention as a tourist attraction in the City of Puerto Princesa.

Signage at the park

In the year 2010, a group of geologists and environmentalists visited the underground river and found out that it has a ‘second floor’ which means that the cave has small waterfalls. Aside from that, these researchers also found a 300m/ 980ft cave dome above the underground river, rock formations, large bats, a deep water hole in the river, more river channels, another deep cave and many other marine creatures.

The Underground River reaches up to 24 km (15 mi) long where 8.2 km (5.1 mi) is composed of the section from Cabayugan River that goes through the cave before flowing directly into the Western Philippine Sea and can be explored by boat for up to 4.3 km (2.7 mi) from the sea. Aside from the river itself, another highlight for the tourists is the various stalactite and stalagmite formations that have been naturally molded inside the cave as years passed.

Aside from the wonders of the cave, the Puerto Princesa Underground River also has a karst mountain landscape and a ‘full mountain-to-the-sea ecosystem’ and has some of the most important forests in Asia.

Inside the cave

Flora and Fauna

The park has a range of forest formations representing eight of the thirteen forest types found in tropical Asia and has 800 plant species from 300 genera and 100 families including at least 295 trees dominated by the ‘dipterocarp’ species.

It is not only the ‘Flora’ of the area that is rich with various species, it’s ‘Fauna’ composed of animals from birds to mammals to reptiles and fishes also makes the Underground River more interesting.

The park has a total of 165 species out of the 252 species of birds known to occur in Palawan. Some of these birds are a Blue-naped parrot, Tabon scrub fowl, hill myna, Palawan hornbill, and the white-breasted sea eagle. Certainly a great place for bird watchers, right?

Mangrove Forest

According to records, the park also has some 30 mammal species which are most often observed in forest canopies and along the shoreline feeding during the low tide.

Pathway leading to the cave

Some of these mammals are a long-tailed macaque, bearded pig, Bearcat, Palawan stink badger, and Palawan porcupine.

Monitor lizards also roam around the area freely but they are not the only reptiles to wander about in the area. There are actually 19 species of reptiles identified in the area where eight of which are endemic. These reptiles include large predators like the common reticulated python, the green crested lizard, and what was mentioned earlier, monitor lizards.

Nine species of bats are found inside the cave along with two species of swiftlets and whip spider. Sea cows and hawksbill sea turtles that feed on the coastal areas of the park also occurs in the area.


Tour Underground River



A tour to the river will take up a whole starting with a two – hour ride from Puerto Princesa to Sabang. Followed by short boat ride from the wharf to the Sabang Beach, the entrance to the Underground River, and then the actual boat ride going inside the cave.

Each group of tourists will have an assigned boatman with a paddle boat equipped with a searchlight.

Cruise inside the cave

Aside from paddling the boat for tourists, the boatman will also serve as the tour guide inside the cave giving the tourists the background and necessary details about the eye candies of the cave, specifically the stalactite and stalagmite formations.

However, it’s not just the formations that could catch people’s attention inside the cave, occasionally, bats and swiftlets would fly over the tourists inside the cave, making noises. A ‘must see’ inside the cave aside from the formations is an area called ‘cathedral‘ reaching up to 800 meters in height.

The national park is a protected area of the Philippines located 80 km (50 mi) north of the City of Puerto Princesa. The national park is located in the Saint Paul Mountain Range and is bordered by St. Paul Bay to the north and the Babuyan River to the east.

Aside from having a boat ride to get to the entrance of Sabang, tourists may opt to have a short hike for them to get more exposure to the natural beauty that the area possesses.

For photographers who enjoy having species from the wild as their subject, choosing to hike to the park’s entrance would definitely be a good choice and would surely be worth your time.

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 before it was chosen as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. A place definitely worth visiting.

You can visit Puerto Princesa Subterranean National Park with Underground River Tour

Beach at Underground River Park

Getting There

From Puerto Princesa

-Public Transportation: Lexxus operates daily shuttle van service from Puerto Princesa to Sabang. The journey usually takes around 2 hours.

-Private Transfer: Private van is the quickest and least hassle way to get from Puerto Princesa Sabang (Underground River)
Click here to book the private van

From El Nido

-Public Transportation: It’s possible to travel by shuttle van from El Nido to Sabang although there is no a direct link. Lexxus operates a shuttle van service from El Nido to Salvation Junction to connect with the shuttle van going from Puerto Princesa to Sabang. The journey from El Nido to Sabang usually take around 5-6 hours, plus the stop in Salvation.

-Private Transfer: Private van is the quickest and least hassle way to get from El Nido to Sabang.
Click here to book the private van


From Port Barton

-Public Transportation: With no direct link between Port Barton and Sabang, shuttle vans are via Salvation Junction. Get Recaro or Nature Island that go to Puerto Princesa and ask to be dropped at Salvation, where you can catch the connecting shuttle van Luxxus to Sabang. The journey is about 3 hours and 30 minutes, plus the stop in Salvation.

-Private Transfer: Private van is the quickest and least hassle way to get from Port Barton to Sabang
Click here to book the private van


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