Day 2: Sabang Island and the Subterranean River
A beautiful boat ride to Sabang. Feels quite isolated to get there, but is actually a reasonably popular place to visit.
After being dropped off the island we had to walk through a jungle trail populated by wild monkeys & geckos. The guide told us to make sure we had no food item before going through the jungle because the monkeys are sometimes hungry. I had woken up really early that day to get started for the trip to Sabang and had wrapped my half eaten Pan De Sal (local bread roll) in toilet paper (as you do) and placed it in my bag for later. I had forgotten all about it of course by the time we got to Sabang and proceeded down the jungle trail, when within a few minutes a wild monkey had grabbed my bag, unzipped it and taken the bread roll out. I was scared from the unexpected experience of having to wrestle my bag from a monkey and Craig had tried to shoo it away. It bared it teeth at him, made an awful sound and ran away with his loot. He was harmless really and was just focused on getting my/his breakfast.
The river that is open to the public is about 1.5 kiloetres long, which we paddled through in the dark with the use of strong flashlights/floodlights. But the actual river itself goes even longer underground the mountain/cave – some 8 kiloetres long, and unsafe for people to go to. There were constant drips of water which the guide told us were bat droppings. We saw, heard and smelt the bats constantly – which wasn’t really terrible because it was more of a faint scent rather than something putrid. At the highest point the ceiling of the cave looked like looking up a cathedral ceiling. Artists in the past used to talk about the sublime, when faced by something extraordinary that leaves them in awe. We felt a bit like that.
Tourism is carefully monitored in Palawan & eco everything is taken very seriously. The tourguides at the river itself are very well trained and are also members of the local tribe from the area. Would recommend this place to visit for Filipinos and foreigners alike.
The Underground River Palawan is a UNESCO & World Heritage Site and considered one of the new 7 wonders of the world.