Monday, July 8, 2013

What's lurking underground? (Archive)

19 February 2011. Palawan.

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is one of the most distinguished protected areas of the Philippines. It is located some 360 miles southwest of Manila, the country’s political and economic capital. It was established as a National Park in 1971primarily to protect and preserve the intact old growth forest, interesting wildlife, pristine white sand beaches, unspoiled natural beauty and one of the most impressive caves systems in the world.
The Park features a spectacular limestone or karst mountain landscape. It contains an 8.2 km long underground river that flows directly to the sea. The lower half of the river is brackish and subject to the oceans tide. A subterranean river flowing directly into the sea and the associated tidal influence makes it the most unique natural phenomenon of its type to exist. The presence of 11 minerals, scientifically and aesthetically unique speleothems, and a 20 million year old Serenia fossil embedded in the walls of the cave justifies the declaration of the Puerto Princesa Underground River as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
The global significance of the Park is recognized by its designation as a World Heritage Site, a Biosphere Reserve, a Ramsar Site, and an Important Bird Area. Inclusion to these prestigious lists confirms the outstanding universal value of the Park that deserves to be conserved for the benefit of the present and future generations. The Park managed by the City Government of Puerto Princesa thru a multi sector Protected Area Management Board (PAMB). It has the distinction of being the first national park devolved and successfully managed by a local government unit. Under the dynamic leadership of Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn, the Site has become a model for effective protected area management and sustainable tourism in the Philippines (lifted from site).

I was terribly excited to finally have a glimpse of the country's entry to the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Unfortunately, my point-and-shoot could not effectively capture the formations inside the cave. What made the boat ride fun were the funny antics and stories of our boatman, who would always warn us not to gaze at the formations above us with our mouths open because of the abundance of bats in the area.

Images of the underground:



In reaching the underground, we rode a boat towards the island where the attraction was located. Upon arrival, we had to walk through a trail, what they call the monkey trail, and waited for our turn to explore the underground river. Apparently, only few boats at a time are allowed inside. After the exploration, we were whisked off to one of the resorts (I forgot which) along the shore where we had lunch.


After our underground adventure, we were back at the City where we sampled Puerto Princesa's famous halo-halo at Nokinocs and had a sumptuous dinner at Ka Lui's.