Saturday, June 15, 2013

Underground River of Puerto Princesa, Palawan: I Explored One of the Wonders of the World!

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Have you been to Palawan? If you have, what was your first destination? Were you able to go island hopping? Have you experienced snorkeling?

Puerto Princesa in Palawan is one of the beautiful places in the Philippines. Puerto Princesa (or Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa) is a city located in the western provincial island of Palawan, Philippines. Though the provincial seat of government for Palawan, the city itself is one of 38 independent cities within the Philippines not controlled by the province in which it is geographically located and is therefore an independent area located within Palawan.

Puerto Princesa is a popular tourist city with many beach resorts and seafood restaurants. It has been acclaimed several times as the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines.The most popular tourist destination of which is the Underground River acclaimed as now among a new wonders of the world.

Trying their zip line is a fun and exciting activity. If you haven’t been there, would you like to know what Palawan is like without the need of going there?

Last May 27, 2013, I was given the opportunity to spend my holy week in the beautiful city of Puerto Princesa. Here you will experience a lot of fun activities. The people welcomed us warmly. They were all friendly and kind to us as well as to our fellow guests.

On our first day we went island hopping and snorkeling. During our island hopping, we were able to visit the breathtaking beaches of Palawan. We were only able to visit three beaches. We went snorkeling on the first beach we visited. We took pictures of the colorful coral reefs and fishes underwater.

On our second day we had a two-hour drive and a ten-minute boat ride to their famous Underground River. We saw a lot of stalagmites and stalactites during our tour. There were also amazing rock formations. We saw rocks in the form of Mama Mary, Jesus Christ, the Titanic and different vegetables. It was dark and scary, but still I enjoyed the whole time I was exploring the Underground River.

This subterranean river is the longest navigable underground river in the world. It features a limestone karst mountain landscape and many stalactites and stalagmites formations.

"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 Park also contains a full mountain to sea ecosystems and protects forests that are important for biodiversity conservation. It is a representative of Palawan Moist Forests, which are among the most significant in Asia, and is noted for high levels of regional and local endemism. The Site serves as habitat to numerous endangered, rare and endemic wildlife species. In the coastal area, mangroves, sea grass beds and coral reefs are found.

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.

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a source of pride and a key element in the identity of the people of Puerto Princesa in particular and of the Philippines as a whole. It is a symbol of commitment by the Filipino people in the global efforts to conserve our natural heritage."

The scariest part of the day was trying their zip line. Before riding it you must climb a cave and there is no other way of getting down but to ride a zip line. You have two choices on what position you would take while riding the zip line, one is sitting and the other one was making the superman position.

I chose the superman position. It was frightening and exciting at the same time. It makes you want to ride once more.

On our last day in the city, we had a city tour which ended at noon. We visited the Crocodile Farm, Baker’s Hill, and more beautiful places in the city. And on our last night we ate in the famous KaLui Restaurant, which is known as the best restaurant in Puerto Princesa. Before leaving Palawan we attended mass in a little chapel early in the morning.

Puerto Princesa was an exciting and fun experience. I have a lot of memories for me to cherish for the rest of my life. I was able to try new and weird things too. I am thankful for the opportunity to spend those three special days with my family. Because of this trip I can finally say that I have explored Puerto Princesa Palawan!

Contributed by Maria Christine Tuazon

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