Underground St. Paul’s River Park, Philippines

Underground River National Park is located on the west coast of Palawan, 81 kilometers from the center of Puerto Princesa. In 1999, it received the status of a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. The scenery of this park is defined by impressive limestone karst landscapes, under which the underground river of the same name flows through the endless labyrinths of the caves of St. Paul. This river has a length of more than 8 kilometers and thus is the longest “navigable” underground river in the world! From an abyss-like opening in a sheer limestone wall at its mouth, it emerges into daylight and flows directly into the South China Sea. Mangrove, lowland and mountain rainforests with their endemic animal species and impressive plant diversity make this park an especially valuable ecosystem, not even considering the underground labyrinths. The starting point for boat trips to the mysterious underground world is usually Sabang. Nestled in a picturesque bay on the slopes of a forested mountain range, this idyllic village offers tasteful accommodations. After a 20-minute boat trip, you will see the entrance to the dungeon: a cave complex chosen by bats, whose corridors, grottoes and halls are covered with bizarre rock formations, giant stone columns and countless stalactites. Those who want to explore the beauty of the coastal and mountain forests can do this by walking through the virgin thickets of the Munky Trail and the Jungle Trail. After a 20-minute boat trip, you will see the entrance to the dungeon: a cave complex chosen by bats, whose corridors, grottoes and halls are covered with bizarre rock formations, giant stone columns and countless stalactites. Those who want to explore the beauty of the coastal and mountain forests can do this by walking through the virgin thickets of the Munky Trail and the Jungle Trail. After a 20-minute boat trip, you will see the entrance to the dungeon: a cave complex chosen by bats, whose corridors, grottoes and halls are covered with bizarre rock formations, giant stone columns and countless stalactites. Those who want to explore the beauty of the coastal and mountain forests can do this by walking through the virgin thickets of the Munky Trail and the Jungle Trail.

Tabon and Quezon caves. Near the small fishing village of Quezon on the west coast of South Palawan are the famous Tabon Grottoes – a giant cave system of more than 200 dungeons. They are considered the cradle of Philippine culture as it is here that the oldest human bone fragments in the country were discovered. According to these remains, the so-called Tabon man inhabited these caves 22,000 years ago. Stone tools and other artifacts have been found nearby, some much older than the bones. Many of these archaeological finds are on display at the Palawan Museum in Puerto Princesa. So far, 29 caves have been explored, 7 of them are accessible to visitors. The outrigger canoe trip from Quezon to the entrance to the caves takes half an hour.

Puerto Princesa. For most travelers, Puerto Princesa is the gateway to Palawan’s wildlife, the first place they see. The provincial capital is located in the heart of the island and covers about 200,000 hectares, stretching from the east to the west coast. Palawan is an important trading center and a major port. About 100 thousand people live in the very center of the city on the east coast. The radiant cleanliness of the city immediately catches the eye: the exemplary attitude of the citizens to the disposal of garbage and the ideal waste management system of the city authorities brought Puerto Princesa awards in the field of environmental protection. In the center is the Palawan Museum with interesting exhibitions on the natural and cultural history of the province.

Honda Bay. Traveling about twelve kilometers from the center of Puerto Princesa heading north, travelers find themselves at Honda Bay, a beach paradise ideal for “jumping” from island to island: there are numerous small islands in the bay with beautiful sandy beaches, surrounded by fantastic dive sites and snorkeling. Untouched coral reefs, impressive in their richness of color and variety of forms, adjoin paradise beaches and turn day trips to these islands into unforgettable adventures. Particularly impressive is the reef located between the islands of Pandan and Kanon, as well as the reef off the coast of Snake Island. There are romantic hotels on the islands of Meara Marina and Starfish. The boat trip from the pier in St. Lourdes to the islands takes 15-20 minutes.

Underground St. Paul's River Park