Underground River!!

Got woken up this morning at 6:23 am to “Ma’am? Your breakfast is ready.” Bread & butter, ham, and an egg awaited me out in the lovely little courtyard just like every morning, but unlike every other morning it started raining. This is not a good sign for the day. It rained so much last night, I figured it would be done by this morning.

These are what the taxis look like in Palawan… Definitely not the smoothest ride, but fun!

Gerald (the driver for today) picked me up at 7:15 am and then we headed to pick up the other 4 people going along on the tour today. The Underground River was about a 2 hour drive away from Puerto Princessa City. We made a pit stop at about the halfway point at a little shop on the side of the road. I wasn’t interested in buying anymore souvenirs, so I was just walking around. Then I discovered a staircase that went up to a little porch filled with wind chimes and looked out to a gorgeous view of one of the bays (I forgot the name) below. It was so cool to listen to when the wind came through! It was such a nice and peaceful place, that is until everyone else came up to see what I’d discovered. Haha and of course when I wanted to take a video of all the wind chimes making their lovely noises, the wind stopped.

As we were driving along, we saw the “Avatar” rock. They call it this because it looks so much like the floating rocks in the movie Avatar.

Are we on Pandora?!

Ugong Rock & Ziplining

Our little group with our driver, Gerald!

Then we made another stop at Ugong Rock! It was this HUGE cave-like rock, so you had to walk through all these cool rock formations. We could see where erosion had occurred on the rock when it used to be covered by the sea. Towards the end of our Ugong Rock adventure, we got to try what they call “spelunking.” (I’m pretty sure spelunking in the US is repelling down into caves, not climbing up a rock while holding two ropes and having 5 people telling you were to step every inch of the way up. Lol) Also, our driver Gerald (Who was really cool! We talked for most of the ride.) took it upon himself to be my own personal photographer. I like to have pictures of myself, but I don’t need a picture taken of myself every 30 seconds. Haha.

Ready to go!

And we’re off!

Another picture taken by my own personal photographer!

“Spelunking” up through the cave!

Gerald & Me!

Then at the very end, we went ziplining!! It is the fastest zipline in the Philippines at 75 meters high, 365 meters long, and it only takes 21 seconds! It was fun!! I would have enjoyed it a lot more had it not been for the harness rubbing against my awful sunburn. Very painful!

A nice little ride down!

I did it!!

Underground River

Our next stop was the Underground River!! We had to wait for a little bit for our tour guide to register us and then wait for our turn to get on the motorized boat to take us to the beach. While we were waiting under the ten for our boat, I was sitting by the edge of the tent and I felt a couple raindrops. I didn’t want my camera to get wet at all so I moved in towards the middle of the tent. Not even 30 seconds after I moved in more that a torrential downpour was upon us!! Wow! It was intense! And then it stopped for a little bit and started back up again. It continued like this all day. That kind of put a damper on things. The old Filipino couple that was with us bought little plastic ponchos for everybody! Awesome people!

Not too bad of a view while we wait…

We finally got our turn for the motorized boat. It took us along the coast and dropped us off on a beach. Then we walked through the woods/jungle for a little bit to a little lagoon where the entrance to the Underground River was. First we had to put on these hard hats and bright orange life jackets over our big plastic raincoats… New York Fashion Week, here we come!!

Dressed to the nines!

The water outside the cave and going into the cave is this weird green color. I was told it turns that color when salt water meets fresh water. Then we hopped in another boat propelled by manpower! There was a guide on each boat that told you all about everything inside the cave as he worked the oars.

And our journey begins!

The inside of the cave was unbelievable!! Some parts of the cave ceiling were really high up, and I think they said the highest point in the cave is 65 meters above sea level. There were bats flying EVERYWHERE!! Luckily we didn’t get dropped on. Our guide said there is lots of diversity, as far as animals go, in and around the cave. He noted that there are lots of eels in the water. The rock formations were really cool. One looked like Jesus’s face with his left eye covered. We also saw the backside of a “naked lady” and a vegetable garden. One portion of the cave had lots of formations that looked much like vegetables. There were also some different colors of rock throughout the cave. So unbelievable! Hope you enjoy the pictures…

Entering the cave…

The Underground River…

and more…

A really big rock formation…

In the dome, where the highest point is about 65 meters above sea level!

Some funky rock formations!

and some more!

The view from just inside looking out!

We also got to see some monkeys jumping around…

Monkey see… Food?

This just makes me laugh every time I watch it…

Haha here we go!

Waiting for our boat to go back…

The Underground River is under St. Paul’s Mountain. It’s called that because the peak of the mountain looks very much like his nose and the other smaller peaks make up the forms for the rest of his face. Beautiful!

St. Paul’s Face!

After we got back  to the registration office, we walked over to a little place for an “All you can eat” buffet lunch. It was pretty good! I had a full plate of rice, noodles, egg rolls, some sort of meat/veggie mix, and dried banana chips. Everyone was giving me a hard time because I didn’t get seconds. Their first reaction was “Diet?” Haha is it a crime to only eat 1 full plate of food?? There was a sign on the front of the restaurant saying “No Leftover Policy. 200 Peso Penalty.” Haha that’s awesome!

When I got back to the van, we had to wait a little while for the others. They must have gone off shopping or something. While we were waiting, Gerald gave me some gifts “to remember him by.” (I think he fell in love. Haha) he gave me a Love Pearl necklace. A oyster is in a can and you have to open the oyster yourself (no easy task when all you have is a bobby pin in your room) to get the pearl out. My pearl was white, which is a symbol for good health. Then the pearl goes in a heart-shaped cage on a necklace. He also gave me a key chain with a little turquoise and pink man on it. Then he played love songs all the way back to Puerto Princessa City, which may I remind you is a 2 hour drive!

Gifts from Gerald!

My last full day in Palawan was wonderful!!! 

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