Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

Puerto Princesa Underground River + DIY Tour

When my Tito asked me to book for Puerto Princesa, the Underground River was the first that came into my mind. I've always wanted to go here because the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, and voted as a New7Wonders of Nature in 2012. It was all over the news, magazines, and books when I was still a kid and coming here is like a dream come true to me. 

My Tito's sister lives in Puerto Princesa so our accommodation was not a problem. I've researched for quite some time about the local agency tours and DIY tours but I was not really able to find an updated guide for a DIY tour. So we took the risk, thinking it might be cheaper since Tita Edith has cars that we can use as our transpo.

First, we went to the City Coliseum to get a permit at the PPUR Booking Office. THIS IS A MUST. For walk-ins, you need to be there personally and you will need to bring one valid ID. We waited for a few minutes to get our clearance. We paid 5,600 pesos for 9 persons (4 senior citizens). I'm really not sure about the breakdown but I've read that the entrance is 500 pesos while the environmental fee is 150 pesos. 

We saw these flight of doves outside the City Coliseum. There are a lot of them!

Travel time from the City Coliseum to Sabang Boat Terminal is 1 hour and 30 minutes. I didn't expect that it would be that far. Haha! We arrived there past 10am.

So this is the Sabang Boat Terminal. It is where you book for a boat that will take you to the Underground River. The maximum capacity of one boat is 8 persons. We were 9 and they are strict with their rules so we booked two boats for 2,200 pesos. That would be 1,100 per boat / 244.44 per person. 

Travel time from Sabang Boat Terminal to the Underground River is 10 to 15 minutes. We were glad that it is not that crowded when we got there. We didn't wait long enough. I've watched vlogs and read articles. Most of them say that the queue going to the Underground River is long. June is maybe the best time to go there and we went there on a weekday. 

I didn't take a lot of photos during this trip because I was scared that my camera might get wet. Haha! There are droplets of water from the cave and sometimes from the bat so it is better to be safe than sorry. Haha! My phone was in a waterproof case but it doesn't take good photos in dark places so meh. No photos. Haha! 

That cave behind us is the entrance. Life vests, protective hats, and audio device guide are given before the tour. 

Fun Fact:
In 2010, a group of environmentalists and geologists discovered that the underground river has a second floor, which means that there are small waterfalls inside the cave. They also found a cave dome measuring 300 m (980 ft) above the underground river, rock formations, large bats, a deep water hole in the river, more river channels, and another deep cave, as well as marine creatures and more. Deeper areas of the underground river are almost impossible to explore due to oxygen deprivation.

The whole Underground River tour is approximately 45 minutes. Their tour guides are very friendly and funny. It adds up why this experience is extraordinary. After our marvelous tour, we went back to Sabang Boat Terminal and looked for a restaurant for lunch. It was past 1pm when we went back and we were really hungry. Haha. We found one restaurant with a buffet lunch for 200 pesos per person. The food was just okay for me.

After our lunch, we walked around Sabang Beach and Sheridon. Btw, wear comfy clothes. Wear shorts and slippers.

Total Expense Breakdown For 9 persons
5,600 pesos (4 senior citizens)
2,200 pesos for 2 boats
1,800 pesos for buffet lunch (200 pesos per person)
1,066 pesos per person total (estimate only)

Prices vary from tour agencies. Our DIY tour was definitely the cheapest. One factor is the transpo. It was a really great help. However, I do not advise you to commute via bus though. The buses have no fixed schedule for departure since they need to fill up all the seats first. You may check the vans if you want to commute. You may check this post for the rates and how to commute to Sabang. The cheapest tour that I could find is from Klook's Underground River Tour which is just for 1,570 per person pesos and it is already all in. Their tour is the closest as our DIY tour. Other travel agencies charge between 2,000 pesos to 2,500 pesos.

I am so happy to tick this off my bucket list. I also intend not to take photos inside so people will be curious and go there personally. I really recommend that you visit this place at least once in your life especially my fellow Filipino people. This is our pride and it is such a memorable experience. I am thankful to Papa God for creating such a historical place like this here especially that it is here in my country.


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