Friday, March 15, 2013

Going underground

I was worried when we got to Palawan and were told that the Philippines government limits access to the island's famous underground river and that all permits for this week were sold out already, but this turned out to be just artificial tension to make the trip more exciting, as they keep plenty of reserve tickets at the tourist office for walk-in sales.

I was even more excited when we arrived in Sabang and I saw that the subterranean river is classed as one of the New7Wonders of Nature, despite knowing full well that these selections are rigged and arbitrary. But shut up, it's a tick, and along with Jeju Island and Ha Long Bay I've only got four to go now (until they change the list again to honour the other thousands of equally worthy sights around the world).

It was ace.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park,

Beach in Sabang looking dramatically different from left and right
(feel free to imagine the dramatically different soundtracks in your head)

I can see why the government has to limit entry, this place is crowded enough even with 900 people per day (that's the official figure, but they probably squeeze a few more in)

Lethal jagged cliff faces, how I missed you

I was really cautious of the macaques after last time,
but these ones were a lot less confident/insane when it came to grievous assault

We didn't read the small print where we consented to a couple of hours' manual labour,
but I'm glad to do my bit

St. Pauls Underground River Cave.
May bear no relation to the famous decapitated turncoat

We were in charge of the light and electrics, which provided greater stress and freedom to create the perfect striking photos

So it's a shame I've got such a cheap camera, really

The river is 'arguably' (tourism jargon for 'not quite') the longest underground river in the world at 8.2 kilometres, but we could only travel about a mile, enough to see rocks that don't look like the things they're supposed to look like

This one looked like a fish

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