Underground River: From Dream To Reality

Words cannot completely describe how breathtaking Palawan is. Visiting and witnessing how blessed this island is was exceedingly different from merely viewing the photos on the Internet and magazines or hearing others rave about it. Preserved forests, lush green, delicious seafood, fresh air and hospitable residents were a sight to behold. All my senses were tickled. Together with the willing as well as the adventurous people in tow, my dream to visit Palawan had been realized!

I was amazed by the strong sound of the waves while we were having our lunch beside the seashore. It has been many, many years since I last witnessed this spectacular scene though I admit, I am not fond of any water sports. It was also a great experience to be pushed on the sand which was quite a challenge but seemingly manageable.

If you'll look closely at the same picture, you'll observe a face (side view) in supine position atop the mountain. Our tour guide shared that they call this as "the sleeping giant's nose." And when you're inside the cave, this spot is also the highest point. Similarly, the real adventure began once I was transported to the motorized boat with my chair while being carried by four strong boatmen!

The brief ride made the experience more fun due to the rolling waves which compelled me to hold onto my chair tightly. But I realized to simply let go and enjoy the ride akin to a roller coaster. Once I learned to relax myself, the more enjoyable it was while the strong wind welcomed us. We got wet a few times due to the waves that splashed towards the boat yet it entertained and amused us.

Finally, after another series of lifting, of pushing my chair towards the river on the wooden planks that created a pathway and the ride on the paddle boat; I was certain that I will be seeing the natural world heritage site very soon!

After typhoon Glenda and Henry made a landfall simultaneously, I prayed real hard to the Heaven for a fine weather and it was answered! And as the boatman continued to paddle our way towards the entrance of the cave, the foul smell from the bat's droppings got stronger. But all that disappeared as I  allowed myself to be engulfed with this amazing cave, with the numerous swallows I saw flying freely, the thousands of bats nestled on the cave's ceiling and the wondrous rock formations. It was simply unbelievable!

The 45-minute tour inside the cave was altogether an eerie and an enchanting experience. The boatman made the tour seemingly fun by injecting humor as he narrated the many historical facts about it. Unfortunately it was difficult to capture its interior because it was dark and the trip was supported by a single light so we could witness how the hands of our good Lord created this spectacular place admired by both the tourists and the locals.

I was mesmerized and bewitched by its grandeur and beauty... and I now understand why UNESCO recognized the Underground River in Palawan a natural world heritage!

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