Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The Underground River Tour
i admit it, i am slightly claustrophobic. i have been left inside a freezer (it was turned off, don't worry) for hours as a kid when we were playing hide and seek. well, i was told to stay put no matter what and that's just what i did. masunuring bata. part of our childhood games with my siblings was crawling through a rolled mat (banig) but everytime i'd get to crawl through they would trap me inside and it's just so dark and i could hardly breathe! *shudders*
till now, thinking of being in an enclosed dark place still gives me the shivers. i'd most often find myself gasping for air when a room has no windows or the curtains are fully drawn.
this is one reason why i haven't really tried going inside caves or any more enclosed places.
this is one exception though. i've been to Puerto Princesa several times and though i have shunned the idea of braving the Underground River tour i knew i must have to try it out somehow. i'm not getting any younger after all.
located in Sabang, about 2 hours from the Puerto Princesa proper, the Underground River also known as St. Paul's Subterranean River National Park has about 8 kilometers stretch of underground navigable river.
a paddle boat will take the tourists inside for a 40 minute round trip up to the designated stretch and back to the cave mouth.
it is totally dark inside save for the the spotlight provided by each boatman. nothing is heard but light splashes of water, the low murmurs of each tourist and the booming voice of the boatman who also serves as the guide.
i had to breathe more deeply and deliberately and tried to calm myself down as i listened to the guide. he would point to us different rock formations like the holy images, some vegetables and animal shapes. and he would constantly remind us not to raise our heads and open our mouths lest droppings from numerous bats on the ceiling would find it's way to it.
there is nothing but mystic serenity inside the cave. but i could not help but heave a big sigh of relief when we could finally see the mouth of the cave again. ahhh, open air!
we are once again greeted by the lush scenery of blue skies, deep blue and green waters and heavy forest.
at least i can finally say i've been to one majestic cave my entire life and a World Heritage Site at that!
next stop, Sumaguing Cave in Sagada???? Let me think about that a thousand times over hehehe....