Thursday, January 8, 2015

Puerto Princesa, Palawan: Buenavista Viewdeck and Sabang Port

Feeling refreshed after a deep slumber in Palo Alto's comfy bed, we woke to the sound of pouring rain outside our room. It has been raining on and off since Day 1 of our Palawan vacation, though thankfully it did not ruined our planned itinerary so far. We got out of bed feeling excited as this is the day we're going to visit the world-famous Puerto Princesa Underground River. We went out of our room and did a quick tour of the eco-friendly hotel surrounding. The rain subsided afterwards, just before we ate our hearty breakfast at the Salakot Cafe. We were scheduled to be picked up by the hotel's van at 8 AM so we hurriedly prepare our stuff after eating breakfast.

It was supposed to be a group tour to be shared by Palo Alto's other guests. However, I suspect it was still lean season as it was only I and Malou who are availing the PPUR tour that day. So inside the van were just me, my wife, the driver Nervin, out tour guide Peter and two other hotel staff. The jolly Peter joked that it looked like we're in an "exclusive tour" as we have their services all to ourselves.

Take off to the Puerto Princesa Underground River is at Sabang Port which is still about 80 kilometers away from the city proper. Along the way Peter informed us on some facts and figures about Palawan including its history, culture and the people's way of living. There was never a dull moment as our guide is a natural comedian and the fact that he and Nervin spoke fluent Bisaya made us more comfortable in talking with them.

On the way to Sabang Port, we made a brief stop at the Buenavista Viewdeck. This is a popular stop over for tourists going to Puerto Princesa Underground River. It has an elevated concrete observation deck which offers a relaxing view of the Ulogan Bay and Tres Marias Islets. A few steps away from the viewing deck is a souvenir shop which also sells meals and light snacks.

Buenavista Viewdeck is part of the Community Based Sustainable Tourism program initiated by the City Government of Puerto Princesa. This program aims to provide additional livelihood for locals residing in economically-marginalized communities. 

It was drizzling when we reached Sabang Port. Peter told us to wait at the tent set up for tourists as he processes our permits for the Underground Rive Tour. Sabang Port is small but is teeming with tourists since it is the main jump-off to Palawan's most popular tourist attraction.

Tourists arrival grew significantly after the Puerto Princesa Underground River was included among the New Seven Wonders of the World. I was impressed with how the local government implemented a system for an organized Underground River Tour. After the tour guides took care of the processing of permits, the tourists will just wait for their group number to be called. Only then will they be allowed to board the boat which will take them to the Subterranean River National Park where the Underground River is located.

The port is adjacent to Sabang Beach which has a picturesque stretch of fine golden sands. There are hotels and resorts along this beach for overnight accommodations. On its backdrop is the Saint Paul Mountain Range. Underneath this majestic range is the famous Underground River.

After waiting for about 30 minutes, we're finally called to board our assigned boat. In a little while, we're off sailing towards a World Heritage Site.

1 comment :

  1. Puerta Princesa has many things to offer especially to those who feel at peace with nature. One of the pridest islands of the Philippines as it now became a favorite shooting place of movies even in the international scene.


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