As it has been voted one of the New7Wonders of Nature in 2011, the experience of the Palawan Underground River has probably changed profoundly since then. First thing, you need an official permit to visit the site, which is issued on your name (so you”ll need to bring your passport or ID when appearing for the tour), and is only valid on a certain date and for a determined time slot. The permit costs you around 200 PHP. If you really want to visit the river, you should get your permit well in advance, because there is only a maximum of 900 persons per day allowed inside the cave. You might have to get the permit up to one week in advance, but you could also get one for the next or even the same day if you are very lucky. There is an office which issues the permits in Sagada, the town where the river is, but also another one in Puerto Princesa, which gives you a chance to book ahead.
Once you’re in Sagada (about 2 hours shuttle ride from Puerto Princesa or 3 hours by Jeepney) and want to do the tour, you need to catch a boat service to the entrance of the river. A boat costs 700 PHP, so watch out for people who might want to share the boat and costs with you. The 2 hours trekking paths (jungle trail and monkey trail) to the river entrance have unfortunately been closed.
Right in front of the river entrance, you get your safety gear on and your photo taken – somehow like in a fun park.
But once you’re inside the cave, it is completely stunning. The rock formations are amazing, and although the tour only takes you a couple of kilometers up the river, the knowledge that it goes on for almost 10 km is exciting. I wonder what’s been like to go there about 2 years ago.