Underground River

Puerto Princesa Underground River
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP)
Bgys. Cabayugan, Marufinas, and Tagabinet
Midwest coast of Palawan approximately 365 nautical miles south of Manila
76 km northwest of Puerto Princesa City, facing the West Philippine Sea

The PPSRNP was established on March 26, 1971, by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 835 issued by the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Formerly known as the St. Paul Subterranean National Park, it initially comprised of 3,901 hectares of terrestrial reservation. To ensure long-term viability, former President Joseph E. Estrada signed Proclamation No. 212 on November 16, 1999 expanding the area of the Park to 22,202 hectares that now includes the entire catchment for the Underground River and significant forest important for biodiversity conservation. It was also renamed to Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park to properly identifying it with the place. The PPSRNP was also declared as a National Geological Monument on December 11, 2003 by the National Committee on Geological Sciences (NCGS).

Early History

There is no existing document that shows who or when the underground river was first discovered, but it is believed that the islands early inhabitants were the first to know of the existence, but their fear of spirits that they believe inhabit the caves prevented them from exploring the depts. The earliest mention one could hold of would be that of an Assistant Professor of Zoology at the University of Michigan who later became the Secretary of Interior at the first decade of American rule, Dean C. Worcester who wrote in 1887 while touring the island of Palawan “if accounts are to be believed, of a lake opening to the sea by a Subterranean River”.

Underground River

Physical Features

Topography varies from flat terrain to rolling hinterlands, from hills to mountain peaks. The area is split at the center by a limestone or karst outcrop known as the St. Paul mountain range that rises 1,028 meters at its peak. The karst is 11 km long, averages 3-5 km wide and covers an area of around 35 sq. /km. It is estimated to be between 16 – 20 million years old.

The Park serves as a catchment to the Cabayugan River that flows down the slopes of Mt. Bloomfield, irrigating paddy farms before disappearing under Mt. St. Paul to become the underground river, and the Babuyan River which at 54 km is the longest river in Palawan. It provides water to local communities for domestic and agriculture use.

People and Livelihood

The PPSRNP has a population of 3,800 individuals including around 400 members of the Batak and Tagbanua, two of the seven cultural groups of Palawan. Majority of the people speak Pilipino and the local dialect Cuyunon, other dialects spoken include Ilocano and Cebuano. Most household earn their living from farming except in Sabang and Coastal areas of Marufinas, where many household depend on fishing and tourism. Indigenous People are traditionally engaged in gathering of minor forest products such as rattan (Calamus sp.)poles, almaciga (Agathis philippinensis) resin, and wild honey as the main source of income. They are also involved in upland farming and resort to hunting game to add to their food requirements.

Underground River

The PUERTO PRINCESA SUBTERRANEAN RIVER NATIONAL PARK has been inscribed to the list of natural World Heritage Sites. Inscription on this prestigious list confirms the outstanding universal value of the Underground River, considered as the most unique natural phenomenon of its kind to exist.

This Pride of the Filipino people is protected for the benefit of all humanity.

Heritage of Yesterday. Today & Tomorrow….

A Wonder of Nature
– The Puerto Princesa Underground River is one of the few such caves which the general public can easily experience and enjoy. It is navigable up to 4.3 km. and is reputed to be the longest navigable underground river in the World. Park operated paddle boats take visitors for 1 hour tour of the cave to appreciate the different rock formations as well as the thousand of bats and swiftlets that inhabit the cave. Tours are scheduled daily except during extreme weather conditions.

Jungle Trekking – for outdoor lovers who are physically prepared to endure the mountainous terrain, an alternative 5.3 km long trail from Sabang to the entrance of the Underground River is a challenge. The trail is designed in such a way that it allows visitors to trek into the different forest formations to observe wildlife and sounds of the wilderness. It is truly a rewarding experience of an athletic jungle adventure. Hiking shoes, drinking water and insect repellant are recommended.  The trail is open from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm daily.

Wildlife Watching – The PPSRNP is designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) and Endemic Bird Area (EBA) by Birdlife International (BI). At least 165 birds have been recorded including all 15 endemic bird species of Palawan. One must start early and preferably equipped with binoculars to see the brightly colored bird species of the Park. Notable are the Philippine cockatoo, Palawan peacock pheasant, Palawan hornbill, blue-napped parrot. Other wildlife commonly seen are monkeys and monitor lizards.

Mangrove Forest Tour- The activity is a community based sustainable eco – tourism project initiated by the Park Management. Tour the Sabang River on board paddle boats to observe mangrove forest and appreciate what an ecosystem free of human intervention looks like. Visitors are also given a chance to contribute to conservation by planting mangrove saplings in designated areas.

White Sand beaches- The shoreline comprises some of the island’s most pristine and beautiful beaches. Most popular are the Sabang beach, Panaguman beach, and Marta Fe beach. The cool and crystal waters make it ideal for swimming and enjoying the sun.

Underground River

Adventure Caving – Aside from the Underground River, the PPSRNP boasts a number of cave systems worth exploring. Climbing Ugong Rock allows one to view the spectacular karst formations and surrounding natural beauty. Other areas to explore include the Lions Cave, Daylight Hole and the Kawili Cave.
Ethnographic Museum – For display, exhibit and presentation of history and culture of the Batak and Tagbanua, two of the indigenous cultural groups present in the Park, visit the Ethnographic Museum located at the Park Visitor Center. Briefings and printed information could also be availed at the center.
PARK ENTRY It is highly recommended that confirmed bookings and permits be secured in advance before proceeding to the Park. Visitors are also required to present valid identification cards and register individually prior to the tour. The Park shall not be liable for any inconvenience or loss for failure to comply with the requirements. Enjoy a stress and worry free visit to the Underground River. Book early and tour surely.


General Entrance Fee Local International
Adult P 100.00 P  150.00
Minor P   75.00 P  100.00
UR Cave Entrance Fee*
Adult P 175.00 P  250.00
Minor (13-18 years old) P 100.00 P  150.00
Filipino Senior Citizen (w/ ID) P   75.00
Differently abled P   75.00
Minors (3 to 12 yrs old) P   75.00
Commercial Video Fee P3,000.00

*Children 2 years old and below will not be allowed for the UR tour
The General entrance fee includes sightseeing, jungle trekking, bird watching, snorkelling and spelunking for an 8 hour a day the Park is open.
The Underground River Cave Entrance fee provides the visitor with a 1-hour tour of the UR. Please, keep your VEP and receipt in order to re-be accommodated on the tour.
Visitors may arrive at the UR via a 20 minute ferry ride from Sabang or the authorized 5-km Jungle trail from Sabang to the Underground River outflow, but may only be accommodated based on the schedule indicated on their VEP. The trail and ferry are opened only during daylight hours and may close during severe storms. Trails and overlooks may be slippery during the rainy season.  Obey all trail closures. Walk cautiously at all times and watch your steps.
PPSRNP Information.

You probably knew or heard about the PPUR from internet, tv, or a combination of these. Generally, most National Parks have something unique to become a designated National Park. The PPSRNP is somewhat special and a visit is definitely worthwhile. It is a World Heritage Site and One of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.  It is the Philippine’s legacy to the future generations. There’s no better way to appreciate it than to experience it.

However as we previously mentioned, there is only limited space/permits available. This makes it convenient to either book in advance either personally, through authorized representatives or through accredited travel and tour agencies. It is also advisable that you plan your Underground River trip in advance so that you’ll hopefully have a satisfying trip. First is to obtain confirmed bookings for the tour. You don’t want to be on the wait listed list in the Park. Nothing is worse than unexpected complications while on vacation.

Underground River

The other interest of the Park is just as interesting, a tour of the Malipien Ranger Station or Mangrove Forest gives a genuine wilderness experience. Plan in advance and your trip will become much more pleasurable and efficient. Being flexible allows you to spend and enjoy the other natural features of the park more than others.

Carrying Capacity – To conserve it in its natural state, a carrying capacity of Nine Hundred (900) Visitors a Day is observed. This is to ensure that the bats and swiftlets are not disturbed to a point that will cause them to abandon the cave for a more suitable habitat. To regulate visitor access within the specified limit, a No Permit, No Entry Policy is strictly enforced. Tours are scheduled from 8:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon so as not to interfere during their departure and return to the cave.  We sincerely regret and apologize for any inconvenience as we appeal to you to please bear with us.

It should be noted that tour can be suspended and VEPs maybe cancelled during extreme meteorological conditions or when justified by circumstances beyond its control. In such case, the affected visitor may opt to rebook for the tour or seek a refund. In such case, cancelled permits must be rebooked and new permits shall be issued.

The long-tailed macaques or monkeys in the wild would normally depend on the forest for food.   Because of people feeding them despite being prohibited from doing so, the monkeys in the Park are now used to being fed by visitors and have the tendency to grab food from people. In order to bring them back to their natural behaviour, we are trying our best to keep a distance between the macaques and people. It is highly advised not to bring food or plastic bags when gong to the tour as they attract and excite the monkeys who tend to be more aggressive that may cause personal injuries. As a favor, Please do not feed or tease the monkeys, as it will affect their natural feeding habits and contributes to their aggressive behaviour.

Other Rates
Air-condition Shuttle Van from the City to Sabang averages P3,500 (8 passengers, roundtrip). Public Utility Bus/Jeep from Puerto Princesa to Sabang P200 (per person one way). Park Ferry Service from Sabang to Underground River P700 (6 passengers, round trip)


    • PARK POLICY – To protect and preserve outstanding universal values of the Underground River, Management has set a carrying capacity for Underground River and is strictly enforcing a “No Permit, No Entry” policy to support it. All persons are required to secure an entry permit from the Underground River Booking Office before entering the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. BOOKINGS – Permit forms must be duly accomplished clearly indicating name of applicant, place of visit, purpose of visit, and date of visit. Representatives of entry permit applicants are required to present written authorizations from all visitors in whose behalf the permit is being applied for. VISITOR ENTRY PERMIT (VEP) – The VEP is conclusive proof of contract between PPSRNP and Visitor for the PPUR tour. VEP’s shall be issued detailing each visitor’s individual booking reference number, date and time of entry. No VEP shall be finalized, confirmed and issued until the payment of corresponding fees. GROUP TOURS – Groups comprising of fifty (50) or more person are required to secure VEP at least five (5) days before the date of planned visit.  Failure to comply with this requirement may result to the non-issuance of VEP. VALIDITY – Visitors shall have access only on the date, time and areas indicated in the VEP. Proper arrangements should be made with Park for visits beyond the dates and times indicated in the VEP, or to additional places not indicated in the VEP. The VEP shall be valid only until the date indicated therein; NON-TRANSFERABLE – VEP is non-transferable and may only be used by the person whose name appears on the VEP. Valid identification card shall be required during registration. If it is found that the person presenting the permit is not the same person as named in the permit; the Park shall refuse entry to such person. REGISTRATION – Permits must be validated at the Park Information Office in Sabang Pier at least one (1) hour prior to the time indicated in the VEP. Visitors are required to individually register the Underground River holding area 15 minutes prior to tour. Failure to do so may result in the forfeiture of confirmed booking. CANCELLATION – The Park may cancel issued VEP’s during extreme weather conditions and other fortuitous, events where the permitee/s may be placed under perilous circumstance or when justified by circumstances beyond its control. In such case, the affected visitor has the option to rebook for the tour or seek a refund without payment of any rebooking fees or refund surcharges. NAME CHANGE – the Park will allow change of name to any name in the permit only if the request is made three (3) days before date of intended visit and that the number of names to be changed does not exceed twenty (20%) percent of the total names in listed in permit. REBOOKING – The unused VEP may be rebooked for a later date only after payment of a One Hundred (P100.00) Peso rebooking fee at the Underground River Booking Office. REFUNDS – The unused VEP may be refunded at the City Treasurer’s Office. Refunds will be made only upon payment of a One Hundred (P100.00) Peso surcharge. NO SHOW – Failure of the visitor  to show up or  is a “no show” for tour on the date and time indicated in the VEP  shall result to the automatic forfeiture of his confirmed bookings and the amount he paid without the PPSRNP incurring any liability to him. SUBJECT TO SEARCH – The PPSRNP reserves the right to search the visitor, his luggage or transportation to determine whether the visitor is in possession of or his luggage contains any prohibited materials or items. Should the visitor refuse to comply with the request to search, the Park may refuse entry to visitor. LIABILITY – The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park will not be liable for any loss or damage to property or personal belongings of visitors, nor to the injury or death due to accidents that may befall visitors during the duration of their stay in the Park. RECOGNITION – Proper acknowledgement /recognition must be accorded to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park for any film, video documentary or scientific research conducted inside the Park. REFUSE ENTRY – The PPSRNP reserves the right to refuse entry to any person for non-conformance to VEP Terms and Conditions, violation of prohibited acts under the National Integrated Protected Areas Systems Act, Cave Management Act, Wildlife Conservation Act and other applicable laws. PPSRNP shall not be liable for denial of their entry or any inconvenience pursuant to this.

    Underground River

    Thanks to Cabie Family for treating Pasakat Mountaineers to reach the Puerto Princesa Underground River (7 Wonders of nature).


    Overall Administration:

    City Mayor/ Chairman PAMB
    New City Hall, Sta. Monica
    Puerto Princesa City, 5300, Philippines
    City Hall Telephone Number: +63(48)4332028 / 2249
    Manila Office: +63(2)5236023
    Mobile: +63(920)9704225
    Telefax:+63(48)4344094, +63(2)5242930
    Email: [email protected]

    Field Operations:

    Protected Area Superintendent
    Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
    Puerto Princesa City, 5300 Philippines
    Tel: +63(916)5277474
    Email: [email protected]

    For Information and Bookings, please contact or visit us at:

    Underground River Booking Office
    No. 350 Rizal Avenue, Bgy. Bancao-bancao
    Puerto Princesa City 5300, Philippines
    Telephone Number: +63(48)7230904 (Sabang)
    Telefax: +63(48)4342509
    E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]
    Website: http://www.puerto-undergroundriver.com

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