I don’t remember exactly everything what happened March of 2009 but I am missing the feeling, the sweat, the joy and anger from my sweet friends, for the idea. This is part of the Puerto Princesa itinerary, to experience the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park or simply the Underground River. There are two ways to reach the underground River, one is by a small outrigger motorized canoe called a bangka or the more physical way and also if you want to save in the cost of “bangka” try the trail. There are two kinds of trail, the monkey trail and the jungle trail. What we took is the monkey trail, it is more easier, they say. More easier than the other but actually its not easy, especially to those who are not inclined in physical activity like us.
First thing to do is register and pay the entrance fee. We also arrange for the boat that will fetch us from Underground River back to Sabang. We walk along the shore of the beach until we reach a Nipa House where we registered again. It is actually the Registration office for the Mangrove trail and also the start of the monkey trail. No registration fee and also no tour guide. It is actually a tour at your own risk but we are accompanied by a dog who act as our tour guide. We will never ever forget him. We passed by a river via a bangka, 10 pesos is the fee, while dearest tour guide swum the river. The river is up to waist they say.
Monkey trail is a fantastic way for adventuring. It is a 5.2km trek one way. It will take you about one hour to two and a half hour but in our case it was three hours or more. Ours was really a slow pace. We did a lot of rest and arguing and laughing. There was a point that we want to call the Registration office and plead them to fetch us, save us. There were moments that everyone were silent and just want to end the trail and rest and see the underground river. There are many times during the trail that they want to curse me for the idea and regret that they say yes for the idea. The sweat are dripping like hell and literally we are all catching for our breath. We walk, crawl, pause, walk, crawl, a moment of silent, deep deep breath, inhale, exhale,walk and walk.
The most crucial part of the trail is the hanging bridge, it was not a usual hanging bridge, straight hanging bridge. It was a long hanging bridge that if you are afraid of heights you won’t be able to surpass it. It was the part of the trail that every time we reminisce the escapade we still feel a bit of anxiety for our self. Plus the fact that the look of the bridge will not give you full assurance of safety. Some steps are broken, my gosh. Goosebumps. That was also the time when our tour guide, the dog who has been with us half of trail bid his goodbye. Aw..aw..aw.. he said have a safe trip and enjoy the cave! (seems like a fable.) But the journey doesn’t end their, that was just half of the agony. We walk and walk and walk until finally we arrived.
The excitement for the Underground River all fade away. When we finally got their, we first rest our dead tired body from the first mountain trail experience. Bought “ice tubig”, wash our face, wash our feet and smile over the camera, after the many blurred shots taken finally we are in a picture picture again smiling. It was really a test of friendship, no wonder we manage to still be friends up to this day. Happy are those who are called to suffer, indeed.
The boat going back to Sabang beach is another set of awe. We were all like we did it. This is one of the most awesome experience I will forever cherish.