November 27, 2010
Senne’s Summary: Today we took a tour to an Underground River.
This morning when we headed down for our free breakfast. We discovered that they have little name cards at tables to tell you where to sit. Mine said “Ma’am Lisa and Co.”.
I’ve never heard so many Ma’am and Sirs in my life. I should have known it was coming because in my e-mails with hotels in the Philippines they were littered with at least 6 or 7 ma’ams per paragraph. There’s nothing wrong with being polite 🙂
Today we took a tour to the Underground River in Sabang. We were squished into a van with 10 other people and headed out on our two hour ride to the Underground River. The road was pretty windy, and even had a section that was unpaved that our driver called the “free massage” road 🙂 Steve and I both preferred the massages we were having in Vietnam to the free massage road!
One thing I found a little disconcerting about the road was that small kids (like 3 years old) were often walking along the highway alone or playing right by the edge. I guess they’ve just learned when they hear the honk to stay out of the way!
When we arrived our driver took us to the wharf where we waited for him to do the permit work. He told us that our time to enter the river was later (this is a finely oiled touristic machine they have going here), and we would go for our lunch first.
Lunch was a delicious buffet of meat, rice, vegetables and soup. It was at one of the resorts on the beach. Quite nice.
Afterwards we headed back to the wharf to catch our motorized boat to the Underground River area.
The ride was about half an hour long, and the scenery was beautiful. I can’t get over how lush and green the Philippines is!
When we arrived we did more paperwork and then walked through the forest to the area where you get in the paddleboats. Even though I keep liberally applying my insect repellent I still managed to get a mosquito bite… I’m not sure why they like me enough to bite me when I’m slathered in Deet?!?
We also came across some bigger animals as we headed into the jungle to the underground river…
Before we were allowed out in the paddleboats we had to don our life jackets and hard hats. Why hard hats you ask? Were we going to be doing some light construction? Nope… I think it was to shield you from the water and bat poop dripping from the ceiling in the underground river 🙂
We had an excellent guide who paddled our boat through the river. He was quite funny and told us all kinds of interesting things as we went through the river. The river is approximately 8 km long but we only went in about 1.5 km (regular tourist permit). It was pitch black inside except for the light we had on the boat, which was basically a flashlight attached to a car battery.
It was pretty cool to see all the stalactites and stalagmites… and of course all of the bats!
After our tour we headed back on our two hour van ride, and of course we stopped at the obligatory souvenir shop. Sorry people, we just don’t need anymore stuff!
Our hotel had a van going into town at 6:00 so we went back into town to get the rest of our money for El Nido and have dinner.