I was up and ready by 7:30am. I waited for the tour van to come pick me up for today’s tour of the longest underground river in the world, the Sabang Subterranean River (which on November 11 this year, became one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature — based on public votes).
The van stopped at a viewpoint on the way for a break.
When it came time for us to go in, the guide asked which one of us would volunteer to hold the light. When researching, I read that the person who has to hold the light gets to sit in the front, so I ‘volunteered’. Now, I needed to sit in the front if I wanted to take good photographs inside, because as it is, it was going to be dark. On top of that, I didn’t want somebody obstructing my view. Also, holding the light gave my camera a light beam to focus on — and I could only shoot with auto-focus on given my hands were now occupied with two tasks.
So I sat, adjusted my tripod’s height and set the camera’s settings. I was going to hold the light with my left hand and press the camera shutter with my right hand.
The boat dropped us back to the banks where I collected my bag from the counter. Going inside the subterranean river is my second cave experience on this trip, the first being back in Sagada last week. I truly enjoyed this though! The above photos were just a few of the 140 shots I totally took from inside. 30 minutes went by really quickly and you don’t even realize it took that long until you look at your watch. I wondered what the remaining 7 kilometres must be like.
I still went into the water, knee deep.
I then decided to check out the accommodation available on Sabang beach in case my readers were looking for information on where to stay on Sabang beach.
The lady at Green Verde curiously asked me where I was from, among a few other questions. I asked her if it was easy to get from Sabang to El Nido and she told the only way it’s ‘easy’ is when there is a group big enough to fit a private van that can be booked in advance. That’s it. Otherwise, its back to the junction at the main highway and wait for a bus to El Nido.
Considering how much time I spent yesterday, going back and forth thinking how to do Sabang and then El Nido, I guess it is far more convenient to do the Underground River tour from Puerto Princesa City itself.
The journey back was another one and half hours. In the end, I felt I made the right choice by opting to simply do a tour from Puerto Princesa itself, instead of attempting it myself. I mean, I would only suggest going at it alone if you plan on staying on Sabang beach a few days. It would have cost me about the same but had I done it myself, it would have proven to be quite difficult.
I spent the rest of the day back at Banwa Arthouse’s cafe, researching on El Nido, but as I went through my photos, newer guests who had checked in that day said their “hello” and began conversations. First a Japanese surfer, who spent a few months in Canada picking apples (seriously, some of the people I meet on my backpacking journeys) and then spent those earnings traveling throughout India and is now in the Philippines. (Sigh, it’s moments like this I wonder why I spent 8 years working at multi-national corporation back in Bangalore!)
Then a group of young Danes (I believe they told me they were Danish) asked me where I had been today. We spent quite some time talking and then, we decided to go to Baybay for dinner and check out what was happening there tonight.
We walked to Baybay expecting a crowded festival.
Just as we were walking out, a b-boy dance battle was announced to begin.
Back in the room, the Danes were curious about all the places I had already been to in Philippines and wanted to see my photos. After an hour of that, I paid for my two nights stay at Banwa Arthouse as I was checking out tomorrow early morning. I had to call it an early night. Tomorrow I was going to take the first bus to the final stop on my Philippines tour — El Nido.