For the second day, we had to wake up very early at 5:00 AM. The tour agency would be picking us up at 7:00 AM, and as there were six of us, it was wisest to just prepare really early, rather than making them wait. Good thing that the McDonald’s near our place is always open 24/7, so we had quite a heavy breakfast. Time flew by and it was almost already 7:00 AM and somebody knocked on our door; it was the guesthouse owner informing us that the tour agency’s vehicle has arrived.
The weather, just like yesterday, was a bit rainy, and we also had to pick up two other groups of people before we head to Sabang Beach. It was an extremely bumpy ride and Mama, who is so used to travelling a lot and do not readily get motion sickness, ended up puking as soon as we stopped outside the entrance of Ugong Rock Adventures. I initially thought that we were only to stay for a couple of minutes, thirty minutes maximum just to visit the place. But to my horror, we spent the next two hours and a half waiting for the other guests to finish their ziplining and the cave exploration. It drove me up the wall. Had I known that we would be dragged to this mess of waiting, we could have chosen another agency that would bring us quicker to Sabang.
So after what seemed to be forever, we rode the vehicle again and drove for about twenty minutes and then we finally arrived in Sabang Beach. As it was already past lunch time, we were naturally hungry and there was already a buffet waiting for us. It was part of the tour package that we have arranged for, and it was frankly not the most appetizing. =/ But it was a laman-tiyan anyway, so I had no choice but to eat and get my fill. Mama and JB felt a little bit better, though, and the little boy even had a great time playing with Anne by the beach, while we were waiting for the time to board the boats.
I can’t even remember how long the boat ride was, but I can tell that JB enjoyed it so much. It might be his first boat ride ever as well! I always tend to look at the solid rock formation from the boat, and wonder how many million years it had taken just to form them. Approaching the beach, we could already see a batch of tourists about to ride their boats back to Sabang beach, talking spiritedly to each other over what they have seen inside the cave.
Prior to reaching the area, we were given a caveat over the resident thieves — monkeys. We were told that they get too excited and malevolent upon hearing the sound of rustling plastic, and they do not discriminate the contents as they automatically assume that it contains food. Those sneaky bastards! There was a comfort room a few meters from the entrance, and I had to pee just in case the call unfortunately arrived while inside the cave. You could tell by the look of the trees and the leaf strewn forest floor in the trail that it had rained earlier that day. I just hoped that there were no snakes. =D
We eventually emerged by the mouth of the Underground River. Even from the outside, the cave’s mouth was gigantic! As you can see from the pic below, the boat of the tourists ahead of us looked tiny compared to the entrance. I just couldn’t believe that we were finally here! Mama has been hoping to see this natural wonder for years and I can tell she was very delighted of the chance as well.
We were made to wear the brightly-colored life jackets and helmets, as a precaution against our boats capsizing or bumping, and honestly, I have never secured a life jacket this hard before as the cave weirdly scared me before the open waters! My morbidity shoot up to the skies because aside from the snakes, I was thinking of sudden earthquakes, or rainwater finally seeping and dripping down the cave and causing the water to drastically rise up. What will happen to us, then? LOL
Anyway, that only happened for about three minutes and I eventually got over it. Our tour guide/bangkero was very funny, and he had the most interesting trivia of the place. I assume that the hard facts about how stalactites, stalagmites and columns were formed, or the behavior of animals living in this interesting environment were all taught to them, but I care more about the interesting formation and description of the geological features inside. There were rows of “vegetables”, “fruits”, “animals” and “famous people”. LOL I have also learned that in spite of the waves of tourist visiting the site, they had to regulate the number of people because the heat emanating from people can affect the makeup of the mineral deposits.
A good Google search before even writing this could answer my question, but at least I get to visit of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, so six more to go? =D Our trip inside the Underground River was about the second to the last for that day, because tours usually end at around 2:30 PM. It was something I will never forget because I got to experience it with them.
The ride back to Puerto Princesa was much easier for all of us. We spent about an hour sleeping anyway, so not one person got motion sickness. The tour agency brought us back to out guesthouse, and after resting for about 30 minutes, we went out again to eat dinner. We had to retire by 9PM because we woke up earlier that day. Tomorrow, we will wake up early again because we will be picked up around 7:00 AM again for our Honda Bay Tour — hello sea, sun and sand! =D