Today we were to be having another tour and this is one of the island’s most popular – to the Underground Caves. This is quite a trek so we were picked up quite early by our guide and a driver, however as they were running a bit late the rest of the drive became a bit of a blur as they went along at breakneck speed. Sometimes we felt like we were on the Millennium Falcon and someone had hit the ‘Ridiculously Fast – Stars become lines’ button. We had to peel our heads off the seat headrests to look around and our cheeks were flapping such was the speed … oh Yeh! If we had been travelling even slightly slower it would have been a really enjoyable ride as the scenery was excellent but our rally driver’s lead foot on the gas and the roads being the super curvy sort meant that taking photos was both a pointless and risky business.
The guide was another quite curious thing, he was very good but he, I think, was a guy undergoing the transformation from male to female and although the top half appeared to have been completed he had not yet finished the process by having ‘the op’. Or at least that was the position as I understood it when he told us this before explaining the itinerary for the day – strange how that should pop up straight away but I suppose it removes any embarrassing speculation!
The place we were heading to in such a hurry was Sabang Port where small outrigger boats would then transport us to the start of the Puerto Princesca Subterranean River Park. Sabang itself though was a bit of a jewel that is until all the (us) tourists descended on the place all with the same intent of boarding every vessel in the place. All tourists were arranged into little groups and shepherded onto each of the little boats which, as they were filled, darted off in the direction of the entrance to the park just a couple of bays away from Sabang. Our guide was very organised and we soon found ourselves at the Park and him taking a photo of the momentous event in front of the Park’s sign posted on the seafront.
There was a short walk to get to the entrance to the cave which indeed was a river but along the walk we could see more of those mischievous Macaques. Everyone was told to take the utmost care with their stuff as the monkeys were notorious for stealing bags and stripping them of their contents. At the river entrance to the cave, which itself was a beautiful setting, we were assigned a cave tour guide, a pit helmet and a canoe and off into the darkness we went. Whilst the place was very impressive and my pictures far from do it justice, what started off as quite an interesting tour soon descended into us being conveyed to each of the rock systems and having the name of it reeled off to us. Even then a lot of the formations actually looked nothing like their namesakes. As you can imagine there was many a phallic symbol (Phnarr Phnarr) but after a while our guide’s talk just got a touch boring.
He even stopped giving the English translations as even in the darkness we must have looked, dare I say it, bored by his chatter. Don’t get me wrong the place itself was a wonder of nature and we had only traversed a fraction of it but the guided talk could have been a lot more interesting and informative than it was.
On the walk back to the entrance one of the tourists had their bag stolen by the Macaques as well which was not very good as I believe it contained their camera. A word of warning – stay away from Macaques they are a menace! Back at Sabang we all got back into the van and travelled all of 30 yards to the place we were due to have lunch. The lunch was good but the Filipinos do have a habit of serving a lot of fried foods.
Next up was a short drive to Ugong Rock this was a huge rock in the middle of a load of fields. The idea was to climb up the inside of the rock and then zip-line back down to terra firma. The spelunking as it was called was really quite cool and we were encouraged by the young lads (who we shall be meeting again) from our bus through the tight squeezes and up the ropes the course was made up of. At the top it was really high and there were two lines you could choose – a very fast one, which seemed to give you no time on it, and a more sedate journey to the ground which allowed you to take in a bit more of the view and was a bit slower, so we chose the latter.
The ride down was really good, though I was so excited after my ‘zipping’ that I cocked up the filming of Liz coming down the line – as always she travels with much whooping and a hollering!
After the tour dropped us back at our guesthouse, when night fell me and Liz went for an Indian meal not too far from the hotel which was really nice. The place itself was quite unusual as it was decorated with various bits of art but the food itself was good and they were good portions too – a good (and full) end to a good day.