Puerto Princesa and the 7 Wonders - Longest Navigable Underground River in the World

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Sabang, Palawan Western Philippines is ranked and top as 7 Natural wonders of the World. Prior to the discovery of the longest underground river in Mexico, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National is the known as the longest one. In the present, it is still the longest navigable underground river in the world and the 7 natural wonders of the world.

City of Puerto Princesa, capital of Palawan province, is the center of government, commerce and industry in the long island province also known as the "last frontier of the Philippines." Named in 1864 after Princess Asuncion, the daughter of Queen Isabela II, Puerto Princesa has evolved to be the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines and a major tourist destination.

As the second largest city in the country (next only to Davao City) in terms of land area, Puerto Princesa is composed of 66 barangays spread over an area that is 76 percent forested. Its reputation as the cleanest city in the country is emphasized by its strict anti-littering laws; it is amazing to see absolutely no trash or litter even in the remotest barangays.

Tourism is easily the top industry of Puerto Princesa, with the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park as its top draw. Located in Sabang town 50 kilometers northwest of the city proper, the park is one of the most important biodiversity conservation areas in Asia. It features a limestone or karst mountain landscape that contains an 8.2 kilometer long underground river that flows directly to the sea. The river is navigable up to 4.3 kilometers and trained park staff operate paddleboat tours for visitors to experience the amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations and chambers, as well as the thousands of bats and swiflets that inhabit the caves.

Through the efforts of Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn, management responsibility of the park was transferred to the city government in 1992. As the first national park devolved and successfully managed by an LGU, it is a model of best practices for biodiversity conservation and sustainable tourism in the Philippines.

As the official representative of the Philippines, the Underground River is currently one of 28 finalists to the Search for the New 7 Wonders of Nature. The Underground River’s bid may be supported by logging on to www.new7wonders.com  and voting for it.

A tour of the landmarks and seemingly endless wonderful sceneries and adventures of Puerto Princesa City would best be experienced in 3-5 days. One of the best places to stay is the three-month old Hotel Centro, a first class hotel in the heart of the city that boasts of wide open spaces and a well-trained hospitality staff.

Must-see places in Puerto Princesa are the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral, whose imposing twin spires are easily the most recognizable landmark in the city; the Plaza Cuartel, an ancient fort across the Cathedral that was mute witness to the burning of 150 American captives by Japanese soldiers during World War II; the Baywalk that boasts of a clean and panoramic bay; and the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Park that includes a crocodile farm. Island-hopping on famous Honda Bay is best enjoyed as a separate tour.

 

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