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10 Reasons to Visit and Experience the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park’s JUNGLE TRAIL

It's been years since I spent my solo birthday backpacking trip to Puerto Princesa and El Nido Palawan.  I still look forward that I visit this paradise again. One thing that is never to be missed here is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a heritage UNESCO site:

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) is one of the most important protected areas in the Philippines. It is located in the Midwest coast of Palawan, some 76km northwest of Puerto Princesa City. It was designated as a national park on March 26, 1971 at 3, 901 hectares by virtue of Proclamation No. 212 signed on November 16, 1999.

The PPSRNP contains a full mountain to sea ecosystems and protects forests which are among the most significant in Asia. It represents 8 of 13 forests formations found in the region. More than 800 plants species have been identified including 290 trees that are dominated by dipterocarp species. These forests serve as natural habitat to numerous species of endangered, rare and endemic wildlife. At least 174 birds, 38 mammals, 23 reptiles, and 12 amphibian species have been recorded in the park. In the coastal area, mangroves, sea grass beds and coral reef are also found.

 The Park also features a spectacular limestone or karst landscape or the Mount St. Paul. Underneath the St. Paul Mountain is an 8.2km long underground river that flows directly to the sea. The lower half of the river is brackish and subject to the ocean tide. The associated tidal influence in the Puerto Princesa Underground River makes it the most unique natural phenomenon of its type to exist.

The discovery of crystal and egg shape rock formations, Bat burial site, 11 minerals new minerals, and a 20 million year old Miocene age Serenia fossil embedded  to one of its walls in 2012 led to the declaration of the PPSRNP as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Management of the PPSRNP was transferred to the City Government of Puerto Princesa in December 1992. It has the distribution of being the first National Park devolved and successfully managed by a Local Government Unit. It is managed by the City thru a Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), multi-sector body that provides policy direction and other oversight functions. It is a model for effective protected area management and sustainable tourism in the Philippines. 

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a source of pride, a key element in the identity of the people in the global efforts to conserve our natural heritage.

Below are 10 reasons to visit and experience the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park:

1. A healthier way of visiting the Puerto Princesa Underground River
Burn hundreds or even thousands of calories as you traverse the 3.6km Jungle Trail. You may have sweat your calories out (like really hard) but trust us, it would be all worth it as you reach and explore the Puerto Princesa Underground River.

2. Experience the PPSRNP’s Outstanding Universal Value
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park isn’t just about the Puerto Princesa Underground River. 22, 202 hectares of protected ecosystem and rich biodiversity internationally recognized as a RAMSAR Wetland of International Importance, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and one of the Philippines well-regarded National Park and Geological Monument entails the PPSRNP. Experience a part of it as you explore the Jungle Trail.

3. Out of 13 types of forests that can be found in Tropical Asia, 8 can be seen in the Park and you can see them all within the Jungle Trail
Feel the comfort of Mother Nature as she takes care of the carbon neutral air and shaded trail as you go through the skirts of Saint Paul Mountain.

4. A must see for Bird Lovers
165 Species of Birds, 17 endemic to Palawan can be found here. See for yourself the majestic walk of the Palawan Peacock Pheasant of the “Tandikan”, the official emblem of Puerto Princesa City. Be sure to bring some binoculars or enjoy the symphony of their sounds instead.

5. A must see for Animal Lovers too!
Get a chance to see and have a close encounter with 30 species of mammals, 19 reptile species and 10 amphibian species of animals. In case your luck missed, Monitor Lizards or “Bayawak” and the Long Tailed Macaques can be seen on a regular day. Just be careful in mingling with them for their attitude is erratic due to mood swings. The Park strictly discourages feeding of the wildlife. 

6. You can choose your own adventure!
You may trek going to the Underground River then ride a boat back, or ride a boat going to the Underground River or trek back to Sabang Wharf perhaps you want to trek back and forth, the adventure is up to you! 

7. Help the community
As this project is being managed and protected by the Community, the fees that you will pay will help them in their livelihood and in the conservation and maintenance or the trail itself. This project follows the principles of a Community Based Sustainable Eco-Tourism Project.

8. Help the other communities
Right before the Jungle Trail, a century old mangrove forest can be found and explored through a paddleboat ride. It is another Community Based Sustainable Eco-Tourism site. You may want to visit it also and help the community in the protection of this forest.

9. Help the Environment
After you visit the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour, you can plant mangrove trees in the area. 40% of the Philippines last and intact mangrove forest can be found here in Palawan. Do your share for the Environment and ask the community how to plant mangrove trees.

10. The community and the Environment need you!
Mother Nature is calling you! Just give in and visit. Give it a try and if you happen to like it, go ahead and make ripples of change. Ask your family and friends to visit. This way, you have imprinted yourself by making an impact not just in the park but also in the hearts of the community. This way, you will be making a difference.

Credits to Palawan Provincial Tourism Office for the information.
For more details you may contact them below:

Address: G/F Ramon V Mitra Bldg, Capitol Complex, Rizal Ave, Puerto Princesa City
Tel: 48 433-2968

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