Leaving thieves for Underground River

IMG_0327Waking up at our usual time again, the plan was to take a bus or jeepney to Sabang. As we left for breakfast before our departure I realized that my dear sandals had been lost to youth villains or thieving adults, either way I was really getting sick and tired of this god forsaken place.

When realizing that we needed to change jeepney (and hope we could catch another) a bunch of steps we had our hotel call a banca and Mirsada bartered down the price to at least 60€ with her mad haggling skillz. We had to use the other end of the beach though, officially due to the waves were better there but seeing no difference and remembering yesterday I could see that they simple wanted to avoid more trouble which was fine by us.

After a quick candy-run to gather food for the trip we left, I have to say that it may be unfair to judge Port Barton and San Vicente based on individuals but the feeling of always getting ripped off, cheated or lied to just made us realize we can enjoy nice beaches elsewhere. After about three hours we arrived in Sabang.

A speedy check-in and lunch, and we were off to see the underground river. It is a Unesco protected site and in general things are more organized; no ridiculous prices, the local banca operators can all ship tourists but have to wait in line etc.. We saw some rather big monitor lizards and monkeys scurrying around the visitor centre before we got to the actual underground river. Well there we were set on a boat with a guide and a lamp and glided in.
IMG_0333The tour seemed rather short but was probably little less than an hour. It was rather amazing to see the naturally created passage. There were special tours going deeper in but we figured it would be more or less the same thing getting more and more cramped. We decided to walk a little trek called the monkey trail on the way back. It was however unclear where we would end up and our boatman who’d accompanied us wanted us to turn back towards the boat so after half an hour we turned and walked back.

When we got to the boat we realized why the the boatman had urged us, there were now quite big waves and a nice tide to combat while entering the banca from the shore. As we got back we started the familiar information gathering and chatted to some other foreigners. Apparently there were cartels here and in El Nido as well for bancas, although not violent and not with that ridiculously prices. After dinner it was movie time, one want to maximize the utilization of electricity (said to be present only between 18 and 22).

We’ve also realized that we are running short on cash, not as in money but as in cash. And for being a popular tourist destination Palawan has a serious shortage of ATMs. We decided that we would aim for El Nido anyways but using cheaper transportation to get there and well there stay at places accepting credit cards. Hopefully we would be able to go directly to Manilla by proper ferry or plane otherwise it’s a long bus ride back to Puerto Princessa where ATMs exist and we know for sure we can get off the island. So once again we set the clock for standard vacation time, 0600. Mmmm.