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Established as a national park in 1971, the Puerto Princesa Underground River has been visited since the middle of the 19th century. Forming part of the core zone of the Palawan Island Biosphere Reserve and inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1999, it continues to attract thousands of visitors each year who never cease to marvel at what Mother Nature has offered on display. From the awe-inspiring limestone formations and the actual 8.2km Underground River itself, to the amazing diversity of both fauna and flora, it is truly a remarkable place.
Its variety of habitats gives the Park a high degree of biodiversity. At least 140 vertebrates, including 90 bird species, 30 kinds of mammals, 19 reptiles and 10 amphibians have been found in the Park. All of these are endemic to Palawan; they exist nowhere else on earth. There also are a number of endangered bird species like the cockatoo, the blue-napped parrot, the Palawan peacock pheasant and the Palawan owl. Threatened animals in the Park include the scaly anteater and binturong.
The vast forests surrounding the Underground River and its buffer zone are among the few remaining examples of unspoiled forest in the Philippines. The mangroves in the park and around Ulugan bay are still pristine. They contain unique and superlative tree formations that provide an important habitat for marine life and endangered bats. A daily spectacle is the soaring of thousands of bats from the caves of the Underground River at dusk and flying toward the mangroves, where they feast on the flowers.
In spite of similar sites in the country, the Park and its buffer zone is the Philippines’ only model of sustainable management of environmental resources successfully undertaken by a local government unit in close partnership with the resident community and the Protected Area Management Board. The outstanding landscape found in the park and the river makes it a world-class destination and a rich source for scientific study.
Come see for yourself! Click here to see the Panoramic view