A trip to Puerto Princesa Underground River is paired with an adventure side trip. It’s either in Sabang X or Ugong Rock. My thrill-seeker husband yearned to visit both attractions, but since we were a part of a group tour, we only had to choose one and we picked out the latter.
Ugong Rock Palawan
The cave is equipped with ropes and ladders so it would not be as hard as you imagine. Nevertheless, it’s better to be extra careful. Do not touch formations. Even very small cave formations take thousands of years to develop. In a cave, any footprint, change, or damage is essentially permanent. Touching cave formations put dirt on them which can become embedded in the formation marring its beauty forever.
Some of the most beautiful cave formations occur on the floors of caves so be careful where you step. Please leave all formations undisturbed. Some cave rooms have been destroyed by people removing formations. Remote and difficult places to reach are often very beautiful because the experienced cavers that visit them have preserved their beauty intact.
Knee and elbow pads will protect your joints in a crawl. After several feet of an army crawl and smacking your knees against the rock, you’ll wish you had the protection. Your body will thank you for the following day.
Wear gloves to protect the cave from you. Touching formations with your naturally oily skin can kill the formation. Also, traction for your hands is just as important as for your feet.
Ugong Rock Cave
Before we enter the cave, our guide initiated prayer for everyone’s safety, a rare activity nowadays. Our guide also points to us where to take photos! After traversing the lowest portion of the rock, we were guided to the ascending pathways and reached the cavern where we would rappel upwards.
The guides are helpful, assisting us in doing our harness and guiding us on the ladder. It was a humid day and, even though the caves were slightly cooler than outside, it was still hot and sweaty. Passageways are slippery, and you should listen to your guide and follow exactly his instructions to pass through those tight spots.
Climbing the steep Ugong Rock upon the navigation of our tour guide in which its midst you will get to hear the echoes of the hollow stalactites once knocked on, as well as see other fascinating rock formations that will make skimping yourself through both wide and narrow openings a lot more bearable and worthwhile.
The tour takes you through several cave openings until reaching the top where you can rest for a while and admire the lovely view of the countryside. It takes approximately 20 min to climb through the steep rocks, and pass through narrow passages, and on a hot humid day that can seem longer. Bring some bottled water just in case.
Ugong Rock Palawan
The rock takes its name from the echoing sound the rocks produce when tapped. They can sound similar to that of a bell being struck. We spent a good 10 min playing with the sounds of the rocks. . . We thought we were musical, but I am not sure if anyone else did.
Ugong Rock Palawan – As we climbed up the platform, I can hear cries of glee coming from the people who were soaring over the forest. I grinned excitedly, I cannot wait! The climb does get tight near the top, so it is not all easy going but the climb is designed so the average person can do it and enjoy it.
Once we reached the top, we were rewarded with a commanding view of the marble mountains, the surrounding community, and nature. A challenge to let you feel that you can accomplish something without making you regret what you started. Then, before you know it you are at the top.
On arrival when you register, you choose whether you want the sitting position zip-line or the superman one. In our group of ten, only 4 of us decided to try the zip-line activity. Now, remember, we needed to make this decision before we had climbed to the peak.
I would say some people in our group were not sure what to expect. I should also add that the Ugong Rock adventures claim that their zip-lines are the fastest in the country. However, it did not scare us.
Nevertheless, the word “ugong” is derived from the sound made when the rocks are pounded or hit. Ugong Rock is a 75 ft. limestone formation surrounded by forests that have grown on limestone itself. It is believed to be formed at least 23 million years ago and is as high as 50 meters from the ground.
In the first few years of its run, caving is the only thing that tourists can do, hence the need to take the flight back down on foot again. However, due to popular demand, the zip-line was added in 2011.
If you have ever gone zip-lining, you’ll notice that after you do a few cables in the normal sitting upright zip-line position, you feel like you want more fun. Ugong Rock Adventures zip-line tour gives you exactly that as you get to go superman style on the two longest cables meaning you are lying down, held up by two harnesses from your back. Appropriately named, as you feel like Superman flying through the sky!
Gary goes first, I did not hear him scream, but I am pretty sure he is enjoying the view and feeling. While looking at him, I feel two staff pushed me out. I was not prepared, I screamed. The wind whipped around my face and my eyes widened, bugging out as I felt weightless, flying over the cloud forest with the sun shining brightly above me. I glanced wildly around me and crazily laughed. That was an amazingly good Whoooo!
400 meters long, 165 feet high and 34 seconds travel time felt like forever. Ugong Rock Adventures designed their canopy tour with adrenaline in mind. The superman cable was the cherry on top of the already fun zip-line.
We had an amazing view of the mountains and plains from the platform, especially when we were zip-lining in a superman position. I love the feeling of crisp clean air whooshing. The entire zip-line experience appears more dramatic from the ground than it feels while riding the lines. I feel more like a sitting flying superhero than a roller coaster warrior.
This community-based sustainable tourism project is collectively managed and run by a group of Palawan locals who goes by the name Tagabinet Ugong Rock Multipurpose Cooperative, and is the usual side tour of the nearby Underground River. All packages provide you with a local tour guide, driver, and tour coordinator to help you get the most out of your stay.
3 Activities in Ugong Rock Adventures Palawan
*Ugong Rock Caving – ₱200 ($4.50)
*Zipline (Sitting Position) – ₱250 ($5.50)
*Zipline (Superman Position) – ₱350 ($6.30)