Due to another update by Google to its base satellite imagery data (see their announcement), we can now see some of the northern part of the territory of Puerto Princesa City, the capital of Palawan, in high resolution. This hi-res area covers Barangay Cabayugan, including Sitio Sabang, and fortunately, this means we could see the entrance to the world famous St. Paul’s Underground River. Obviously, we can’t see the river itself, 8.2 kilometers of it navigable by boat, in Google Maps no matter how high the image resolution may be.
The St. Paul’s Underground River lies under the St. Paul Mountain Range in the area, which is dominated by karst topography, and goes directly to St. Paul Bay in the South China Sea. The river winds through numerous limestone caverns carved by the precipitated water.
Anyway, the whole underground river has been designated as the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. This national park is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites worthy of preservation because this underground river flows directly to the sea and so its cavern entrance is subject to tidal influences that brings about a unique sort of marine diversity to the river. (Other World Heritage Sites already featured here in Vista Pinas are the Tubbataha Reef, Paoay Church, and Vigan.)
To go to the river, you need to take a 3-hour land trip from downtown Puerto Princesa to Sitio Sabang, then from there, take a boat ride to the river’s entrance. More details at WaypointsDotPH.
Now for something a bit fun: try exploring the area in Google Maps. First there’s the weird peninsula just to the west of the river’s entrance. On the river’s beach you should be able to spot a few anchored boats, and there are a couple more boats going to the river from Sabang a little further west. Can you find them?