Subterranean river in Sabang

Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
Trip End Feb 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Mary's rat infested cottages

Flag of Philippines  , Mimaropa,
Saturday, March 26, 2011

By the time we got on the jeepney, our final leg before getting to Sabang we’d been travelling for 16 hours. We were absolutely exhausted! The journey was interesting to say the least. As we waited for the jeepney to leave the station more and more people kept coming on. All of us would think, nah there’s no way someone else will fit in here, impossible…but sure enough with a bit of shuffling and a lot of squeezing, they would. It was an extremely intimate ride! We copied the locals and bought little scoops of ice-cream from the ice-cream seller that stopped us along the way, and then we bought some pancakes further along….the Filipinos like to eat! 



We finally made it to Sabang, and I’m sure all of us squeezed out of that jeepney a little thinner than we had been at the start of the journey. We made our way to Mary’s a place recommended by the Lonely Planet, and even though we were on the verge of collapsing we couldn’t help getting excited by the gorgeous beach that we were walking on. 


The huts we got were old and in need of much love, but hey ho nothing new there. We spent the afternoon jumping in the waves on our beach, all of us ecstatic to be there. 
When Paul and I tried to get back in our huts our key didn’t work. It turned out they had lost our key and decided to give us another one in the hope that it would work, it didn’t. We waited outside for a couple of hours while they figured out a plan, and it was only after I threw a wobbly they deigned to get a locksmith to unlock the door and let us in. 
The real trouble started after we got back from our evening meal. We’d had to put our valuables in Ash and Anna’s room as we couldn’t lock our hut. As I picked up my bag I noticed a big gaping hole in it. I realised that we’d left some cake in the bag and a rat had come in for it. The greedy sod didn’t have to eat through my bag though. He’d even had the discourtesy of leaving a line of his droppings at the entrance which left us in no doubt about his visit. Yuck. I walked into my room and found that he’d come to our room as well. Not finding any food there he’d eaten through my suntan lotion (!) and my medicine bag. I was extremely pleased to see he’d chewed a whole Imodium tablet. There’s one mighty blocked up rat somewhere. 
Paul and I found it disgusting, but we were used to this grubby living by now. Poor Ash and Anna on the other hand, come from the sanitized and clean otherworld that is Europe. Ash refused to enter the hut and was planning on sleeping on the beach. Having built months of experience with all things filthy, I reassured them confidently that rats would never come in the hut while we were in it. That once we were in, there wouldn’t be any hint of a rat in the near vicinity. How wrong I was…..
As Paul and I got into bed, both our skins crawling with the filthiness of the place we heard a noise by the window. We shone our torch on it (there was no electricity at night) and heard something scuttle back out. Surely, it couldn’t be?!!!! The rat must have known we were inside, trying to come in was against the rules!!! We spent half the night trying not to touch too much of our bed sheets (levitation would have been extremely useful) and the other half, shining our torch at the window to stop the persistent rat from coming in. At one point Paul got so frustrated that he went out looking for the dirty scoundrel. What he would have done once he’d spotted it remains a mystery to both of us.
I would have chased the little bugger into it’s hole and disturbed its sleep instead! In fact when I did go out at about 04:00 a.m. in my underwear (nice sight I have put in your heads) I came across a dog outside our bungalow and a couple walking! What they must have thought I was up to with my head torch and stick will remain in their imaginations! 
The next day we all came to a quick decision and decided to find another bungalow. Luckily Karen found some nice bungalows just around the corner so we quickly grabbed our bags including the half eaten one ( hey we are poor backpackers!) and moved into our new plush adobes!  
Our advice to anybody coming to the Philippines is to splash out slightly more on your accommodation as the dirt cheap ones are just that, dirty and cheap! 
We did not have much time to enjoy our new place as we had to get to the subterranean river, Sabang’s major highlight. It took us 2 hours to get to it by trekking through a jungle! It was ironic that we were trekking again as we all imagined once we had reached Palawan we would be just chilling on the beaches! No such luck, but the trek was lovely. It really did feel like we were the only 4 people for miles around. The noises coming from the jungle canopy was spooky as was the feeling of isolation the deeper we went in to the jungle. The only way we knew which way to go was by following these red paint marks on trees that sporadically popped up now and again. Now if you have a wild imagination like me, you could say that the red paint looked like blood! Of course I did not share my musings with the others!  As we did not know that it would take 2 hours to get to the river, none of us came prepared. We were wearing flip flops, shorts and we had no water. It was also very hot! So readers, you have been warned.




It was well worth the effort though. The river goes on for 8km under the rocks, although we only went for 1.5km. The place is huge with massive ceilings, stalagmites, stalactites, weird rock formations and thousands of bats! It took just under an hour and was something none of us had ever done so we were all glad that we stopped off in Sabang to experience it. You will be glad to know that we did not trek back! It was getting way too late for that. Instead we got on a “ Bangka” which is a traditional Filipino boat that took us back to our beach in Sabang. 


Before heading back to our bungalows we had a quick drink with a local guy that we had booked our mini bus to El Nido with. Some local rum with coke. It was very nice so we decided to buy some. It cost 50p for a small bottle of rum! 50p! It’s nice rum too. It was great sitting there with our new found friend but we were all desperate to get to our clean bungalows so we made our excuses and left. 
After a lovely shower we all sat on our veranda and drank our rum and cokes. Now this is more like it! Ashley & Anna treated us to a lovely dinner at the best place in town. They did not need to the silly sods but it was lovely of them. Thank you once again guys! 
After dinner we headed back to our beds full and happy. A dog even guided us to our places in the dark! I am sure we all got in bed with content sighs, a far cry from last night! 
See you all on the beach in El Nido!
Paul, Karen, Ashley & Anna xxx

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MOM on

Amazing pictures guys , and hey every thing has got to eat even rats xx

pearl foyle on

Oh my god rats I would have had to climb a tree, or have a heart attack. You do get to see some nice things.(ha ha). What a beach, when you come home you will have so many stories to tell. What nice memories you both will have. Keep the pictures coming. Take care both. x

Gerard on

Champion 2010-1011 AFC AJAX Amsterdam!!!

paul_karen on

What about Cambuur G.Man!

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