Monday, January 28, 2008

The Subterranean River at Sabang

Like entering the mouth of some mythical beast, the boat journey into this, the longest known navigable underground river on earth, is an awe inspiring moment. The darkness sucks the 8 man paddle boat into it's womb and the only thing seperating you from the pitch black is a light and car battery.

As you journey further into the depths the guide points out rock formations in the caves. There's it is, a mushroom. And over to your left, the virgin Mary. Look closely fellas, a naked female form is just around the next corner. Do you see the banana flower?

Actually the rock growths and formations could be anything your mind wants, like an inkblot test that envelops you, and the guides' constant suggestions become an annoyance seperating your from what could be a truly meditative experience.

All in all the trip was unforgettable. It's a shame that along with easier accessibility (the road was built in the early 90's - before that you had to take a boat some three hours up the coastline, through devil's point, a dangerous whirlpool) comes hordes of tourists and the corresponding price hikes, crowds, and waits. I must have seen too many Indiana Jones movies.


Andy said...

Sorry to hear it's another excellent place destroyed by the tourist hordes. If you're using a "guidebook" like Lonely Planet, I would say that my experience with LP has been to use it as a guide of where NOT to go. LP will only direct you to the tourist hordes every time.

Still, looks like an interesting place and your two day boat journey sounded excellent. How was the island where you stopped for seven hours? Find anything interesting?

PJ said...

Sometimes when looking at nature photography in calendars and coffee table books the colors are too jewel-like to believe. I assume the photographer used some sort of manipulation to pull that much vibrant color into the sky, sea or leaves. I get that same feeling when I look at your photo of the emerald green water. It is so luscious, but you don't have time for filters and photoshop on the road, do you? Would be nice to bottle that color and make sheets or tablecloths out of it or, for you, to be able to just close your eyes at night and see it perfectly again.

Seth said...

No editing, it really is that beautiful! If pristine beaches with crystal, aquamarine water are your thing, the Philippines has got to be one of the best choices on earth.

Andy said...

You know, the first time I read your post I thought you said the trip was forgettable, not unforgettable. On rereading, I see that you were actually very pleased with the place... please disregard my previous comment! It does sound and look like an amazing place.