The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is one of the most distinguished protected areas of the Philippines. It is located some 360 miles southwest of Manila, the country’s political and economic capital. It was established as a National Park in 1971primarily to protect and preserve the intact old growth forest, interesting wildlife, pristine white sand beaches, unspoiled natural beauty and one of the most impressive caves systems in the world.
The Park features a spectacular limestone or karst mountain landscape. It contains an 8.2 km long underground river that flows directly to the sea. The lower half of the river is brackish and subject to the oceans tide. A subterranean river flowing directly into the sea and the associated tidal influence makes it the most unique natural phenomenon of its type to exist. The presence of 11 minerals, scientifically and aesthetically unique speleothems, and a 20 million year old Serenia fossil embedded in the walls of the cave justifies the declaration of the Puerto Princesa Underground River as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
The Park also contains a full mountain to sea ecosystems and protects forests that are important for biodiversity conservation. It is a representative of Palawan Moist Forests, which are among the most significant in Asia, and is noted for high levels of regional and local endemism. The Site serves as habitat to numerous endangered, rare and endemic wildlife species. In the coastal area, mangroves, sea grass beds and coral reefs are found.
The global significance of the Park is recognized by its designation as a World Heritage Site, a Biosphere Reserve, a Ramsar Site, and an Important Bird Area. Inclusion to these prestigious lists confirms the outstanding universal value of the Park that deserves to be conserved for the benefit of the present and future generations.
The Park managed by the City Government of Puerto Princesa thru a multi sector Protected Area Management Board (PAMB). It has the distinction of being the first national park devolved and successfully managed by a local government unit. Under the dynamic leadership of Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn, the Site has become a model for effective protected area management and sustainable tourism in the Philippines.
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a source of pride and a key element in the identity of the people of Puerto Princesa in particular and of the Philippines as a whole. It is a symbol of commitment by the Filipino people in the global efforts to conserve our natural heritage.