Sabang Mangrove Paddle Tour
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Sabang Mangrove Paddle Tour

Are you planning a trip to Sabang in Puerto Princesa to see the underground river? It will be worthwhile to stop by a nearby river when you get to the rendezvous area to enjoy the mangrove paddle boat tour. Visiting the mangroves will enable tourists to get a glimpse of a typical pristine forest that reminds one of the state of the environment during the 1960s.

If you intend to visit the Underground River in Puerto Princesa in Barangay Sabang, it would be a good thing to include in your itinerary the mangrove paddle tour. The river fringed with mangroves is just a few minutes from the rendezvous area in Sabang to enjoy the mangrove paddle tour.  This is especially helpful if you need to wait for your turn to gain access to the very busy tourist destination which became one of the 7 New Wonders of Nature.

The Sabang mangrove paddle tour is a community based tourism project by the local communities living in Sabang. As the boatman paddles the boat along the mangrove-fringed river, different kinds of mangroves can be observed. Among those that gain the attention of tourists are stands of Rhizophora with its intricate roots. The tall stands of Bruguiera are also characteristic of the inner parts of the river. According to the guide, the mangroves found in this part of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park shows the pristine condition of a typical forest in Palawan. That is, before many migrants from various parts of the Philippines came over to enjoy the bounties of Palawan. In fact, many of the mangrove areas in Palawan are already converted into fishponds. Some mangrove stands appear to be pristine outwardly but as one explores the inner portions, destroyed areas reveal themselves. 

Many aquatic animals can be observed in the clear waters of the river as the local guide entertain guests with their antics and locally composed songs. The tour guide will alert you of swimming fishes of various sizes and colors underneath the fiberglass boat. They will educate you about the mangroves and other interesting facts about wildlife in the mangrove forest. 

 You just have to watch out closely for various kinds of wildlife that can be seen along the way. If you’re lucky and observant, you might see a monitor lizard (Varanus salvator) swim across the narrow river.  The tour guide may also alert you to watch out for the python that typically nestles safely in its favourite mangrove tree hole. Your camera must always be ready.

The ambient light is blocked by the tall growth of mangroves so you better attach a flash to your digital zoom camera to avoid underexposed shots. Allegedly, crocodiles once thrived in the river but the local folks could no longer see one in the area. Probably, its population was reduced by the growing number of people in Sabang. It is also possible that the crocodiles have become so very shy to make themselves visible to people as they were aggressively hunted during the 1960s. 

After almost an hour of traversing the magnificent mangroves and safely returning to the base, you will be given the chance to help reforest the cleared area next to the beach. Most likely, the tour guide will hand you propagules of Rhizophora apiculata. This mangrove species is easier to plant than the other species of mangroves because of its pointed base. This experience will also remind you of what you did if ever you return to the place again.

The Sabang mangrove paddle tour is a worthy trip that will not only let you learn about mangroves but also help the local folks decently earn from sustainable projects like this one. 

©18 August 2012 Patrick A. Regoniel

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Comments (4)

Enjoyed this, Patrick. 

This looks like a lovely place to travel, I should like to visit the Philippines some day. 

Thank you for taking me on this journey with your words.

Ranked #1 in Philippines

Great one Patrick.

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