Ugong Rock: A Limestone Formation Tour Through Nooks and Crannies
One of the promising tourist attractions of Puerto Princesa in Palawan west of the Philippines is the Ugong Rock limestone formation tour. Ugong Rock is a limestone formation located in the scenic Barangay Tagabinet, a few kilometers away from the well-known Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park or simply world-renowned Underground River. Ugong Rock can be accessed from the city of Puerto Princesa within two hours or less by van or any land vehicle because the way to the limestone formation is well-paved. The limestone formation is just a few hundred meters away from the main road to Sabang.
What is Ugong Rock?
Ugong Rock is a 75-foot limestone formation in the midst of farmlands and karst forests or forests growing on limestone substrate in Barangay Tagabinet, a once sleepy community of indigenous peoples. The word “ugong” stands for the reverberating sound (similar to a bell) that stalactites produce inside the cavernous structures of Ugong Rock when hit or pounded with the knuckles or the palm.
What’s so special about the Ugong Rock limestone formation tour?
There seems to be nothing special about a rock, or Ugong Rock, for that matter. But discovery awaits the curious tourist looking for a place of challenge. The tour in Ugong Rock is actually a climb to the top of the limestone formation. Tourists need to wear a helmet to prevent head injuries while squeezing themselves through holes and cracks, bring along a bottle of cold soda or juice, and protected pockets to prevent the camera from hitting the hard limestone while actively climbing up a steep incline midway in the tour.
No worries for chubby climbers. Local tour guides are ready to assist.
The tour consists of an hour or less walk through narrow cracks and caverns, climbing up ladders, and squeezing through narrow holes and crevices that will barely allow chubby, plump persons to go through. About midway, tourists need to clamber upwards a steep incline with the aid of two lines of rope. For those who are not athletic enough or the heavier ones, the tour guides are ready to make the push necessary to hurdle this challenging ascent towards the top of Ugong Rock. Just a few more squeezes and ladder climb, the tourist reaches the top where a view deck awaits. The tour guides provide a cool towel wipe to refresh tourists who sweated it out.
Climbers cool off on the view deck on top of Ugong rock.
Picture Taking Activity
To the veteran caver, the climb to the top of Ugong Rock may not really be a difficult challenge. But for a tourist wanting to taste caving as an activity, the Ugong Rock tour is an excellent time to document his/her accomplishment every inch of the way.
This generation is lucky to have digital cameras that enable them to take pictures while walking through a narrow corridor, squeezing themselves through a narrow limestone formation, climbing up the two steep flights of stairs, and the most challenging task of climbing with the aid of two lines of rope. In fact, the picture taking activity could be the most satisfying experience. And it pays to go in groups so each one can photograph each other along the way.
A group of friends pose on top of Ugong Rock.
There is a future plan to install a 380-meter zip line, an activity in which the participant rides down a long, taut cable suspended between the top of Ugong Rock and a pole several hundred meters down the west side of the limestone formation through a farmland. Once this is installed, Ugong Rock may become one of the major attractions on the way to the underground river.
Ugong Rock is community-based sustainable tourism project initiated by ABS-CBN Foundation-Bantay Kalikasan in partnership with the City of Puerto Princesa and the Department of Tourism with the support of Pasyar-PNNI, PCC, City Tourism Council, Barangay Council and IDEAS. It is managed by the Tagabinet Community Tourism Association, Inc.