It was the day after the underground river and time for another adventure. This time it was in the Sabang Mangrove Forest and we were going to see some wildlife. Hopefully at least. Like most things I encountered on Palawan, I didn’t really know what this was. It was a mangrove tour and we were going early so we could have it all to ourselves.
This, like the underground river, is something else you can easily do on your own. To get there, if you’re facing the water, you walk down the beach to the right. Keep right where the beach starts to end and the rocky area starts. At this point, you’ll want to be walking behind the trees, further from the water. You pass by a really fancy looking resort here. The road keeps going this way and you will get to a little stand where you’ll have to pay some fee. It’s not very much, don’t worry. I couldn’t even tell you what it was, though.
Then you walk a little more and get to the building for the tours. We went right away at eight or nine when it opens and were the only ones there. Spoiler alert: we were the only ones there at the end too! A little old lady greeted us. She was the one taking us out onto the boat and also happened to be the one of the founders of the mangrove preservation project. Pretty cool, right?
We paid our 200 pesos, put on our life jackets, and carefully climbed into the boat. There were four of us and our guide in the boat with no one else in sight. The mangrove forest was a totally different side of the Philippines for me to see. I mean, I really only saw the beaches at this point and I was going home in a few days, so I was overdue for some other type of scenery.
Off we paddled and we were surrounded by the mangrove trees. Soon enough, our guide started pointing out the monitor lizards and baby pythons. She would be talking and looking right then say “Monitor lizard!” and point to the top of a tree on the left. I don’t know how she did it, but I was impressed.
She did this the whole time with both animals. The baby pythons were always curled up way at the very tops of the trees, doing their thing, while the parent pythons were busy living and hunting and doing other python things in a cave somewhere nearby
After about half an hour, we reached the end and had to turn around. On the way out, we saw a log with a bunch of holes in it. We learned that Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre foods ate those worms once. Exciting stuff! Shortly after that, we saw a rare Kingfisher that people go there to look for. One guy went there three or four times to see one. At the end, we all got to plant our own mangrove tree before leaving.
Tips for visiting the Sabang Mangrove Forest:
- This is super easy to visit on your own for a fraction of the price that tour companies are offering it for. And unlike planning for the underground river on your own, this is super easy. You basically just show up.
- The boat trip isn’t terribly long, maybe an hour there and back. The water is blocked by some trees, or at least was when we went, so we couldn’t go any further.
- If you want the place to yourself, make sure you go right when it opens. It might still be possible to have it to yourself a little after it opens, too.
Have you been to Sabang? Did you go on the mangrove tour? Do you want to?