Meet the other New7Wonders of Nature: Puerto Princesa Underground River
The campaign to have Table Mountain voted in as one of the New7Wonders of Nature was a long and grueling one, the culmination of a three-year campaign that drew more than 100 million votes from a variety of countries. A huge number of ambassadors, media partners, and volunteers all got behind the message to encourage people to cast their vote, especially during the last few days of the competition.
But how did the other six do it? Here we profile each one of the six other New7Wonders of Nature, find out a little more about each site, and how they made it into the final selection.
Puerto Princesa Underground River (inaugurated April 21, 2012)
Running beneath the Saint Paul mountain range on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, the Puerto Princesa Underground River has carved its way through 8km of limestone rock all the way out to the South China Sea. Millions of years of erosion have formed sharp mountains, shafts and caves in this region, and a boat ride along the river reveals uniquely formed stalactites, stalagmites, sinkholes, and huge underground chambers.
Some parts of the cave have never been properly explored, due to oxygen deprivation, but in 2011 geologists discovered new river channels, deeper caves, and fossils of marine creatures dating back millions of years.
Reputed to be the longest navigable underground river in the world, visitors are attracted to the clear waters of the lagoon at the mouth of the cave, which is lined by thick vegetation, and frequented by an array of wildlife including monkeys, monitor lizards and squirrels. For the bravest visitors, a paddle boat can get you several kilometers deep inside the cave!
Puerto Princesa mayor Edward Hagedorn championed the campaign to get the Puerto Princesa Underground River selected as a New7Wonder of Nature. He has encouraged the expansion of the ecotourism industry in the Puerto Princesa region, and this selection of the Underground River as a New7Wonder of Nature is sure to be remembered as a crowning glory.
The best time to visit is from January to May when the sea is calmer and there is less rain. Guided tours need to be booked in advance.