On our second day in Palawan (August of 2016), the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour is one of the two side tours/trips that we enjoyed doing. It is a great side tour for anyone visiting Puerto Princesa Underground River.
The Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour aims to help the locals earn a living whilst protecting the environment and educating visitors about the importance of mangroves to the ecosystem of Palawan.
It actually occurs to me that it could be a mundane activity. I was wrong. It was just because I was looking forward to doing the Ugong Rock adventure and it wasn't offered to us. It was something not everyone in my family will enjoy so we push through with the mangrove forest tour.
Surprisingly, I find it interesting and relaxing to cruise down the river on a wooden boat while surrounded by centuries-old mangrove trees.
Being surrounded by nothing but nature was a humbling experience. It makes you realize how small you really are and that nature has its own way to thrive even without people's intervention. That we are the one's who need it to live.
This river with its brackish water is connected to the sea and the mangrove forest is a major breeding ground for fishes. They come and stay here for six months to feed and lay their eggs before going back to the open water. Dried leaves and dead mangrove tree trunks decompose over time and serve as food for the marine animals that live here. The roots of these humongous mangroves hold the soil and help prevent erosion. It is also where the famous "tamilok'' are harvested. Many other living creatures are sustained by this unique ecosystem.
Did you know that mangrove seeds/trees have a male and female species? I didn't know until I joined this tour. The long one is male and the shorter one is female.
It pays to listen to your tour guide. You'll be surprised at how knowledgeable they are.
The tour was less than an hour but sitting in the boat in the same position for more than twenty minutes, especially for the three elderly who was with us, is tiring. Stopping at the mangrove forest park was a good way to stretch our legs and take a breather.
To make our experience all the more memorable, our tour guide sang us a song about mangroves in the tune of "paru-parong bukid'' on our way back to the assembly point. The song gives reverence to the importance of the mangrove forest and that we must protect them.
The Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour, Board Walk, Bird Watching and Jungle Trail is operated by Sabang Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour Guide Association Inc. and located at Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa City.