|Puerto Princesa Subterranean River|
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP), formerly known as St. Paul's Subterranean River National Park or St. Paul Underground River, is found in the St. Paul Mountain Range about 76 kilometres northwest of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, approximately 365 nautical miles south of Manila, facing the West Philippine Sea with geographic coordinates 10′ 10 north, 118′ 55 south. It is bordered by St. Paul Bay to the north and the Babuyan River to the east. The topography varies from flat plains to rolling hinterlands and hills to mountain peaks. Over 90% of the park comprises sharp, karst limestone ridges around Mount St Paul, which is itself part of a series of rounded, limestone peaks aligned on a north-south axis, along the western coast of Palawan.
|Courtesy of puertoprincesa.ph|
The PPSRNP was established on March 26, 1971, by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 835 issued by the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos and the City Government of Puerto Princesa has managed the National Park since 1992. The park initially comprised of 3,901 hectares of terrestrial reservation. To ensure long-term viability, former President Joseph E. Estrada signed Proclamation No. 212 on November 16, 1999 expanding the area of the Park to 22,202 hectares that now includes the entire catchment for the Underground River and significant forest important for biodiversity conservation. The PPSRNP was also declared as a National Geological Monument on December 11, 2003 by the National Committee on Geological Sciences (NCGS).
The park has a limestone karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 kilometer navigable underground river. A distinguishing feature of the river is that it winds through a cave before flowing directly into the West Philippine Sea. It includes major formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and several large chambers. The lower portion of the river is subject to tidal influences.
The area also represents a habitat for biodiversity conservation. The site contains a full mountain-to-the-sea ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia. It was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site on December 4, 1999.
|Courtesy of puertoprincesa.ph|
The Park has a range of forest formations representing eight of the thirteen forest types found in tropical Asia, namely forest over ultramafic soils, forest over limestone soils, montane forest, freshwater swamp forest, lowland evergreen tropical rainforest, riverine forest, beach forest, and mangrove forest. Researchers have identified more than 800 plant species from 300 genera and 100 families. These include at least 295 trees dominated by the dipterocarp type of species. In the lowland forest, large trees such as the Dao (Dracontomelon dao), Ipil (Intsia bijuga), Dita (Alstonia scholaris), Amugis (Koordersiodendrum pinnatum), and Apitong (Dipterocarpus gracilis) are common. Beach forest species include Bitaog (Calophyllum inophyllum), Pongamia pinnata, and Erynthia orientalis. Other notable plant species include Almaciga (Agathis philippinensis), Kamagong (Diospyros pulganensis) Pandan (Pandanus sp.) Anibong, and Rattan ('Calamus sp.)
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