Puerto Princesa Underground River: Google Doodle celebrates stunning natural park in Philippines

Cabayugan River vanishes underground forming 'one of world’s most impressive cave systems,' according to UNESCO

Alessio Perrone
Sunday 30 June 2019 16:55
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Stunning footage shows inside Puerto Princesa

Google has put out a new doodle to celebrate the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, a Philippines national park and UNESCO world heritage site.

The new Google Doodle is commemorating the seventh anniversary of the site making the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. The designation entails protection for the area under the Ramsar Convention – an international treaty for the conservation of wetlands.

The site is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a global poll designated it as one of the new seven wonders of nature in 2011.

In one of the most unique features of the national park, located on the western coast of Palawan Island, the Cabayugan River reaches the 3,280-feet Saint Paul limestone mountain – and disappears into it.

It becomes one of the world’s longest subterranean rivers, remaining underground for some five miles (8.2 km) before flowing directly into the sea.

During its course, the river forms “one of the world’s most impressive cave systems” according to UNESCO, featuring spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations and including the “Italian’s Chamber”, which at 360 metres long and 80 metres high is one of the largest caves in the world.

The new Google Doodle features the entrance of the natural wonder.

The lower half of the river is subject to tides, and stands out as a significant natural global phenomenon.

The rest of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Natural Park also forms stunning karst landscapes, areas of pristine natural beauty and intact old-growth forests.

Ramsar calls the site “unique” because it “connects a range of important ecosystems from the mountain-to-the-sea, including a limestone karst landscape with a complex cave system, mangrove forests, lowland evergreen tropical rainforests, and freshwater swamps.”

It is also important for its biodiversity, being home animal species found nowhere else, including giant spiders, crabs, fish and 15 endemic species of birds – including the Palawan peacock pheasant and the Tabon scrub fowl.

The critically endangered Philippine cockatoo and Hawksbill turtle also find home in the park, together with the endangered Green sea turtle, Nordmanns greenshank and some 800 plant and 233 animal species in total.

Small boats carry sightseers underground to marvel at the underground caves.

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