File photo of Puerto Princesa Underground River

The administration of Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) will reinstate the P500 entrance fee at the park that had been in place prior to the pandemic.

This was the clarification made by park superintendent Elizabeth Maclang on reports that the currently reduced entrance fee of P100 will be increased as tourism in the city begins to recover.

“Maraming nagkakamali — nami-misinterpret nila, akala nila tumaas si PPUR fee. Hindi tumaas, hindi tataas, kundi ibinalik lang natin,” Maclang said.

She explained that the park’s entrance fee was reduced from P500 to P100 over a year ago to encourage locals to visit PPUR and help in its recovery.

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She stated that now that the tourism industry has started to recover, the park will return to collecting the old rate so it can earn and save for salaries of personnel and maintenance operations.

“Hindi pa natin nai-implement yong pre-pandemic rate na P500 kasi nga wala pa tayong copy ng ordinance. So, ang tanong nga ng mga tour operators, kelan ba? Kasi baka mabigla naman kami. Kasi may prescribed period ang ordinance,” she said.

“Kung ano yong na-suspend na rate at mga guidelines dahil nagka-pandemic, nagka-COVID, yon ang mga ibabalik natin. Hindi nag-increase, kundi ibinabalik na natin ang dati,” Maclang added.

The discounts for PPC residents (40%), Palaweño (20%), senior citizens of PPC (free of charge), impact barangay residents (free), students, locals, and other guidelines suspended because of the pandemic, will also be reinstated when they receive their copy of the ordinance.

Maclang said that since the easing of quarantine controls, the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) already averages 500 guests daily.

Their highest recorded was over 700 during the Semana Santa (Holy Week).

“Yon ang pinaka mataas namin, kasi 700. From there, ngayon 450 to 500 daily — ganyan na,” she said.

She said this is a significant surge over the 70-80 visitors per day that they received after reopening in December 2020 when COVID-19 limitations began to be lifted, and the 100 visitors per day after Typhoon Odette pounded the city in December 2021.

Maclang expressed optimism that the upcoming months will be better for PPUR now that international travel has opened.

On second reading last month, the City Council approved the ordinance restoring the old P500 rate.

Councilor Roy Gregorio Ventura said it was in response to a letter sent by Maclang requesting a legislation for the return of the park’s pre-pandemic entrance fee.

“Ibabalik na natin sa dating rate na P500 sa regular at sa mga kabataan at estudyante ay P50, yung ating Puerto Princesa Underground River. Ire-repeal yung ordinance during pandemic time,” Ventura said.

“Nagkaroon ng public hearing kaya ni-recommend natin na maaprubahan yung PAMB resolution requesting na ibalik na yung dating rate,” he added.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.