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The Ugong Rock
Ugong Rock was known to be a dwelling place for natives hundreds of years ago based on the artifacts found in one of its chambers, as confirmed by Prof. Jun Cairon, a curator from Palawan State University.
In 1998, a group of students from the University of the Philippines Diliman, spearheaded by Mr. Kenneth Kennedy came to explore the 50m cave in Barangay Tagabinet. One of them knocked on one of the rock formations and surprisingly, it echoed a sound locally known as “ugong”. Thus, the name Ugong Rock.
The Tagabinet Ugong Rock Tourism Service Cooperative is composed of 40 members who are also employees of the Ugong Rock Adventures. Before Ugong Rock became a tourist destination, the members were engaged in slash and burn farming, not caring too much about the preservation of nature.
After the involvement of ELAC, the community embraced ecotourism by opening the Ugong Rock to adventurous travelers. The caving activity did not give them enough to sustain their everyday needs but when ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, inc. (ALKFI) offered an assistance to install their first zipline, it was then that tourists came pouring in. From poverty to good life, the community members could now afford to send their children to school, which they were once deprived of.
The Ugong Rock adheres to its advocacy of giving livelihood to the community without damaging the environment. All documents have been procured before the construction of ladders, ropes and platforms found in the cave. They have been issued of the Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The community is involved in the apprehension and reporting of any illegal activities within the area. They support and cooperate in the local government’s environmental programs such as mangrove planting and tree planting. Presently, a beautification project is going on that encouraged the school, residents and members to participate in landscaping and planting of ornamental plants in their frontyard.
Why Ugong Rock?
Safe and Comfort
There is an annual safety check by the Bureau of Fire and the Department of Labor and Employment. An Environmental Compliance Certificate is being issued by the Palawan Conservation and Sustainable Development to ensure safety while doing the activities. Ugong Rock’s safety officers are well trained on emergency first response.
Partners such as the Palawan State University, the Legend Hotel, Bayan Academy and TESDA trained our dedicated community members on Customer Service. The community guides would be happy to carry the bags of the guests or take care of the kids for those who could not leave them behind. It is the guides’ simple pleasure to take photographs of the guests while they pose and say cheese among the awesome rock formations.
Ugong Rock is a destination where the “Bayanihan” spirit thrives. Managed and operated by community members whom, majority have no formal education or privileged, the Ugong Rock has the atmosphere of humility, simplicity and determination to serve well the guests who give them the income of the day.