El Nido, Paradise on Earth

Saturday, July 12, 2014

El Nido is one of my absolute favorites and I cannot believe I've only posted one blog entry about this place. Lazy me! The problem with procrastination especially with travel blogging, is that you tend to forget some things. It's hard to write about the experiences from that trip and how you feel about it now. I know I've been blogging bits and pieces, but I really want this little virtual space to be a collection of thoughts. Months have already passed since my trip to El Nido and I will try my best to share the best memories I created.

I would love to see this everyday!
It was August last year when my friends and I visited El Nido. Why in August? Because we scored cheap airfare to Puerto Prinsesa which costs 900 pesos RT! We just had to pray Habagat will not visit Palawan during our trip.
Badz at Shimizu Island
My flight is scheduled earlier than my travel buddies, I had the enitre morning to roam around Puerto Prinsesa. It was my first time to take a plane alone. It was also my first time in Puerto Prinsesa and I don't have any idea how to go around the city. Solo backpacker ang peg! But anyhow, I managed to get a tricycle and visited the tourist attractions in the city. Jerome, Badz and Maki arrived at around 1:00 in the afternoon. 

After 9 hour gruelling and bumpy ride from Puerto Prinsesa, we arrived in El Nido at around 9:00 in the evening. I slept the entire journey but I had a terrible body malaise. My friends were also worn out so after we checked in at Marina Garden Resort, we all slept except for Maki. He went out to buy some food. Too bad he can't sleep without food in his stomach :)
Mark, Badz and I
We woke up early the next morning excited for a day of exploring the Bacuit Bay. We were all excited. I could not believe I am now in El Nido, I never thought I would reach this place so soon!

My friend Jerome at Small Lagoon. 
Tour A is mostly about lagoons and beaches. The attractions are centered around Miniloc Island. Tour C on the other hand, is about hidden beaches and shrines. It is a tour around Matinloc Island and Tapiutan Island, with a visit to the Secret Beach. We chose these tour packages among the four being offered because we heard these two are the favorites of most people.

Day 1 was a perfect day with blue skies and great sunny weather. Our first stop was Small Lagoon. It is a shallow body of water separated from the sea by a coral reef. Silly me. I thought it will not require much effort so I just jumped in the water to swim. When I reached the entrance towards the small lagoon, I was already exhausted. Good thing, Jerome brought his life vest. We swam together to get in. Once you get in to the small lagoon, the effort will be so worth it. :)

from L - R: Maki, Badz and Jerome
Our second stop was the Big Lagoon where some of the scenes from the movie Bourne Legacy was filmed. I couldn't find any superlative adjectives to describe the place. All I can say at that time was,"Tang ina, ang ganda ng Pilipinas." We had lunch at Shimizu Island. There we witnessed how our boatmen turned in to cooking masters. While we wait for the food to be served, we talked with our fellow tourists. Katie, the solo backpacker from Scotland, said it was her first time in the Philippines. I asked if she has been to any neighboring southeast Asian countries, she answered no. I was really glad to hear that. Out of all the amazing countries in Southeast Asia, she chose the Philippines. She said her next stop would be Sagada in the Mountain Province.  

free lunch is included in the tour
After lunch, we went to Secret Lagoon and Seven Commando Beach. We stayed longer in Seven Commando Beach because we played beach volleyball. And also, most of us are tired so some decided to laid down on the sands. It was around 4:00 in the afternoon when we decided to end the tour. 

new friends we met during the tour, couple from UK and Katie from Scotland (solo backpacker)

Day 2. On the second day of our island tour, a couple from UK joined our group. Oh em. Inggit much! Nothing beats the thought of being in a wonderful place with your special someone. We're surprised Katie joined us on our tour. She asked, "Are you guys stalking me or what? If I see you guys in Sagada, I will be freaked out!" Haha. Well, not so many tourists are in El Nido that time so chances are you will see the same faces everyday.

Our first stop was the Hidden Beach. It was hidden behind a towering limestone cliff. As we approach, I asked the boatman If there was secret passage there because it seems like we are going to hit the rocks. He said, "Malapit na po tayo mam, nakatago lang po sya sa mga nakaharang na bato." And when I saw what's in there, I was stunned. I was really stunned! The couple from UK could not stop saying WOW. They said the place is really gorgeous. Hearing those words from them, kinilig ako ng very light ^_^
Divine! Photo taken at Matinloc Shrine
Our second stop was Matinloc Shrine which is my absolute favorite. We had to do a bit of climbing. Up there was heaven! Divine! The view is stunning I completely forgot about the scratches I got. I didn't have a wide angle lens so it's a struggle to get a wide view of Bacuit Bay. The limestone formation here is gorgeous!
my friend Jerome
After Hidden Beach and Matinloc Shrine, we went to Talisay Beach where we had our lunch. Our last stop was Cadlao Island, which is the biggest island in Bacuit Bay. Snorkeling in this island is a real treat! We went to this part  where sea water meets freshwater. I could not remember how long we stayed there, I totally enjoyed the snorkeling experience. 

Photo taken at Talisay Beach
We had so much fun in El Nido. I am glad to see the amazing wonders it can offer and also glad to have met people from around the world. I rarely make conversation with a foreigner (fear of nosebleed moments lol), but in El Nido I managed to get to know them. I know my adventure in El Nido does not end there. For sure, one day I will come back. Maybe next time, I will be with my special someone. So long, El Nido!

Travel Notes:
Jerome's brother recently went to El Nido and we found out island hopping rates have doubled. Here's the updated rates as of 2014:

Tour A: 1,200 PHP /pax - Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Shimizu Island, Secret Lagoon, and Seven Commandos Beach
Tour B: 1,200 PHP /pax - Entalula, Pinagbuyutan Island, Pangulasian Island, Snake Island, and Cathedral Cave
Tour C: 1,400 PHP /pax - Hidden Beach, Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine, and Talisay Beach
Tour D: 1,200 PHP /pax -  Bukal Island, Ipil Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, and Paradise Beach

Please note this includes boat transportation, lunch, life jackets (mandatory) and snorkeling gear. You can also rent underwater camera which is now being offered by some tour operators. The environmental fee is 200 pesos which is good for 10 days.

Click here to watch the video of my trip!

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  1. beautiful photos! =)

  2. el nido! hoping you can post a budget post of your trip :)

  3. Ang gandaaaaaaaaaa!!!!! Will watch your videos when I get home from work :)

  4. Thanks Jacq, hope you like the video ^_^

  5. That fish is my favorite when grilled super fresh from the sea. Ang sarap nyan sis. We call it "pale" in my province in Romblon.

    Btw, Palawan's El Nido is really picturesque talaga. That is still in my bucket list of places to visit in PH.

  6. Yes sis sobrang sarap nung fish. Super fresh pa :)

  7. That is one of the best things I like in Palawan. The seafood! :D

  8. Twisted TravelholicJuly 30, 2014 at 7:27 AM

    definitely part of my bucket list. love your photos :)

  9. Thanks! You should definitely come and see El Nido before it gets too crowded. :)