Friday, June 6, 2014

A Post Card from El Nido

Finally! I was able to visit our very own “The Last Frontier” the island of Palawan. 

It has been declared as a nature sanctuary of the world. It is wrapped in a mantel of rainforests, outstanding dive sites, majestic mountains, primeval caves, and pristine beaches. It is surrounded by a coral shelf that abounds with varied and colorful marine life. 

El Nido, Palawan waters are among the best in the world, not only for diving but also for fishing. A diver's paradise, it has miles of sub-surface coral and rainbow reef walls which surround the coasts and coves teeming with rich marine life.

Words can’t do justice to how awesome the experience was. I traveled with my little bro to discover the paradise.

Puerto Princesa to El Nido

You have two options you may choose to take the bus or van (shuttle). San Jose Terminal is where buses and shuttles in Puerto Princesa leave from. To get here from the airport, it take a 15-minute trike ride fare is Php120.

But if you have the time, you may also take a trike to junction (Php8.00) and then ride a multi-cab to San Jose terminal (Php12.00). This is good if you are backpacker.

Van cost Php700 while bus aircon Php380 (cherry or Roro bus). The Van (shuttle) can pick you from your hotel so its less hassle.
source: google map

Travel time to El Nido is six hours. So mapapakanta ka ng The long and winding road by beatles so dapat memorize mo yan teh!

I’m one of those travelers who don’t follow a tight itinerary. so we decided to take the last trip schedule 10 pm and arrived exactly in El Nido 3:30 am in the morning. Viola!  so chika lang ang 6 but really it depends on the bus driver.what happens to the almost 6 hours travel time?....zzsss….. Sleep…hahaha..special talent ko itey ang mag burlog:)

But if you have the moolah why not charter a plane:) it cost around 7K to 15K.

Arriving in El Nido

I did not book a hotel prior to our arrival. I asked help with the trike driver to bring us to a decent and cheapest room since will be out most of the time exploring the island. Trike from terminal cost Php50. There's a lot of hotels, backpackers lodge, bed and breakfast available. So no need to worry.

We stayed in D' Strong Tower Inn where most of the guests are backpackers. We rented a room for Php500 a day. Good for two or three persons it has its own bathroom. It was good deal after all, we were out most of the time exploring the island. 

Hindi ito keep calm and nganga moment sa hotel. Ano teh staycation! 

Island Hopping

To experience the best of El Nido you have to do the famous Island Hopping activity. There are 4 island hopping tour in El Nido, tour A, B, C and D. The most famous tour is A and C.

A lot of small shops scattered in every corner of the little town offer island and inland tour. The rate of the island hopping tours is standard. Tour A costs P700/pax and tour C costs P900/Pax. So kung bet nyo ang lahat prepare  gastos! Hahaha! A bigger budget.

Rates are per person but no minimum number of guests. The tour operator will be the one to look for joiners to fill in the required maximum number. Combination tours are also available but a bit expensive. 

I don’t want hassle and I made my own check list to what island to visit. So we rented our own boat. 

Combo Tour A and C

A week before, I contacted 4 island tour services and the best package deal I got is from Northern Hope Tours. Ate Neriza was really helpful, 3 people accompanied us, one tour guide, a boatman and assistance.  Akala ni ate foreigner akey hahahaha more English pa c ate sakin at hanapan ba ako ng passport..kalowka! sabi ko teh tagalog nalang tayo nose bleed akey!
Hello! El Nido:)

Helicopter Island

A beautiful and uniquely shaped island in Bacuit Bay. 
The waves were too high and the shore had deep trenches so it wasn't the swimming kind of beach.  It's good to relax and sunbathe:)
El Nido a promise of perfect gateway ( Helicopter Island).

front view of hidden beach...castle like rock formation
Hidden beach
On our way to Matinloc Shrine
View from the top of a limestone cliff at Matinloc Shrine

It's a good stopover for a glimpse of an "aerial" view of the bay. A 15 min climb up a ragged cliff (sad to say for adventurers: there's stairs). There's an abandoned nunnery for exploring. 

Urban legends say that this island holds a lot of mystery and were never proven. I would say it adds to the charm.  Dragon rock formations + a small chapel + awesome view at the top makes this stop worthwhile.
pag bigyan nyo ako..perfect for instagram post ito:)
ayan ayaw pa awat! ko to
 #jumpshot with lil bro #Matinloc shrine
 we stop on this island to have our lunch. 
Lined with palm trees and  a perfect view.
  while waiting for the lunch..ayan instagram moment na at 
dapat na ka pose! take note mga teh!
 lunch on the boat. They served fresh grilled fish, 
squid, shirmp, cucumber salad and fruits. 
This is included on the package.

After some rest, we proceed with our tour around 1:00 pm..first stop
The Secret beach.
You need to pass through like a small tunnel of limestone 
but it was easy for us since anak kami ng dagat! lol   
We didn't wear the life jacket...warning!kung di ka MuroAmi!
We didn't wear the life jacket since we both 
know how to swim and it would be a hassle:)
little bro..under the sea:)
Be careful..alot of jellyfish...kong bet nyo maging
 Anne Curtis cge mga teh!
 dedmahin mo sila goodluck syo!
This is the entrance to the Secret Beach!
The Secret Beach photo via
The big lagoon
Iconic  karst rocks and blue water.
It was low tide and our boat cannot enter the lagoon. Good thing we have kayak:)
entrance to big lagoon
We were able to kayak around the lagoon without a hitch.
 Tip here is to arrive early to enjoy the tranquility of the place. 
entrance to The Small Lagoon
It has a green, blue green water.
perfect to swim in, kayak or just to chill:)
      At 4:50 pm we decided to stop at Papaya beach  
to relax and enjoy the beauty of El Nido.

As we go to one island to another island, it was serene. I loved how the summer heat envelope me, the sounds of waves, the smell of the salty air and clear skies. How I wish I could live like this forever:) 

 powdery sand of papaya beach

       With my best travel buddy. My little brother:)

Our Island hopping tour ended at 6:00pm so it was a full day. Both of us feeling absolutely famished and good thing a lot of  resto available fronting the beach. 

We had our dinner at  Trattoria Altrove who serve the best pizza in town but you have to leave your slippers at the entrance and enter barefoot. hahahaha! The floor and the wall are made of dark hardwood. The ceiling is lighter and high with ceiling fans ventilating the entire area. Ito ang perfect sa keep calm and more nganga mode! lol

their  pizza is to die for with amazing sunset view:)
so many pictures have been posted on the internet, books & magazine, blogs of the beauty of El Nido but the best thing to  experience is to visit and see it with your naked eye. #itsmorefuninthePhilippines.

El Nido is definitely a place to visit in the Philippines. A paradise, indeed.
Cheers to the best summer:)

Life is Good!

Note: without food and Kayak is for the whole day tour.

Northern Hope Tour
Mobile Numbers
    (+63) 939-902-2216 (Smart)
    (+63) 927-735-3221 (Globe)
    (+63) 942-375-2441 (Sun) 

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