THE BEST KA EL NIDO, IKAW NA! Can’t help falling in love with this place. Pristine water, white sand beaches, cool rock formations, amazing water activities, good restaurants, nice locals, everything you need are ALL here!
Okay, our flight was moved from 5:50 am to 7:25 am, great! We arrived in Puerto Princesa, Palawan around 8:30 am. At the airport, we booked a van for Php 600/pax. Van would take 5-6 hours to El nido. If you prefer to ride the bus, ride a tricycle and head to the terminal. This is cheaper but with longer travel hours due to more stop overs. At El Nido terminal, ride a tricycle going to your hotel (for Php 50). We arrived at The Alternative Inn around 4:00 pm.
We had dinner at a newly opened restaurant called Mezzanine. It’s a french owned restaurant with cozy ambiance with good view of El Nido. Don’t forget to take off your footwear upon entering this resto! Try their pizza and avail of their happy hour, buy one take one on cocktails only 4-6 pm (as I remember)! 🙂
Oh the sound of the fan dying! Oh no, it’s 6 am! Power cut!!! It’s just power cut, don’t panic… Get on your feet, it’s the best time to explore El Nido! For breakfast, head to Sea slug’s for a Php 150 meal complete with coffee (not brewed though, urg!).
What to do next? Perfect question, head to The Alternative Inn’s tour guide, Kuya Edward (kuya means big brother in tagalog) and ask if he still have seats for you on his daily island tours. He was going to do Tour A on that date and luckily there were available seats for us! The tour costs Php 1200 but I used my haggling tactics and paid Php 11o0/pax. This fee does not include the Php 200/pax environmental fee which expires for 10 days. Pay the environmental fee at the Tourism office and you are good to go!
Our group on Tour A consist of 3 guides, 3 Chinese girls, a German girl and Iranian dude (a couple) and us – 10 people on the boat! The first destination was the Secret Lagoon which is located in a small island reminiscent of the movie “the Beach”. It is surrounded by limestone cliffs. You have to enter a small hole to witness a massive caldera used to be a cave which collapsed and now is surrounded by karst cliffs.
Can’t swim so I need a lifebuoy lol! After this tour we went to Shimizu Island where our guides cooked our sumptuous lunch.
After the lunch we headed to Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon where the views are S-P-E-C-T-A-C-U-L-A-R!!!
Seven Commandos Beach was our last destination for that day. The island was named after the 7 remaining Japanese commandos who lived in the island as stragglers after World War II. The view there is great with white sand and palm trees not to mention a sari-sari store selling ice cold beers and some cocktails! It was awesome chilling here!
As you can see below, Anth is enjoying his bottle of San Miguel. Did you see his sunburnt skin? That’s because he wanted to have a tanned skin like mine! LOL
It was such a nice trip- Thanks to Kuya Edward, our guide from The Alternative!
Because Anth is so sunburnt, we never went on a tour on the second day. We just stayed and chilled at our hotel and went out for meals and drinks. Went to a romantic French restaurant and had candle light dinner because there was no electricity in the island. How romantic!!! Kilig to the bones, lol!
There are couple of nice bars that we like in El Nido. One is Pukka Bar where a Reggae band performs every night at 8pm. This restaurant/bar is pretty famous so be sure to be there early so you can have seats! Another one that we love is Sea slugs where we ate our breakfast in the morning and drink our bourbons at night. Unfortunately there were nights that these two bars won’t have seats for me and Anth so sometimes we settle to those less lively bars along thee beach.
This is Tour C time and time to discover more rock formation and more amazing views in El Nido! Did you know that part of the movie “Bourne Legacy” was shot and filmed in the islands of Dilumacad and Matinloc?
First stop is the Hidden Beach which is famous. Unfortunately, the waves were being wild and the current of the water looks strong. Most of the people on the tour stayed on the boat. Others went swimming and went back immediately as they almost drown. 😦
Dimalucad and Helicpter Island were our next destination. The island resembles to, guess what, a helicopter! We spent some 45 minutes there to sunbathe and swim (jeez, I almost drowned, thanks to Anth for saving my life!).
Another fantastic s spot in El Nido is where the guides prepare a sumptuous lunch by the beach – Star Beach. While you are discovering some cool corals and fishes, or sunbathing or swimming, the guides will grill seafood, steam rice and prepare some fresh fruits.
After a tummy-filling lunch, we headed to Matinloc Shrine which is formerly known as Shrine of Our Lady of Matinloc. This place used to be a seminary which closed due to environmental concerns. The seminary looks like a mansion that some rich family used to lived to. Wonder how they get to build that in a secluded island!
Matinloc also has an amazing view. Just climb up steep and sharp stones and see below images:
Take some selfies on the edge of the limestones!
Hidden beach was our last destination.
After arriving from the tour, we checked out from The Alternative and checked in to El Nido Beach Resort. Had a nice dinner at the Altrove that serves brick baked pizzas and sumptous pastas. Be sure to be there early as there are plenty of tourist lining up to fill their stomachs with real good food.
After buying some pasalubong we checked out at 1 PM and hired a tricycle going the van terminal. Our trip to Puerto Princesa begins. We truly had an amazing time in El Nido and can’t wait to get back!