21st day of the first month of 2013. I woke up in my fave place in all of the Philippines- EL NIDO.
I said on my Twitter account,
“Now in what Garland says ‘The Beach.’ Not in Phi Phi but the original- El Nido. Secret beaches and limestone karst minus the pot.” -@journeyingjames
More than a month has passed and I miss paradise already. If only I can go there right now. And now I’m dreaming. How about you, have you seen El Nido yet? If you haven’t I believe this
El Nido, Palawan Travel Guide made with the help of Gabz of Pinoy Travel Freak
will make you buy your plane ticket and leave.
Here’s what we think about Paaradise, I mean El Nido.
1. Describe the El Nido.
Gabz says: El Nido is one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines that truly defines the word “paradise”. From stunning white-sand beaches, enchanting lagoons, light to deep blue turquoise waters, interesting caves, magnificent rock formations and limestone cliffs to spectacular marine life, El Nido is everyone’s dream destination.
James says: “If there is a piece of paradise on earth, its called El Nido. Think of secret lagoons, unexplored coves, sparkling turquoise waters, fine white sand, spectacular limestone karst, fresh seafood and lovely people- these things are just a fraction of what you can experience in El Nido.”
2. What do you like most about the place?
Gabz says: “El Nido’s exotic beauty is like no other I’ve seen in the Philippines. Aside from the things I mentioned above, what makes me fall in love with El Nido is the laid back and relaxed atmosphere of the town and its warm people. And oh, plus the magnificent sunset over Bacuit bay!”
James says: This is like answering “What went first chicken or egg?” But I think I go for the towering limestones and the surreal feeling of being on the island alone. Once I camped on Ipil beach with only the moon as my light, monkeys and monitor lizard my companions, the coconut trees my walls, hammock was my mobile house and best of all its free.
3. Is there anything the local government can do (or stop doing) in order to make the place more tourist friendly.
Gabz says: “Since El Nido is a first class municipality in Palawan, I think something should be done about providing full and stable electricity especially in the town center where most tourists are. It’s quite inconvenient for tourists, resorts and business establishments when the power supply is limited.
-If you’re taking the longer route to El Nido which is via Puerto Princesa City, you will definitely experience passing through the rough and dirt road. For 2011 and 2012 that I was there, there was slight improvement in the road condition. I hope they expedite whatever road improvement projects they have.
-Some tour operators should be responsible enough to observe and follow policies on marine life protection. During my second visit, I was suprised and felt glad when we were informed that fish feeding activity has been prohibited most especially near Simizu Island. Unfortunately, we saw a few boats still letting tourists feed the fishes.
-More souvenir shops. I don’t necessarily buy souvenirs but would love to support locally made handicrafts and products. I hope the government will encourage local entrepreneurial spirit.
-ATM access for emergency situations.
James says: I definitely agree with what Gabz said. I just want to reiterate the electricity problem. Also I hope that the tourism office would be more proactive in the cleanliness of the beach. I saw an open canal that goes directly to the beach when I was there.
May I also add that they limit the tourists going there. I don’t know how they can do this but I’m afraid that El Nido would be like crowded Boracay in 3 years or less. That I DON’T WANT TO HAPPEN.
4. Don’t go home without seeing/visiting/experiencing __________.
Gabz says: Island hopping is an essential activity in El Nido if you want to experience the best islands, beaches and lagoons the Philippines has to offer. There are four types of island hopping packges in El Nido to choose from (named A, B, C and D). Secondly, don’t miss to check out Nacpan-Calitang twin beaches in Brgy. Bucana which is about an hour away from the town. It’s one of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve seen – a hidden paradise! Have yourself a little slice of heaven before commercializations takes over.”
James says: Taraw Cliff Climbing. It’s a 2 hour or so cliff climb from the town proper. From the cliff you have an unobstructed view of Bacuit Bay. I said in my past account “My mantra “the most tiring is the most satisfying” keeps running on my head as we traipse the steep rocks to the top. After an hour, I planted my butt on the sharp rock and smiled at the spectacular view on the east. I did it! My smile from ear to ear with my signature “shaka handsign” on both hands. I didn’t waste any time to take photos. The El Nido bay, the boats docking to shore after island hopping the whole day, the sun slowly setting on the west, the lush green forest on my south, the Cadlao island and the town center. I even saw Nacpan beach on the horizon.”
Don’t leave El Nido without seeing the sunset from Las Cabanas.
5. Don’t go home without trying/eating _________.
Gabz says: “The vegetable burger (P100) and other dishes for the vegetarian foodie at Blue Azul Restaurant. They offer varied selection of dishes from seafoods, teriyaki, falafel, pasta, vegesalad, burgers to Pad Thai noodles and the popular Nido Soup. Blue Azul is also a wifi zone.”
James says: My faves are Puka Bar and Restaurant, SeaSlugs Restaurant, Blue Azul, Art Cafe, El Nido Corner The Alternative and Ric Sons. Most I mentioned are bars where you can chill out and meet locals and foreign backpackers at night.
6. Traveler’s Tip:
Gabz says: “Even though the rates for island hopping in El Nido are standard, don’t hesitate to ask for discount. -If choosing which island hopping tours to get among the four, here are my recommendation in order of must-try: A, C, B and D (I haven’t done D but it’s the least popular). You can also combine two tours if you have limited days. -El Nido is not an expensive destination as most people think. It also caters to budget travelers and backpackers. There are cheap inns and lodging houses, as well as a few choices of turo-turo or carinderia for the budget-conscious.”
James says: Don’t hesitate to ask for a discount. Also, make sure to charge your equipments (especially phone and cameras at night) because electricity is shitty in El Nido. Bring a water bottle to save on your expenses. It’s hot in El Nido so make the sunblock lotion handy at all times.
7. Recommendation Hotel, Inn?
Gabz says: “If you’re looking for a decent budget or backpacker’s room, Tay Miloy’s Inn surely fits the bill. Fan room starts at P300 only. If you want a little seclusion that’s away from the noise of the town, I recommend Hadefe Cottages located in Brgy. Calaan. The location is beachfront while you enjoy the privacy in your own cottage. Aircon cottages start at P700 for 2 persons with free breakfast.
James says: I always go to the island and camp with my hammock. In 2011, I rented a fisherman’s boat to bring me to Ipil Beach. In 2012, I kayaked up to Cadlao island where I camped too. 2013, I was able to stay in a friend’s place.
I now have tours for El Nido, made especially for couples and barkadas. If you are interested, do contact me at 0935-370-5024 (Globe) / 0922-8400-221 (Sun Cellular) or send your queries on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would love to make an itinerary for you. Just be ready with your flight details (ETA and ETD). If you want to add Underground we can do that (you just have to book 1 month in advance.)
Here’s a sample package tour: 4D/3N: Experience Puerto Princesa and El Nido for only Php7,000/pax
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Thanks to Gabz for helping me out in this feature. Do visit Gabz awesome blog and photos at: www.pinoytravelfreak.com, connect with him on Facebook: /PinoyTravelFreak and follow him on Twitter: @gabzki
You can read my past articles about El Nido, Palawan below:
- El Nido, Palawan Quickie
- General Expenses in El Nido, Palawan
- Puerto Princesa City to El Nido Travel Guide
- Palawan Chronicles IV: Solo Beach Camping in El Nido
So if you are a budget traveler and wants to experience El Nido, I hope this El Nido Travel Guide Collaboration helps.
If you want to join the Travel Bloggers Collab, please do email me at journeyingjames(AT)gmail(DOT)com together with the place you want to talk about. I want to learn from you and see from your perspective.