The Beauty Of El Nido Will Make You Cry [Guest Post]
Getting to El Nido is not a walk in the park. After you land in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, you grab your luggage and head to the bus station for your next 6- to 7-hour journey to El Nido. You may take either a bus or a van, but a van is the most convenient and comfortable way to travel.
Halfway through the van ride, despite the uncomfortable position of sitting long hours, you would think it wasn’t that bad, but at this same moment, you would be asked to hold instead onto your luggage because the trunk would have to accommodate the locals who were returning from work.
After you accept the fact that your numb legs might never recover from this experience, and you might never walk again, you would again be surprised by the sudden stop of the van. You had reached your destination, but you still have to find your way to the hotel. Luckily, many tricycles are waiting at the bus stop willing to give you a ride for PHP 150.
Reaching El Nido
All jokes aside, the drive itself would make you realize that the long journey was worth it. At first glance, we thought El Nido has a mixed European-hippie vibe, and this made us want to explore the island into detail.
El Nido is situated in the northwest part of Palawan island, which has been named the “last frontier of biodiversity” and is currently under UNESCO protection as a Biosphere Reserve. This is the place where hundreds of species of coral meet hundreds of species of fish, and where tropical forests serve as a home for many endemic species of animals, insects, and isolated tribes—all living in harmony with nature.
Experience the beauty of El Nido
There are a lot of things to do and see in this place, mainly island hopping activities which are strategically organized in tours from A to D. Each one of the tour options takes you to around five islands depending on the sea and tide conditions.
Wake up early in the morning, and head to the harbor AKA the beach. You get on a boat, and you’re on your way to experience nature’s spectacle in all its glory. Here, you will discover lagoons, beaches, caves, marine life, rock formations, and many other miracles of nature.
After a few hours of snorkeling, you can enjoy a nice lunch freshly prepared on the boat and served to you by the beach. You also have other options like kayaking and scuba diving. And if you’re lucky enough, you will encounter some of the more shy and elusive residents of the sea—dugongs and turtles.
Relax at Nacpan Beach
Tired from the island hopping? Recover and relax the next day! It’s the perfect time to lounge by the beach. I suggest you hop on a tricycle and head up north. 18 kilometers of dirt road will lead you to a 3-kilometer beauty that is Nacpan Beach.
In this white sand beach, you will find a bar for drinking, groves to shelter you from the afternoon sun, and an ideal spot on the beach sand.
If that’s not enough to picture a perfect day, walk around the beach, and you will find a fishing village that has escaped civilization’s destructive embrace.
An emotional sunset
For the best sunset, take the tricycle again and head on to Las Cabanas. One piece of advice: Take some tissues with you. It might get very emotional because for us it did.
Good mix of everything
You will not find any McDonald’s or Starbucks here, not even a Jollibee. And the only ATM in town might not even work (prepare your cash before the trip). But the town of El Nido has a good mix of options for food. There are French restaurants next to Italian restaurants if you prefer a quiet evening. There’s a gelato stand next to the halo-halo stand. The grill and sizzling-dish restaurants are next to the restaurant with the coveted bird’s nest soup. Maybe it’s innate for Filipinos to have a mix of everything, the same way Filipinos mix their own language with English words. Taglish as they call it—Tagalog and English.
Rich in nature
Undoubtedly, El Nido is one of the most beautiful places we’ve seen so far, and it’s no wonder that Alex Garland got his inspiration for his book, The Beach, while he was staying on the island. Although the Philippines is known to be among the poorest countries in Asia, the richness of nature makes you wonder if that is true at all.