El Nido, Palawan
With the abudnance of accolades received by Palawan, including being voted as the best island in the world, there is no wonder why many people are suddenly including it on their bucket lists. Palawan, however, is huge and finding a specific place that tickles your pickle can be a hard feat. With plenteous stops to choose from when traveling in this world-class destination, one that truly stands out from the rest is El Nido.
When I first visited El Nido in June 2013, it was love at first sight, island romance at its best. I easily forgot how I loved every other local destinations I have visited. From the moment I left, I eagerly planned my return. It took quite a while, but when I came back in November 2014, it was the same feeling – trapped in a special kind of exhilaration that is hard to explain. This place has a unique character, making it an easy choice when asked by other people about the best place to visit in the Philippines.
Because I loved El Nido so much, I am sharing with you our experience during our 5-day trip. We stayed at Entalula Beach Cottages and booked all of our tours from Discover El Nido.
We booked a room for 2,500 per night good for three persons. The room was small and it has a veranda. It is by the beach, which gives you a good view of Bacuit Bay. The booking also came with a free breakfast. If you are a heavy eater, you might want to consider eating outside as their breakfast comes in really small servings.
Nacpan Twin Beach
During my first time in El Nido, we failed to visit Nacpan Twin Beach because of the bad weather. When I came back, I made sure it is going to be part of our itinerary. We rented a van and paid 800 per head to take us to Nacpan, which is about half an hour away from the town proper. There, we were greeted with an almost empty beach. We walked towards a hill to snap a commanding shot of the beach.
After spending a few hours in Nacpan and swimming with the playful waves, we headed to Marimegmeg Beach. This is where we tried their zip line and watched sunset. There are a couple of accommodations here but more expensive than the ones you’ll see from the town proper.
If you ask anyone who has ever been to El Nido or even the tour operators, this is going to be one of the most highly recommended activities. The regular price of this package is 1,200 pesos per head. Since I have already booked with Discover El Nido before, they gave me a discount and we had it for only 1,000 pesos. Renting a kayak is also ideal for this tour. We did so and paid 700 for one kayak for the whole day.
For this tour, we visited the Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, and 7 Commandos Beach. We used the kayak we rented to enter the Small Lagoon. You can ditch it if you know how to swim and if you have the energy to do so. For the Big Lagoon, all you can do is take pictures and there is no swimming. We also entered the Secret Lagoon, which can be reached upon entering a small hole. We had lunch at Shimizu Island and went kayaking around the area. Our last stop was Shimizu Island where we had ice cold bottles of beer to end the tour for that day.
This is another activity that should not be missed when you are in El Nido. Instead of the normal 1,400 pesos for this tour, we paid 1,200 only from Discover E Nido. Again, this is because I have already booked with them before. Our first stop is the Matinloc Shrine, an abandoned shrine where you can have a picturesque view upon climbing a rock. We also visited Hidden Beach and Secret Beach, both were nothing but amazing. The last time I was in El Nido, we were not able to enter the Secret Beach because of the high tide. In this trip, we are lucky enough to finally be able to enter the lagoon. It is a bit of a challenge especially for non-swimmers since you need to enter a small hole first. We had lunch at Star Beach, where the boatmen once again showcased their plating skills through the sumptuous meal they prepared for us. The tour ended with a visit to Helicopter Island. During my last trip, we did snorkeling here. This trip, I was too tired and did not eve entertain the idea of wearing my snorkeling gear.