A trip to the paradise island in Philippines, El Nido, in Palawan was one of the most memorable trip starting from the beginning as the weather in Manila was not good as the rain was pouring heavily before the flight.
We took Seair‘s 19-seater plane which was still scary despite being used to flying a lot. Only 9 passengers occupied the small plane’s tiny seats with four pilots on board. The flight pushed through since El Nido’s weather was surprisingly quite sunny but the ride from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport 1 was quite scary as the rain poured down heavily early morning during the day of our flight.
Finally, we arrived in El Nido at the very small airport, A. Soriano Terminal, which was quite surprising considering how it’s a well-known destination. It was indeed a refreshing welcome from your usual concrete big airports.
It’s always a misconception when travellers say that El Nido is very expensive to go to. Well there’s a bit of a truth to that but it’s when you booked with the world famous luxury resorts which even Oprah or George Clooney went to. If you do have the means to book at El Nido Resorts then do so but for people with limited budget, there are actually a lot of hostels that are nice and clean which you can book for a way lesser price.
Particularly Makulay Lodge where we booked two rooms for a couple of nights in paradise. We got the rooms near the entrance with a beautiful view of the sunset and the beach so it was quiet, tranquil and perfect.
We spent our first day around town and El Nido is a small beachside charming island. The residential areas and offices are still made in old school wooden decors. There’s a wet market which you walk to or you can take the Tricycle if you’re feeling lazy to walk. You can try Filipino street food sold along the streets which are delicious and cheap. There are also a lot of small cafes, restaurants and Carinderias (canteens or eateries) you can dine in.
So we had five days to spend in this paradise. What else to do? Of course, it’s definitely a lot of sun, sea, sand and seafoods! El Nido’s beaches and islands are the best features of this town. We hired our tour guides/boatmen from our hostel.
During our second and third day, we combined Tours A and B, which included Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Shimizu Island and Seven Commandos. For the beach island hopping tours, you can bring food. We bought seafood and vegetables from the wet market early morning of our second day. Our boatmen cooked them at the beach and we ate with our bare hands. They even had a small table and a pretty tablecloth to complete the island set up feel for our lunch.
On our fourth day in this beautiful island, we combined the Tour C and D. En route the Secret Lagoon are amazing rock formations. We thought behind those huge rock formations was nothing more but there’s a small hidden entry way by boat and we were wrong. We were greeted by an amazing hidden beach. We also visited the Matinloc Shrine which was sadly not maintained by El Nido resorts but it was still pretty. It had a great view of El Nido if you climb up the rocks.
Our last day in El Nido was spent sightseeing. We went to the Makinit Hot Spring and Waterfalls. It wasn’t easy going here because of the muddy and rocky terrain. We actually got a bit lost but we finally found the waterfalls. The path we’re walking on became smaller and steeper so our trusted tour guide figured it out and finally led us to the right route to the waterfalls he wanted us to see. It was definitely a fun adventure nonetheless.
For restaurants, the El Nido Boutique and Art Cafe is highly recommended for it’s good affordable food, cozy laidback ambiance and free books which can be exchanged if you got one with you. They have a souvenir shop below the cafe you can check after eating.
Definitely, El Nido, Palawan is one of the most beautiful islands I’ve been to around the Philippines. You don’t have to break your budget to enjoy this amazing paradise. It’s worth going to for some much deserved relaxation the next time you need a vacation.
For more info about El Nido, Palawan, you may visit the following websites: