Archive for March, 2011

El Nido Escapade (day2)

February 23, 2011

A lot of friends have said that the beauty of El Nido would be best appreciated if you go island hopping. We heeded their advice so that’s what we did!

The view from El Nido town

We checked out of Marikit so that we can stay in Entalula, they had 2 vacant rooms that morning. We (my cousin and I) really like the place and the fact that we’re being treated as family members helped sway us! Our fan room costs 1200php, if you’ll opt to use the air-conditioning unit, be ready to shell out another 600php. The boys were more practical. They decided to stay inland and shared a 700php room at El Nido Inn and Restaurant which included a breakfast  for two, not sure if they have wifi though as the 2 guys weren’t keen on it, good deal! However, do take note that there are a lot more options, just be patient and you’ll find one that will suit your taste.  After our breakfast, we quickly headed back to the beach to join other people for tour A. We booked with Entalula since theirs is 100php cheaper than the rest. It was supposed to start at 9am but they were waiting for us. It was already past 9, oops!

Tapsilog for breakfast at El Nido Inn & Restaurant

There are 2 options when doing island hoping. First is to join a tour, fixed price, then you’ll get to meet people and make new friends (hopefully) plus you won’t have to worry about anything like food, where to go, etc because they’ll take care of it but you might not like the people you end up traveling with and you’ll have to adjust to them. They have tours A, B, C and D, a mix of caves, hidden beaches, snorkel sites, etc. OR you can hire your own private boat then you’ll be your own boss, you go wherever you want, you won’t have to adjust to anyone but you have to haggle (boat rental prices start at 3500php)/ make lots of decisions, worry about food. It could be cheaper though if you know what you’re doing. Also, there’s an eco-tourism development fee (ETDF) of 200php that everyone has to pay. The money the municipality collected is meant to  maintain and protect the environment. You only have to pay it once and it’s valid for 10days. Local residents are exempted from it though. ;)

Cruisin' the whole day :)

I ‘m not exactly in a chatty mood during boat rides because 1. it’s too loud to start a conversation and 2. since I’m really interested at the sights, 3. I just want to absorb it all in. After a while though, it doesn’t matter that it’s loud so I start talking. Can’t keep quiet for so long. hehe

...and we're off for the islands!

Nick taking beautiful pictures :)

There were 9 of us (not counting our guides):  2 Pinoys, me & Charlie, 1 American, 1 British, 1 French, 1 Brazilian and 3 Estonian. They were all so nice!

us :)

Note: No pictures were taken when in “hidden/secret” beaches/ lagoons since my camera isn’t waterproof and I have no intention of getting it wet. ;)

Tour A, according to the tour operators, is the most popular choice. The small and big lagoons are a favorite amongst many visitors. I have several postcards of those places and it’s just so beautiful!

1st stop- Secret beach. :)

2nd stop- Shimizu Island. Very good for snorkeling. It’s just that the waves were a bit strong when we were there so I had a really hard time swimming, seriously thought I was going to drown and no one would have noticed it since they were all busy (sleeping by the beach, swimming, snorkeling, etc). I should have gotten a pair of fins and wore a life jacket! It would have helped a lot since I’m not exactly a good swimmer. Decided to stay on land after this. :)) Got busy taking pictures of the place and of my companions. Lunch was served here. :)

Our camera-shy Frenchie at Shimizu Island

Enjoying the island

Sleeping under the shade

Lunch was prepared by our guides

With my dear cousin :)

3rd stop- Small and big lagoon, Miniloc Island. Wanted to kayak (800php for a day’s rent) here with my cousin. But then we forgot to tell THAT to our guide so we missed our chance! Ugh! We were just too busy admiring the place and taking shots/videos. :D Even bought a rash guard so I won’t get any darker but then couldn’t find it when I was packing my stuff!

Everyone got taken in by the view at the big lagoon ;)

I couldn't capture the beauty of this place

Pic courtesy of Nick :)

4th stop- Secret lagoon. Had to get off the boat and swim to get inside the secret lagoon. After several minutes, I was just about to follow the others, when Charlie swam back and told me that he thought he saw a sea snake so the coward me didn’t follow the rest. :( Tried to enjoy swimming at the water before the secret lagoon but ended up scraping my foot. It wasn’t just me though. Another also got a wound, on his leg this time, when he was swimming back to the boat. Stones were sharp, be careful!

Sweet couple before the Secret Lagoon

:)

5th stop- Seven commando. Our last stop for the day. The rest enjoyed their buko juice while relaxing by the beach. My cousin and I kayaked ourselves all over. We had to do it somewhere, we’re paying for the kayak! :D

Next stop: Seven commando beach

We let the guys borrow our kayak in exchange for their buko drinks hehe

It felt that it ended all too soon. We’re back in town. Went our separate ways to freshen up and planned to meet by our place after to grab some food and hang out. As we’re walking about town, we (Leandro and I) spotted a fruit shake stand so we zeroed in on it! We’re thirsty and we wanted to drink something refreshing. As we were waiting for our drinks, other visitors passed us by. One of them, Ricardo,  started talking to us. He’s so friendly! He was happy to have met Leandro since he now has someone to talk Portuguese with (he’s  a Peruvian exchange student in Singapore). He got our numbers and he’d join us later.

Fruit shake stand

We can’t get enough of the water and it’s what we went there for so we hung out by the shore. Relaxation time after swimming all day. Watching the sun set wasn’t bad either. We then had dinner at Blue Azul. It’s located inland, they serve delicious foods plus they have wifi! haha My cousin and I were looking for wifi most of the time. The chicken we ordered was very good, yum! Afterwhich, we went back by the beach and hang out with the (tons of) people we met that day til it was time to go to bed. Good day. :)

El Nido buddies :)

El Nido Tour Package Infos (Standard rate):

  • Tour A/ Lagoon Tour: Lagoons, Beaches, Snorkeling – 700php/pax
  • Tour B/ Cave Tour: Snake Island, Caves, Snorkeling – 800php/pax
  • Tour C/ Secret Beach: Matinloc Island, Snorkeling – 900php/pax

*Tours usually start around 9-10am and lasts the whole day. Lunch are included in tours. Do bring plenty of water especially if you get thirsty easily. Besides, you don’t want to get dehydrated.  You have to bring your own mask, snorkel and fins, others are rented out for 100php a piece (snorkel set and fins) but try to bargain for 100php for the two. Don’t forget your sunblock and shades.

*There’s no need to book tours way in advance. You can do it once you’re in town so you can compare. We booked with Entalula coz theirs is 100php cheaper than the others. :)

Related posts:

Getting to El Nido

Lazy day in El Nido

2nd day of Island Hopping

Lagoon Tour

El Nido Escapade (day1)

February 22, 2011

My cousin and I can’t wait to get to El Nido coz we’re just psyched to go to the sea, chill and relax in a beautiful place and El Nido is IT. :)

Flying over Palawan

We’re going to travel with Charlie. Met up with him at the boarding gate. I’ve sort of planned for this trip but that morning, when I sent another sms to confirm my reservation with Marina Garden, they told me that they thought I made a reservation for the month of March and not February! They canceled my reservation which was really bad of them since it was done by me a month prior the trip and we’re now suddenly “homeless.” No worries though because friends came to the rescue. They gave me so many contact numbers and so many recommendations.

Charlie! My travel buddy! :D

We didn’t fly directly to El Nido because that would be really expensive. Upon arrival in Puerto Princesa, I still haven’t made up my mind on whether to stay in the capital, head to Sabang, or catch a shuttle to El Nido on the same day. We took a tricycle (50php) to head downtown to check for a room in Casa Linda Inn. I’ve stayed there before and it was really nice and relatively cheap. Unfortunately, they were fully booked. Someone also told me that it was already late to do the underground river tour (it was 10am) since we’d have to get permits first etc. That being the case, staying in Puerto Princesa as well as heading off to Sabang was nixed off our options leaving us with the decision to head straight to El Nido. The driver brought us to Fort Wally’s (09172762875)  main office downtown wherein we made reservations. We might have paid for more because from what I’ve read and from what some told us, it’s 600php to El Nido and 500php to PPC. We each shelled out 1300php (700 and 600php respectively). The reason we were given was that, it would have been cheaper if we went to the terminal and rode from there instead of being “picked up” downtown. Bummer. After paying for our seats, we made some last minute shopping for whatever necessities (bought a few snacks, withdrew money from ATMs coz there’s no ATM in EL Nido, bought sarongs and had breakfast).

Time to eat, we're hungry!

As we were about to eat breakfast, Ate Lea spotted a French guy we met in the airport the day before, Quentin. We were in the same flight from Bangkok to Manila. Also, he’s enroute to El Nido. Almost the same travel plans as us so I invited him to join us for a meal. He’s soooo adorable! He was going to head up also that same day but then his friends told him that they’d be arriving in PPC the next day that’s why he decided to wait for them. Soon it was 11am, time to board the shuttle, pick up other passengers and head over to paradise!

With Quentin in Puerto Princesa

The shuttle headed to the terminal to wait for more passengers. We had to wait long for one guy because according to the lady in charge, there were some misunderstanding about the pick up time and point. Took us about 30minutes. It turns out that we knew the guy we had to wait for, Nick! He was another travel mate visiting from Taipei. His original plan was to go to El Nido the next day but he decided to join us coz it’s his main destination anyways. :)

The drive took 5-6 hours which included a 20-30minutes lunch break at a Fort Wally eatery in Roxas, 2hours away from PPC; stopping by San Vicente to pick up some passengers; drop them off at  Taytay; and fix a broken tire. The last 2hours of the trip was kinda bumpy since the road has yet to be paved. It didn’t matter that much to me (and I believe, the others as well) since the view is more than making up for it, karst mountains, the sea, so many trees. Happy!

New tire. Flat tire. :(

Think positively: at least we got to stretch our legs and take pictures! :D

Enroute to El Nido :)

After getting off at El Nido’s terminal, we walked to town. When people say a place is small, it really is small. You can walk all over town in less than 30minutes if you pace yourself. It was around 5pm and that’s when it gets hard to look for a place. It’s easier in the morning because that’s the time that the vans filled with visitors head back to PPC. We found some alright places but it’s either we don’t like the place, found it too expensive or something else. I then decided to ask help from a friend’s mom. She looked a lot like Brenda, her daughter, that I already addressed her as Tita Emy before confirming it. My cousin and I liked her instantly coz she took us in and treated us as her own daughters. She looked like she wanted to scold us for not having planned more. haha Her place is called Entalula but they were fully booked that night with the possibility of having a vacant room or two the following morning. She made her son go to her sister’s place to check if they have room for us. They did! We stayed at Marikit for that night (800php/ room/ 2pax). Having solved the question of where to sleep at, we went out to find some food. :D

First sunset in El Nido

There were a lot of options on where to eat at in El Nido from affordable carinderias to the more heavy on the pocket places. We ate at Curry House. Not that cheap but the sizes of the servings made up for what we paid for. The place is sort of a cross between an art store and a restaurant. Pretty nice ambiance.

A large serving of vegetarian curry

The guys called it a night soon after dinner. We all went into our respective rooms but then my cousin and I can’t believe we’re in our room getting ready for bed when it was just about 10pm (or earlier). With that, we decided to head out again and to pass the time by the beach. We just want to be closer to the water. Went to bed after a couple of hours. :)

Relaxing by the beach :)

A glass of caipirinha to cap the night

Accommodation infos (as shared by friends):

beachfront

  • Rico’s – 09272588456/ 09294671632 (1000php)
  • Gloria’s cottages – 09191677870 (600php/ fan room)
  • The Entalula – www.entalula.com

for a detailed list, visit  this site

Related posts:

1st Day of Island Hopping

Lazy day in El Nido

2nd Day of Island Hopping

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