Tag Archives: El Nido

Leaving El Nido Headed to Quezon City

This morning we got up and made sure we were packed because we were leaving El Nido. It was sad to leave. This place was so beautiful and relaxing. We got our breakfast and then our van came to pick us up at 9.

I was worried what our van experience would be like since our trip here was not so good. Luckily, the company we were originally supposed to do our transfers with got their van fixed. The hotel booked our ride with Day Tripper.

The van was really nice. The seats were roomier it was just more inviting and friendly. There was a water bottle for every passenger and even a little snack! The snack was dried pieces of banana…they were kind of like eating chips. It was really good. There was one passenger in the front seat and then one passenger in the next row of seats. We sat in the next row. Later though Don moved to the row behind me since there were only 4 passengers we could all have our own space! It was awesome!

I was able to look out the window more on the trip home because the driver was much better. I didn’t feel car sick. It was a complete upgrade from our previous experience. It was comfortable and it made the 5 hour ride back to the airport much easier.  Here’s some pictures from the ride.

You can see in the last picture that people would ride on top of buses. It was crazy.

When we got to Puerto Princesa Airport there was a line outside the door. I thought that this would mean it would take a long time but it really didn’t. Once we got checked in we realized our flight was later; it had been moved. That was a little annoying for me because I hate waiting. But we made it.

Tito Rom and Tita Nitz picked us up at the airport in Manila. We picked up Robbie on the way to their house in Quezon City. Once we got to their house we got settled into our room and saw RJ and Regan. Regan showed us his pets. He has a ball python named Sally, a tarantula named Brownie, and a scorpion (can’t remember his name). Crazy pets! I held the snake but wouldn’t touch the tarantula. After we had got settled in a bit we decided it was time to go out.

We got to meet Robbie’s girlfriend, Bambi, and we also met up with Franz. Then we went out to the first bar, it was on a rooftop and had a view of Manila. It was a nice place. Then we went to the next place and we all drank a lot. RJ ordered 2 Filipino cuisines, pig ears and pig intestines. Of course he made us try them before he would tell us what they were. The ears were okay. But I did not like the texture of the intestines. Very weird haha.

After awhile Regan kept saing we should do karaoke. People were ready to leave though so he said he had karaoke at his house. So we went back to the house and started up the karaoke video. Regan and Don were singing songs. They stayed up to around 5 am. I went to bed at 4….so tired.

El Nido-Island Hopping Tour B

Today we went on Island Hopping Tour B. There were 5 other people with us.

The first stop they just let us jump off the boat and snorkel around. I believe it was Pangulasian Island. There were a lot of jellyfish here, but it was a good snorkeling site. There were a lot of fish and coral. I did feel like I was getting stung though but I didn’t think I got near a jellyfish, maybe it was all in my head.

The second location was Snake Island; this is also where we had lunch. There was a little trail you could take up to the top of Snake Island. It took about 5 minutes to get to the top. The view was so pretty.

Then we walked back down and got in the water. There wasn’t much to see, it was very clear but mostly grass and rocks. After swimming around for awhile we had our lunch. The island was really beautiful.

The next stop was Cudognon Cave. This was very cool. We started out by going through a small opening into the cave.

Once inside there were some really cool rock formations. I think there were bats but we didn’t actually see them…

After we came out of the cave we were able to snorkel. We saw a lot of fish here.

The 3rd stop on the tour was Cathedral Cave. We didn’t actually stop here we just floated by in it the boat very slowly. Unfortunately I didn’t get very good pictures of the interior of the cave. You could see it open up into a big room from the boat, but the pictures did not turn out.

We were able to see the the Lagen Resort on the way to the last stop. It is very expensive to stay here…maybe someday. We are more budget travelers right now…haha.

The last stop was Pinagbuyutan Island. This was probably one of the most beautiful islands/beaches I have ever seen. There were palm trees every where and some of the softest white sand I have ever seen and felt.
The island looked very cool. We were able to do some snorkeling here and there were some pretty cool fish. The snorkeling was pretty good and maybe my favorite spot in El Nido. It was a great way to end the trip to El Nido.

This fish was very aggressive. I followed it around for awhile. If I got too close to whatever it was protecting it would come at me. It was funny.
I loved this island….

I got a good photo of our resort, Stunning Vistas, on our way back.

They left us a nice design on our bed…

Tonight we decided to watch the sunset. I don’t know what it is about watching sunsets…I’ve never really done it or had an interest in it, but we did it in Santorini and Mykonos and it is quite relaxing. I think the sunset at El Nido was probably the most beautiful one we have seen…

While we were watching the sunset we talked with Alex and Yan. We talked about all the things we had done. They had rented a kayak one day and kayaked to one of the near islands. Yan snorkeled while Alex laid out on the beach. Later there was a man pointing a gun at her telling her the island was private. She got Yan’s attention and they told the guy the didn’t want any trouble. He said it was fine they just had to leave…they got a picture with him and left! hahaha crazy. They did recommend a place in El Nido town for dinner. It was a pizza place. Yan said it was some of the best pizza he ever had. Now we had ate pizza in the  Philippines and it had been absolutely disgusting so I was skeptical. Although it sounded really good by the way they were describing it.

So Don and I walked along the beach looking for a place to eat. After no success we decided to go into town and give this pizza place a try. We had some idea where it was so it wasn’t too hard to find. You could see them making the pizza dough right in front and you had to take off your shoes in the restaurant. We left our shoes downstairs and went up to the restaurant. It was awesome looking. Nice wooden floors, a good looking bar. A great atmosphere, unlike anything we had experienced in the Philippines. The food around us looked amazing. People were just ordering whole pizzas for themselves so that’s what we did. I ordered a Margarita Pizza. Don ordered the Prosciutto Pizza because Yan raved about it. We also got a calamari salad for an appetizer. It was so good! The pizzas were amazing. I think it was probably the best Italian style pizza I have ever had. Amazing…great way to end our stay in El Nido. The place was called Altrov’e. If you are in El Nido and craving pizza this is the place.

El Nido-Island Hopping Tour A

Today when we went to breakfast we were told not enough people signed up for Tour A so they had booked us with a tour group in town. This at first seemed fine but then we realized we would have to go to town to get on the tour. We decided to do a private tour and be picked up at the hotel. I’m glad we went with this option.

Our first stop was Big Lagoon or Small Lagoon I’m not really sure. It was kind of a downer that the tour guides did not talk at all. But anyway this location was pretty cool. It was mostly about seeing what was around you rather than snorkeling. There were cool rock formations and a little cave we swam in.

 The boat ride to the next location was very beautiful…

We ate lunch at Simizu Island. Before lunch we snorkeled while the tour guides prepared the food. The snorkeling was pretty good. We went out pretty far but it was a little rough. Our lunch was awesome. It was very secluded since we were on a private tour. 

After lunch we noticed the guides were fixing something on the boat.
Luckily, whatever they were fixing was a success.
We were able to see the Miniloc Resort on Miniloc Island.

I had heard about Miniloc from a coworker who is from the Philippines. She recommended staying here. The price was a little much though. I think for 3 nights it was around $500. We only paid around $50 a night at Stunning Vistas. I think it was a good decision not to go with Miniloc because it is an island by itself so it would be a pain to get to town. Maybe next time.

After lunch we went to Secret Lagoon. Here you had to go through a small rock opening to get to the lagoon.

After going in the lagoon we walked around the island a little bit before getting back on the boat.

The boat ride to our next location was very rough but it was okay…
Our last stop was 7 Commando Beach. It was a very nice beach. There was a place you could buy drinks but we wanted to get in the water. We did some snorkeling and then we dried on the beach for awhile.
When we got back we found a jellyfish on our walk back from the boat. The tide was very low so the boat had to park pretty far from shore. We had to walk in water about ankle deep, but it was a good walk.
After we got back to the hotel we got cleaned up and sat by the beach and read for a little bit. We wanted to try to watch the sunset but Don wanted to go into town. He thought maybe he was getting swimmer’s ear and so we wanted to go to a pharmacy. Eden at the hotel told us to go to the pharmacy by the church in town. So that’s where we told the tricycle to go. We asked for ear drops and they gave us prescription antibiotics haha. Not like the US where you need a Dr to get you anything. After getting the drops we walked around. We found the resort where Don and his dad had stayed about 5 years earlier. Don said it had changed a lot. We walked through it and came to the beach of El Nido. It was kind of like a small boardwalk. There were a handful of restaurants and shops. We chose a restaurant and ate while the sunset. We had traditional Filipino food and it was good. After we were done we walked back through the hotel and I saw the French and Denmark couple at the bar. He asked us if we wanted to have a beer so we did. We talked with them. They had been staying here, they said it wasn’t too hard to book a place once they got to El Nido. The next day they were going on a long boat ride and leaving Palawan. It was cool to see them again. When we were leaving we tried to pay but Denmark said, “I asked you if you wanted to have a beer, I didn’t ask you if you wanted to pay for a beer!” I don’t know why we didn’t get a picture with them…

El Nido-Island Hopping Tour C

We woke up around 7 am today to get ready for Island Hopping Tour C.  There are 4 main Island Hopping tours here in El Nido and they are just named A,B,C and D.

The boat picked us up right at our hotel beach, so we had breakfast here. I had an omelet it was very weird. It had what seemed to be canned carrots and potatoes in it with cubes of cheese and a bacon. Weirdest omelet I have ever had haha. It was okay though. Don had Filipino breakfast, it was bacon with rice and eggs.

Our tour left at 9 am and our first stop was Hidden Beach. We snorkeled a bit here but didn’t see much. We swam around the rocks to find the Hidden Beach then we swam through a little cave to go back to the boat. Here’s some pictures of Hidden Beach.

So at first we swam around some rocks to find the beach and on the other side of the beach there was a cave that brought us back to the boat. It was really cool.

I believe our lunch was at Star Beach which is part of the Tapiutan Island. We snorkeled here while the tour guides prepared our lunch. This location was in my opinion the best snorkeling site of the day. You had to swim out pretty far though. It was worth it because there was a shelf where the ocean floor dropped and the side of it was all coral. There were so many fish there. Our lunch consisted of grilled fish, grilled pork chop, rice, yellow melon and bananas. The pork chop was really good. I really enjoyed the yellow melon also. I am not sure if that was its official name. It tasted and looked pretty much like watermelon except it was yellow.

The next place was Secret Beach. There was a cave we swam through and when we got to the other side there was a small beach. People were snorkeling but there wasn’t much to see, just a bunch of rocks. I mostly just waded and relaxed on the beach. It was beautiful though because when you were in the beach you were surrounded by the rocks.

In the cave to get to Secret Beach

The next stop was Mantiloc Shrine. It was basically an abandoned church. We didn’t learn much about it, but we could walk around inside the church and it was very weird. There were rooms with old beds in them, kind of like a dorm. Some rooms had decorations all over. The place looked fairly new and it looked like whoever left here left in a hurry. We thought this was our last stop on the tour.

Then we made the final stop, Helicopter Island. I cut my toe on a rock here when I jumped out of the boat. It seemed pretty bad but I snorkeled anyway. When we were snorkeling one of the guys on our tour was just stepping on the coral and you could hear it all breaking. This was very sad. It was very disappointing that the tour guides didn’t convey to people how important it is to not touch and especially not to step on the coral. All around us on Tour C there was dead coral.

Here’s what my toe looked like at the end of the day…

Once we got back to Stunning Vistas we got cleaned up and headed into town by tricycle. I don’t think I have talked about the tricycles yet, they are basically motorcycles with a little cab hooked to the side. Usually 2-3 passengers can fit in a tricycle. It is kind of like a cab that travels short distances. We ate at a grille and I decided to take a try at a cheeseburger. Bad idea, it was really really horrible. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meat. Don had fried pork chop with rice and then we shared a dish called pork menudo. It was really good, it had potatoes and carrots with it. Then we walked around the town a bit and took a tricycle back.

Travels to El Nido, Palawan.

Today we woke up very early like 3 am to catch our flight to Palawan. Luckily we also went to bed very early last night so it really didn’t effect us. Our flight left Manila at 630 am.

When we got to the airport it was so crowded! The line wasn’t moving at all. I was sure we were going to miss our flight. But all of the sudden the line started moving pretty fast and of course our flight was a little delayed. I’ve never had a flight going or coming from the Philippine Islands be on time. For this trip we took Philippine Airlines. We usually take Cebu Airlines. I don’t remember much of Cebu…but I think they might be a little better than Philippine Airlines. For one, the seats are super small on Philippine Airlines. There was hardly any room between the seats!

Once we landed in Puerto Princesa, Palawan we looked for our shuttle with Day Tripper to take us to Stunning Vistas Beach Resort. We couldn’t find them anywhere! I was concerned because our flight was a little late so maybe we had missed them. So we went to the travel office and they contacted Stunnning Vistas and they said our van had broken down so they had arranged for someone else to pick us up.

Fort Wally was the company that picked us up. When we got in the van we were the only ones and I thought that was how it was going to be….I was wrong. They took us to their office and told us that the next shuttle was around 9. It was about 8 so that was okay. But then it turned into 10 then 11. They kept telling us they wanted to find more people. It was very annoying. Around 1030 another couple came up. Later we would learn their names, Yan and Alex, a couple from Germany. They were also staying at Stunning Vistas. So then it was around 1120 and finally they started loading up the van. We had acquired a filipino man and woman also. So it looked good, looked like it would be six of us. They loaded our luggage in the back of the van and we were all sitting pretty comfortably. There was still one row that was empty. Then another couple came up and joined the van. So now me, Don, Yan, Alex, 2 filipinos, a French woman and a man from Denmark. We all got in the van and were still sitting pretty comfortably and we had started on our 5 hour journey to El Nido.

Suddenly the van pulled over. We were at another van company’s office. There were people standing outside the van and they did not look happy. We could see 4 people clearly. Then we were told that they were moving all of our luggage to the roof and putting a waterproof cover over so we could make room for 4 new passengers! I was not happy and neither were these 4 other passengers. The van was going to packed! The 4 passengers and the drivers argued for awhile. We then learned there were about 15 of these people looking for a van and they were splitting up. One of the girls said she didn’t want to be cramped like
that. So the guy that had started unloading all the luggage so he could put it on the roof started putting it back in the van. One of the drivers told the girls they wouldn’t be able to make it to El Nido today. So then somehow it worked out we acquired 3 of these new passengers and the rest (like a group of 7) got in the other van.

So up on the roof our luggage went! It did not seem safe. But off we went. The 3 new passengers were from Uruguay  They were on a college graduation trip.  They were all accountants. The guy told us it was tradition in his school for the graduates to take a trip.  He said some people go for about 3-4 months but he is probably doing 7 months. 7 months vacation! I couldn’t believe it! They had already been traveling for some time! We learned Yan and Alex from Germany had booked with Stunning Vistas about a week ago; they had about 3-4 weeks left of travel and hadn’t really planned it out they were just booking as they went. Denmark and France seemed very spontaneous since they had just up and decided they would come to El Nido. They had been in Manila the past few days and they were headed to El Nido with us and they hadn’t booked a room yet. I couldn’t believe it! These people were just living and not by a schedule. I feel like in America we only have so long for vacation and everything is pretty much planned out. I want a 7 month vacation!

So we thought we were pretty much on our way when the van pulled over again. The driver got and talked to someone at a store. Then we he tried to turn around so he backed up and we heard a loud noise. The back tire had gotten stuck in a rut alongside the road. We had to get out and help push the van out! What kind of road trip was this going to be?! What else could happen!?

The driver drove like a maniac. The road was so curvy and he would take it top speed. He would pass other cars with no regard if an oncoming car was in the way. It was scary. And my stomach was not handling it either. I started feeling carsick. Sometimes on the ride I felt we might not make it out alive. I had really never experienced such a crazy driver. About 2 hours into the ride we pulled over at a restaurant. It was kind of like a buffet. We got some adobo and rice. I took some Dramamine for the carsickness.
Here’s a picture of the pitstop.

The rest of the ride was really no better. I would try to look out the window but I felt like my head was spinning. The driver was always tailgating someone or passing someone with another car coming right at us. Finally around 6 we made it to El Nido. We should have been there around 2. The driver went into town though and didn’t drop us off at our hotel. When we got there we told him he was supposed to take us to Stunning Vistas. Yan and Alex also needed to be dropped off there. So eventually he did.

When we arrived at Stunning Vistas all I wanted to do was go in the room and relax. They made us welcoming drinks and we sat by the beach for a few minutes. We made it in time just as it was getting dark. Here’s our first glimpse of El Nido, Palawan.

Then we went to get our room key. We had booked a standard room but were told due to construction they had upgraded us to a deluxe room for tonight and we would be moved to the standard the next day. The deluxe room was okay. It looked kind of old. The TV didn’t work,but the bathroom was better than what we had at the airport hotel. The room also had a fridge. I am a little scared to see what a downgrade will look like tomorrow!

After we got settled in a bit we went to get some food at the hotel’s restaurant. Yan and Alex were there and they asked if we wanted to eat together. They were very nice and we had some good conversation. Good thing because the food took well over an hour! It was amazingly slow. So we vowed not to eat at our hotel for dinner again.