El Nido, Palawan: A Peaceful Respite in Paradise

Just when I thought I’ve been to the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines, here comes a trip invite I couldn’t say not with some “balik-bayan” friends from the U.S. Craving to see the beautiful homeland., just like me all the time, where else should we go, right? It’s my first here in this beautiful paradise of El Nido, Palawan, and I’m in awe with its beauty, its people and mostly everything about it.

A small town located at the northern tip of the island of Palawan, the world-renowned beauty of El Nido is due to its well-protected islands, white-sand beaches, stunning lagoons and amazing caves. Together friends, I had an opportunity to visit 17 of the most sought-after destinations in this side of the country including its stunning beaches, caves, lagoons and islands.

Getting to El Nido from from Manila via Puerto Princesa, Palawan could be hassle-free if you have a good contact person who can assist you on your adventure in this paradise. Thankfully, our friends from Dream High Travel Agency arranged everything for us - itinerary, transfers, accommodation and even meals for this trip, so the only problem that we have was to how to maximize the 4-day vacation we set for this adventure. Hello, El Nido! We’re in love!

We arrived at Puerto Princesa an hour before lunch, so before we head north to El Nido, we dropped by first at Kinabuch, a famous Filipino-themed restaurant in the capital of the province housed in sturdy Nipa Hut providing delicious Filipino dishes. This is my second time here, and just like before, I enjoyed everything I had. However, since we have 4-6 hours to get to El Nido, our group brought our fully loaded tummies back to our service van and headed north to the beach.

When I visited Palawan a few years back, this is the same travel agency we booked to arrange our Puerto Princesa trip. Since we are more than satisfied with everything that they did for us, why not booked with them again, right? We arrived at El Nido just before the sun finally set, so we were basically welcomed by this heart-stopping sunset contrasting the sky with such lovely colors – oh, El Nido, you don’t have to impress us! We’re in love with you already! Haha!

Our first official day started the following day, Friday, where we were picked-up from the hotel where we are staying, Royal Palm Inn. Actually, the boat that we will take us for the two-day island hopping was just at the back yard of the hotel, so we just went straight to the beach to ride the boat and off we go to our first destination!

For our first day, we are set to do Tours A and C, which mean we will be visiting the top tourist favorite spots such the Small and Big Lagoons, the snorkeling area of Shimizu Island, the equally stunning Secret Lagoon, the coconut tree covered Seven Commando Island as well as the wowing Helicopter Island, the not so hidden Hidden Beach, the peaceful Talisay Beach and the not-so-secret-anymore Secret Beach

Big Lagoon

Small Lagoon

Seven Commando Island

Helicopter Island

Secret Lagoon

The fun thing about this island hopping here in El Nido, you may notice it at first, but when you do, you’ll be surprise to know that your lunch is being prepared while you are traversing the calm El Nido Bay. Our lunch was consisted of fresh – super fresh - seafood, fish, fruits and vegetable. I, being a local, was impressed by this idea and I seriously find it so cool. We docked in one of the secluded beaches in the El Nido and enjoyed our sumptuous lunch there with the whole team – the owners of the travel agency accompanied us. Hehe.

Our first island hopping took about 8 hours, and with a rate given to us, we find the price reasonable. No wonder many tourists were fascinated to this place. We went back to our hotel after that tiring but overwhelming trip to relax, shower and prepare for our dinner. Since our dinner is excluded from the package that we got, this led us to travelling to the town proper where we experience the provincial life of El Nido. Along the main beach, there are a lot of restaurants offering good food and the price are quite fair too. Some have live bands and music, which you could enjoy as the whole place succumb to the pitch darkness of the night. With light all lined up the shore, we all find it romantic and peaceful, but as much as we want to stay longer, we have another island hopping scheduled the following day, so we hailed a tricycle back to our hotel and called it a night.

On the following day, we are set to sail and do Tours B and D, which involves seeing Pinagbuyutan Island for more snorkeling, the another favorite spot Snake Island where there is mobile signal so you could upload some photos on your social media accounts, the enchanting Cathedral and Cudognon Caves, and more beaches such as Papaya Beach, Bukal Beach, Cadlao Lagoon and Natnat Beach. Just like the previous day, our lunch feast was as fabulous as before, so we ended up so full. And because of this, we just asked the team to pass by on some of the not so interesting places and rather spend more time exploring on those place where we thought we could enjoy more.

Cathedral Cave

Papaya Beach

Cudognon Cave

Natnat Beach

It was before Holy Week when we visited El Nido, so the volume of tourists wasn’t that high. We really had great time appreciating almost everything about this trip. We were lucky to see some beautiful underwater creatures too, but just to warn you, it is best that you bring a dry bag to protect your gadgets and belongings, a beach shoes to protect your feet from broken corals and possible sting from sea urchins, and sunblock because you will really enjoy being under the sun.

Mobile phone signal might be an issue from time to time, so I’d suggest that you just put your phone in your pocket and enjoy the beautiful sceneries. Or just take pictures and never ever leave any trash. Our last night here in El Nido was spent in the beach enjoying some local music and beer. It so nice to catch up with your friends you haven’t seen in a long time this way. Nature has indeed it certain kind of magic that makes everything so nice, great and lovely.

We left our hotel the following day at around 8 in the morning, since we want to shop around Puerto Princesa for some souvenirs. Puerto Princesa has changed a lot, and most of it is to accommodate more tourists. They say that Palawan is the Last Frontier, and I couldn’t agree more, I just hope to be back here again soon.

Until next time, Brandon, Kat, Adam and kiddos Ellie, Tristan and Izzie! I hope you all had a great time! I can’t wait to see you all again!

If you wish to book with Dream High Travel Agency, you can contact them at +639176135558 / +639176135558 or you can visit their Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DreamHighTravelAgency/.

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