El Nido Philippines |a beyond expectations discovery|


El Nido here I come !!!
fly away
March |2015| Samsung Note4

I was raised and born in the Philippines and migrated to US at the age of 14. I came back 2008 to pursue my studies for 4 years then immediately went back to US for work. After 7 long years I decided to re-visit my homeland and to explore its beauty everybody seems to be talking about. First stop…. EL NIDO!

To start is to board a private plane to El Nido, Palawan via ITI, a 50 seater ATR aircraft which will bring you to your destination in 55 minutes. Booking for ITI is through lights@elnidoboutiqueandartcafe.com. They are very strict when it comes to the weight of your baggage so be mindful or you will end up paying like me! You can also take the alternative of flying to Coron, Palawan which is more accessible to most airlines like Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines. The downside, is the 6 hour bus/van ride to El Nido. I chose the alternative of a private jet ITI due to time management, but budget wise of course it is not advisable.

We got to the Island of El Nido early evening. We checked in to our Hotel Ipil Suite El Nido which provided us with a very good walking distance to the beach. We stayed for 3 nights with total of $193.00 with a delicious breakfast buffet  (NOT BAD!), good WIFI and good service (IMPORTANT). When it comes to booking my hotel I always choose  http://www.booking.com. It is very convenient and much cheaper compared to other sites. They also have a pay later and free cancellation option, which gives you a good window to change your mind if ever you found a better deal.


March |2015| Nikon d5100

I am a big fan of sunsets more than sunrise only because I am not a morning person. I also think that the sky during sunset is more magical in colors, but anyhow above pictures is my first sunset in El Nido and I was not disappointed. Oh, I attest that Philippines frequently treats you with a perfect painted sky, don’t you agree?

March |2015| GoPro hero black

Our Day 2 begins with Island Hopping. El Nido by the way have 45 islands and Islets depending if its high tide or low tide. We are lucky to know someone in El Nido and gave us a good deal with the tours. There are 4 type of tours in El Nido and we took the Popular ones: Tour B for 1,500 Pesos each about $35.00 and a discounted Tour C of 1.200 Pesos each about $27.00 including lunch. Cash Only!

March |2015| Nikon d5100

From top: entering the Big Lagoon (this area of the Island can only be accessible by boat during high tide. It was also featured in the movie Bourne Supremacy for the all the movie fanatics). Secret Beach (accessible only by swimming  while our guide and boat patiently awaits for us).


March |2015| GoPro Black

Hidden Beach (a true paradise. Clear water and fine sand, just perfect for a good nap but of course we have to keep swimming). Small Lagoon (this is the most challenging swim I did because there were too many parked boats before us so we didn’t have a choice but to dock farther from the entrance of the lagoon) You can also get here by renting a kayak but I opt to swim, i think its more fun that way. The greenest clear warm water,  just amazing!.

Tour B
March |2015| GoPro black

7 commando beach (white sands, swinging by the tree and coconut palms! great way to end our tour. There are available lodging here so you can choose to stay here overnight if you want  the more quiet side of the island.

DSC_0239 DSC_0240

March |2015| Nikon d5100

The best part of the tour…. is the fresh seafood and veggies served and cooked by the locals. These food are cooked inside our boat. The centerpiece  veggies are made by our guides using their own creativity. No school or training done, just plain mastery of the craft.

Some shots of the last leg of our Island Hopping. The white sands of  another hidden beach, the clear aqua green water of El Nido, the lovely fish and corals of Palawan. Snorkeling fun chasing these fishes for a snapshot. Major Sunburn of course! and that’s with SPF 70 haha. March |2015| GoPro hero black

I know I mentioned that I am not a morning riser and I enjoy sunset more than sunrise, but I can always make an exception if I want too (wink!) especially when it is beautiful as this! This is a must try hike when in El Nido. The top of Taraw Cliff meaning Steep Cliff. A continuous steep slope of sharp limestone

March |2015| Nikon d5100


Jay our guide
               with Jay our local guide

I wasn’t ready for this hike at all!. it was an abrupt spur of the moment to take on before we leave for our flight in the afternoon. Also, because it was highly recommended or better yet we just needed some CHALLENGE! haha!

 First I have nothing but flip-flops! but hey!  our guide is wearing flip-flops too! therefore, “I am good.” WRONG! =/

We left the hotel at 5:00 am to catch the sunrise. As we got to the place I immediately knew I am in big trouble. PITCH BLACK! but wait! we have flashlights… we came prepared after all. Second challenge is the entrance…an immediate effort of climbing those sharp stones, not even a warm up, but the show must go on. As I start my rock climbing skills I can hear popping sounds from my knees  and every possible sound one makes when making an effort…that’s me! (I am active and I do some steep hiking but I guess my knees are not meant for this kind…oops) In short we made it to the top! 170 meters high.

The hardest part … against the gravity, which has 2 possibilities to why it was hard. It was harder because  I was slower or because my legs are shaking non-stop signaling me I AM GIVING UP! one thing is for sure, without our guide we are LOST as a SHEEP.

After the hike…my flip-flops is unrecognizable, worn out and ready to be thrown away, hence I said I was WRONG when I said earlier I AM GOOD, but thankfully it remained intact. The worst that could happen is for it to break and I have to use the sole of my feet for those solid sharp limestone OUCH!  I don’t think I could make it alive. TIP: mosquito repellent. DO NOT try to do this without one or you will be a feast !!!

Matinloc Island. March |2015| Nikon d5100
The beaten path of El Nido: MATINLOC ISLAND

BEAUTIFUL and PICTURE PERFECT! the clear sky, the color of the sea and lesser crowd. It is not possible to do lodging at this part of the Island but recent news said that tourism is actually considering because it is a paradise. There is an abandoned house inside this island which used to be a monastery for bishops and higher officials of the church when visiting El Nido, but unfortunately politics got in the way and everything is gone. (shame face). This shot is taken doing a little climb up the limestone. People take turns because there is not much space up there and like other limestone no flat area but rather sharp ones so be careful!

It is INDEED more fun in the Philippines! this is just one of more than 7000 islands, there are more reasons to pack your bag and explore. So what are you waiting for?



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