How I Finally Got to El Nido: A Race, a Heartbreak and a Seat Sale

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This is the 6th post in the series: Chichi's 7k Extreme Challenge.

What is it about El Nido that forcefully draws me time and time again?


How to Get to El Nido (A Sole Sister's Story)

Leg 12. El Nido, Palawan
It started in 2004 when I saw that final leg from The Amazing Race 5 where the 3 remaining contestants flew from New Zealand straight to the Bacuit Bay archipelago where El Nido is located. I couldn't believe that such a place existed...and in my own country! I so wanted to go but it was impossible at that time because only chartered (e.g. private and expensive) planes flew to the island.

Fast forward to 4 years later. I was finally going to El Nido to celebrate a special occassion with a special someone. Flights were booked, modest accommodations reserved and itinerary (in excel file) completed. But as it turns out, there was no celebration on that special occassion nor was there a special someone to celebrate it with. (Don't worry, I'm ok! Read about how I coped with it here.)

I asked the travel gods, was I really ever going to set foot in this paradise? How do I get to El Nido?

(Warning: Picture overload after the jump. Don't say I didn't warn you!)

The gods finally granted my wish with the Cebu Pacific Piso fare last November '09. We scored round-trip Manila-Puerto Princesa seats for less than Php300! I couldn't believe it, everything was finally coming together.

El Nido, Paradise on Earth

Do I need to tell you that El Nido was everything I hoped it would be and more? Even with the 7k Palawan Challenge looming overhead, we still managed to indulge and explore all the things that El Nido had to offer. Hey, we even did pretty well with the 7k challenge results!

After an 8h bumpy, zigzag-y ride from Puerto Princesa, we arrived in El Nido a little past dinner. We ended up in Seaslugs as recommended by the driver. It was expensive and the food wasn't good. If we weren't too tired to argue/walk/breathe, we would have gone to a much cheaper resto.


We woke up early the next morning excited for a day of exploring El Nido's 45 islands. We had our morning dose of caffeine with this view:


I got to DRIVE a boat, a real boat with an engine, a steering wheel and all. Although most everyone complained about my driving...

El Nido Island Hopping

Chichi: Gano po katagal bago tayo dumating sa Small Lagoon? (How long before we get to the small lagoon?)
Boatman: Mga 15 minutes...pero sa pagmamaneho mo, mga dalawang oras pa. (Normally it's 15  minutes but
with your would probably take 2 hours.)
 ...after about 2 hours, we arrived at the Small Lagoon. Please follow the Sole Sister's Guide to the Small Lagoon (to get there in one piece). Once you get to the lagoon, all your efforts would be so worth it!


Next stop: An unnamed (e.g. i forgot the name) and uninhabited beach cove for lunch, snorkeling, water volleyball and just lounging around. This is life!


Then we saw the snake. The island, silly.


Day 2 was another perfect day, clear skies and perfect weather. We went to the Secret Beach. It's a secret for good reason as it's tough getting there. From the open sea, you jump from your boat and swim through this tiny little hole in the middle of really jagged and sharp rocks to get to the beach. This one's a bit tougher than the Small Lagoon but it still provides a treat for any traveller.

El Nido's Secret Beach
Our last stop was Matinloc Shrine. We climbed a steep incline liberally studded with sharp rocks to the top of the shrine. We were on top of the world and looking at a 360 degree view of El Nido. Beautiful, peaceful, serene.

El Nido Matinloc Shrine 4
El Nido Matinloc Shrine 3

This is me giving thanks to the universe for this wonderful paradise.
El Nido Island 11

Can't Get Enough of El Nido El Nido Island 10

The story doesn't end there, not if I can help it. I hope to one day go back to El Nido and immerse myself in it's wonder(something that you can't do in just 3 days). Just like Jodi of Legal Nomads, who was lucky enough to stay in El Nido for several months and who currently misses El Nido. I also want to go squid fishing with the locals just like Dave from The Longest Way Home (last Wednesday he shared his reasons for traveling)

So much to do, so much to see. I'll definitely come back, El Nido.

*This post is part of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers blog carnival series. This month, all pinoy bloggers answer the question "Where is the best place you've been to in the Philippines?".  Famed travel blogger and National Geographic photographer, Estan Cabigas hosts the first-ever blog carnival.

'Til the next trip,
Sole Sister Chichi

Chichi's 7k Palawan Challenge is a series where she shares all the wonders that Palawan has to offer (with a Sole Sister twist).  Read the next post in this series, Battle of the Islands: El Nido vs Coron.

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8 sole trails

  1. I shall return to El Nido.coz i lost my raw shots! haha :D

  2. Oh no Gael! I know how it feels to have lost your precious photos :( Pero tama, balik nalang ulit to experience it all over again.

    Thanks pala on your feature on The Alternative, we were thinking of staying there pero maganda kasi offer na package ng Hadefe so we stayed there.

    Happy Travels!

  3. Thanks for the mention! I'm so glad you enjoyed El Nido as well. Safe travels,


  4. Hey Jodi! I really want to stay in that paradise for months, you were so lucky! I know I couldn't grow tired of this paradise. Salamat for dropping by.

    Happy Travels!

  5. i havent been to el nido and your pics make me wanna go there :-) such a beautiful place...

  6. Yes Flip, you really need to go there! I want to go there again too ;p

  7. Yes Flip, you really need to go there! I want to go there again too ;p

  8. I shall return to El Nido.coz i lost my raw shots! haha :D


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