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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Philippine Travel Photo Essay : El Nido, Palawan


Small Lagoon, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
on the way to Small Lagoon
El Nido, Palawan

EL NIDO, PALAWAN

Back then, when you hear people say El Nido, you immediately think about Paradise. A group of beautiful islands with white sand, turquoise waters, hidden lagoons, and rich underwater marine life. Some even say that the famous movie “The Beach” was supposed to be shot in El Nido. But back then, only a few people who can afford to go ride a chartered plane can go to El Nido. Or those who can afford to pay for luxury resorts. The price one has to pay to experience paradise.

El Nido 01
islands and turquoise waters of El Nido

El Nido 11

But things are slowly changing. The major highway connecting Puerto Princesa to El Nido is almost halfway done. Private vans are now available for people to commute to El Nido. Budget hostels and inns are now abundant in the main town. Various organized tour boats can take you island hopping.

I’ve been to Coron, another paradise in Palawan, before going to El Nido. It was February 2012, the last few weeks of my Big Trip, when we went to finally see it for ourselves. True to our backpacking ways, we rode the public bus going to El Nido. It took us almost 6 hours, double that of a van’s travel time, and it was dusty and bumpy. But it was worth it.

El Nido 13
just near Snake Island

Our hostel in Puerto Princesa already warned us that it’s already the high season in El Nido. So what we did upon arrival was just to hire a tricycle to bring us to a cheap hostel/resort. What he found for us was a small but really nice and cheap bungalow. The resort which was also in the same property was full. So our bungalow was just behind the caretakers’ house. We were okay with it and even enjoyed the hospitality of the caretakers.

El Nido 02
on the way to Small Lagoon

The next day, we hired our own boat and visited some islands and lagoons. And that’s when I understood why people love this place so much. The water is so clear and the beaches are amazing. For someone who’s quite scared of the ocean (due to an almost drowning experience), I enjoyed snorkelling in El Nido a lot. The lagoons are wide and peaceful despite the number of tourists.

El Nido 03

El Nido 04
Secret Lagoon

My favorite was the Miniloc Island where we had our lunch. It was just a small cove but the sand and the view were really nice. I wanted to stay there longer because there were only a few of us who were sharing the island that time.

El Nido 05
Miniloc Island

El Nido 06
Miniloc Island (photo by Anthony)

P1050236
photo by Anthony

Miniloc Island, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

The view from the top of Snake Island was amazing as well – the sandbar and the waters below.

El Nido 08
Snake Island

El Nido 09

El Nido 10
sandbar :)

Snake Island, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
amazing view from the top

We ended the day in Pinagbuyutan Island where we camped for the night. And I’ve missed camping. We shared the island with just one other couple that night.

El Nido 14
Pinagbuyutan Island

Pinagbuyutan Island, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
camping!

El Nido 17

And as always, the Palawan sunset was beautiful. :)

El Nido 18

El Nido 19
beautiful Palawan sunset :)

El Nido 20

El Nido 21

We wanted to stay longer in El Nido, but we wanted to get away from the tourists and we heard about another place to visit in Palawan. Port Barton which was more remote and also has beautiful beaches and islands.