On departure day, I left my house at 10:30am to reach our meeting place in Makati at 11:30am. At Ayala Makati, I met some of my officemates to have early lunch. After lunch, we took a cab going to the NAIA terminal 4.
At 12:30pm, all of us were already at the airport. I was fascinated with the renovations made at the old terminal airport. It has been a long time since I took a flight from that terminal. The improvements were really significant that if given the chance I will not hesitate to take my flight again there.
Our Seair flight left manila at exactly 3:45pm. It was a positive note that the flight was on time compared to my previous experiences with them. The airplane was okay but I noticed that the onboard buys were very expensive.
When we arrived at Puerto Princesa, Palawan, I immediately called our driver to fetch us and to take us to El Nido. At 8pm, we stopped at Fort Wally Food Stop in Roxas for our dinner. We checked-in at El Nido Cliffside Cottage (0919.7856625/0918.9676830) at PhP900 per night.
On our second day, we made an arrangement with Clydenike and Guenkean Tour Operator (0912.4068874/0910.5467770) for our tours. But before proceeding with the tour, we had our breakfast at a nearby restaurant. I was able to buy dried saliva of swiftlets for my nido soup at PhP100.
At 8am, we were ready for the tour. We chose tour A (for PhP700) and we paid the eco-tourism fee PhP200 (valid for 10 days). Since we were nine in the group, we accommodated 1 more person to join the tour. Our first stop was at a small lagoon. I did not know what to expect inside the lagoon but of course since it was Palawan, it must be beautiful. Most of us swam while others went kayaking. As I entered the rocks, I was awed with nature. The place was picture-perfect. We entered a small cave, which accommodated 10 persons. When we left the cave, it suddenly rained. We decided to swim back to the boat. Unfortunately, I did not see the protruding rocks underwater until I hurt my knee and got wounded.
After the small lagoon, our next stop was the Secret Lagoon. We entered the hole in order to get inside the lagoon. The wave was so strong that it was difficult to stand, and the boatman even had to assist us.
We then had our lunch at Commando Beach. The tour operator prepared a lunch that was more than enough for the group. When the seafood and grilled meat were finally served, the group was obviously very hungry that we did not talk much while eating.
Our last stop for the day was the big lagoon. For those without a kayak, we stayed on the boat and were not allowed to swim since the water was deep. I saw a group of sea urchins that formed a heart shape when we snorkelled at the big lagoon's entrance. The corals were a plenty and very colorful.
For our dinner, we tried Aplaya Restaurant. The food was nothing fancy but it was quite expensive. Overall, our day 2 of the El Nido trip was superb!
Third day was a different story. As early as 5am, the guys were all ready to climb the Taraw cliff while the ladies stayed in the resort to sleep in. I crossed my fingers that the climb would still go on even if it was drizzling that morning. I was told that if it rained the climb would be cancelled since the limestone was slippery. But of course, I was very hopeful.
Good thing was the guide arrived at 6am, and we were asked to get ready for the climb. I was very excited and hoping for a picturesque view from top. We passed by some of the houses along the main road until we started our climb. Initially, the climb was easy as we passed by some mangroves but when we held onto rocks, it was a different story. There were a lot, as in a lot of mosquitoes that tried to feast on our legs. Because of my excitement, I forgot to put on ‘Off lotion’ that morning. I became worried that we might get dengue or malaria plus the fact that a simple mistake on our move would cause us injury or even death. There was also a point during the climb that I felt disappointed since I saw some vandalism on the rocks. Tourists should always be responsible and hence, should not vandalize the place. When we were already at the top, we tried to take as many photos as possible. I tried calling our companions from the resort but there was no phone signal. When we went down, most of us were wounded. If I would be asked to climb again, I would most definitely turn it down.
At 10am, we were already taking our breakfast at Marbers Restaurant. This time we chose tour B (cost PhP800), which included snake island, cathedral and lagen. We snorkelled at Pangulasian Island of El Nido resorts. The corals were in almost very good condition since the resort was guarding the surrounding waters of the island. We were not allowed to go near the beach front so I just went snorkelling but it proved to be very tiring due to the strong water current.
It was also my first time to see a sandbar that connected two islands. The viewing deck was perfect for group photos. We walked along the sand bar and tried to cross the other island. We did not finish the walk but we decided to move to the other island for our lunch. While the lunch was being prepared, we entered the cave with a small opening. One of our companions fell from the cave entrance since she failed to touch the floor. We had a few laughs as she underestimated the height of the entrance against the floor. In the island, we saw some monkeys roaming freely.
As we were taking our lunch, the rain poured. After lunch, we proceeded to the next beach and passed by the cathedral. We did not swim towards the cathedral due to the strong water current. On our last stop, we just enjoyed the sand and the sea minus the sun since it was raining. For our dinner and souvenir, we tried El Nido Boutique and Art Café. The ambiance was okay but the food was expensive.
On our fourth and last day, we left the resort at 4:30am. We arrived early in Puerto Princesa to buy souvenirs and drop by the Baker’s Hill for our favourite pianono. Lastly before heading to the airport, we tried the chaolong (viet food) at Bona’s Chaolong. We wanted to try their Yakult shake but unfortunately it was not available.
Overall, the El Nido trip was truly an enjoyable trip. I will definitely go back to El Nido to try the other island tours.
Visited last October 5-8, 2012