Imagine living in an archipelago that has 7,107 islands, you heard it right, 7,107 islands. Being a Filipino, I haven’t explored many islands in the Philippines but I am happy to say that I visited some of the islands that are on my bucket list. The Philippines is known for its emerald rice fields, wonderful beaches, beautiful volcanoes, bug-eyed tarsiers, and of course the happy-go-lucky people, so as our slogan says “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”. These are just some of the few beautiful things that can be found in the Philippines.
As a teacher living and working in Thailand, I have enough school break and holidays. This time, my boyfriend and I decided to travel the Philippines. Sadly, October is not really the best time to travel around the Philippines because of the rainy season. In fact, when we came to visit, there was a typhoon around Palawan but it didn’t stop us from enjoying our holiday. We took a flight from Singapore to Cebu and it was roughly 200 US dollars for the roundtrip ticket.
We arrived at Mactan International Airport at 2 in the morning and we booked a taxi from the airport going to our hotel. Be sure to have some coins with you guys coz some of the taxi drivers don’t give change. So, prepare an exact amount to pay the driver.
El Nido, Palawan
Palawan, indeed named as one of the most beautiful islands in the world. It is known for its magical beaches, jungles, steep limestone cliffs, and the beautiful seascape. No wonder it is named as the most beautiful island in the world in 2016 for its magical beauty. El Nido is a tropical paradise. The sunny weather, clear water, white-sand beaches, its friendly people make it a dream place to spend someone’s vacation.
El Nido ( How to get there)
Getting to El Nido is not hard depending on the place where you are departing. In fact, it is very accessible by plane and van. Our flight departed from Mactan International Airport (Cebu) and it was arriving in Puerto Princesa (capital of Palawan). There is no direct flight to El Nido so, we decided to stay one night in Puerto Princesa and have a look around the city. We rented a motorbike for 500 Peso (one day) and used it to visit some tourist spots in Puerto Princesa. Renting a motorbike is easy in the Philippines. You don’t need to have a license to rent a bike. Just pay and leave some any valid id that you have and you are all set. We booked a van for our trip to El Nido the next day. The journey takes about 5 to 6 hours. We left Puerto Princesa at 4 in the afternoon and waited for some of the passengers. Some of the van operators take long time coz they will the van with passengers before leaving. We reached El Nido at 10.30.
El Nido is a small town and power cuts are often a problem. There is a certain time that the area has no power and have to wait. So make sure to charge all your gadgets before going out. Wifi is also not really good. Very weak wifi signal. It really takes time to open a page.
El Nido ( What to do)
We took a day tour on our first day in El Nido. There are quite a few tours to choose from. Tour A, B, C or D. The prices depend on which tour package you want to take. In our case, we took the Tour A package and it was 1200 peso per person. Tour A package is composed of Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island and 7 Commando Beach. Lunch buffet, mask and snorkel, and drinking water are also included.
All set off, we were picked up from our hotel at 8 in the morning and we were brought to the meeting point. We joined the other tourists as well. We left the port by 8:30 and the first destination we had was the 7 Commando Beach. There we were given one hour and 30 minutes to stay on the island. We took as many photos as we can but sadly the weather was really bad. Rainy day during that day.
The next destinations we headed to were Small Lagoon and Big Lagoon. These Lagoons were really fascination. It has magical features and you will be truly amazed how beautiful they are. We did kayaking in the Lagoons. Kayak is not included in the package price. We paid an additional 300 peso each person. We stayed there for 2 hours and enjoyed the beauty of the mother nature.
After all the things we did in the morning, it is now time to eat lunch. So, we headed back to our boat and moved to our next destination which is the Shimizu Island. Lunch was served on the beautiful island. We enjoyed the scrumptious lunch that was served by the boatmen and we also relaxed by the beach.
The last destination of our tour was the Secret Lagoon. it was windy and wavy so, the boatmen were hesitant to go there but all of us wanted to visit the place. In the end, all decided to stop by and have a look. It was a wavy ride but it was all fun. The tour ended in that place and after that, we headed back to the port.
It is said to be the most beautiful beach in El Nido. We rented a motorbike for 500 Peso (one day) to get to the beach. It took us 45 minutes to one hour journey. At first, the road was fine, but when we got closer to the beach it was a rough road and a muddy road coz it was raining when we got there.
These are some of the places that we visited in Palawan. The next day, we spent most of our time traveling back to Puerto Princesa and from there flew back to Cebu.