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El Nido

Around the world travel, Backpacking, Bucket List, El Nido, long term travel, Southeast Asia, The Philippines, Travel

El Nido Baby!



I arrived late in Puerta Princessa, Palawan, but found the really nice, earthy guesthouse that my friend Kate had recommended to me. This place was constructed with the elements in mind. The back patio area was open and airy, and trees grew all around. Hammocks hung in each corner, and even power was optional – translation – the generator wasn’t always working. So I arrived to candlelight, but it sort of added nicely to the vibe . My first day was spent enjoying the ambience. I find myself coming to the end of my trip and being ok with chilling in a hammock at the guesthouse for a day and not feeling too guilty about it.
From Puerta Princessa, I headed two hours west to the sleepy beach town of Sabang. This is home to one of the longest subterranean rivers, which I saw by kayak in the rain. The weather had sort of put a damper on my plans of getting a beach bungalow and having some one-on-one time with a beach towel and the sand and sea before going home. I was running out of time, so instead of wasting anymore time in rainy Sabang, I decided to head directly north to El Nido. I said goodbye to the people at the guesthouse, and began the journey.


The journey was a bit torturous. Seven hours on unpaved roads in a van with AC that functioned at about 20%, and about 30K from town, the axel on the van broke so we were stranded while we waited for a new van. Needless to say, I was ready to get there already. But when I arrived, I knew I’d made a good decision to head straight here.


El Nido has a laid back beach vibe and affords for some amazing island hopping. I checked into my long sought after beach bungalow, that while aging still had a lot of charm, and then went to meet some fellow travellers for beers. The plan for my last 8 days was nothing. Aside from some island hopping and diving in Coron, I wanted to completely chill out, not see, do or move around.
Five days later and I was still doing just this and I was still in El Nido. The island hopping had become addictive. The vistas are absolutely breathtaking, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen water so blue and clear. Pair this with being able to be dropped on a deserted island for a day, complete with a lunch of fresh grilled fish, fruit and vegetables, and you can see why i started to fall in love with island life. The days were spent lounging on boats and beaches, and the evenings were spent with a newly forming crew of people that had been growing since Sabang. I met my Australian neighbors at the bungalow, and headed out to meet their other friends for dinner, and it turns out to be the same people I had met in Sabang. Small world!


Having a good crew of people made for some fun nights, one of which we spent at the local discotheque. Yes, no matter the size of a town, there is always a disco…sometimes you just have to look a little harder. The Filipinos love their current American pop music and they loved that we were at their disco.


El Nido was a definite highlight of my trip to the Philippines, but after six days there, it was now time to head North to Coron, for some wreck diving and a reunion…