El Nido, Palawan

May 30, 2015

From Sabang I travelled to El Nido on local buses. I first got a bus early in the morning to Salvacion crossroads where I would have to change to the service to El Nido. I knew there were two different kinds of buses (AC/no AC) and the transport vans passing through and I decided to just take the next service that showed up. I only had to wait 20 minutes or so until one of the buses arrived an I got on. Of course it was one of the no AC buses, but at least it was cheap, and all the windows were open so the ride wasn’t too hot. It was very packed and I got the last available seat. They were showing movies on a screen in the front. When I got on they were in the middle of one of the Madagaskar films, then American Sniper came on, it was as bad as I expected it to be. After that two movies I’d already seen and didn’t think were great (Lucy and The Guardians of the Galaxy). After eight hours squeezed on a hard seat I was very happy to get off in El Nido. The bus terminal is outside town so I took a tricycle to a hostel called Hakuna Matata which I had looked up before. I hadn’t booked anything in advance but luckily they had a bed available for two nights which I took.

The next day I walked around town and followed a path along the water. It didn’t really lead anywhere, just to some more houses and hotels, so after a while I turned around and walked back.



The next morning I found out my hostel had had a cancellation which meant I could stay for one more night, three in total, which was great. I wanted to stay in El Nido at least four nights and wanted to avoid moving around to different places too much.

I went for breakfast around the corner in a hotel where they were doing a breakfast buffet. It was pretty good, especially for it’s price (200 pesos, £3). They had fresh bread, rice, a few different meat and veg dishes and coffee and juice. I ate a bit too much bread and left very full.

I decided to go to another beach outside town as the beach in El Nido isn’t that great. There’s not really any space on it, the buildings go right up to the beach and there are lots of restaurants with tables on the beach and the water is full of boats.

I went to Corong Corong beach which is a short tricycle ride from the city. It was beautiful there, I found a quite spot and spent the whole day just reading and walking along the water.



At one point I came across a huge, purple jellyfish, it must have been at least 30cm wide!


I stayed and watched the sunset, which was really pretty, before I walked up to the road and took another tricycle back to my hostel.



The next day I went on an island hopping tour, it’s a common thing to do when you visit El Nido. I went for tour A, I had heard beforehand that tour A and C were the best ones, but I decided to just do one of them during my stay. I was picked up at my hostel in the morning and led down to the beach where others who were doing tours were waiting. After a while they gathered all tour A people onto one boat, there were maybe 10 of us in total.

Our first stop was “secret lagoon”. The boat stopped next to an island and we had to swim to an opening in the cliffs to get into the lagoon. It was very pretty but not so secret; there were many other boats and people there.

After that we stopped at a small beach on another island.



The tour people cooked us a delicious bbq lunch on the beach. We had fish, pork, chicken, squid, veg, fruit and rice! It’s probably the best food I had in the Philippines.


Then we visited a couple more lagoons named the small lagoon and the big lagoon.



It’s so beautiful around El Nido, and Palawan in general, I really enjoyed just seeing the landscapes on the tour.

Our final stop was another beach. There was a small bar there (I had a coconut shake) and we stayed for about an hour before heading back to El Nido.


I had dinner with a couple of guys from the tour and later we met up for a drink on the beach.

The next day I had to leave my hostel and move to another one as they were fully booked. They booked me in on their sister hostel on the other side of town, which isn’t actually that far as El Nido is very small. One of the staff went with me there in a tricycle to show the way and check me in, it was a very easy move.

This day I wanted to visit Nacpan beach, I had read about it and it seemed amazing. It’s pretty far from El Nido and getting a tricycle there and back was very expensive. Also, I had read the road could be pretty bad and that a tricycle was very uncomfortable on the bumpy road. So I decided to hire a scooter for the day and drive there myself. It was a great experience, it reminded me of how much I like driving. I walked down to the town from the hostel and found a place that had bikes for rent. It wasn’t super cheap (I payed 600 pesos for the day + petrol), but still a lot cheaper than a tricycle to the beach and back.

It took me maybe 50 minutes to reach the beach from El Nido. Most of the road wasn’t that bad, it was just a normal paved road with not much traffic at all. The last 5km was a small, rocky dirt road, and closer to the beach it got very sandy. It was fine though, I managed to navigate it without falling.

When I reached the beach I parked around the other bikes there. There was a small place that sold drinks and there were some people around there. The beach was huge and as I walked away from the main area it soon got very empty.


There were more jellyfish on this beach, in some places you could see lots of darks dots in the water.


Anyway, I was told the purple ones are harmless and don’t sting, it’s the smaller white ones to watch out for, and I didn’t see any of them here.

I was planning on walking along the whole beach but it was just too long and it was so hot. I parked my stuff and it felt like I had the whole beach to myself, I couldn’t see any other people around.


I spent the afternoon swimming and reading (I was still very into 1984 at this point).

Later I walked to the other end of the beach where it met with another, smaller beach behind it. I climbed up a small hill to get a better view.



I walked around this area of the beach a bit more and found a path to a higher spot. It was a very steep little dirt path, but of course I had to try and get up.


Going down wasn’t as easy, I had to take my slippery flipflops off but I got down eventually, and I got a cool view from the top.


When I got down the sun was beginning to set and I decided to head back before it got dark. It would have been nice to stay for the whole sunset but I didn’t want to drive on that awful dirt road in the dark.

The next morning I left El Nido to go to Port Barton, my final stop before leaving Palawan.