El Nido is Love and Tours Recommended for first timers

El Nido Summer Sunset from Republic Sunset Bar
El Nido Summer Sunset seen from Republic Sunset Bar

Hello, there my dear readers. 

I’ve been out of my blogging dashboard for so long. So long that I don’t know how to navigate it anymore, lol. But so glad I’m on mama and coding chore reprieve now that my troop is at school. Have to find a way to divide my time and I finally managed to update my blog, specifically our El Nido summer trip. 

My family actually went on a 7-day vacation in Boracay and Iloilo City and I’ll be writing about it soon. But what I’m going to share with you on this blog post was our trip to El Nido in Palawan. We had a couple trip a week after we came home from Visayas. It’s actually an anniversary trip in celebration of 20 years being married, yeah, that long already!

There’s no direct flight from Davao to Palawan so we have to do multi flights to get there and back. This was our route, Davao-Iloilo-Puerto Princesa-Cebu-Davao. Kind of tiring and boring especially with idle times spend waiting on airports not to mention super delayed flights at that time of our trip.

We arrived in Puerto Princesa around 3PM, actually ample time to ride the van straight to El Nido. But we have a business to take care in Puerto Princesa so we stayed overnight and headed to El Nido the following morning. I booked our van transfer from Puerto Princesa to El Nido at Klook. It’s easy, reliable and the van will pick you up at the hotel provided your hotel is within the city. The van wasn’t crammed, there were only 10 of us albeit super fast. Jesus these drivers, but they know the roads well like the back of their hands so I trusted them my crazy life in that 6-hr drive. My only consolation was the Romanian tourists partying at my back. Funny how they speak no English at all but we still managed to understand each other. We left Puerto Princesa around 8AM and safely arrived El Nido around 2-ish in the afternoon with 3 pee breaks along the way.

After we settled in our hotel, we took a tricycle to vanilla beach and hang out at Maremegmeg beach bar. Tricycle fare in El Nido is kind of expensive, we spent P150 to get here. This is actually a little far from El Nido town center but this is the best place to catch the sunset.

The front beach of Maremegmeg Beach Bar.
The front beach of Maremegmeg Beach Bar.

Maremegmeg beach bar is one of the perfect spots to catch El Nido sunset. Surprisingly, they offer not so expensive food and drinks considering the upscale hotel at the back. 

 Republic Sunset bar.
One of the few things in life that can't wait, sunset.

After a couple of afternoon drinks at Maremegmeg beach, we transferred to Republic Sunset bar. It's a bar along the highway perched on the cliff with a drink counter that overlooks the sea and the sunset. Seeing the sun setting, it's indeed a proof that no matter how crazy my day has become, it ended beautifully.

Mooring area for the tour boats at El Nido beach.
Mooring area for the tour boats at El Nido beach.

The locals here would recommend Tour A and C when you're a first timer in El Nido. So as a first-timer ourselves we took the two tours. If you don't want to spend cash while in El Nido, you can book your Tour A or C ahead over at Klook. You can read the conditions at the link and so far with my experience, it has been delivered and I recommend it. Just note that Eco-tourism Development Fee of P200 is not included in Klook booking you have to pay it separately when you get to town. But practically all hotel counters in El Nido accept tour bookings so you can also book directly to them with the ETDF included in the tour fee. The ETDF is valid for ten days and bring it along with you at all times when you book tours in El Nido. 

Morning boat rush at the bay in El Nido.
Morning boat rush at the bay. 

This is how boats loaded with tourists look like preparing to depart. An enacted LGU ordinance mandates that no plastics and bottled water allowed on boats but you can bring your own tumbler and you can refill it with filtered water available for guests on board the boat.

El Nido Tour lunch
I love El Nido is real.

Lunch is included in the tour. There were 12 of us in during tour A and 14 during tour C and they prepared just enough for the guests. This is a join-in tour so you can't choose companions unless you charter a private boat. But what's the point? It's cool meeting people from around the world.

El Nido Tour lunch
As we depart the 7-Commando beach, 
our boat crew started preparing lunch on board.
Fresh out of the grill fish and chicken.

Hidden Cave in El Nido
At the hidden cave in El Nido.

Our funny tour guide brought us to this hidden cave, kind of hard to get in because the opening is so small but glad we dared because it's stunning inside! Everyone shared stories of just about anything. I made 10 friends after the tour hence, join-in tour is recommended - that if you want to make friends.

And Oh, don't forget to pack aqua shoes, it's a must-pack! We didn't get to pack a pair but luckily there are dive shops that offer rentals so we saved our feet from peril. Beach stones in El Nido are a real bitch. They're painful, they're sharp and they can hurt you but they're really crazy amazing!

Snorkeling and snorkeling and more snorkeling!
Snorkeling and snorkeling and more snorkeling!

If you don't know how to swim, then you'll be missing half the El Nido fun. Underwater life in El Nido is mesmerizing. So start learning how to swim! There are life jackets though, but it's really different when you trust yourself out there in the water 😀😀 If you have your own snorkel, the better. There are snorkels you can use provided by the tour guides though, but you know, just how many mouths have gone through those mouthpieces and sometimes there are worn out ones and you can't breathe properly through it.

Big Lagoon, El Nido, Palawan
Picture time at one of the highlights of Tour A, the big lagoon. Nature at it's best!
This is our United Nation companions. From Uruguay, Sweden, France, Canada 
and of course, the Philippines represent! LOL. 

El Nido is Love and Tours Recommended for first timers
Somewhere in the middle of nowhere in El Nido! 
With husband dear of 20 years!

Tired and happy with our Tour C, El Nido companions.
Tired and happy with our Tour C companions.

On our second day, our boat broke down while we're on our way to Tour C. We waited for about an hour for the boat replacement to arrive. So as a penance for our lost time, our tour guide allowed us to snorkel in the shallow waters of Matinloc channel which is not part of the tour. The underwater life is so incredible, our Gopro footage didn't even give justice to it.

Our Tour C companions were another group of awesome multi-national people! We never really get to know some of their names but smiles and peals of laughter are enough. Our funny tour guide though kept calling our foreign companions, Ricardo and Ricarda. LOL!

The real solid rock of ages, El Nido.
The real solid rock of ages!

Most if not all of the islands in El Nido are solid rock formations. This is the closest I can get to one to one of them. This is along Matinloc channel and according to our guide the stones are alive and they're growing a part of a centimeter every year. So amazing nature! This will outlive me for sure but I'm so glad I had a chance to see it. 

The Canopy Walk in El Nido
The Canopy Walk in El Nido
I lost count of how many metal steps I've taken to get to here.

On our last day, we climbed up the canopy walk. You can't climb up here by the way without a guide, a helmet, and a harness. I was daring my husband to go trek Taraw cliff, the opposite and higher stone mountain without ready metal steps but he's not prepared for it so we settled to climbed up the canopy walk. You can come face to face with the solid stones that made El Nido here, stand on it and see the view of the town from the top of it. Forget your fear of heights, just enjoy the view. It's stunning!

A view of El Nido Bay from the Canopy walk
A view of El Nido Bay from the Canopy walk.

We climbed a bit early so as you can see down there, not a boat has left yet for the tours. Our tour guide said that at around 10AM only three or five boats are left mooring here. The rest has gone carrying tourists to island hopping. I thought, wow! That's a really good business, I hope the town of El Nido will take of their lucrative source of income and use the Eco-tourism fee responsibly.

And also, the LGU should provide garbage bins in strategic locations in town center. Because, yeah, I haven't seen one in four days that I was lounging around town.

Angel Wish, our favorite dining place in El Nido
Squid in chili sauce and baked large oysters in cheese at 
Angel Wish, our favorite dining place in El Nido.

You can't go hungry in El Nido, food shops are everywhere. Since this is a haven for international tourists, choices of international cuisines are plenty. But we have Pinoy tummies so we prefer to dine in places like Angel Wish. You can choose fresh seafood on their display rack and have it 'paluto' of your chosen style.

Bars and nightlife are also alive in El Nido. But we're so past the age of loud noises, smokey airs and late night outs - so yeah, chill and cold beer nights at the hotel balcony was for us.

El Nido is a unique destination. If you have fears with water you won't enjoy it here. But if you worship the sun, adores the island vibe with astonishing rock formations and loves water adventure, there's no reason why you're stalling your trip to go down here. It's beautiful, we had a great experience!

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines ticked off my bucket list. Until next time. Tata!

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