Paradising the Phillipines, el Nido's perfect seascapes
I heard so many times about this paradise, and that it has the best beaches in the world with the whitest sand and perfect weather and so on. So I had to come discover it, right?
The way there was kind of long. It took a flight to Manila (the Phillipines capital), then a flight to Puerto Princesa, which is the big city on this long island called Palawan, and then a van to el Nido, which took about 5-6 hours (if you negotiate the price, you can get it for 10$). So as I always try to find a way of escaping the masses, I didn’t stay in el Nido town, but rented a scooter and headed to the other side of the island, for about one hour. Here you will find the even smaller town called Sibaltan, and here is your place to find peace and quiet, drink some cocktails at a lonely beach and deeply relax. If you don’t mind driving an hour between Sibaltan and el Nido for tours or whatever, this is your place to stay. Much cheaper, much less touristy, cleaner and definetly more beautiful.
So I spent two weeks here, which is way more than necessary. If you have enough money, it’s still good time to check out other places nearby like Coron or Port Barton, which I didn’t visit. If you stay in el Nido, there are many things to do. The basics are the tours offered in the main town, which are called A, B, C and D. Easy right? Each tour visits a different group of islands, and all include 4-5 stops and lunch, starting at 9am and coming back around 5pm. They all cost almost the same, between 18-25$. I did A and C, and while I really enjoyed A for photography and flying the drone, I enjoyed C more for snorkeling and seeing corals. But don’t forget, this is a no-low-season-place, there will always be a lot of people here and if you really want to enjoy lonely beaches and white sand, as you read on the internet, you should consider the next option.
My hotel in Sibaltan offered us a tour on that side of the island, same price as the others, for 8 people of the same hotel, and with no one else around. They assured that we would be the only boat around and that the beaches would be the best we have ever seen. Said and done, I had one of the most amazing days of my life here. We visited four different spots, two for snorkeling and two islands which were, as they said, totally free of any other tourist boats. And it was definitely the coolest place on my trip. The food also hit a high note, with some fresh fish, lots of fruit, grilled chicken and pork and even some shrimp. Definitely a day to remember.
There are some other spots worth visiting. One is the Ille cave, where you will be able to climb to the top and have an amazing view. The entrance fee here is around 7$, as you have to hire a guide to make the climb. You should also visit Bulalacao and Nagkalit-Kalit waterfalls, but early in the morning, so you won’t be surrounded by red foreigners. And everyone talks about a beach called Nacpan, which was pretty cool and the color of the water was blue as the sky, but I found a better place. A little further you will find Dulli Beach. Almost the same but here I was almost alone. A few surfers made their way here and that was it. No entrance fees, no people around, just you and the ocean, that’s what you came for.
As a tip, same as everywhere in Asia, negotiating is key here. They will try to rent you a scooter for even 20$ a day, while I got mine for 6$, and you can definetly get it for a little less. Same counts for the tours, the food, the hotels and almost everything you pay for.
I can highly recommend both hotels I stayed in. The first was Bayog Beach Campsite (around 5$ per night), where they have Bamboo-huts but also rooms and really good food (don't miss their pancakes). Here is where I did the private tour. The second one is Vue Grand Hilltop (around 18$ per night), only 3 minutes away from the first hotel. Here you will have an impressive view and a hotel owner who makes his own bread and excellent pizza. Either way, you will find something for your taste here. Camping is also a big thing on this side of the island, so it might also be something for you.
Either way, with lots of tourists and everything, el Nido is a paradise worth visiting and exploring. There is so much beauty in this place, that you will definetly be blown away by it from the first day.
You can always find more photos of my trip on my Instagram @robwandering or videos on mmy youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCODzIx4Fl57VcObl7qCIKgg?view_as=subscriber