My boyfriend and I went to El Nido, Palawan last year (2016). We stayed there from the 20th of September to 23rd, celebrating our 4th year anniversary. We flew via Air Asia.
This was my 2nd flight (the first one was via Cebu Pacific and I went to Coron) and I was so excited to fly again.
The first flight I had was not the best one since I was so nervous! I couldn’t wait for us to land. I remembered having a panic attack when there was turbulence (at that time I thought the plane would crash. Ha!) and I was blaming (at the back of my head) the foreigner for using his phone when we were all told to keep our mobile phones turned off (so sorry!)
So now on the 2nd airplane trip, I tried not to freak out the way I did on my first. I surveyed the passengers and if they didn’t look worried, why would I be? They probably already have so many experiences in flying so they would know if something’s not right. That thought and mantra made me calm during the entire flight.
The plane ride wasn’t as ‘bumpy’ as the first. I let F (my boyfriend) take the window seat since it was his first flight and he wanted to see the clouds. As usual, the flight was delayed for a few hours because of something I know nothing about. The Cebu Pac flight I had was also delayed and we didn’t get any compensation compared to Air Asia. We got one bottled water and a ‘mamon’ each.
The flight took approximately an hour and 30 minutes. When we arrived, a van was waiting for us. We will travel to El Nido from Puerto Princesa Airport, a 5-6-hour ride. I think there were 10 of us in the van. We stopped in an eatery in the middle of the ride and after eating, we took off again. We left the Puerto Princesa Airport at 6:00 PM and we arrived at the Hotel at almost 12 AM.
We rented one non-air conditioned room at Cliffside Hotel – cheap and modest. However, if you are very much into keeping things pristine, you may not like their non-air conditioned room since it has a very basic sink (with rusts on it but not deadly), no TV, and has mosquitoes but they have screens on the doors and windows so it’s not a big deal (at least for us).
We woke up early that day to start the island hopping. As always, F woke up first. Actually, I think he didn’t sleep because he was so excited. A tricycle picked us up from the hotel and brought us to where we were assigned a tourist guide. The guide told us what boat to ride. We went together with a few other people. I think there were a total of 13-14 passengers in the boat, including the guide and the boat captain. They were all very friendly.
We took Tour A on our first day. The islands to visit are the Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, and 7 Commando Beach. We first went to the 7 Commando Beach, then to Shimizu Island where we took our lunch as well, then Secret Lagoon, Small Lagoon, and then finally, the Big Lagoon.
By 3 or 4 PM we were done with the activities. We had our dinner at a nearby eatery beside the beach and that concluded our Day 1 of traveling.
The next day’s the same. We ate our breakfast before heading off to the beach. This time, we took the Tour C Package. We went to Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Star Beach, Hidden Beach, and then Matinloc Shrine (unfortunately, no one’s allowed to enter the shrine anymore). We also did snorkeling and it was a very fun activity to do! There were lots of fishes swimming around but we were too afraid to go deeper for we might drown. We were with a foreign family and the father (I think) swam under the boat, under the corals, under EVERYTHING. We were amazed, especially F who doesn’t know how to swim.
Day 2 finished approximately the same time as Day 1. This time, we had dinner on one of the pizzeria and on a local eatery.
The next day, we left around 10 or 11 AM and arrived at Puerto Princesa airport at 4 or 5 PM. The flight was delayed again (no complementary food this time) and we arrived in Manila at 9 or 10 PM.
It was a tiring but super fun experience. We would like to do it annually if the time and budget permit 🙂
Here’s the budget breakdown for those who are interested:
- Air Asia Fare Two-way: 2,866.82 ($58) (This was a promotion and I booked it a year before the scheduled flight)
- Van transfer from Puerto Princesa Airport to El Nido: PHP 2,200.00 ($44) (2 pax, Two-way)
- Room Rental: PHP 500 per night ($10) / Total of PHP 1,500.00 ($30) for 3 nights
- Tour A: PHP 2,200.00 ($44) (2 pax)
- Tour C: PHP 2,400.00 ($48) (2 pax)
Here are some of the photos of each island we visited. All were from Google.
We really had a fun vacation back then. I hope more people can see the beauty of the Philippines. We should all work towards preventing the abuse of our nature so our future generation can still enjoy it. 🙂
See you because it’s more fun in the Philippines! ❤