If you’ve seen my travel guide to El Nido, Palawan last September, here’s my travel diary on my 6-days adventure that will make you book that seat sale and fly to Puerto Princesa ASAP! While waiting for your flight, take a peek of the activities I had at the most beautiful island in the world.
Day 1 – Manila – Puerto Princesa – El Nido
It’s been raining the night before our flight and our host informed us that tours were cancelled and might still be for the next few days. So as not to spoil all the activities in our itinerary, we were asked if we could rebook our flight but the adventurer in us decided to take the risk and head to the airport the next day.
As we wait for our boarding, we were silently praying for a good weather and a safe flight to Puerto Princesa. It was still damp and cloudy when we took off. After an hour and a half, we safely arrived in Puerto Princesa and was welcomed with a warm sunny weather. We couldn’t believe the sudden change in the atmosphere.
We were picked up at the airport and was dropped off at the terminal where we took another van to El Nido which cost P 500. It was a long 6-hour road trip and the weather in El Nido wasn’t as good as Puerto Princesa’s, it seems that it shares the same weather with Manila as it was cloudy and windy.
Still, we were happy to finally arrived at our hotel that would be our home for 6 days and 5 nights. Many thanks to Ocean Vista Inn and Sealand Venture for inviting us to experience and explore El Nido. It has a nice view and comfy beds, click here for more details.
We freshened up after checking in and decided to take a stroll by the beach and search for a place to dine in. We didn’t went far and found a place to have a snack and took advantage of the happy hour in Sava where we ordered margarita (Buy 1 Take 1 for P 200) and potato wedges.
Not long after our snack, we started looking for the Italian restaurant that was recommended by Dada’s friend. We got a little out of the way but nonetheless we found Trattoria Altrov’é. It was a quiet and dim restaurant where diners need to leave their shoes/slippers by the stairs. Once settled, we ordered one of their bestsellers which is the Con Proscuitto Crudo. Food and eating out was really the best time of the day to get to know each other and share about our travel experiences. I learned a lot about blogging too.
Once full and satisfied, we walked back to our hotel while checking out other restaurants and souvenir shops along the way. We went back to our hotel around 9 PM and tried to sleep early to energize for the incoming tours.
Day 2 – Tour D
On our second day, it was dark and cloudy but the odds were in our favor because Tour D was permitted. Tour D comprises of the lagoon and beaches in Cadlao Island which is the nearest island from the Town Proper.
Though it was the least chosen tour among the 5 tours available, it was still a treat for us to explore its scenic spots.
The boat ride was challenging since the wind gust was against us that made our trip a shower of salty water. That’s why a dry bag was a life-saver for our gadgets and other valuables.
Our first stop was in Cadlao Lagoon which is the farthest stop. And since it was the only tour allowed, the lagoon was jam-packed with boats and tourists. I think there were more than 10 boats at that time but it didn’t hinder us to enjoy the view and the lagoon.
We went snorkeling and took a lot of photos while boatmen in every boat started grilling our lunch in the boat. One of the highlights of this tour was when saw a monkey but it got terrified due to the attention it received.
After 45 minutes at the lagoon, we sailed to our second stop. We went to Paradise Beach where we ate our lunch but usually lunch is serve at the 3rd stop. The beach was already filled with tourist, laying and sunbathing. Don’t be surprise if you’ll see a lot of plastic bottles lying around. Our tour guide explained that those got drifted from other islands.
The usual food for lunch will be grilled pork or chicken, mussels, crab or omelet and vegetables. If you’re a vegetarian or have any allergies, you have to inform them beforehand about your food preferences so they could prepare something for you.
After the afternoon siesta, we headed for our third stop which is the Pasadigan Beach. However, the strong waves that kept us from anchoring properly. The waves lulled us back and forth, side to side as the boat captain attempt to dock. He gave up and decided to go to the other side of the island which was calmer and spend the rest of the time there. Bukal Beach gave a peaceful and inviting vibe. We snorkeled for the rest of our tour and saw a lot of fishes and got starstruck when we saw (clownfish) Nemo’s family.
We were supposed to visit 5 sites but because of the weather, we only managed to visit 4 sites per tour. Tours ended our 3PM and I bet everyone’s exhausted but with a soul full of adventure.
For our second dinner at El Nido, we went for seafood at Jarace located near the beachfront. Prices ranges around P 200-400 per dish. It’s much better to stick with grilled food than ordering soup dishes because it’ll take them a lot of time to prepare them. You’ll either starve or finish everything you ordered when the soup’s ready.
Day 3 – Tour C
The sun was shining and the tourists were smiling. For our second tour, we had Tour C which is one of the most requested tour and my favorite one. We went to Dilumacan Island also known as the Helicopter Island because of its shape but for me it resembles more of a whale.
The island was stunning and we learned that it’s also a breeding and hatching area for sea turtles but the waves were violent in that island so be careful. I was surprised to see these goats contentedly roaming in this beautiful island.
From the helicopter island our second stop was a bit further and but was glad to found the Hidden Beach at Mantiloc Island. It got its name because huge limestones surrounds the beach making it hidden. It was a nice spot to go snorkeling but be cautious to some fishes because they’re kind of territorial and might bite you.
Third stop means lunch! After exploring and making friends with the fishes at the Hidden beach. We went to our third stop at the other side of Mantiloc Island which is the Talisay Beach, a small beach that can accommodate a group of 10 people.
After lunch, we went to our last stop which is the Mantiloc Shrine. It was bought by a couple (foreign guy and a Filipina) with a purpose of accommodating seminarist but due to some issue it was abandoned. It’s private property and visitors need to pay P 100/person for entrance and maintenance fee.
We were encouraged to check out the house but it looks creepy that’s why we didn’t take the chance. While the best part was when we hiked over the limestone to see the view of Mantiloc and Tapiutan Island. Be careful to sharp edges and watch your steps on your way up.
Secret Beach is included in Tour C but because of the strong waves we were unable to visit the site. We went back to the town proper and arrived around 3:30 PM.
Our adventure didn’t end there, after we took a shower, we went to Marimegmeg Beach (10-minute-tricycle ride from the town proper) to catch the sunset and visit our new found friends (Camille and Mark) who are behind the 365 Travel Dates blog with (Karen, Mark’s cousin) at their glamping hotel, The Birdhouse El Nido.
Going there was not simply a walk on the beach, it was an exercise. We crossed two small creek and took more or less 200 steps before you reach the Mother Nest. But it was worth it, we loved the view and everything around it. It was still under construction when we visited but I bet it looks amazing now.
We were welcomed with snacks and free dinner cooked and baked by our hailed Kitchen Goddess Camille. (Brownies, Coffee, Pita Bread, Corned beef and sesame dressing). We got to know each other and as always we talked about travelling and blogging the entire night.
Day 4 – Tour A
Our last tour in a boat but we still can’t get enough of the beautiful islands of El Nido. Tour A was the most relaxing tour that we had since the wind and waves were calmed and my second favorite tour. Our tour was made possible by Sealand Venture.
Our first stop was the Seven Commandos, it’s divided to three different resorts but they don’t asked for an entrance fee. So you’re free to roam around and sit at the lounge chairs.
When I saw the swing I knew that I’m not gonna leave this island without trying it and I did! I tried it twice. One sitting and another standing.
Our next stop was the Big Lagoon but we only made a round trip around it and took pictures. If you want to stay longer, you could rent a kayak there. The lagoon has a maximum depth around 27 meters so snorkeling was a check off but we did snorkel outside the big lagoon after we had our lunch.
For our third stop which means lunch, we stopped at Shimizu Beach. It was named after the Japanese diver who died in the underwater tunnel on the island.
We went snorkeling while waiting for our lunch. The water near the beach was a bit cloudy and few fishes to see but going further that’s where most of the fishes are.
Full and well-rested, we continued our trip and we stopped at the entrance of Big Lagoon where we went snorkeling. In our observation the corals here looks healthy for they are colorful unlike the corals on the other beaches where they’re almost white. Scientist/Environmentalist called it coral bleaching due to the change in the water temperature.
For our last stop, Secret beach is included in Tour A but because the tide was high it would be difficult to swim through the small hole.
We docked outside the Small Lagoon where we rented a kayak for P 300/hour that could fit 3 people. It was also the best way to explore the Small Lagoon. We paddled our way to the Small Lagoon which was not a piece of cake and entered through the small arch.
As usual, we went back at 3:30 PM. This was also the day when the other group (Kev of kevhernandez.com, Jay Ar and Grace of TravelBook.ph) arrived in El Nido. We ate at Art Cafe, a little walk from Ocean Vista Inn. We order Art Cafe Pizza, Carbonara, Seafood Pesto and Tomato Pesto. It was a feast as we tried every dish.
Day 5 – Tour E (In Land Tour)
For our last tour, we had Tour E a.k.a In Land Tour. Instead of taking a boat, we took a van going to Nacpan Beach, Nagkalit-kalit falls and Marimegmeg beach.
There are lots of options to go there, you may rent a motorcycle for a couple or a tricycle for P 700-1000, good for 4 person. For larger group you may rent a van for P 2,000-2,500, good for 10-12 pax. You may also book a tour at Sealand Venture at Ocean Vista Inn. The hike was easy-breezy, took us about 15 minutes to see the view of Nacpan and Calintang Twin Beach that was mesmerizing and refreshing. As always nature never fails to surprise and take my breath away.
After taking lots of photos, we went down roasted and famished. We had our lunch at Kyla’s Cocina and ordered buttered shrimp, eggplant omelet, chop suey, pancit bihon and the refreshing avocado shake.
At around 1PM, we drove to Nagkalit-kalit Falls and started our trek at almost 2PM, where we crossed eight rivers (you read it right, it’s 8) before we reached the falls. It was a 45-minute hike but the cold water freshened us and almost lose track of time.
The falls is a combination of a shallow part and a deep part. The shallow parts reaches until my hips while the deepest part is 9 meters as per our tour guide. You could jump in it just like what I did.
We went back to our van around 4PM and drive to Marimegmeg Beach to visit the Birdhouse again with the complete gang. And again welcomed with a full-filling dinner and sweet dessert courtesy of the Kitchen Goddess, Camille.
Day 6 – Going Home
Leaving the paradise that’s been my home for 6 days was heartbreaking but I will definitely come back with my friends and visit the sites that I’ve missed. I’m already looking forward to my next visit and boat ride to explore the other islands of El Nido especially the Secret Lagoon and Secret Beach. I need to unveil the beauty it has.
While waiting for our van, we walked along El Nido Town Proper for our last time and trying to memorize every nook s and crannies of this paradise.
We watched other tourist with the excitement on their faces as they went to their island hopping. Felt nostalgic because we were like them on our first tour up to our last.
We left El Nido at 10AM since our flight back to Manila was scheduled at 7:45PM. We slept throughout the 5-hour road trip as exhaustion hit us and my body felt the impact of the 5-day adventures. It was roughly around 4PM, had snack at Nokinoks (too tired to take a photo) and bought some souvenirs after. We boarded around 8:30PM and landed in Manila around 10PM.
I hope you enjoy my adventures in El Nido! Plan your trip to El Nido by checking out my travel guide.
Ocean Vista and Sealand Venture
Facebook: Ocean Vista Inn
Contact No.: 0917-561-6080 / 0999-992-1214 / 0977-805-9993
Follow El Nido Tourism for updates about the tours allowed.
Disclosure: Our stay and tours were courtesy of Ocean Vista Inn and Sealand Venture.