Of Tan Lines and Salty Hair in El Nido, Palawan

I just had the best travel adventure of my life with my best friend in an unspoiled paradise and I brought home a lot of good memories, and a thousand stilled moments. It was such an amazing experience that I am still suffering from severe separation anxiety. Brrr.

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Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect in El Nido. When I think about that place, I remember an El Nido poster in Mom’s office with a caption “Lose yourself, find yourself” with a guy kayaking in the middle of nowhere with only the deep green waters and mountains surrounding him. I fell in love with that poster, but I never really given El Nido much thought after.

I had my fair share of research, especially when I was looking for places to stay at, but I never really searched enough. I only knew I wanted to see Snake Island and have a picture the same as the poster in Mom’s office. I had no idea where it would be and how, I just wanted those two.

When I told my mother that I’ll be out of town for five days and mentioned that I would be in El Nido with only my best friend, she started her sermon about safety given that we’re girls who look like high school students.

I actually thought this wasn’t gonna happen. A few days before our trip, Alexa processed her papers for her trip to Denmark. The embassy asked some more papers which were mailed from Copenhagen and would take 3-4 days to reach Philippines. Our option was to authorized her brother to get and pass the papers and if that wasn’t allowed, she will be forced to go home before our planned date. With lots of prayer, everything worked out well. The papers arrived Wednesday afternoon and we had to pass it in the embassy early Thursday morning before going to the airport. Praise God!

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We arrived at Puerto Princesa at 1:15 in the afternoon and it was scorchingly hot. Since we’re staying in the city for a night before going to El Nido, we took the blue tricycle inside the airport and it cost us 50PHP going to Liane’s Place in front of the Capitol. For a lesser tricycle fee, walk outside the airport and get one. It would only cost you 10php/each.

For those going to El Nido directly, there are vans parked outside the airport. Travel time would be five hours and would cost 700PHP (more or less 16$). There are also buses to and fro El Nido, specifically Roro Bus and Cherry Bus. Roro Bus is a new line from Montenegro Shipping lines. The non-aircon costs 295PHP and the airconditioned Cherry Bus costs 450PHP. Travel time for the buses is 6-7 hours with two stops in Roxas and Taytay. A few good things about buses – more legroom, bigger windows to see or take photos of the views and proper seating.

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We stayed at Liane’s Place at the front of the Capitol and it was such a cozy and quiet inn. The staffs were very friendly and the location is very accessible and convenient to everywhere. It’s a 5-10 minute walk away from the city proper (where all the fast food chains are); 5-minutes from the airport and all jeepney routes pass by the capitol so it was even easier for us to go through places. An airconditioned room with two single beds costs 900/night without breakfast but with free coffee all day.

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Chao Long (Beef Stew with Noodles)

We were told that we must eat Singaporean/Vietnamese foods while in Puerto Princesa so we opted to visit Bona’s Chaolong along Manalo St., less than five minutes away from Liane’s. This looks like a bulalo mixed with pho into one. And it’s yummy! Super yummy, actually that we had to go back before we ended our trip. It’s best paired with French Garlic/Cheese bread and it only cost us 210PHP. We could eat this whole day!

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We strolled along the baywalk whole afternoon and was even able to chat up with a balut vendor. He told us interesting things about Palawan like the island has no earthquake nor tsunami because the fault line is different from the Philippines. And he even pointed out the Penal colony where the prisons were exiled to an island. There, they made a community and were living quietly.

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Puerto Princesa is indeed a very clean place. I love the people! They’re very helpful and very honest. It was such a safe place for us two beautiful girls (lol) to roam around and act backpackers.

Read Going to El Nido and Climbing Taraw

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