El Nido Experience

Physically present, but mentally absent. Yes, that’s what I am right now. I’m back in Manila but I think I left my soul in El Nido. To say I’m overwhelmed is an understatement. I’m more than overwhelmed and I have no coherent words to describe how awesome that island is! I know I’ve made travel posts about it but there are some thoughts written better in another entry. 

1. I love how El Nido isn’t very tourist-y yet. The whole laid-back vibe was simply a tug at my heartstrings. That was it, I fell in love on the island. I could see myself spending my entire life on that beautiful paradise – away from all the drama, the worries, the frustrations and just spend my mornings and afternoons on the beach, or on the waters floating like I don’t have a care in the world.

2. The island is like a little beach in Europe! Europeans everywhere. There were a number of Koreans, Chinese and Americans but the island was mostly visited by Europeans. The women are sexy and the guys are hot. Ever heard of that Tumblr site where they post ‘guys with beards reading in a train’? Well, in El Nido, you can make a Tumblr page similar to it but entitled ‘guys with beards in the beach’. Sizzling! I’m still wondering why Europeans like El Nido. Is it because of the whole laid-back lifestyle?

3. We stayed at Telesfora Beach Cottages and I’m still wondering why they named their resort as it is. Is it a word in a different language? We had a hard time remembering it. One time, we told the tricycle driver, “Telesafora, no, uhhh, Telesforira? Wait, I got it, Telesforte.” Say what? The tricycle driver butt in and told us, “It’s Telesfora.” Yay you!

4. No party clubs in the town, well not that I know of any. While walking along the beach front and at the strip at the back of it, we found no signs of clubs. Tourists like to sit around and listen to just good music while catching up or getting to know others. They like drinking beer with some acoustic music or some guy playing the piano (take Art Cafe as an example). So I guess this is the reason why those wild party-goers do not visit El Nido eh? Well I hope they don’t. I love El Nido just the way it is.

5. My friends told me that El Nido’s expensive. It is! Well, some parts of it. Our accommodation was reasonable given that it’s already the peak season and the location’s very good, so I didn’t mind spending money on it. The tours were standardized in prices so you can’t really haggle that one except for really private tours and trips to Nacpan Beach. We haggled it and got a really good price. The food though, goodness gracious! The food was expensive! Most of the restaurants in the town proper have a price of not less than 300php for a meal. Everything comes with a cup of rice and the servings are really huge, I guess it’s to cater the tourists’ appetites.

6. There are cellular networks over there! It’s not totally a dead place like what everyone says. They have Globe and Smart but no Sun. Though there are places that the mobile signal’s gone or weak, sometimes the wifi doesn’t work too. But hello? You went there not to play COC but to actually immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and make good memories.

7. Electricity is abundant, as far as I know. I saw a note in our room that electricity stops at 2PM and resumes at 7PM, I think something like that. Nevermind the time, but I was sure they had a schedule for the electricity. Our AC was running all night. And the resort’s television on the front desk was running all day as well. Not sure if it’s because they had generator or the electricity’s actually not stopping.

8. Climbing Taraw isn’t for everyone. I never knew it was that hard and dangerous. We were thinking, we are young, what can go wrong? There are a lot of things that can go wrong! Like not holding tightly enough on that small rock, or putting your foot on the wrong stone, or getting dizzy while climbing up because of tiredness or accidentally slipping on one of the rocks that you are walking on. We only realized how dangerous Taraw is when we had set our foot on plain land and looked back to that towering limestone. Yes, it’s the best seat in town to see El Nido from atop, but I hope you prepare yourself for the climb. Oh, wear comfy clothes like a shirt and leggings. Don’t ever wear shorts. Bring 2 liters of water and a lot of courage, energy and presence of mind.

9. I finally found a best friend I can be comfortable to be around with. I’m weird, the bad kind of weird. There are times when I just want to sit there and be quiet and take everything all in. I think and worry a lot. I have not made deep connections with other human beings. I like being alone and I like doing things alone. That way, there are no pressures and I don’t hear anything bad being told against me if I don’t agree with what they say or plan. My trip was actually a channel of letting go, conquering fears and living life. I’m glad I shared it with a person who knows me in and out since we were kids. It also helped that we had almost the same interests in things so we didn’t argue or fight due to differences in opinions and sorts. Have you ever had a secret that you just couldn’t live with? You think about it so much that you begin to think people can tell your secret just by looking at you. I’m glad I’ve finally let the cat out of the hat. Now there’s one more person who knows the real me and the real story and still accepts me with no judgments or arguments.

10. I realized I’m a beach girl rather than a mountain chick. I love soaking myself under the sun and under the water. My only frustration is that I don’t know how to swim sans life vests in the middle of the ocean. I hope I could try to get a lesson on it. I can handle the pool, but the ocean with all those waves, nahh. I panic and I’d find myself on the bottom. But I love how laid-back life can be on the beach. I like lying down on the sand and burying my nose on a book. The good life.

11. My take home would be the statement from the bus conductor while we were traveling from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. He asked us why we didn’t come in El Nido in groups or with our boyfriends since it would be a little dangerous for girls to travel by themselves. We told him that we wanted to try backpacking. Just an hour away from El Nido, he told the passengers that he could see we were the type of girls who could travel by ourselves because we trust in the Lord so much. We were awestruck and Alexa and I looked at each other and smiled. Indeed, we can travel because God allowed us to and because He allowed it, He’ll definitely keep us safe.

I look forward to another adventure with my best friend. Since she’ll be flying to Denmark soon, we’re praying for a Euro-backpacking trip maybe three-five years from now. I hope God will allow it as much as He allowed our El Nido experience.

Always remember, nothing is impossible with God. After all, He made the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).

Other trip details:

Accommodation in Puerto Princesa – Liane’s Place, P900/night for two single beds (max 3 persons). No breakfast included but coffee/tea is available all day.

Bus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido and vice versa – Roro Bus (non AC), P295; Cherry Bus (AC) P450. Vans range from P450-P700.

Accommodation in El Nido – Telesfora Beach Cottages, P1500/night for two single beds (max 3 persons) in the garden view. P2500/night for the beach front. Breakfast included, kayaks and snorkeling gears for free.

Tricycle fee – P10/person whether in El Nido or Puerto Princesa; Jeepney fee – P8 to P13 depending on the location

El Nido Island Tours – Tour A, P1200 and Tour C, P1400; environmental fee is P200 valid for 14 days

Places to visit

Puerto Princesa – Baker’s Hill, Honda Bay, Crocodile Farm, Mitra’s Ranch, Firefly Watching, Baywalk

El Nido – Taraw, Nacpan Beach, Las Cabanas Zip Line, Puting Bato Falls, Bacuit Bay

Where to Eat

Puerto Princesa – Bona’s Chaolong, KaLui, Kirbausch

El Nido – Art Cafe, Mezzanine, Seaslug Resto, Skyline (cheaper)

18 Comments Add yours

  1. beachhhhhh!!! huhuhu… i will definitely go there!! i should add el nido to my bucket list of places i wanna go.. my no.5… dira na lg ko ma honeymoon a. lol

    1. Kim Um says:

      Lol, you should visit El Nido before everyone starts flocking to it.

      1. mag puli ko next year

  2. btw, that’s a nice comment from the driver 😇

    1. Kim Um says:

      Yes! We were surprised gani.. but good surprise. 😀

  3. Wow …. u write quite a bit … Your profile just reads so much about me too Kim …. although I must admit I have not travelled much outside India … I plan to change that soon, beginning this year’s trek in Kathmandu …

    Love this part of your profile so much: She dreams of quitting her job and just get lost and wander in places around the world working as a part-timer in various decent jobs.

    1. Kim Um says:

      Hi there fellow software programmer who loves traveling too! I do hope you can travel outside India and Kathmandu in Nepal is such a good choice. Nepal and India are places I want to visit in the future too, especially the Taj Mahal. I’ve already read a lot about these places and I’m just waiting for friends to join me in.

      Hope you could visit Philippines soon!

      1. Yes I’m really fwd to the kathmandu trip … although it would be my first trek in such high altitudes … fingers crossed …. even Ive been wanting to visit the taj mahal for a few yrs now … and historical sites around delhi … perhaps we can make a plan !!! and yes … is phil all about beaches ??? wat else can I expect ??

      2. Kim Um says:

        I hope you train as early as now. Lol. Will you join a group? Kathmandu is near Everest right? Is it like on the foot of Everest? I’ll let you know once I start planning for India. There are so many things to do in the Philippines aside from visiting the beautiful beaches – check this out: http://itsmorefuninthephilippines.com/

      3. yeah I’m gonna start my cardio from today 🙂 … started climbing stairs already !!! Kathmandu is not near Everest Kim … its a good 10 to 11 days trek, and it’s a bit pricey too …. I wanted to check out Everest basecamp, but can’t so many leaves from office ! plus it’s my first time there, so settled for a smaller 4-day trek … Im sure Im gonna love it … we are a group of 2 only as of now … but im gonna have fun !!! looking fwd to it really …. You have to tell me when u plan for India .. ill explore it along ure side as there’s so much to see you can’t have enough of it in one trip .. and now that I have a friend in Philippines, I’ll definitely check it out for sure, when air fares are low perhaps 😛 ! diving interests me, and hikes !! and who doesn’t want a nightlife to go along with it !! I’m sure Philippines is fun !

      4. Kim Um says:

        Lol, that’s a good start! I saw that it’s only 160km away, but maybe I was wrong. I’m planning to see India in 2016, hopefully but no definite dates yet. There’s just so much to see in Philippines too and I haven’t explored it yet as well. 😀 Let me know if you drop by!

      5. Sure … Have a good one Kim ! There’s a everest flight also, to have a peek if you have less time, but not sure if it’s that much fun ! And trekking 160 kms will take 10-11 days, no ?? It’s high altitude stuff, and not sure if you can take the road all the way .. there are bike tours though … ok, more when u drop by in India 🙂 … Have a good one and let’s be in touch through our blogs ! FB 🙂 ?

      6. Kim … do you know about any decent courses in travel writing ? Have you done any ureself or plan to do 🙂 ?

      7. Kim Um says:

        I haven’t searched about that yet. Sorry.

      8. oh ok .. I am planning to do the one from matadoru …. try it if it interests u …. and yes, I have a new write-up if u hav some time. Hav fun ! https://myfreewanderingspirit.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/inside-kodagu-country-coorg/

      9. Kim Um says:

        Awesome! Do you plan on getting profit from your travel blog someday? If you do, then that’d be really nice to enroll in travel writing courses. 🙂

      10. yes I do want to only travel, click and write about it some day …. so I’d like to try it out for sure !

      11. Kim Um says:

        Awesome. Then it’s worth the investment.

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