Life starts at 9AM for everyone in El Nido, but for us two, our day started at 6AM taking all in the early morning scenery filled with tranquility. This entry will be about all the island tours we took and all the wonderful activities and experiences we had.
We woke up earlier than everyone. We wanted to spend our quiet time on the beach and just soak ourselves with God’s word and wonderful love. As for me, I wanted to tell the Lord how happy and thankful I was that I have survived Taraw.
Telesfora arranged our tour for us. What’s even better was that the environmental fee payment “office” was just outside their beach front. Talk about hassle-free! The resort handed us over to Spur Travel as they didn’t have any tour that day. We spent our Tour A with 5 other local tourists (a couple, and another three ladies). The good thing about having a small group of people on a tour was that the boatment/tour guides could really take good care of us, especially us girls.
There are two popular tours among the four in El Nido – Tours A and C. Tour A consists of Small and Big Lagoons, Secret Lagoon, Simizu Island and Seven Commando Beach and costs 1200php.
Small Lagoon. We had so much fun in this place! If we were to go back, we’d still choose Tour A and really enjoy swimming around. We had to kayak our way to the small opening of the lagoon and our boatman George dropped us to get the other passengers. We were swimming around, laughing to ourselves and taking a lot of videos and photos. As first timers to use GoPro, we forgot to check on the tiny bubbles just outside the casing. So most of our photos here had that dot of water in between, sheesh. Some of the foreigners were looking at us and laughing; maybe because we look like kids splashing around with our life vests on.
Simizu Island. From Small Lagoon, we went to Simizu Island and waves started to get huge and scary. We were asked to move farther away to the driver’s seat as the water will start splashing on our faces. Simizu Island is cute, but there’s nothing much to do there. The guides told us to snorkel, but since we didn’t have snorkeling gears, we opted to just sit around and wait for lunch. And even if we had snorkeling gears, we still wouldn’t snorkel on that island. The waves are huge that we’re pretty scared to even swim around. We might find ourselves floating in the middle of the ocean.
Secret Lagoon. It’s a lagoon inside an enclosed limestone. There’s a small hole where one person can pass by. We had to wait for our turn to get in. No fishes or whatsoever. Though we took a plunge on the beach nearby.
Big Lagoon. After the secret lagoon, we went to the big lagoon – my most awaited. Too bad the tide was high that we weren’t allowed to swim around. It’s 180ft deep enclosed in a mountain of limestone with only one passageway to get in and out. From the ocean, the passageway is very shallow, but the boats can still pass through. From light-blue waters, it suddenly turned to dark green and dark blue. Amazing, right? John (our guide) told us that Miniloc Island of El Nido resorts sometimes do their events in the middle of Big Lagoon. It’s also the location of all photoshoots to promote El Nido. So that poster I saw in Mom’s office might have been taken from here.
Seven Commando Beach. We spent most of our afternoon here. It’s off the coast of Corong-Corong with powdery white sand. Whoever said Boracay is the most beautiful beach in the world clearly has not been to Seven Commando Beach. Though it was really windy, we still enjoyed basking in the sun amid all the sand flying on our faces. We felt like bread being cooked in an oven and rolled into sugar. The sand was so powdery that it was sticking everywhere.
We went home at around 4:30pm and immediately texted the tricycle driver that offered Nacpan Beach to us that morning for 800php. When we arrived at Telesfora beach front, we were greeted by the tricycle driver and we directly went to Nacpan since we had nothing to do till evening.
The ride was almost 45 minutes from the town proper. When we arrived, I was a tad bit disappointed. One of the blogs I’ve read mentioned that Nacpan was ‘waveless’ and it looked super nice on the picture. When I saw the beach, I wasn’t really amazed. But the absence of people made it like the perfect getaway to just lose yourself in books, coconut juice and sweet naps.
Waveless? More like dangerous surf current! Take a look at this warning.
We arrived at around 7:30 PM in the town proper and went to grab dinner. We were laughing at ourselves since everyone we passed by had changed to dresses and proper clothes while we were still wearing our rash guards. After dinner, we called it a night at 10:30 PM.
The next day..
We had the same boat under Spur Travel with the same people except for the three girls. The couple told us that the girls’ mother was not feeling so they had to look out for her. We were joined by a British family, gosh the accent was sexy!
Tour C consists of Helicopter Island (snorkeling), Secret Beach (swim on the hole), Hidden Beach, Talisay Beach (where we had lunch) and Maniloc Shrine and costs 1400php.
These islands are the farthest among all the islands in El Nido. We needed a bigger boat and a faster one.
Helicopter Island. We were supposed to do snorkeling here, and this time we had our gears. We didn’t know how to put on the mask properly and we had a hard time adjusting our breathing through the mouth. The waves were also big and the corals were sharped. Before we could even enjoy the view under the sea, we were told to move to Hidden Beach.
Hidden Beach. It’s a beach almost enclosed by mountains of limestone. The water’s shallow and clear but to get there the boat will have to stop at the entrance of the beach and tourists can walk or kayak their way inside. We chose kayak since the waves were big and we didn’t want to walk on stones or corals.
Talisay Beach. We had lunch at Talisay Beach just ahead Maniloc Shrine and just before the Secret Beach. Since we had to wait for lunch to be prepared, we swam around and put our snorkeling gears to good use. We saw Nemo and Marlon with their friends in an anemone. It was so fun we probably looked like kids shrieking and getting jell-o over small fishes. My only frustration was that we didn’t know how to swim without the vests. Yes, we can swim in a pool but not on an ocean with waves and a hundred feet below before stepping on the bottom. The fishes on the deeper part were amazing but we were scared.
Secret Beach. I actually thought this was the location of the 2000 film The Beach by Leonardo DiCaprio so I really had high expectations on this. We had to swim through a hole and gladly it wasn’t high tide yet so we were still allowed to see the beach. Usually when the tide’s really high, they would skip this for safety purposes. Jelly fishes swam around the boat and the entrance of Secret Beach so we were really scared to jump into the water. The boatmen told us they don’t sting but one girl from our group told us that it did so!
Matinloc Shrine. I’m still not sure why there’s a church at the middle of nowhere but according to our boatmen, it’s a place of thanksgiving to the Lord reminding everyone how God blesses El Nido so much by preserving marine sanctuaries and letting corals multiply. Matinloc Island is also a heart-shaped island and reminds us that God loves us so much. Tourists climbed up at the side of the limestone to see a great view such as below.
And we wrapped up our tours by Sunday afternoon – it took us two days to enjoy Tour A and C by the way. There are also combi tours like AB and AC. I wanted to push the Snake Island but decided maybe it’s better to see it next time and have a reason to come back.
We kayaked our way again on the shallow waters of Corong-Corong and had heart-to-heart talks. I’ve decided that I’d keep Alexa as a friend since she knows too much already so I shared to her my greatest secret. It was nice to know that there’s one more person who knows the real me and still accepts me as I am. I am so thankful how God allowed this vacation for us to bond together and just be honest with each other.
We then had dinner at Art Cafe on the beach front (town proper) to celebrate our last night in El Nido. We ordered their famous Art Cafe salad, kinilaw and paella. I wasn’t amazed by the taste, but the ambiance was really nice.
We went back to the hotel around 10:30 pm and had a few drinks before hitting the sack. This then wraps up our El Nido adventure.
We had to catch the 9AM bus the next day going back to Puerto Princesa. So sad to leave El Nido, but we just had to. I’m surely coming back.