A quaint little fishing village in the Northernmost tip of Palawan, El Nido town has catapulted to tourism royalty with its 45 islands and islets, 50 white sand beaches, postcard-perfect lagoons, and very diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystem (El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area is the Philippines’ largest marine sanctuary). Everyone who’s been to El Nido would agree with me when I say this place is a slice of heaven on earth.
We woke up early for our first morning in El Nido. I didn’t want to miss out on the day’s activities so I started right with a cup of piping hot coffee. And oh yeah, I brought my handy sachets and just asked for a cup of hot water. The staff at Makulay Lodge didn’t mind. They were very accommodating in fact. The day before, they actually placed our reservation under a different date and there were no more rooms available on the date of our arrival. Knowing that we had no time to book with another inn, they gave us a spare room (which they don’t really offer to guests) for just PhP700. I really didn’t mind the condition of the room so long as I get a good night’s sleep. And I did (out of exhaustion).
Our boatman for the day approached us and told us that the tour will still proceed as planned despite the weather. We shared the boat with a couple, Pearl and Paul, with whom we later shared FB usernames. Oooh I love making new friends during my travels!
The original plan was tour C but because of the weather, we resorted to a combined version of tours A and B. The destinations included in our itinerary were:
- Snake Island
- Cagudnon Cave
- Pinagbuyutan Island (ooops, batt got drained)
- 7-commando (skipped this because of the weather)
We had lunch at Shimezu Island courtesy of our masterchef boatmen who prepared the meal while we explored the island. Feasting over grilled jackfish, squid, a refreshing cucumber salad and a sweet yellow watermelon, we marveled at the magnificent view before us – the sea with its lovely karst hills.
Returning safely to shore by 5pm was a struggle in itself. The waves were ginormous and the rain came in heavy droplets on our already freezing bodies. Visibility was almost zero and it made me reaffirm the existence of a built-in bio-compass within our boatman’s wrist which made it possible to navigate through roaring seas beneath gloomy skies. Or maybe I could call it experience.
The boatman asked us if we still wanted to go to 7-commando which was supposedly the last stop on our island-hopping adventure. We answered with a resounding “NO” as we weren’t that sure of the sea and its might.
Back into the familiar comfort of warm sheets and fluffy pillows, we rested for a while before answering the growls of our hungry tummies. It was a long and rainy day. Tiring as it was, it sure as hell was worth it and no amount of rain or waves could mask the true beauty of El Nido’s islands.
We registered with Makulay’s tour services for the island-hopping package. The fee for the combined tour (A+B) was 900pesos inclusive of the lunch buffet. You could still sign up for the tour even if you aren’t checked-in at Makulay. Their main boat tour provider is Krezyl Jane and you could find the tours and the contact details in the photo below:
Makulay Lodge & Villas (regular rate at PhP1100/night)
Notes: beachfront cottages with the forest at the back, 100-step (or more) descent to the hillside cottage, a proper view deck (see photo below)
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