El Nido: An Adventure to Remember
by Raisa Amores
Friday, August 12, 2016
Regarded as one of the best islands in the world, Palawan, Philippines has so much to offer.
With its breathtaking scenery, you’ll definitely come back for more. There are numerous flights going to and fro its capital, Puerto Princesa City. But if you want to save time, you can book flights direct to El Nido. We had a 1 hour flight from Manila and arrived in the Puerto Princesa Airport. Once you go outside, there would be barkers for car or van rentals around the island. We were fortunate to have someone drive us around the island for free, since my mom’s high school friend generously lent us his car and driver, Kuya Gerry. He also was our tourist guide. Our first stop was the Robinsons Mall, where we had an early dinner. Puerto Princesa City is starting to become urbanized, with the many establishments found in it. I just hope that they would be able to maintain the balance between nature and progress.
We woke up early to catch the boat which will take us island hopping for the day. When we reached the dock, we were introduced to Kuya Kevin (our guide) and Kuya Raffy (the captain). I find it funny that the boat was named Lemon Hatch while we were staying at the Orange Pearl Beach Resort. Kidding aside, we rode the boat and embarked on our adventure. Kuya Kevin briefed us of the itinerary. According to him, there would be 7-8 islands that we were going to visit. The first one was the Miniloc Island, in which we can do kayaking in the Small and Big Lagoon . In addition to that, there is also a Secret Lagoon found in it.
Since it was my first time to do kayaking, me and my dad were not able to go further but my mom and brother was able to kayak with the help of Kuya Kevin. While waiting for them, my dad swam near the boat while I contented myself looking at the clear blue waters.
There were other tourists too in the area.
There were also boatmen peddling food and drinks around.
The costs of these are higher though compared to the ones you see on land. After they were done with kayaking through the Small and Secret Lagoon, we went to the Big Lagoon. Kuya Kevin told us that this was where the last part of the movie “Bourne Legacy” was filmed; we also saw a model dressed in a gown doing a photo shoot along the rocks. We also had our ‘photo shoot’ of our own in the boat, while having the Big Lagoon as the background. There was also an eagle flying around the area.
After traversing it, we went to Shimizu Island to have our lunch prepared by Kuya Kevin and Kuya Raffy.
The food was cooked in the boat.
We swam in the waters while we waited for it to be done. It is a good thing that we were the first boats in the island, as we got to enjoy it for ourselves for a few hours. Our lunch consisted of grilled fish and grilled meat, boiled shrimps and crabs. It was delicious and filling. We commend them both for cooking the dishes. Tourists suddenly came flocking in though, midway of our lunch.
Before we left, Kuya Kevin asked us to
release a fish,
which accidentally came in the boat. They told us that we were not to take anything from the islands.
The next on the itinerary was the Snake Island. It was named as such because of its snake-like sand bar. We also had a short hike to the top of the island, where we got to see the beautiful view and also to take some photos. We were also warned of the monkeys found in the island, since they can become violent at times. After we left Snake Island, we traveled to the other side in which the Cudugnon Cave can be found. It was a struggle getting inside, since you need to enter a rocky hole. I suffered a sprain because of it. But once you get through that,
you’ll see a vast space filled with bats at the ceiling of the cave. There are also interesting rock formations inside.
It was raining when we were traveling to Pinagbuyutan Island. I find it calming especially it’s not of the stormy kind. According to Kuya Kevin, this island was the location for one of the “Survivor” reality series. We did not stay long, so we went back to the boat. En route to the Seven Commandos Beach, Kuya Kevin pointed to us Malapacao Island. We wanted to explore it, but we were told that it was a private island in which it has rates that are ridiculously expensive. Finally, we got to the Seven Commandos Beach. Our tour guides told us to meet them in an hour. They told us that they will play volleyball with the other boatmen. We enjoyed ourselves with cold drinks and swimming in the sea while waiting for them.
The beach got its name from the last seven Japanese commandos who lived after World War II.
After finishing up on our drinks, we met up with them and told us that they won against the foreigners who joined the game. Then we went back to Lemon Hatch to return to the docks.
At the end of the day
When we reached the docks, we asked for their contact numbers in case we’ll go island hopping there again. The experience is something that will truly be etched in my memory. This is the perfect way to commune with nature and be with people you enjoy with. I will definitely come back here and be at