Our first visit to Palawan was the moment I realized how truly blessed and beautiful the islands of Philippines are. The main highlight of this trip was to experience island hopping in El Nido and as a sea lover, the place instantly became my most favorite and convinced myself that I would definitely go back.
El Nido Palawan | A Place Like No Other
It was those first trips where Ryan and I were not yet into budgeted travels so I felt like Palawan was quite an expensive place to visit but I guess it was worth every penny to what beauty I have witnessed during our whole stay. The islands were filled with pristine beaches and the crystal-clear waters made me so much in awe of the offerings of the place. I was also moved by the warmth and kindness of the people we were able to meet plus the food was delectable (thinking of these makes me want to go back like right now).
The five-hour van ride from Puerto Princesa to El Nido was quite nerve-racking because of the narrow rough roads and lack of street lights (we traveled at night time) coupled with kuya driver’s swift driving. It was around 1am when we reached the hotel and I was so excited hearing the waves and I hardly got enough amount of sleep. I remember waking up at 5am and the sun wasn’t out yet so I just went for a walk on the shore and it was the most relaxing walk I have ever had for years. When I finally came to see the morning view, I swear, the sleepless night was worth it.
I always thought that people living in a beachfront house are the luckiest and I was beyond thankful for those two mornings we were able to have our breakfast with a very much impressive view. Aah, #takemeback.
Island hopping, yay! According to the resort staff, the best tours offered are A & C so we availed both for two days but the next time I visit, I’ll make sure to go with all four and I would stay for a whole week, para sulit (and that is if I have enough money).
I never have much love for long hours of boat sailing until this point of time in my life because of the magnificent view all around. All the islets have different beauty and I came to know the reason why everyone regards Palawan as a paradise for the living. I know the photographs I have do not represent the picturesque view I am talking about but believe me when I say it is breathtaking.
What’s more lovely with the island hopping tours was that they serve buffet lunch. The guides would grill while sailing and during lunch time, they would serve us a delightful meal with wide selections of yummy-grilled seafood and barbecue to fresh vegetables and healthy fruits. I know, what a life, right?
One of my favorites was this view on top of a hill in Matinloc Shrine, it gives a panoramic view of crystal clear blue waters. The stairway was somewhat rocky though and has lots of mosquitoes but I couldn’t care less because I was stunned and excited the whole time. I also loved the beach at Seven Commandos, the fine white sand and the clear waters made the place a haven of peace and the several snack shops offering fresh buko shakes are the best. I was skin burnt the whole time as I had way too much time enjoying the sea that I kept forgetting to smear sunscreen.
I also loved how in the afternoon we would chill by a beachfront restaurant nearby enjoying the seafood paluto while sipping cocktails.
Our 2-day stay at El Nido, Palawan was one of the happiest moment of my life and I wish to be back real soon.
Since our flight back to Manila was scheduled in the afternoon, we opted to do the city tour in the morning. There’s plenty of places to see but due to limited time, we shortened down the list to Baker’s Hill, Crocodile Farm, Plaza Cuartel, bay walk and we also had some time to try out chaolong at the famous restaurant Bona’s.
Baker’s Hill was a small village located on top of a hill and the place was surprisingly good. Aside from their wide variety of yummy pastries (I love their hopias and chocolate crinkles), I like how they converted this shop into a mini-park where family and barkadas could bond.
My favorite spot in the park was where this two kids playing sungka, it gave nostalgia to my childhood days where we would enjoy this game. Look at those precious smiles, I still prefer these traditional games over the latest technologies because they bring simple joys and not to mention I love simpler life. Given much more time, I would have loved joining them for one round, of course, I still remember how the game goes.
I was surprised how historic the province of Palawan is and I am glad that they were able to maintain some of the historical places for modern people and tourists to see.
I was quite disappointed with the bay walk because of the bad smell, I would have loved biking or walking around without it.
Top priority on my Puerto Princesa list is to enjoy a bowl of chaolong at Bona’s so I really made sure that we don’t run out of time trying this out. Best paired with banh mi, It was really good and so affordable.
I also learned that there is a small Vietnamese village in the center of Puerto Princesa which served as a home for Vietnamese refugees after a Vietnamese war. Introducing their culture including their cuisine is a simple way to show their gratitude for the hospitality of the locals.
It was one of the few trips where I nearly cried when going home so I really promised to come back to Palawan and so this year, I planned for a trip to Coron this time, hope this trip would turn out to be as memorable as our time in El Nido.
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