How to Best Experience El Nido in 3 days
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise above the clouds.” – Edward Abbey
From Puerto Princesa to El Nido
Twisty, drifty, dusty, long roads and endless possibilities ahead.
I am used to keeping myself awake before my travels because the the flights, bus and train rides in between are meant for sleeping no matter the destination. It was almost lunch time when we arrived and .the heat of the sun told me we were in an island. It was not even summer yet but the scorching heat of the sun burned the skin in my legs. I almost thought it was the motorcycle’s exhaust pipe that burned my skin.
Lunch at KaLui Restaurant is reservations only. I usually avoid crowded and touristy restaurants because most of them are pricey and serves really small portion of food. We were seated at the benches in the restaurant garden while waiting for the restaurant to open. We saw staff moving around preparing food, setting tables, tending the small garden, and polishing the wooden floor.
We were required to take off our shoes. The place was really comfortable I can’t even complain. Even the rest rooms were clean. There dishes were wonderfully prepared, we stayed there for dessert and coffee while waiting for our ride.
I had very little expectation of our trip. I am not much of a beach person, I like the urban scene. Busy streets, noisy cars, huge shopping malls, train rides and all the wonderful chaotic ambiance of the city. It keeps me busy, it keeps me alive.
The other passengers arrived after over an hour. We were seating in the van waiting for them. Travel time is 5 hours from Puerto Princessa to El Nido and a couple of hours more from El Nido to our beach resort.
As you may have suspected I slept most of the time with few glimpse of the beaches around the Island. Woke up few times to adjust my seat and possibly banging mg head against the glass door. We got off the van for a stopover to stretch. The legs were numbed, momentarily paralyzed. There wasn’t enough leg room.
My friend teased me how I looked comfortable sleeping while we were running 80km/hr. I said I was aware but slept anyway. I felt the sway of the vehicle in every bend and the speed was amusing to be honest.
It was a quick stop over. When we talked to the driver how they managed to drive that fast he explained 2 things. One is to keep themselves awake all the time, it keeps them focused and two they know every curve and intersection. He explained further that accidents usually happens when drivers are slow because they tend to snooze on the road which is really scary.
When we arrived at Tapik Beach Resort tourists were having dinner. I saw tents lined up close to the shore but had no energy to appreciate the place. We ate dinner, took a show and called it a day.
It was beautiful! People around the area bragged about their sunrise encounters. Things like these were forgotten in the city. Even the smell of the leaves, the sound of the waves and the colors of day break were spectacular.
It was a good 45-minute boat ride from the resort. We had plenty of time perfecting our shots before we snorkeled. The crystal green water was so inviting the only problem was the strong waves. It was hard to keep afloat and the struggle to look down and appreciate the marine life was exhausting and frustrating. I couldn’t even get to wear my goggles back.
I think I may have heard the four of us said “wow” in unison. The island welcomed us with a monochrome of blue. We stayed there for lunch but at least 2 people camped there for 2 days when we arrived. We kayak to the other side of the island, burnt our skin trying to get a good angle, posed yoga and played around.
We snorkeled for the second time. We were docked at a calmer water behind a small island. We stayed there for an hour before we headed back to the resort.
A place like Sibaltan in El Nido is best experienced than seen in videos and pictures.
We woke up early to watch the sunrise. We joined a yoga class before we went out for Nacpan Beach. Surprisingly, Filipinos were outnumbered. Most of the tourists were Europeans. We were even asked if we were Americans because there were not a lot of Filipino tourists in that area.
Nacpan and Calitang are the famous twin beach. We walked about a kilometer from our station to climb the view point. The water in Nacpan is calmer but the beach flies were ready to bite. It was too hot but we enjoyed our stay.
We rented a van from Tapik and travelled to Nacpan for an hour. It was worth it.
I rented a motorcycle back in the resort, a skill I learned in December 2015. We rode along the shore, bruised my legs from a minor accident and made friends with two pretty Russian ladies who introduced us to the idea of Tao Expedition which made us all excited.
We had coffee after a long day, rested in the rattan hammock, joke around with the staff, drank beer with our new friends, and had candle-lit dinner prepared by the staff.
On our way to the airport we had a stop over at Roxas, another provincial island in Palawan. We said goodbye to our new friends who were headed to San Vincente in Palawan and promised to keep in touch.
Just in time for chitchat, we settled in the airport’s waiting area. It wasn’t long before our flight was announced and were back in Manila before were knew it.