“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
I couldn’t agree more.
For years, I have been stressed out from balancing work and school together. Last March I have finally completed my bachelor’s degree and so, I promised myself that for the rest of this year, I have to fill my life with memorable travel experiences. First on my bucket list is to visit the largest province of the Philippines – Palawan.
Palawan is one of the most beautiful places in the country that one must visit in their lifetime. I must say it’s pretty hard not to fall in love with this place. You can uncover its pristine mountains, clean air, and astonishing clear blue waters with eye-catching sea life.
With no hesitations, we booked a flight and decided to have a three-day break from reality (of course, I wasn’t alone on that trip). We had a night flight going to Puerto Pricessa, Palawan which took about an hour; as we arrived, we decided to check in to an affordable hotel since we were just going to sleep for that night only.
On the next day, our shuttle van (affiliated with the tour package) picked us up. Exciting as it seems, it took us about 5-6 hours to reach El Nido (yeah, I know it’s far). That is why you have to leave from Puerto Princessa early since the travel can consume almost half of the day.
As we arrived in El Nido Town Proper, we checked in at Aqua Travel Lodge. It was so convenient that this place is surrounded with different restaurants, pubs and even a small convenience store. You would never feel restricted despite its narrow alley.
After placing our things in the rooms, we decided to explore the place. Our first stop is the Las Cabanas Beach as we were told that sunset looks awesome there. It actually was!
There are four El Nido Tours (A,B,C,and D) with various inclusions, that will definitely take you to explore the different islands surrounding Palawan. Well, you might be wondering which package to avail… Tour A and C are the most popular but Tour B and D have their share of wonders. The choice is yours!
For us, since we only have limited time, we chose Tour A. Worry less as every package includes lunch buffet, drinking water, and snorkeling gears (mask and snorkel). The tour will take you to the following lagoons and beaches:
Seven Commandos – it is named after the 7 remaining Japanese commandos who lived in the island as stranglers after World War II. The island has a long white sandy beach lined with palms trees. (I would’ve wanted to show you a video clip but it can’t be attached here.)
Shimizu Island – is an island with stunning limestone cliffs. Here the guides will prepare for you a lavish meal while you snorkel in the nearby coral reef.
Small Lagoon – you will see the tranquil turquoise-green waters, its orchid-lined limestone walls, and a showcase of a kaleidoscope of marine life.
Big Lagoon – as one approaches the lagoon, you are welcome by limestone formations with water so clear and full of marine life. It is also known as the breeding ground for fishes and crustaceans.
Secret Lagoon – why is it a “Secret” Lagoon? For you to reach this place you have to pass through a small hole which will lead you to a large caldera, which was once a cave that collapsed. There you will experience a lagoon literally surrounded by cliffs.
Our tour ended around 4 p.m. and head back straight to our hotel to rest.
El Nido, as a tourist destination, has a little bit of a downside… overpriced food (sure is!). We were all starving after that long day escapade then, we discovered some restaurants along the Bacuit Bay. They serve cheaper seafoods, grilled, and a great number of beverages.
This is just one of places we’ve visited for our dinner and if this doesn’t satisfy you, there are more restaurants to explore. El Nido has something to offer to everyone.
Your Palawan trip will never be completed if you do not visit the famous Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park or better known as the Underground River. It is located about 80 kilometers north of the center of Puerto Princessa.
The canoe tour lasts around 45 minutes and takes you to the first 15 kilometers inside the Underground River cave. You can see Stalagmites and Stalactites, which took thousands of years to form, and the bat populations that inhabit the cave. You can see a number of endemic species around this place. Truly wonderful!
As you head back to the center of Puerto Princess, you can ask the driver a stopping en route to view other natural attractions, such as Elephant Mountain; one of the locations used for the Amazing Race Asia.
Last and not the least — Baker’s Hill, a bakery-themed park in Puerto Princessa. The moment you step inside the area, it takes you to a different world. You either feel like a kid again or it makes you fall in love. (Some photos were taken from EmjaePhotos and Thepalawanexplorer)
Above are just a few pictures of the place but I guess that would be enough to let you know that it’s definitely a place to visit. Also, the best thing about Baker’s Hill is that, there’s no entrance fee. You can definitely enjoy the place and amenities without charges. We just have to be mindful of our trashes (there are many trash bins around the place so there’s no excuse not to dispose them properly) and help maintain the cleanliness of the place.
Palawan, a truly magnificent bliss.