The last time I went to El Nido was for a magazine assignment. It was in fact, the very first travel assignment I got from the publication. It was very focused on the resort and its neighbouring islands, which was a treat, but I was pretty curious about what the regular tours would be like and what they had to offer.
Three years later, I finally got the chance to experience El Nido and all its glory. Booking a late flight, we arrived in Puerto Princessa at 5pm which required us to take the night van heading to El Nido. When morning came, we were greeted with a beautiful view of the sea with boats parked by the shore. I loved being able to eat my breakfast near the ocean during our whole stay.
With 2 whole days of just touring the different islands, I was ready to take photos of the breathtaking views the place had to offer. We met couples from different parts of the US who joined our boat for the tour. I’m always interested in what they have to say about the country and its beaches (just like any other Filipino born and bred in the islands). Of course they found the place stunning! How could they not?
What I adore about this place is the clear waters and pristine sand. Boracay usually takes the cake for this description, but Palawan is the whipped cream with the cherry on top, if you know what I mean.
We went to numerous hidden and secret beaches that foreigners discovered back in the day. Those explorers were pretty intense! Finding ridiculous areas in the middle of the ocean? Really? Crazy.
Each stop gave us the chance to swim around with the fish and explore underwater. If I had to be honest, I was a little disheartened with the marine life in the areas we went to. It wasn’t the colorful, vibrant underwater experience I was looking forward to seeing. I’m guessing it’s because of the motored boats visiting the areas often. I suppose it’s the inevitable price that we have to pay for tourism.
Back to happier thoughts! I also really enjoyed the lunch spots picked by our guides. They seemed to have picked the less crowded areas, which of course we whole-heartedly appreciated. We were very impressed with the dishes they presented to us, such as fresh whole fish, crabs, lato (seaweed), accompanied by fresh fruits.
It’s actually pretty funny how we were always in awe of the islands we visited. We just could not get over the fact that Palawan could be this beautiful. And just like any islander, we got the chance to just chill, relax, and have some fun during our island tour. Literally playing on the boat, drinking beers, and enjoying the beautiful weather we didn’t expect to get.
The next day we headed back to Puerto Princessa and checked out the infamous Underground River. The last time I went there was 10 years ago, so imagine my shock when they had photo souvenirs printed out for you and even buffets ready after your tour!
It was still beautiful though, deserving to be part of the UNESCO world heritage.
I had to admit I enjoyed eating in Puerto Princessa, trying out the Tamilok (Shipworm) and even the Crocodile Adobado.
Our trip to Palawan was pretty much amazing. I’m actually looking forward to checking out the other islands and beaches they have to offer! If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines and looking to do some island adventures, take your cute little butts to Palawan, it won’t disappoint, I swear.
Most tours and packages can be found online and their accommodations are very affordable with simple clean rooms. We stayed in Garnet Pension in El Nido with tours taken care of by Hopping Buddies.
View more photos of our trip on my website!
Words and Photos by Tabitha Jamlang