Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Day in Paradise Known as El Nido

Most of the people I traveled with were first timers in El Nido so an island-hopping tour is necessary. Our good friend who's based in the island offered the services of his cousin who runs a travel and tours business in town. We chose the most basic tour which includes a trip to the Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Simezu Island, Small Lagoon and Seven Commandos all for Php600 per person lunch included.

From 12noon to 5pm, we were transported to the most beautiful and postcard-worthy spots in El Nido.

First stop was the Big Lagoon. Known for its turquoise-colored waters, this is one of the best places I have ever been to. According to Wikipedia, scientists believe that this was once a cave millions of years ago which collapsed and the lagoon emerged from it.

We were not able to go deeper into the lagoon because it was low tide
so we turned around and proceeded to the next pit stop.

Next stop was the Secret Lagoon. See the tiny hole in between the rocks? That's the only way to go to the lagoon. By this time, we had to put our aqua shoes on to avoid being cut by the sharp corals.

The water was freezing cold! Grrrrr..

Our manong guide

We had an early lunch at Squido's and had lunch again two hours after at Simezu Island as part of the tour package. My friends and I swam and snorkeled in the pristine waters of the island while our guides were busy preparing our lunch.

We even played piko like little girls do to pass the time.

After our sumptuous lunch of grilled seafood, we took our banca a couple of meters away from the island where the fishes are!

Snorkels -- Check!
Flippers -- Check!
Bread for the fish -- Check!

Let's dive!

Some 10 minutes away from Simezu Island is the Small Lagoon. The water is too shallow but the corals are too sharp so kayak is the best way to go.

It was raining but the water was still warm.

Last stop was the Seven Commandos Island which according to our guide was derived from the story of the seven American soldiers who were left here during the World War II and were rescued when the war was over.

Coconut was being sold at Php30 each at the only store in the island

El Nido is one truly amazing place.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Seaslug's Bar and Restaurant

Torch-lit dinner by the beach. Amazing food. Soothing acoustic background music. Perfect weather in August. Great company of friends and colleagues. 

The Gang -- tired and tanned but happy!

The place was packed with tourists so the delay on the arrival of our orders was somehow understandable. Besides, we were being serenaded by the relaxing voice of the artist and some of the guests -- it was an open mic night!

On the table

Kinilaw na Tanigue

Sizzling Pusit

Garlic Tiger Prawns

Seafood Pizza

Fish Steak

Steak with Homemade Mashed Potato

The meals were a bit pricey but dining by the beach is an experience in itself. It was all worth it. Burp.


Seaslug's Bar and Restaurant
Hama St., Brgy. Masagana
El Nido, Palawan

Monday, August 22, 2011

Squido's Restaurant

The best restaurant in El Nido town proper according to everyone, which I absolutely agree.

A must-visit if you're going to El Nido

It had become our favorite restaurant in the island that we wanted to dine here every chance we get. Squido's homey interiors, value for money, wide array of Filipino and French fusion and the warmth of the people, which includes the owner who personally attends to our needs, are the things that sets it apart from other restaurants and making it a hit to foreign and local tourists. Oh! And they do have a generator here so dining in a hot humid day won't be a problem.

Some of the specialties were were able to try during our two-day El Nido trip

Mango Banana Shake had been the staple drink of the group

Inihaw na Pusit

Halabos na Hipon

Sinigang na Tanigue

Pancit Canton

Sinigang na Hipon

Adobong Pusit

Shrimps El Nido Sandwich -- The best!


Servings are good enough for two people but we always order one meal per person so we can try all their dishes. Besides, the prices are very affordable it wont leave a hole in your pocket.


Squido's Restaurant
Hama St., Brgy. Masagana
El Nido, Palawan

Sunday, August 21, 2011

El Nido Beach Hotel

Since we were on a budget and simply could not afford to book ourselves in the prestigious El Nido Resorts (I am lucky I was able to stay there back in 2008, see some of my photos here) we got the next best thing and got three rooms in El Nido Beach Hotel located in the town proper.

Stunning views from our hotel room.

Owned and operated by a Korean family (I think) El Nido Beach Hotel is one of the better accommodations this side of the island.

Since we are a group of 11, we opted to book 3 family rooms for Php5,000 each per night. The family rooms they arranged for us have 1 king size and 2 single beds. Amenities include air-conditioning, complimentary internet access, cable TV, hot and cold shower (though these are useless come 6am to 2pm since there's no electricity in the island, you're lucky if you're hotel has a 24/7 generator which we didn't have) and the views that would make you catch the sunrise at six in the morning.

One family room for the guys

Breakfast is served from 6am to 9am only. Buffet spread include breads, pancake, cereals, fried rice, vegetables, corned beef, eggs and fruits with free flowing iced tea, mango juice, coffee and tea.

My friends loved the Guyabano which according to them was very sweet.

We could have booked on a cheaper hotel but we wanted to have a worry-free and comfortable vacation so we chose the one we thought would meet these standards.

Besides, how can you say no to this?

Click here to go to El Nido Beach Hotel's website!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Enchanting El Nido

Located approximately two hours away from Manila by plane (depends really on the type of aircraft you take) is where the sea, sun, sand and marble cliffs meet to form an enchanting place most people only see in postcards.

I am so happy to be back!

As far as I know, only SEAir and Island Transvoyager Inc. (ITI) flies directly to El Nido Airport on a regular basis. Though you can also opt to fly private which normally cost an arm and a leg. So better watch out for SEAir and ITI's promo fares. Yes, even ITI offers promotional rate for as low as Php2,000 one way according to a friend who works there. Or as what most people do, fly to Puerto Princesa and take the five-hour land trip to paradise.

Welcome to El Nido Airport!

From the airport, we were picked up by the van arranged by El Nido Beach Resort and took the 10-minute ride to the town proper.

So quiet and peaceful

After checking in at the hotel, we walked around the town in search of the perfect restaurant that would satisfy our seafood cravings. Everyone we asked recommended Squido's Restaurant and they were right of course. It was the best restaurant in town! By 12noon, we were already on our way to the nearby islands arranged by our good friend who works in ITI (he's based in El Nido so he knows the good deals) which I would be sharing in the next entry.

Our last day in the island (we only had two, so insufficient time!) was reserved for buying souvenirs and massage!

The best souvenirs can be found in El Nido Boutique and Art Cafe found 5-minute trike ride away from our hotel.

Souvenir shirts cost between Php150 - Php220 depending on the color and sizes.

You can also buy diving and swimming gears, artworks and other knick-knacks here.

Flavored tobacco

A tourist testing the flute. Hope he bought it!

For your sweet cravings

Happy to serve!

So happy to shop *wink*

We also dropped by the local market to buy seafood to take home.

Fresh catch of the day

Lapu-lapu and Tanigue cost around Php100- Php150 a kilo. And I tell you, it was the best tasting fish I've ever had!
Even after two days in the freezer, it was still almost as fresh as it was from the market.

By 11am, while my friends went for a dip one last time in the clear waters of El Nido, I walked across the street and had the Shiatsu/Swedish combination massage at Lucille's Massage and Spa.

Massage rates

I fell asleep for a couple of minutes during the massage only to be awaken by the sudden whoosh of cold air in my legs. It was raining!

This is the good life!
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