El Nido, Palawan

how we got there. boats make the journey to el nido from coron twice a week (wednesday and saturdays, but this can change, so ask!). Boats leave from Seadive resort and you have to get registered there at least the day before. it’s a 7-8 hour ride away, so bring food with you. prepare to get wet and maybe seasick. and even if the boat gets there the night before, don’t expect them to leave on time. our boat even had to make the run back into town because it wouldn’t start and had to get a new battery!

El Nido bayan (town). as we approached the island, i was in awe of how blue the water is and found the cliffs jutting straight out of the water quite beautiful. al was asking what the fuss was about el nido. electricity is available from 3pm to 3am. stray dogs in the streets. it is a tourist town. and almost every shop is catered for them. so don’t expect cheap stuff here. find contact details on accomodations in wow philippines website. if you’re not coming in the peak season, you can walk along Hama street and take your pick of where to stay. all contact numbers are mobile phones. chances are, they have changed numbers without updating the website or their phones are off or out of coverage. Beach fronting the town is not that nice though you can swim and sunbathe here. this is where boats dock and you have to watch out for anchors and ropes that can trip you when walking at night. But remember, El Nido town is not all there is to see in El Nido. You will leave disappointed if you stay here and only had a day or two to explore. hire a boat and see the Bacuit archipelago, go kayaking, go diving.

Tandikan cottages. P750/night. we had a hut fronting the beach. but it was very basic inside. you have a porch, and the room was just enough to fit the bed with mosquito netting. there was a ceiling fan, a mirror and a table. you have a toilet bowl (no seats or flush). no shower or hot water, just a faucet and a pail. see-through curtains and floorings (bamboo slats). ants on the walls. we were quite miserable for a few days here. but soon grew to like it. it was somewhere to go home to at night and if you go to el nido during holy week, you’re lucky to have a place to stay. besides, i heard this is not the worst accomodations in town and it is almost the same anywhere else within the town. laundry is P70/kilo (it costs the same price for 3 kilos in manila).

Taiyo. P1200/night. roomy cottage. porch, table, 2 beds, kitchen area, toilet and shower. still no hot water though. i would really love to recommend this place if only because of the really friendly owners (a japanese and an american). they would never fail to make you feel welcome. But their cottage is located along ca-alan beach, 1 km walk from the edge of town (yes, there is no choice but to walk). they can pick you up to take your luggage anyway, so that isn’t a problem. but you will feel quite isolated here. and the beach isn’t nice. though it is a great place to view the sunset. with prior notice, they can arrange meals for you. but the food isn’t great. and we had ants beating us to our food. internet available (electricity and smart lines permitting). floors were quite dusty, and there was an open packet of nuts on the table when we got in. found a cockroach in the toilet.

El Nido Boutique and art shop. a favourite hangout in the area. good food. seaair office is also located here. rent kayaks and snorkelling gear. buy souvenirs.

Balay Tubay Bistro. in front of ITI. i think this is quite a new restaurant. i have no doubt atmosphere here would be great, if only there were more people. good food.

Kapihan sa El Nido. Rizal St. trying to be like starbucks, priced like starbucks, but coffee is no good at all.

Sea Slugs Beach Bar and restaurant. right by the beach. there’s a couple of restaurants there. sit at the tables in the sands at night and stargaze. i saw a falling star that night. and al saw 2! you would learn to ignore that food is not that great with an atmosphere like this.

Squidos. good food. but sit by the door, it can get quite warm inside with no electricity.

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