"Visiting the Last Frontier - PALAWAN" Province of Palawan by backpacker24
Province of Palawan Travel Guide: 1,201 reviews and 4,127 photos
Me, Steven, and Jamie left Manila to Busuanga (via Sea Air- one of two charter planes that flies to Palawan (the other one is ITI (for P6100 one way)- Sea Air is a 16 seater charter plane- not too comfy, if I must say) at 6.15am arriving at the Busuanga Airport at 7.30.
From the Airport, we took a jeepney to the resort (P150 each). Sea Dive (Brgy. Coron, Palawan - 09209458714/09184000448 - www.seadiveresort.com) is the most popular and the nicest place to stay at as it has the best view of the scattering islands. And popular as it is, especially to divers, it was full. Kuya I-forgot-his-name, was so nice to show us an equally nice place to stay although farther from the island views. Tricycle at P6 each, took us to Darayonan. A villa that has about less than 20 rooms but the forest-like ambiance makes it more appealing. For P1500 per room (air con, private t&b, mini bar, tv, 2 queen sized beds, a patio, and free breakfast for 2), it's worth the money.
We got tickets to El Nido at the SeaAir ticketing office at the market place. And headed back for a hearty lunch (yummy). We then went back to Sea Dive for the guys first fun dive, or what they call, a warm up for their wreck diving the next day. A passenger (which was, ahem.. me) is P336 and a fun dive is P2576 (excluded of 12% VAT).
Deep waters plus unfamiliar sea creatures scare me alot. So as they were deep down there, I got myself a drink, okay, a beer, okayyy, beers. I had fun with the boat guys who were good at putting up with all my ***.
Although raining so hard (typhoon), which makes the water murky and visibility is lower, the guys had fun. Which called for celebration at the Sea Dive restaurant (food is good at a fair price).
And having their confidences up, they went wreck diving the next morning. Wreck diving costs more than fun dives, needless to say, since its farther, and includes lunch and more drinks. Diving those sunken warships 30-40 meters deep (according to Jamie, those were japanese warships sunked by the Americans) was fun for both of them, diving through the dark rooms of the ships, sea creatures, had it been sunny and warm, it would be awesome I guess. I had fun helping cook lunch too. There were 3 more guys (Swedish I think) and a Filipino on the boat who dove and snorkeled. I got pretty bored since they did 3 dives, so I went dipping, not skinny dipping, but literally dipped my feet in the waters and wade and wade haha. Too bad we didn't have pics of that dive because well, Steven thought Jamie broke his camera (as it won't start), apparently, CRS Syndrome struck Steven and forgot to put on the batteries. Good one. I also learned how to manouver the boat halfway back to the island.
It's already dark when we got back, we showered, and went back for dinner., and met the Filipino guy. We round up some beers. Jamie and I wanted to do KTV but Steven wanted the girly bar. We decided then we could do both. We hit the KTV bar first, and didn't Steven say he can't and he won't stand KTV? Then what's this I can't sing I can't dance lalala? Yeah, Steve sang his heart out to that song. And hey, did he not enjoy too much he sang it again at the girly bar? Oh and I loved it when Jamie sang Baby I Love Your Way, it's cute. The girly bar, btw, isn't at all attractive. And don't ask me what happened there. I'm pretty much sure the guys learned to listen to me more. But I love the two of them anyway.
So we pretty much got drunk that night. That was one helluva night-- but I enjoyed most part of it.
And we're rollin' to El Nido!!!
The Thursday morning flight from Coron to El Nido was the most frightening as it was raining so hard, and Sea Air's ceiling leaks and water gets inside. It felt like driving into a bumpy rocky road. I felt safer 30 minutes after. We landed at the El Nido airport, stopping at what would look like a waiting shed (which is actually where they do all the transaction: ticketing, checking in of luggages, boarding) and waiting for the plane to take off so tricycles could come and pick passengers up. El Nido tricycles are cute- big and colorful, looked like a 4 seater trike: 2 front seats and 2 back seats, so i don't understand why they only let 2 people in one car (more money?) At P150, they'll take you to the resorts. We were recommended of Rosanna's, and it took me awhile to get us all 3 rooms. It was the peak off season, but i figured why most of the resorts are full. Most resorts has less than 10 rooms. As much as we are trying to look for a cheaper place (since you wouldn't need air conditioning or even a fan because power is usually out half the day), we got one for P1100/night (2 queen sized beds, private t&b, and a patio) at the Marina Resort, pretty much expensive but oh well.. Jamie got one of the P400 wooden room: 2 small beds and a fan, which is good enough for budget travels. At least Johann and Mick, the hunky owners and Shera the caretaker were nice.
The plan was leave on Saturday and take a boat to Port Barton then off to Sabang and do the underground river and head to Puerto Princesa. We didn't realize the weather was so bad that none would take us to Port Barton, we decided to fly to Puerto Princesa but we just missed the plane and the next flight out is Tuesday, which is our flight back to Manila. So, pretty much, we're stuck in El Nido.
Which is by the way, spectacularly awesome! We have the best views of the famous limestone cliffs, the local kids, the ocean. Our favorite thing to do in El Nido is eat and kill time at Sea Slugs , there are Squidos, Marbers, Balay Tubay, Arts Cafe, but Sea Slugs is the best and the most popular (they were packed one Saturday night that we decided to try Squidos (which served tasty fried chicken and fries). We liked Sea Slugs so much that it almost seemed we're staying right there. Our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are mostly Sea Slugs' specials. Oh and of course, our San Mig lights, SMBs, rhum and cokes, and vodka cran (well, vodka, sprite, and grenadine) too. We'd just sit there- facing the beach- endless talks, WAR, solitaires, ***, a game of poker betting all the condiments (thats my most favorite), chatting with other people.. We also did KTV and danced the night away at Keystone bar. most nights, we're drunk.
We wanted to see the Secret beach but we figured it was El Nido's best kept secret as we would get no's from the boat guys. They wouldn't take us there for the same reason: bad weather. So we had our first island hopping for P350/pax (P100 rental for masks and fins) with 2 young british couple joining us. It was a bit scary as we go farther, the waves are bigger and the rain-- non stop. They took us to the small lagoon, which is pretty cool, towered by the limestone cliffs, you need to swim abit (or snorkel) from where the boat stops and through a small hole serving as the lagoon's entrance. Like I said, I get scared and I scream when I see odd looking corals, or if I step on something. So, i had to ask one of the boat guys to carry me on his back until i could no longer touch the bottom and just swim. I am personally amazed of its majestic beauty and with the rain puring down, we appreciated it and the fact that only 5 of us were there. I didn't think it would be as magically wonderful as we saw it if there were alot of people in there. After spending some time there, we went to the Big Lagoon passing by the famous Miniloc Islands (from what I've heard it's about P4000/night).
Big Lagoon is awesome too although we just stayed at the entrance (low tide that time and we can't get the boat through). We headed straight to Payong-Payong Island where we had our ham and cheese sandwiches. We went to 7 Commandos which is a long stretch of white sand beach. Nice. Very nice. Along side are nicely shaped islands and limestone. The Helicopter Island being my favorite cause it looked like Homer Simpson laying down.
The next day, we don't know what to do anymore. We try to talk to people to take us to Port Barton or to Puerto Princesa but we don't want to do a 12 hr bus ride either. So, these guys came up with the idea: drive around in motorbikes. Good idea . I sure can't keep up with these guys plus I never tried big bikes so I decided to be Steven's back ride. Bad Idea .
We tried to find the way to Makinit Hot springs, or the Falls but the locals were pointing at nowhere. We figured long after that to get to them, we have to hike like 30 minutes, and we can't just leave the rented bikes. But as persistent as I can be, we decided to try the Hot Springs as one local showed us the way. Passing through a swamp, water knee and ankle deep, we walked about 20 minutes until we came to what seemed like a stream of hot water,. but it looked nasty. We decided we're done with the springs if we're walking 10 more minutes. Obviously, me on my flip flops, getting stuck like a hundred times in a pool of mud did not enjoyed that, plus, getting dirt all over my shirt isn't my idea of fun.
So, we just drove away from the place and tried to follow the map. We wanted to see "beach". Locals pointed us somewhere beyond what my eyes can reach. We drove up to a hill only stopping because Jamie fell. I've never seen a road eroded like that, with crevices I could fit myself in. Then it's downhill. This time, Steven and I fell. OUCH. I got off the bike quickly before I burn myself. We still couldn't figure out a road to the beach. Jamie did not long after. And not long after too, did Steven and I fell for the second time. And this time it was bad. I got bruises and cuts. We hiked about 20 minutes more, through the swamps, and a stream. Finally, our feet relaxed onto the fine yellow orange sand of Calintang beach. We all agreed it was the best beach ever. Basically because it is just a beach: no resorts, no fishing boats, nothing but trees, sands, and the ocean. the beach sand is so firm we think we could ride the bikes around the beach. But realizing how difficult it is, we decided against it afterwards.
We went back and our bodies started to hurt from the bike falls, and bumpy rides. We just rode the bikes around to get back to El Nido. It was already dark when we got back. We had dinner and got drunk again, this time not to enjoy but to get numb LOL
The next day we practically did nothing but relaxed. Oh, and we finally got some sun! Woohoo! We tried to find something to do like hiking but again, they won't let us. Spent the whole time at Sea Slugs-- eating, drinking, play cards, and talk. We went to KTV and disco, and get drunk some more. That's how our El Nido Sunday went basically. And we're happy.
Finally, our last day, we figured we can finally go to the Secret beach but the boat guys said the waves are still bigger. So we figured we don't want to do another island hopping but we surely would love to spend time at the Small lagoon. And so we did. Finally, with the sun, we were more appreciative of its beauty. I also kind of got myself a little, and only a little comfortable swimming.
And of course our last El Nido dinner at Sea Slugs which we enjoyed so much sitting there with torches around and the night sky. Fantastic. And ideally romantic.
As I pack my bag, I am already planning another trip to El Nido. I hated to go. I didn't want to leave. But as II closed the door, and I looked around once more, I felt so happy, I sure am going to see those cliffs and those islands again.It had been raining alot, I'm glad and I'm blessed to have my own time boin El Nido.
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