We will be staying in El Nido for two days only, so we decided to do a private island tour. I met a tour operator and we both agreed with P4,500 payment for a combined tour of A and C. It sounds expensive for a single payee but my excitement and expectations weighed more than the price.
Location: El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
Where I Stayed: Coral Bay Resort, Corong Corong
The TOUR A for a joining guest costs P700 per head while the TOUR C is P900. To make the tours private and exclusive, a costumer should pay the amount equivalent to four persons. In our case, we bargained the combined tour to the lowest price.
ISLAND HOPPING. We just had finished our breakfast at 7:30am when the boatman and his assistant (tour guide as well) fetched and brought us to the boat to start the island tour. Drinking water was not included, so we bought first from the nearby store before leaving the bay.
Our first stop was the Hidden Beach. It is hidden because the boat will pass through a narrow passage in between of cliffs. Our guide, brought us to a cave in which the exit is on the other side. We took care and being careful with our feet because the rocks are pointed and sharp. I really loved the place and enjoyed its natural beauty.
We left the beach and sighted the locally known Helicopter Island but we didn’t have time to drop on it. We continued to our second destination which was the Matinloc Shrine. Our boat docked in a jetty yard of an abandoned mansion and a catholic shrine. We visited its underground museum and had glanced on the remaining old pictures of the owner and the last activities held on the island.
We climbed the cliff near the shrine and reached the wooden cross situated on the top. From there, we saw the wonderful bluish seawater and the neighboring beach, called the Star Beach. Our guide also toured us quickly inside the mansion and scared us with his horror stories encountered in this place. Why was the owner abandoned this beautiful mansion and the government never develop it? Besides, it’s part of the attractions and most requested site as part of El Nido island tours.
Our third stop was the Secret Beach. At first, we were wondering if what those boats were doing on that side of the cliff. Some tourists were bravely swimming against the strong waves. Our guide explained that there is a small cave on that cliff which serves as only way to a secret beach inside. So, we wore our life vests and swam towards the cave. Bigger camera are not advisable to bring. Our guide voluntarily carried my small camera which wrapped securely inside a plastic bag. We stayed for a few minutes in the secret beach, swimming and snorkeling.
It’s already 12nn and we’re looking for a place for lunch which usually done in Simizu Beach. But the boatman suggested to visit the Big Lagoon first while still high tide. It’s harder for a boat to reach the lagoon during low tide. So we headed to the big lagoon passing the five star Miniloc Resort. The Big Lagoon location is similar with the hidden beach for we also entered a narrow path between cliffs. The water was calm, so blue and obviously deep. During that time, only our group was in the place. Our guide noticed that we’re afraid so he jumped first in the water to prove that it was safe. My wife was so brave and followed him leaving me no reason to be afraid. We didn’t stay in the lagoon for so long. We left the place and headed to Simizu Beach for lunch.
Our boatman spotted a private beach, fronting Simizu Beach, as a perfect place for lunch. We docked and while we were enjoying the water, they were busy on grilling the pork and fish for our lunch. They set up and prepared everything. Our table situated on the beach was so romantic.The grilled pork was so delicious which tempted us to ask their secret ingredients on marinating the pork.
After our lunch, we went to the Secret Lagoon. We explored first the place before entering the lagoon. The place was one of the host island of the European TV show Survivor. Some evidences are still visible like the posted lamp they used. We headed inside the lagoon entering a small cave opening. It’s really amazing that Palawan has plenty of attractions like this. The lagoon covered by cliffs and rocky mountain.
Our next stop was the Small Lagoon. Contrary to the big lagoon, I wasn’t afraid because there were so many people. The boat can enter into the big lagoon while the boat stayed outside of the small lagoon. We managed to swim to the cave within the lagoon. I noticed that it was more tiring when swimming towards the middle. Our guide said that we were opposing the current. We can swim faster when going out. We stayed in small lagoon for half an hour and decided to leave the area for our last island tour.
The boat stopped in Seven Commandos Beach, where there’s a long beach side. The heat was extremely hot so we just take a short bath and hide among the trees. After 30 minutes, we asked out boatman to bring us back to our resort. We finished our tour ahead of the normal tour schedule for we wanted to catch the sunset in El Nido beach. That is the advantage of a private tour. We controlled our time and movements.
It was low tide when we’re heading to our hotel. So the boat stopped few meters away from the beach.
DINNER. At 5pm, we rode a tricycle going to the town of El Nido. The beach side was busy for boats, tourists, and children who were playing happily. We walked from the market up to the last building along beach side passing the advertised beachfront hotels of El Nido. At the end of the beach was found the El Nido Corner Restaurant and Bar. We’re so lucky that the place was nicely situated for sighting the sunset in Bacuit Bay.
I observed that the place was with high humidity. The wind couldn’t reach the community because of high cliffs and mountains which are surrounding and covering the area.