Private Island Hopping in El Nido

SONY DSCWe 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.

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.

SONY DSCISLAND HOPPING. We just 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.

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Hidden beach, El Nido

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 on 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.

DSC02602.JPGWe 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 have glanced on the remaining old pictures of the owner and the last activities held in the island. We climbed the cliff near the shrine and reached the wooden cross situated on the top. From there, we saw the wonderful blue colored 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.

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Secret Beach, El Nido

Our third stop was the Secret Beach. At first, we were wondering if what are those boats are 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 beach inside. It is called the secret beach. 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.

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Big Lagoon, El Nido

It’s already 12nn and were looking for a place for lunch which mostly done in Simizu Beach. But the boatman suggested that it is better to visit the Big Lagoon first while it is still high tide. It’s hard 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 here was so blue and 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 is safe. My wife was so brave and followed him.¬† There’s no reason for me to be afraid. We didn’t stay in the water for so long. We left the place and headed to Simizu Beach for lunch.

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Exclusive place for lunch picnic

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 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.

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Small Lagoon, El Nido

Our next stop was the Small Lagoon. Contrary to the big lagoon, I’m not afraid here because there were so many people. The boat can enter the big lagoon while the boat stay outside of the small lagoon. We managed to swim to the cave within the lagoon. I noticed that it was more tiring to paddle when swimming towards the middle. Our guide said that we were opposing the water current. We can swim faster when we’re going out. We stayed in small lagoon for half an hour and decided to leave the area for our last island tour.

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Seven Commando Beach, El Nido

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.

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El Nido Proper

DINNER. At 5pm, we rode a tricycle going to El Nido town. 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 of El Nido passing all the advertised beachfront hotels. At the end of the beach is El Nido Corner Restaurant and Bar. We’re so lucky that the place was nicely situated for sighting the sunset in Bacuit Bay. One thing I noticed, the place is with high humidity. The wind couldn’t reach the community because of mountains which are surrounding and covering the area.

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Sunset in El Nido

 

Patrick on the Beach, a family beach in Siargao

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We departed Alpa City Suites in Cebu at 8am. Our flight to Siargao by Cebu Pacific Air is at 9:40am. I was very excited to see and fly in a propeller and small aircraft. Checking in for this flight was different because each passenger passed through a weighing scale. Each passenger should be weighed including the checked-in bag. I noticed that the foreigners on the flight are distributively seated on different rows, though they are in one group. I thought it was a way to balance the aircraft load.

Cebu Pacific Air is the only domestic airline flying to Siargao airport. The smallest airport I’ve been so far. Just sighed when landed seeing that small building. Anyway, I noticed a building constructed near it, maybe it will rise soon to be part of the terminal building.

At the airport, the resort’s car was waiting and brought us to Patrick on the Beach in Gen. Luna. A less than an hour travel from the airport.

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Comfortable Bed of Patrick on the Beach

Location: Siargao Island, Philippines

Where I Stayed: Patrick’s on the Beach

Buddies: Partner

Accommodation. At the beach, I saw two kids bathing and playing. I asked their names and they replied BJ while the youngest named Francis. From the distance, another boy came and called him Patrick. They were sons of the resort’s owner enjoying with us at the beach. Just visit their site, www.patrickonthebeach.com for additional information.

Patrick on the Beach is a resort owned by a German named Andreas who is married to a Filipina. It seems that his family is also living here. It’s a family resort after all. I really loved the privacy of the place. He offered to accommodate us in a tree house for its very romantic but we preferred the big beachfront house as stated in my reservation. He offered me a good package for couple for four nights worth P20,+++, with full meals, surfing lessons, trip to Cloud 9, island hopping, and unlimited use of water gadgets and water sports.

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SONY DSCDAY TWO

Island hopping to three islands; Naked, Dako, and Guyam. At 8am, we took our breakfast. The resort’s staffs prepared the boat including a small kayak. They also prepared snorkeling sets and picnic lunch. At, 9am, the activity started. Before going to the first island, I did snorkeling while my wife on kayaking. Though I’m afraid to be alone in the water, still I tried just to see the underwater creatures on this part of the island. Snorkeling in Siargao was incomparable to other snorkeling sites in the country. Less corals, less fishes but more grasses. The sea grasses colored the beach green during high tide and the locals here caught strange lobsters, (look like mixed shrimp and lobster).

SONY DSCSONY DSCWe headed to Naked Island. It was raining but it didn’t stop us to see the famous fantasy island which they said without any plant. We explored the small white island by only two of us. Nobody there, just us. There are few plants on it but for me, it still naked. We stayed there for an hour.

Dako island is the next stop. It was a big island with community on it, so many people. We stayed for just five minutes.

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SONY DSCGuyam island, the island seen from Patrick’s beach, for me is a paradise. The Siargao’s Garden of Eden. The place was amazing. There are rock formations seen during low tide (we’re lucky!). From there, we’ve seen surfers playing with big waves from the distance.

We controlled the time, so at 1pm we headed back to the resort. We couldn’t surf for it was low tide so we reserved the activity for the next day.

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DAY THREE

Surfing at Cloud 9 started at 7am on high tide. I stopped the surfing session after two hours because I was already tired and exhausted. Learning basic and standing on board for few seconds while the waves pushed the board was not easy. Paddling again, waiting for bigger waves, and standing on board repeatedly loosened energy but I really enjoyed it. We spent the entire afternoon for sleeping. We learned basic surfing but endured body pain in return.

SONY DSCFood at Patrick. Nothing to say. Everyday, we woke up and ordered delicious meals at the restaurant from selection of American, Asian, and European cuisines. Returned back to the room and waited a staff knocks on the door to tell us, “Your food is ready”.

Missed Tours. Sohoton and Yohoho tours. These trips are best in a big group.