What I thought I only have Lagen, Miniloc and Pangulasian as options for El Nido, I was wrong. Though I dream of staying in one of those prestigious resorts but that could wait. There’s no delaying in exploring El Nido this year! Whether you’re staying in mentioned resorts or that humble bed and breakfast in the town, it’s the same small and big lagoon, same helicopter island, same hidden beach which you will see and experience anyway.
Our day one started in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Thank you (?) to Cebu Pacific which delayed the flight of the other group by five hours. So Leo and I thought of finding a nice resort to “kill time” while we wait for the rest. It was a choice between Sheridan Beach Resort & Spa and Princesa Garden Island Resort & Spa. We had to choose the one nearest. So Princesa Garden Island Resort & Spa it was! For a fee of P499, inclusive of towels and use of shower room, we’re told that we could use the pool. The resort was still on a “soft opening” last April. You could tell by some areas where there was construction. And that also means the rooms were discounted! We were told the rooms were at 50% off. I’m not sure until when but a good offer to grab especially for those families with small children. It’s really kid-friendly. They will surely enjoy the pool!
El Nido town is a five-hour drive from Puerto Princesa. Since we’re traveling as a group, we opted to personalize our transportation and even tour. The van and the boat were dedicated to us. For the tour we chose, we could decide on how much time to spend in a particular beach or lagoon or skip an island or two.
There are four tours in El Nido named as A, B, C and D which every operator in El Nido seemed to follow. They offer the same so no need stressing on to see other tours being offered. And the rate is also almost the same depending on the number of people. For us five, the cost is P1200/head/tour. The most common tour is A & C because of the picturesque Small and Big Lagoons, the Helicopter beach, Hidden beach and Seven Commando beach. My personal favorite is Helicopter Beach, Small Lagoon and Seven Commando Beach where we spent two lovely sunsets here. Tip: this is the last stop from Tour C so it gets cramped by foreigners towards late afternoon. Try to come early or ahead of them to get a good spot. Vellago Resort sits in this island and it’s wonderfully put together especially the bar and the lounge area.
We stayed in Arkitel Bed and Breakfast where the rooms were clean and spacious. The room I stayed in was on the ground floor where the water pressure in the shower room is strong (but no hot water!) compared to the room on the second floor as my friend accounted. One advantage of staying in the town is we get to do food adventure. Luckily, our place was walking distance to traveler’s choices of places to eat.
Altrove serves Italian dishes and not exactly cheap. Travelers/tourists line up this Trattoria every night for the best pizza in town! First plan was to eat in different restaurant/cafes every dinner to sample all the much-craved places but we opted to eat again here. Really must try! Walking further down from Altrove, you will see people lining up this unassuming kiosk. This small stall serves fresh fruit shakes and crepes on the go. Sure is simple food but they are delightfully prepared and very delicious! So if you want to finish off a meal with a dessert, this is a must try. Art Café is also another traveler’s favorite. It’s jam-packed every night! Their menu has wide selection – from pizza, pasta to rice meals (Thai, Filipino, etc). We ordered pizza, carbonara, vegetable fried rice and vegetable curry and they’re all good. Don’t miss out their home made avocado ice cream. It’s ridiculously good. And this place emits good vibes — just perfect way for a night cap. Though our place offers free breakfast, we tried V and V Bagel one morning for real quality breakfast. And we’re not disappointed. Their best sellers, of course, as their name suggests are their bagels. There’s every option for everyone even for my vegetarian boyfriend. Bacon and hash browns are also available if one does not opt for a bagel. And they serve Illy coffee for coffee enthusiast who does not want instant ones. I really loved our time in El Nido — beautiful beach and delicious food every meal. Sure is nice to be back and try to stay in the renowned resorts but for now, our stay in the town as base was definitely a wonderful jump off point for our El Nido experience.