In Photos: El Nido, Palawan and Beyond

My seven days stay in Palawan was very short considering the vast wonders that this archipelago offers. It was the journey I had been waiting for many years.

Palawan is one of the most visited places for both Filipinos and foreign tourists alike. It is renowned for its beautiful white sand beaches, turquoise waters, secret lagoons, amazing rock formations, protected underground river, waterfalls, hot springs and the rest goes on. Adding to the beautiful island is the gastronomic “Nido (bird’s nest) soup” partnered with seafood menus freshly catch from the sea and not to forget – the local delicacies. With multiple places to go to, even a week is not enough to explore them all. Activities such as island hopping, mountain climbing to caving is a must. But as the level of popularity increases, the prices dramatically skyrocketed, but still, many affordable ways are up for grab.

And so I picked few places where I can truly have fun and bask my skin under the blazing sun.

First stop – El Nido. Nestled on the northern part of the mainland island and an over 6 hours ride from Puerto Princesa. It is composed of many islets and many of them are uninhabited – as a government drive towards conservation and preservation. Activities to do such as island hopping, diving, snorkeling, cliff jumping, to name a few.

The long strip seashore in the town proper, the docking station of many boats waiting for tourists to hop in.El nido1The Seven Commandos Beach where the seven soldiers lived, although no one knows where they are now, whether they are still alive or dead.Commando Island The breathtaking view and docking area to the Small Lagoon where we stop for lunch. The magnificent rock formation and towering cliffs make me want to live here.palawanThe grand entrance to the Big Lagoon passable by kayak, paddleboard or small boat during low tide.Bg LagoonThe Helicopter Island which looks like a helicopter from afar.  An early arrival is the best way to enjoy the beach, alone.Secret2The Star Beach is a spot for fantastic snorkeling with amazing rocks well crafted by nature at the background.secret 4

el nido6The best view of Matinloc Island from the highest point. The place where you can see the shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary and an abandoned resort turned into a tourist spot.el nido5

Second Stop – Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. Located about 80 km away from the city centre and accessible by boat, the underground river is protected and among the UNESCO World Heritage Site . The river is 5 miles long with amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations. It is also a habitat for thousands of bats and snakes (don’t worry the guide will ensure your safety).

The entrance to the underground river.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0489.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0546.A colony of bats hanging from the ceiling of the cave.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0522.Creepy formation of stalactites.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0494.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0539.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0504.

Third Stop – Estrella Falls, Narra. Ninety-five kilometers to the south from Puerto Princesa in the secluded suburb of Narra is the stunning Estrella Falls. It may be reached by public transport but better by a hired van or motorcycle if you don’t want to waste your time. The cold clear water flowing to the river is refreshing enough especially during summer. Look out for the monkeys as they will steal your food when no one is attending.

The 20-foot-high falls abundantly producing cold waters from the Victoria Peak.FallsThe river where the water flows down to the natural pools of varying depths.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0595.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0606.

Fourth Stop – Hot Springs, Quezon. One hour drives from the town of Aborlan where a man-made hot pool is located. I was expecting of a natural hot spring scenery but an entry is not permitted so we routed to a man-made hot pool (sad face).

The 50-meter hot pool connected to a long pipe which runs water from the natural hot spring.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0646.

Final Stop – Long Strip of Beaches, Aborlan. There are a long strip of white sand beaches along Aborlan seashore to explore too, few with public beach resorts but most of them are private. Ideal for morning walk as well as meditation. I am fortunate enough that my cousin own a private lot with a beach front where we stayed for the rest of our holiday. (thanks to Mr & Mrs. Tom Jones (not the singer) for the warm hospitality)

Hearing the billowing waves and whistling winds every morning is an ultimate bliss.Aborlan

I may not have covered the other beautiful places in Palawan but I made a promise to myself to come back soon, and a little longer next time.

Have you been to Palawan?  What was your adventure so far?

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