BATANES DAY 1: Cute Basco Airport, Marfel Lodge, and North Batan Tour

IMG_6398

Airports will always be a place of comfort for me. I know, I know… Our airport here in Manila is not the one you’ll exactly call comfortable – but the impending sense of going away is always a welcome feeling, and I can disregard all others. Especially, after I get through the boarding gate.
IMG_6399IMG_6400IMG_6403IMG_6404IMG_6407

A year ago I bought not necessarily the cheapest flight, but relatively affordable ticket to Batanes – the northernmost island in the Philippines. I had to wait for a year before I can go… and I chose to go on my birthday week. It was the first time I am not spending my birthday with family and friends, not to mention alone, and I am kind of excited. I was breaking the quarter age, and I was getting a bit emotional when the trip was upcoming.IMG_6408

Just look at this amazing sea of cloudsIMG_6411IMG_6412

They say, the northernmost islands are only two hours away from Taiwan. But why isn’t there a flight from Batanes to Taiwan… Hmmmmm. I wonder. Batanes is where the Pacific meets the West Philippine Sea, and is also where most typhoons from the northeast come first. It is known to be beautiful and picturesque – and I was about to find if her secrets are true. IMG_6413IMG_6416

It was a nice plane ride from Manila. It was drizzling when the plane took off, myself a bit afraid that a typhoon might come. True enough on our third day, there was light rain – a typhoon passed by real quick. The place I was gonna stay at is just five minutes away from the airport. Marfel’s Lodge, one of the well-known homestays owned by a sweet lady affectionately called Ate Fe by locals, was my home for almost a week in this island. The place is simple, but it is enough. IMG_6418IMG_6420IMG_6423IMG_6424

The vernacular for thank you – Dios Mamajes always greets you when you go out of the house.IMG_6425IMG_6426

Tukon Stone Church (Mt. Carmel)IMG_6427

The nice guys at Marfel also assisted me to book a tour. I preferred to do the tour even though I just came from work. We went to the north of the island, aptly called North Batan, to sample ourselves with the wonders of both god- and man-made sights on the islands. At Day 1 we were spoiled by rolling hills, stone churches, and endless horizons. What an appropriate way to start a vacation!IMG_6429IMG_6430IMG_6432IMG_6434IMG_6435

PAG-ASA Weather Station – One of the places that I was particularly interested at (read: geeking at) was the weather station. There was a mainframe in their satellite office, and we can see that burgeoning typhoon from the northeast. Happy to know that PAG-ASA is not just guessing weather forecasts. IMG_6436
IMG_6439IMG_6440

Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel – They said that the Japanese used these tunnels as their base back in World War 2, but the people (rather, men) of Batanes made it. The place was very very very very creepy.  IMG_6441IMG_6446IMG_6448IMG_6449

Valugan Beach – thousands and thousands and maybe even millions of boulders that are spat from the nearby volcano Mt. Iraya thousands of years ago can be found here. You can’t swim here, oh no you can’t. Unless you brought a suicide note and wanted your own concussion. But the view, ah let me tell you about what I saw. The weathered rocks on the beach was peaceful to look at. I could stay here for a day with a book or a drink and just watch the sun rise and set. This also happens to be one of my favorite places in Batanes. IMG_6454IMG_6457IMG_6461

Vayang Rolling Hills – the island is never lacking of spreads of greenery and grazing cattle. Your view is almost always assaulted by rolling hills, in tandem with the sea of salt and sea of clouds. This particular bit in North Batan is overlooking to the entropy of the West Philippine Sea and the Pacific. Yet again, peace is also not lacking in this part of the country. I could stay here for a month, I thought.
IMG_6469

Basco LighthouseIMG_6470IMG_6471

Old American base (WW2)IMG_6472

Basco Cathedral, Town proper
IMG_6475IMG_6476IMG_6478

It was indeed a tiring day. By sun down, we decided to cool down on the nearby beach and try to take in all what we’ve seen today. God, the Philippines is beautiful. Or can be beautiful. After dinner, I couldn’t possibly have wanted a bed to lie down ever before but I wanted to dream about the sights I’ve seen and the air that breezed through me. There is no greater feeling than this, I told myself.

Then I realized, I have five more days in the island. Hmmmm what to do? IMG_6482

A little project with friends x impromptu drive to Intramuros x Muni Market Day on March 28!

A few weeks ago, I tagged along a couple of friends from Team Muni for a mini-project. Still getting permission if I can post the video here but It’s a short film to describe Manila as a creative hub. Between drinking coffee and taking safety shots, I also caught up with them and learned about their plans as well about Muni Market Day (after the jump!) Then a long-ish drive to Intramuros ensued. It’s been a while since I’ve been to this part of Manila. I actually forgot how to go to the walled city – though back in college I was always in this part of the capital *don’t ask hihi*. We also dropped by Manila Collectible – an all Filipino products curator in the corner of Cabildo and Beaterio streets, where we saw a both familiar and new local brands. #BuyLocal you guys 🙂

Gotta love spontaneous weekends!

Muni Creative Mornings 1 at Local EditionMuni Creative Mornings 2 at Local EditionMuni Creative Mornings 3 at Local EditionMuni Creative Mornings 4Muni Creative Mornings 5Muni Creative Mornings 6 at  IntramurosMuni Creative Mornings 7 at  Intramuros

 

Read more

Horizons and Perspectives

Going back home to Manila is a bit of a difficult thing to do when I’ve just spent the last six days with these horizons and perspectives in Batanes. But life awaits in the city and I can only dreamy of another vacation to the enchanting islands of Batanes.

I heard the fiesta is on June… Hmmm I hope I can find another cheap ticket back to Basco!

Stop. And just stop. 

March 15, 2015 12:30PM

BATANES, PHILIPPINES — I’m now here at Phil’s Brew, Batanes’ first neighborhood cafe, and I’m finding it hard to finish any writing.

The birds are chirping, kids frolicking, the smell of home-brewed coffee, Ang Bandang Shirley appending the serenity; all beautifully distracting me from everything I’ve set myself to do today.

I came here to decompress anyway. The past few days in this island, albeit still not unplugged, has been nothing short of amazing. Even after seeing everything that has to be seen, this island — this little speck of land on the northernmost border of the Philippines still hasn’t ceased to astound every inch of my being.

Today, I tell myself, I am lucky to be here.

Being utterly present in the moment is something hard for me to do, but today, it seems that my hands are not willing to do anything. I am forced to bask in the quietness of my tiny space, this corner I holed up, along with the cacophony of the buzzing community on Sunday’s best. The wind is in my face, a typhoon is coming, and I’m halfway my cuppa. I could use this kind of peace in the city.

It’s more than the gifts of nature, or the cool breeze, or the honesty culture the island is known for. The invading peace that slowly creeps up to your system, forcing me to halt, that’s what is. Ah, when was the last time I stopped? To stay still, to appreciate, to feel the energy flow… and just flow in and out of my body like a steady stream of spring water. I in the middle of it all, just in a complete stop.

This place made me stop. Not to think, not to ruminate, not to analyze, but only to stop. I thought I came here to escape; I thought that’s what I need. But all I have done so far is to stop.

And it feels good.

My cup of exquisitely prepared local brew has just reached it’s bottom and I think a refill is in order. I’m gonna stay here for a while.

El Nido Diaries: Day 4; Heading back to Puerto Princesa and more misadventures

The Misadventure Log

Inasmuch as I wanted to spend the last day in El Nido town proper, the six-hour travel back to Puerto Princesa for my flight back to Manila was a big, big, big deal breaker. This wasn’t in my plans, actually. But I tried to be smart and before the weather got any worse, I hopped on a van back to the city. A bumpy, cramped, and sleepless van ride ensued. I was starting to feel the fatigue as well (and boredom because the only entertainment that I brought with me was busted.)

Then we arrived in Puerto at around midnight. I cannot think of any other adjective but cramped and sleepless again, I hopped on a tricycle and asked him to lead me to the cheapest pension house, which are all booked btw. So I settled for a slightly pricier one (considering that I have a lot of things to get repaired. Ugh.)

The next day, I ran out of smokes and it took me an hour to find one. And Mcdo ran out of coffee. Took me another hour to find decent coffee. And I guess I was really having a really bad case of a bad day. On my last day in Palawan.

Told ya misadventures all throughout the trip.

But I did leave happy :3

So I guess before I ruin my mood for El Nido and Palawan in its entirety (hahaha) Here’s a few photos that I still have left unposted on my blog:

DSC_0072

DSC_0074

DSC_0075Hmmmmm when to be back?

More El Nido? Here are Days 1, 2, and 3!

El Nido Diaries: Day 3; Roaming Around Town

DSC_0069

I have less than a day to stay in El Nido so I wanted to make the most out of my stay. It was still rainy (not seen in pictures because, if you can remember, I broke my camera and phone on Day 1) but still what I can say about the rain in El Nido — it does not lessen the beauty the little town has. People are still out and about. I’m even surprised Art Cafe was almost full!

DSC_0070

Yes, without the island hopping and other fun activities you can do in the islands, El Nido is pretty much boring. B U U U U U U T , I’ve come to appreciate the quiet in the town. In the mornings you can just walk along the beach, grab breakfast, stare at the beautiful, beautiful limestone cliffs. If you have a book, you may just sit anywhere and read. This dog (below) accompanied me while I ate breakfast at a nearby beachfront resort which I heard is a good choice to stay at, too. The day passed by really really slow and I really appreciated the town even more.

DSC_0065

If maybe I stayed a bit longer in the town, I would’ve hanged out more in Spider, where I stayed at there. The people managing the place were nice, and I’ve really had good conversations with them. I’m known to be really picky with my coffee but instant coffee can’t do this town any bad. It makes everything right, even.

DSC_0067

Or yes maybe, get my second tattoo. I still haven’t decided yet what to get. One day… and I hope it’ll be while facing the majestic limestones of El Nido.

DSC_0071

It’s such a shame, that I only got to spend only a short amount of time (with little amount of photos, too!) I wish I’ll be back soon. Maybe alone again, even for the second time around. I’d really like to meet more people, and get to know more locals – and yes hang out with myself some more. After this, I haven’t been more comfortable being left alone with myself than I used to.

DSC_0073

If there’s something the cliffs, the clear waters, and the misadventures taught me – it’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I am thrilled to go on a trip alone, but I never thought I don’t necessarily need to be lonely.

***

The Stranger Log:

  1. As I said, the weather wasn’t any better. Luckily, I brought with me an umbrella to at least walk to Art Cafe – a massive institution in El Nido. They really had nice breakfast sets, and I also learned that they grow their own crops. How cool is that? They also sell postcards, so it was kind of a one-stop shop for me. After my quick postcard-shopping, I sat down and smoked when this equally bored Dutch woman named Milou and I started having a conversation. I think it started with – how I really looked like her Indonesian father when he was young. This isn’t the first time I was mistaken for an Indonesian and wow even in my own country, eh? Then, I think a couple of hours later we were talking about her hometown, her friends back there, and a lot of things, really. I didn’t even thought I’d still meet anyone here anymore. 
  2. I did quite a hike after mailing the postcards in the Post Office. I reached a place called Hilltop and it was literally a restaurant on top of a hill! Since it was raining though, there weren’t much people. Luckily, Laurice and Leobi was this couple who were on a pitstop before they head to the falls in the town’s outskirts. Leobi lives in Paris (!!!!!!!) and was on her yearly vacation here in the Philippines. Laurice on the other hand is this girl who hails from Batanes (another !!!!!!!!!). I really had fun listening to their stories!

***

God, why do I even need to leave this wonderful place...

More El Nido: Day 1, Day 2

Beach weekend!

IMG_5307.JPG

Had finally hit the beach! I mean, I know that it was raining (yet again!) the last weekend but I actually kebs everything and just went. What’s the worst that can happen, get stuck in the middle of the ocean? Haha been there, done that.

IMG_5300.JPG

IMG_5302.JPG

So off I went to a roadtrip with friends and also to go to Amped Up in Crystal Beach Resort! A couple of my friends will play there at night and we have surfing lessons and oh god we’re gonna sleep on tents! Y A A A A A A Y ! And there are US marines in the resort (I do not really know why but there they are.) I am so ready for afam!!!

IMG_5301.JPGReading the Eheads feature on Esquire! Damn so good!

IMG_5304.JPGS U R F B OR D T – A

IMG_5305.JPG

IMG_5306.JPG

So basically, I have no photos of what went down there. I ended up wasted and gad the sea was so relaxing so I just had to lounge and watch the beach and listen to the waves with a beer and cig in my hand. But there are pictures from the good guys at Bchbrk Productions c/o Chuckie, my new friend!

AMPED UP ZAMBALES AMPED UP ZAMBALES1 AMPED UP ZAMBALES2 AMPED UP ZAMBALES3 AMPED UP ZAMBALES4 AMPED UP ZAMBALES5 AMPED UP ZAMBALES6 AMPED UP ZAMBALES7

And yes I skipped on surfing because we had to walk kilometers (I really don’t know but I am tamad haha) Oh hey, more photos too here.

IMG_5317.JPG

IMG_5318.JPG

IMG_5320.JPG

IMG_5322.JPG

IMG_5313.JPGYes, last weekend was just all about love <3

IMG_5323.JPG

IMG_5327.JPG

I was not ready to give up my weekend so off I went to Teacher’s Village to see my friend Pat! Long overdue, this drinking date was… and it was my first time in like half a year to be back in the area since I moved out of QC. So much has changed, including this new Tomato Kick location at Malingap street.

IMG_5328.JPG

IMG_5326.JPGBut I don’t approve of this falafel sandwich. No, TK. No 🙁

IMG_5331.JPG

IMG_5332.JPG

LIFE UPDATE: I’d like y’all to meet my new roomie! I moved places again, and now I’ll be living with Nica. So excited for more roomie things, okay?

IMG_5333.JPGI just love this. From Wrong Ramen. 

IMG_5324.JPGAlso this, from Twitter.

IMG_5336.JPGGone all grunge barbie. In the office. And yes I still take elevator selfies even if there are other people.

MyDrunkKitchenxJonverWearing a bull cap a la My Harto 😛

And in line with this moving things, I got myself a copy of My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart! I’m looking forward to reviewing this… and trying out Hannah’s crazy recipes… with wine, or beer, or anything that could buzz me up. Also, Youtuber love!!!

Live for the weekend, y’all!
Jonver

 

El Nido Diaries: Day 2

DSC_0066

My solo adventure continues after a day of fun and misadventures in the little town of El Nido, Palawan.

DSC_0064

The good weather the day before was nowhere in sight. Instead, I was woken up by a storm-ish wind and rain combo that literally drew all the waves (and everything with it) to the shore. I was convinced that my plans for the day will be canned so I just took it easy and drank my coffee. I brought out my reads because the rain was stopping to bother me and decided that it is indeed a day to chill when the tour guide went up my hostel and asked me if I’m joining the tour group.

DSC_0068

Of course, my first question was if it was safe. I mean, by golly, the weather is just starting to be fine and we always never know with our weather here in the country. The tour guy told me that yes it was safe, and they’re very capable of protecting us (WOW MAN VS. NATURE EP IF EVER). After 30 seconds (I really didn’t have that much time to think), I lowered my guards and YOLO-ed this thing. I mean, what will be the worst thing I can experience here, like being stuck in the middle of the ocean, pheeeeesh. HAHAHA. (You can read straight below if you really wanna know what happened :P)

DSC_0076DSC_0077

So the agenda for the day was to see the beautiful lagoons aka Tour A:

  • Small Lagoon
  • Big Lagoon
  • Secret Lagoon
  • Simizu Island
  • Entalula Island
  • 7 Commando

The highlight of any El Nido trip I think will be the lagoons. Beautiful natural waterworks enclosed in limestone cliffs in an ecology weathered by time and tempest. But I am deeply sorry as I have no photos to show you as my misadventure the day before rendered me camera-less for the days to come.

Nevertheless, I’ll try to describe them in the best I can. The real highlight was the lagoons – both small and big. Though a word of caution — the depths in the small lagoon are treacherous. I know how to swim but I was really surprised when it was all of a sudden deep, I almost drowned 🙁 But the sights were endlessly romantic. The small lagoon looked like a secret cove for lovers – you have to swim through a hole, formed between converging limestone formations. As always, the view is stunning and it sticks to your head. When I close my eyes I can still see those beauties. The big lagoon is a massive waterway with a funnel in the middle, which I heard is a habitat for vegetarian sharks (interesting!) but I didn’t bother to swim through. Scaaaaared!

We didn’t go through Secret Lagoon though, which is very sad since we didn’t do Secret Beach the day before (awwww no secrets at all for this trip!) as the weather was pretty not in our favor. But the beach in 7 Commando Beach was a perfect ending as we just rode waves as it tossed us back to the shore. Imho, those are one of the biggest waves I’ve seen (Don’t judge, I really haven’t surfed or met any big waves in my life hahaha.)

IMG_5082

The Misadventure Log:

The misadventures didn’t really stop on Day 1, so here’s a log of my happy (though I can do away with, really) misadventures. I tell you, they were YOLO material. 

  1. So the day really started with a really, really bad weather and I wasn’t expecting to tour. But my YOLO self just wanted to make the most out of my time even though it just literally stormed. My logic was down and I joined the tour group even though it seems a bad plan. We were in the small lagoon when it started getting REALLY gloomy. Like it looked (and sounded) like the heavens were angry for anyone pushing through the tour. Midway swimming back to the boat it was zero visibility. In the middle of the ocean.
  2. I was really like, “Aww, the weather’s gonna get better,” but that was me trying to console myself for my bad decision. We stayed for a while when the winds had gotten stronger and rain even blocking our views. The limestone mountains could no longer be seen and we were literally stuck in the ocean’s belly.
  3. We can’t be stuck anywhere, since to begin with we were on a tour. It was so cold and I was actually scared of dying. I needed to calm down so it was a grateful moment when I smelled cigarette smoke and somebody brought pack loads of ’em. Don’t worry as we disposed of the butts really carefully 😛
  4. All the time we were in the boat it was really cold, and I have my towel only with me. There came a point that I want to regret everything but hey, those views really saved me the whole trip. There is a reason why I am in El Nido and YOLO-ing. 

DSC_0063

The Stranger Log:

  1. I met three girls who work at the same area in Manila that I do — Anjo, Roma, and Heidi — and like the day before they agreed on having dinner together! It was nice that I met and hanged out with some Filipinos as well (though I really didn’t expect anybody from my home country to be just spontaneous like that.) They even invited me over the place they’re renting… such nice people!
  2. Some of the people in the tour group the day before were still in this group… I just didn’t get to hang with them a lot, since y’know we’re really busy keeping warm.

El Nido Diaries: Day 1

When I arrived at El Nido, it was already dark. I just came from a six-hour bumpy road trip and I was damn tired. So I just kind of surveyed the area, had a couple of beers and went to sleep. I needed to wake up early anyway for the tour tomorrow.

IMG_5063

And this view woke me up! It was intensely calming and exciting to see in the morning. The sound of the waves with the limestone cliffs and the happy clouds as its backdrop. Everything was perfect. Even if there’s no electricity in the town, everything just seemed to be running so slow, unlike in the fast, racy city that I am so used to.

IMG_5065

IMG_5066

So I walked around again to find where I can eat breakfast. I also told the people in my hostel that I’ll be back quickly for the tour. People are nice everywhere here (at least that’s what I observed.) They even offered to text me when the boat’s near already. I was having a very slow and calm yet energizing morning.

IMG_5067This dog kept me company while I eat.

IMG_5068Spider Hostel is also a bar at night and a tattoo parlour. This is where I stayed mostly.

IMG_5069

Around 9am, Ate Daday (the motherly tour operator) called me out because the boat was about to leave. She gave me my waterproof bag and snorkel set, and we’re off to see the islands and beaches. That day, we were about to take Tour C.

IMG_5070This is called Helicopter Island. Notice the shape?

IMG_5071Everywhere we go, the water was just so clear and pristine.

IMG_5072Plus the limestone cliffs were a tireless backdrop to the sea. They frame the islands so well!

IMG_5073I didn’t get her name, but she’s also traveling solo. And she had a bad tummy while sailing.

IMG_5074

So for Tour C, we would see the following islands/beaches:

Hidden Beach
Secret Beach*
Matinloc Island
Helicopter Island
Tapuitan Island
Cadlao Lagoon

We weren’t able to go to Secret Beach though because of the weather. It was post-Typhoon Glenda and Henry was just around so the coastal guards didn’t allow the trips. I heard though that Secret Beach really looks amazing. Well, they all look amazing!

IMG_5075

IMG_5077This looks like somewhere filmed in The Beach starring Leonardo di Caprio (dreamyyyyyy)

IMG_5078Cue: Pure Shores by  All Saints

IMG_5079

IMG_5080

We set base at Tapuitan Island to cook and eat lunch. The guys who were driving the boat cooked lunch for us — grilled meat and fish, pickled vegetables, and rice. All on a grill set in the beach. How awesome is that?

IMG_5081

The Misadventure Log:

My slew of misadventures started as early as Day 1 in the town. I swear, I wasn’t ready for any of what will follow for the next four days. I tell you: until I step out to get back to the airport something was always abound to happen. Kind of frightening, kind of bumming, but ultimately exciting! These are the stories I take with me. 

  1. So the day started really fine… no rain at all! But then a few minutes into the sea, the boat smelled of oil and to our horror the engine was ablaze in front of us. In the middle of the sea. I still haven’t worn my life vest yet. And we were in standstill in the middle of the ocean, dumbfounded… and laughing. We can’t stop laughing at everyone’s reaction — everybody’s face was white with fear and mouth agape the next split second.
  2. And we finally got to a new boat. We needed to transfer boats to continue the tour so I got my things in waterproof bag and dragged them out in the sea to the other boat. It’s such a smart idea, I tell you. My camera was busted. It was blacked out and I can see the water seeping from inside the screen. I have never had Chace the camera wet ever. JEEZ.
  3. Luckily, my phone survived the onslaught with seawater. For a few hours, that is. The power button was acting funny already, but the screen was still intact. Then it died. Just like that. It died on me. So I had no camera to take photos with, and no phone to contact family and friends if ever. 

That’s just Day 1. There are more in the coming days!

IMG_5085Having beer and dinner with tourmates! Thanks to Karina for the photo. 

The Stranger Log:

What I lack in photos to share, new friends made up for! I met a lot of people in the tour and some of them were kind enough to have dinner with me. Really really nice people, I tell you! The log continues… 

  1. Katie and Monica are American and Canadian teachers from Hong Kong who was on a holiday here in the Philippines. They have really nice stories about Hong Kong and about their jobs as teachers in the megacity.
  2. I have such a bad memory but the boat had a mix of different nationalities. I think the accident earlier the trip (boat on fire) really bonded us even for a short time. We were just always talking and joking around, telling stories about home and other stuff! I love hearing their stories.
  3. Morten (pictured above) and Karina  perhaps were the closest to me. The two Danish journalists went around Southeast Asia and were on their last leg of the trip. They’re very wide-eyed about the Filipino culture and were just so eager to learn more. After the tour, we agreed to get dinner together and we ended up hanging out for almost five hours! I learned a lot about Denmark and I hope they learned a lot about the Philippines from me. I really do hope I cross paths again with them nice people with really nice stories to tell.

See also: How to get to El Nido?

El Nido Diaries: How to get there?

IMG_5047My favorite travel companion

So I packed my bags and went on a solo trip for the first time in my own country. It wasn’t anything special but I was always scared to go out and explore the beautiful islands in the Philippines… and I guess it’s a bit awkward? I don’t know. All I know is that I needed a break so I booked a solo trip. Yay for me! I went to El Nido this time and it was one of the greatest trip I’ve ever had so far.

IMG_5048Air Asia Zest international and local flights are housed at NAIA Terminal 4

IMG_5050

So how to actually go to El Nido? There is a direct flight to this little town in Southern Palawan. The route is served by Island Transvoyager. The LIO airport is so small though and it’s a bit of expensive. I’d love to fly in directly, but I don’t have the budget to.

IMG_5051

IMG_5052

The other option is to fly to Puerto Princesa (PPS) and go on a six-hour roadtrip to El Nido. Now it isn’t the most comfortable, but it fits the bill. Last March, I booked this promo trip from Air Asia Zest and only costed me around PhP 2400 (est. US$ 55). It was for my birthday but I had lots of work to do so I booked way ahead instead.

IMG_5053

IMG_5054Hello kuya afamities!

My first time to fly with Zest Air then was a bit rough, tbh. So I wasn’t so sure how’d they fare being bought by Air Asia. I guess it did them great — I don’t know why my ears are very sensitive to pressure but this time, I could even sleep! And by far, it was the smoothest landing I’ve ever experienced as well. Brownie points for Air Asia indeed!

IMG_5055

IMG_5056

IMG_5057

IMG_5058

There a lot of options to get to El Nido from Puerto Princesa City. I was supposed to ride with Daytripper but their schedule didn’t match mine. Fortwally was kind enough to fetch me from the airport though… really appreciated it! The fare from the city to El Nido is PhP 500 (est. US$12) one way and the trip is for six hours, with two pitstops. I was lucky since there are a few people who booked the van for the day and it was kind of comfortable but going back, it was so packed I couldn’t even stretch. So I think it’s best to ask them as well how many will be in the van. They also pick up random passengers along the road since the roads are not constantly serviced by public transportation.

IMG_5059

You may also take the bus as it saves you a few hundred bucks, but you have to go to the terminal which costs you PhP 150 from the airport. I think comfort-wise, I did a wise choice. What do you think?

IMG_5060We don’t have barber shops like this in Manila

IMG_5061First sunset in Palawan and many to follow <3

Here’s my itinerary with updated contact details for the hostels and van companies! I hope it helps you plot your trip if you are planning to go there! Remember that my name of the game for this trip is what the cheapest but most comfortable choice.

There are a few things to remember when in El Nido:

  1. The most important thing to remember I guess is that electricity goes off at 6am – 2pm. EVERY. DAY. So yeah, go charge those gadgets at night real good and bring powerbanks.
  2. This one’s a note to myself: leave the gadgets at the hostel and bring a waterproof camera instead. More on this in the coming posts.
  3. The least important thing to worry about is Malaria. It’s not prevalent in the area despite it being endemic in Palawan. It helps to bring a mosquito repellent though, to be safe.
  4. Most accommodations in El Nido doesn’t have a website. If it’s not peak season, it’s okay to go in blind and just find accommodation when you get there.
  5. What to do in El Nido then? The most popular thing to do is to go see the lagoons, beaches and islands! There are a lot of diving resorts as well — night diving even offered! It’s so serene there so if you’d like to bring a book to read, that’s fine as well. Roaming around town is interesting as there are good establishments around.
  6. If you have the budget, go stay in an island resort and lavish in luxury. I heard the cheapest stay in El Nido Resorts (from the Ayala group) is PhP 12,000 (est. US$275) per night. Not bad for special occasions, I guess.
  7. Spot check on cellular signal: OH YES! 3G is well and alive with Globe! I was actually worried, since the place is somewhat remote and I was very happy that the signal was good!

The Stranger Log:

I’ve decided to make this log of wonderful people I meet along the way to help me remember them, and not get stuck in my phone notes. It’s fun meeting strangers/new friends while on a trip, isn’t it?

  1. Kuya Nelson – he shared a socket that he was using in the airport and told me some things about Palawan having spent most of his childhood there. He was going to PPS to see some clients for his manufacturing business.
  2. Ate Dindy – a lady from Jolo who I sat with at the plane to PPS who had her fare share of travel in life. I loved her stories and really enjoyed talking to her while flying. She was there for a conference of some sort.

This is just first out of five posts in my El Nido series! I hope you stay tuned for more stories!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...