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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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!