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.
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.
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.
This dog kept me company while I eat.
Spider Hostel is also a bar at night and a tattoo parlour. This is where I stayed mostly.
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.
This is called Helicopter Island. Notice the shape?
Everywhere we go, the water was just so clear and pristine.
Plus the limestone cliffs were a tireless backdrop to the sea. They frame the islands so well!
I didn’t get her name, but she’s also traveling solo. And she had a bad tummy while sailing.
So for Tour C, we would see the following islands/beaches:
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!
This looks like somewhere filmed in The Beach starring Leonardo di Caprio (dreamyyyyyy)
Cue: Pure Shores by All Saints
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?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Having 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?