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Photo Essay: El Nido, Philippines

July 5, 2011
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

I can”t get enough of El Nido and it is my favourite place in the Philippines so far. Our trip was almost six months ago, but I still have fond memories of this town. Here are some of our best photos from the trip.

Way to El Nido

Despite the long six-hour van ride to El Nido from Puerto Princesa, capital of Palawan – the journey is worth it due to the lush rice fields that dominate the view.

view from afar of El Nido

The town of El Nido seen from the view point, a few kilometres from the town proper.

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

This is the view in front of our room in El Nido – this limestone cliff dominates the view of Bacuit bay.

Balut at El Nido

Enjoying balut (fertilised duck egg) for a late-night snack. Palawan, Philippines by JMParrone, on Flickr” href=””>El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Boatman in one of the islands in Bacuit Bay

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Docking in one of the islands for lunch

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Turquoise waters – we even saw a turtle

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Huge limestone cliff directly in front of us

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Final island – Seven Commandos beach

Sunset at El Nido

Sunset at El Nido

Dogs at a beach in El Nido

It”s not only us who are enjoying the beach

Road to El Nido

This is us actually on our way back from El Nido, our van broke down thrice and got stuck on the dirt road for a couple of hours


Do you have photos from El Nido, Palawan? Feel free to send them to us so we can post them here!

Active sports

Surfing in La Union

May 6, 2011
Jerick with a surfboard

For someone who panics on deep water,  going surfing is the last thing I would do. But despite my slight agoraphobia, I really wanted to do it.  The fact that you are default “cool” if you surf (at least I think), I just couldn’t pass out an opportunity of increasing my cool points.

So, I and my friends went to the surfing town of San Juan, La Union – a six-hour bus ride from Manila.

San Juan’s part of the major surfing circuit area in the Philippines and to is next  to Siargao as a well-known surfing destination. April’s a surfing low season and the small & gentle waves were perfect for beginner surfers.  The water’s also  only six feet deep,  and that helped me eased up.

We took our lessons with Sebay Surf Central, one of the well- known surf resorts and school in San Juan.

The lessons started  on the ground with the parts of the surfboard, techniques falling properly (so the board doesn’t hit you), finding your balance and paddling out.

Surfing in La Union

But the fun starts when we went on water.  The instructor finds a good wave, shouts “READY!”, and I’m expects me to stand-up.

I remained unsuccessful on the first waves while my friends already managed to stand up.  In between my failures, my instructor would drag me back and correct my mistakes.

“You need to bend your knees”

“You need to step into the middle of the board”

“ Do not kneel  down when you stand”

“ Smile and look cool”

He said  it was all about following the right position, striking the perfect balance on the board and  knowing which wave to catch. And now, you ask, WAS I ABLE  TO STAND-UP?

I’m not the most athletic person and definitely  far from the stereotype surfer but I didn’t need any of that as by the middle of the lesson, I  STOOD UP!

And after a few more attempts, I stood-up longer!  And finally, I got to surf until the beach!

There are no words really to describe the feeling of standing up and actually surfing the waves!

The unfortunate part though was there were no photos of me surfing.  No one took photos as we all went for the lessons. For now,  you just have to take my word for it.

I must say that this experience made me want to go and surf again – maybe in Siargao or even go to Bali or Hawaii. And definitely, I would recommend the Sebay instructors as they made someone as awkward as me to actually surf.

Surfing in San Juan, La Union

I was impressed with my instructor, who patiently taught and got me to surf on the better waves for a better experience.   He’s very passionate about surfing and you can never go wrong with a person who loves what he is teaching.

Surfing for beginners is not as tough as it looks. THINK that if penguins or mutant turtles can do it, then seriously what’s stopping us from doing it, right?  Okay, they ARE cartoons  but I must say that I find learning how to surf easier than I expected.

Travel Blog

El Nido: Our 48 hours in paradise

March 31, 2011
El Nido Island

I found paradise – and it is just  in my country’s backyard.

El Nido Island

El Nido, Philippines is the image that pops out from that beach postcard.

It’s a 6 hour public van ride (can be 9 hours depending on the van you take) from Puerto Princesa – so it’s a long drive along the Palawan highway & rough roads. But once you get there – you’ll be greeted by this cove!

El Nido Cove - 25 travels

I have been to many beach towns in the Philippines and this is for me is one of the finest ones.

It’s a perfect peaceful getaway to  relax and read  your book and  while drinking coconut juice by the beach. Who doesn’t want a life like that?


There are some quirks that I particularly enjoyed like having no electricity in the morning. Working always in front of my laptop, any tech gadgets is the last thing I would like to see on my holidays. So El Nido without electricity in the mornings for me suited up with this. Having breakfast in front of the beach with NO mobile phones, laptops, television screens was just perfect.

We went and stayed there for little less than 48 hours, and if you are doing that – here’s a few tips:

  • Island Hopping? Do TOUR A. This is the cheapest one (700PHP as of press time) and the most popular tour. There are 4 tours available and for many people this is the most rewarding. A visit to the small lagoon & big lagoon is not to be missed (and luckily included in this tour)
  • Look for a good tour provider – there are lots of tour providers offering the same island tour and offers the tour with the same price. What makes the difference though is the food & drinks they serve for lunch – so scout around for a better deal. We  booked the tour with our hotel, which was a mistake as the tour we got didn’t offer any drinks along (not even water).
  • Get coffee in Habibi – Probably one of the better options for coffee in Palawan, it is not to be missed.
  • Chill at the El Nido Café – after a long day of island hopping, they offer a good place to chill out and rest. They also have a small grocery & souvenir shop.
  • 48 HOURS IN EL NIDO IS NOT ENOUGH – This was our biggest mistake, after the long journey, we wished we could have stayed longer and done most of the island tours, climbed cliffs and enjoyed the peaceful ambiance. I left El Nido early – but I will definitely come back.

El Nido, despite the tourism growth, still has the small town feel – it only has 1 disco bar (not to my pleasure) and the streets are literally empty after midnight. And I want it to remain that way. It’s not as touristic than I expected. It has its crowd, but not those that sings karaoke, ride bananaboats and build huge & pretentious sand castles.

I’m actually scared for El Nido. I am afraid for it becoming the next party beach – I really hope that it won’t be but I am scared that it will someday. There are efforts from the local government to keep it as an ecotourist area – but who knows.

So visit it now before it’s too late. GO NOW!

El Nido beach - 25 travels


Have you been in El Nido? What were your experiences? What did you like or didn’t like about the place? Share your experience below!

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