Five hours north of Puerto Princesa is a place called El Nido, it’s a small town that thrives off fishing and tourism and is chalk full of quaint little restaurants and tour companies. We arrived at the bus terminal mid day and it was an even 30 degrees celsius, we hopped in a tricycle and made our way into town. We reached a little alleyway and the driver told us we had to walk from here. We were a little annoyed that he wouldn’t go any further but were in no mood to argue. Through the alleyway we went, bags and suitcases in tow, we walked for 30 minutes to get to our Airbnb. We learnt almost immediately that the tricycle could have taken us all the way but I guess the driver didn’t feel up to it. Our Airbnb was more like a homestay, run by an Italian/Filipino family and their three kids who ranged from 1-10. We were treated to home cooked meals that were as warm and comforting as the atmosphere they created. We feasted on homemade lasagna and fresh salad, finishing off the meal with a strong shot of espresso. We spent our days riding around on the scooter to different areas of the town seeing a multitude of beaches and lookout points. The endless amount of islands in the area required us to take a boat if we wanted to see them, we booked a tour for the next day. We snorkelled the day away with dozens of other tourists seeing reefs, fish and crystal clear water at every stop. We learnt that day that if we were going to go on another island tour than we would be sure to book a private boat. At almost no extra expense, it is totally worth it to be able to take your time, beat the rush and see what you want to see without the crowds.
Four hours by boat from El Nido brought us to the port of Coron, another small town that thrives off fishing and tourism and is only slightly larger in size than El Nido. Once again we were quick to rent a scooter and drive around the area to get our bearings and get an idea for what we would want to do in the next few days. (I think you all know by now that when we have an opportunity to rent a scooter and discover a new place on our own, we take it) We spent the first two days driving and stopping wherever seemed interesting, walking the streets, talking to locals and looking for Philippine delicacies to fill our bellies. We never had to look too far for any of these considering how small the populated area was. With such intense heat, it was so nice to order a cold beer or two just after 11am. Just a 20 minute scooter ride away was a beautiful and true to its name a ‘hot spring’. Unlike any hot springs I’ve ever been to, this one didn’t smell like sulphur, was quite clean and was super peaceful and relaxing. There are tourism offices everywhere that offer the same tour packages for the same prices to every guest that walks through the doors. We’d had enough of the “touristy” thing and decided to rent a boat (with a captain) for the entire day and go around to breathtaking islands where no other tourists would be seen until much later in the day. It was an incredible and early start to the day as we went to the market at the crack of dawn to pick up fresh chicken, rice, veggies and fruit for what would be our lunch on the boat. Shortly after that, we headed over to the docks and got onto the boat with our amazing captain, Rocky. We got to our first location around 8am, just as the sun was peaking over the island that surrounded the lagoon. No one was there and the water was completely still. Birds chirping, trees blowing in the wind and schools of fish swam alongside a massive sea turtle just below our boat. Our day continued and we went from one gorgeous secluded spot to the next, enjoying the salty water and extreme heat. The entire day we were in awe of the beauty that was in front of us, constantly reminding each other that yes, this is real, we are here, experiencing this amazing world together. We were sad to leave the islands and the beauty that comes along with it, but grateful for the time we had there. We packed up and got ready for the next stop, Cebu.
Live Life With Passion