El Nido, another piece of paradise

On 19 March 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

I had already spoken of Zanzibar, Tanzanian island for which I had a bit of heart. Today I’ll talk about another little piece of paradise, El Nido in northern Palawan island in the Philippines.

IMG_0371We had talked to me a long time before telling me that I could not miss if I went to the Philippines. Not so much for the town of El Nido in itself, but more for its surroundings with boat rides and more. So after my discovery dive in Malapascua, I returned to Cebu to take a plane to Puerto Princesa and a van leading me to El Nido. Once there, I searched my hotel and found a good place to stay and cheap, all facing the sea, thanks to the owner of the dive center El Dive I had heard (I will come back to that). I met Jakub quickly at the hotel and we spend the first evening together at dinner a freshly caught fish cooked on the barbecue, feet in the sand. Not bad …

IMG_0304Next morning when I woke up I discovered the beautiful view of the bay with these rocks out of the water. Then after a breakfast on the beach, I boarded one of the many boats to go around tour A, one of the most famous, who toures the lagoons and goes to a beautiful spot of snorkelling. I’m with a group of Philippines and a Canadian / Filipino couple. Everything is going well on board. I discovered the place in general which makes me think the Halong Bay with those big rocks out of the water! When we arrive at our first spot, the Small Lagoon, I discovered that the Philippines can not swim … it’s going to be fun! So they put their lifejackets and are “drawn” by the guides, I am a photographer with their waterproof camera! The location is superb, clear water, calm (despite the tourists), a small hidden cave. And hundreds of fish under our feet!
IMG_0324Then we go to Secret Lagoon, the most beautiful spot of the day for me. We land on a beach and then we move on foot to reach a hole in the rock that you discover across this hidden lagoon.
Then we wait on the beach or swim, as long as the staff on the boat preparing lunch. And what a lunch! Grilled fish (BBQ on the boat), grilled squid, chicken and pork, rice, vegetables, vegetables, fruits … there is enough for 30 people I think! Impossible to finish everything …
Once the belly is full, we leave and go to the dive spot. Others do not want to go into the water for fear of some waves that were there, on my side I do not want to miss. And the place is amazing! Thousands of fish each more beautiful than the other, an ultra clear water, it’s magic! Finally two girls come to see! Then we leave after 20min and discover the Big Lagoon, very large and very impressive, but in which we are only passing through.
The last spot of the day will be in the 7 commando beach, very nice, great view, water with blue gradient. Only downside too touristy with bar awaits you just landed the boat and 30min lap top on the island, not more. But it helps to finish the day nicely!

DCIM100MEDIAMy 2nd day is dedicated to diving. One of the divers met in Malapascua told me about an instructor, Yoshi, who had taught her how to swim 15 years ago in El Nido and apparently he is great, friendly and detects everything. He opened his dive center last December, in other words it is obvious that I headed towards him arriving! The center is called El Dive and is in the middle of the street from the beach, which is very convenient to find! He is a man of rare kindness, that to give you an example helped me to find my accommodation after arrival (among other things). In short, I am therefore left in the morning on the boat with Kasha, Basem and Iris for 3 dives. They already have dozens / hundreds of dives under their belt, so I warn upstream I do not surely will keep as long underwater. The first dive is going great despite an ear balancing concern at a time, and before us, an impressive aquarium! Coral reefs packed with amazing things, a giant turtle sleeping, rays and so on … After 45min, I’m low on air and therefore rises a little before the others.
2nd dive shortly after in a 2nd spot, yet beautiful fish to watch. When back, the couple who had not dived this time told me that I remained long under water … actually, 58min with about 20m average depth is great! Especially after only 7 dives. After lunch on a deserted beach, we leave for the third and final dive of the day. Again 59min underwater but now I feel the tiredness coming. Of late, I really benefits seabed as before, my body pulls me, I feel that it is a lot in a very happy day but I did that! Super group in addition to diving, super nice and a really nice dive master! The day boat ends with a big dip in the big lagoon (empty) and the day will end at the Mexican restaurant with the dive group before joining Jakub, Taron, Ellie and Andre GH which begins a game of cards!

IMG_5099Last day in El Nido, after a very good breakfast at Salagane, I decided to rent a scooter and go find the beaches and wander around with freedom. I was announced about 45 minutes drive to reach the Nacpan beach, known as one of the prettiest. Well, after more than 1 hour drive, I understand that I got lost on these “roads” pebbles. I finally arrived at the beach to the north, Dolu beach (I think) which is huge and completely empty … I’ve never seen it … Except that one time a Filipino arrived and began talking to me, telling me he wanted a wife blablabla so I cut short stay on the deserted beach and I joined the Nacpan beach, known and therefore less likely to be bothered. The beach is beautiful, almost nobody on the horizon (it should be fifteen to share km beach!). Only concern: sand fleas in ultra abundance! I found myself with a hundred buttons on the body … biatch!
After lunch, I found by chance Jakub on the beach and so we spent the rest of the afternoon together before returning to GH with our loyal scooters! One last good local dinner and we will see the election of Miss El Nido with talent competition (obstruct your ears and close your eyes, they dance and sing bad overall but on the other hand, the show is worth shot just for the atmosphere!).

IMG_5055So I close this unexpected interlude in the Philippines with beautiful memories for life! The place is quite magical, full of clear and warm water full of fishes, life is calm and pleasant! In short, a little paradise impossible to forget, perfect to complete this trip in these islands before heading to Bali …

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