Saturday, May 28, 2011

El Nido: Taking the long road to El Nido

:: 05:00 ::   
BBrriinng...BBrriinng..the phone's alarm went off and I dragged myself out of the bed having slept only for about 3 hours. I showered, dressed and took a very light breakfast and did a final check of my measly baggage and I was off  to NAIA3

::06:30 ::  
Since most of the domestic flights have early morning flights it was totally packed inside the airport. Bleary eyed passengers (in need of a shocking jolt of caffeine), whiny & irritable childrens, excited beachbums in colorful boardshorts and havaianas and Koreans in couple shirts (kelangan terno-terno talaga) lined up in the check-in counters. I quickly scanned the information board to check what counter is for Puerto Princesa,when on of the guard approached me to inform me that  if I don't have any check in baggage there is a separate counter for no check in baggage which has a shorter queue. 15 minutes later, I was clutching my boarding pass and I was on my way to get myself a proper breakfast.

:: 7:15 ::   
There are still very few people in the boarding gate as I settled into one of the chairs and started poring over the paperback that I brought. After about 30 minutes,boarding commenced but I still stayed in my seat since they are boarding those in the back rows first. I tucked the book back into my bag when the lady sitting beside me asked me if  I am going to Cebu. I said that I am not but I am going to Puerto Princesa in Palawan. We chatted for a while when she suddenly told me "Can you be my friend, I'll add you in facebook?" and she quickly gave me small notebook to write my email address. At this time the row where I will be seated is already being called for boarding, I hurriedly scrawled my email address and said a quick goodbye to a newfound FB friend (the benefits of social networking - 2 mins. into boarding and I gained 1 new FB friend)  

:: 8:10 ::  
Take off from Manila

:: 9:30 ::   
Landed safely in Puerto Princesa and met up with my friend "E" who flew via a different airline. There are already several tricycles in front of the airport's arrival area but we choose to walk further to the main road to get a tricycle because I have read that most of the tricycles inside the airport charges higher than the usual rate. We hailed one tricycle and asked to bring us to the office of Fort Wally in Rizal avenue which is quite near the airport, we paid Php 10 each for our fare. When we reached the office of Fort Wally, we settled our payments and booked for the return shuttle back to Puerto Princesa. Shuttle fare from PP-El Nido is Php 700 and for El Nido to PP is Php 600 (It is originally quoted  at Php 500 but we opted to be dropped off in the Fort Wally office again which required an additional Php 100).
Fort Wally contact details (as of May 2011): 09172762875

:: 11:30 :: 
Shuttle van left the Fort Wally office and we are now on our way to El Nido. Good thing we were given the seats at the first row of the van which is more comfortable compared to the other rows. We are about 14 people in the van (3 people per row) - several Palawenos, A filipina and a foreigner bf/husband, European couple, Two Korean ladies who knows a smattering of tagalog.
About 30 minutes into the ride, I dozed off right into dreamland

:: 14:30 :: 
Stopover at one of the Fort Wally "accredited" restaurants who sells one small plate of viand at Php 70. Since we still haven't eaten our lunch and with a long ride ahead, we don't have any other choice but to take our long overdue lunch in an overpriced 'carinderia'. We stayed for about 30 minutes and it's back on the road once again.

:: 15:00 :: 
I alternated from taking naps to chatting with my friend (more on taking naps) as we continue our journey. In my half-asleep state, I remembered looking up into a signboard that says "Welcome to Taytay"      and  that is where the smooth and paved roads ended. As soon as we left that rotonda, it was all bumpy and rough roads. The whole van seems to be clattering as the vehicle made its' way over gravel and crushed stones 
:: 17:30  ::  
My butt is now sore from the bumpy ride and I can feel the fatigue from sitting for almost 6 hours, when the van finally turned into a small terminal. Finally, we have reached the famed El Nido. It is still is a very short tricycle ride (Fare is Php30) to the resort where we will be staying.

After an hour and a half plane ride, almost 6 hours van ride and about 13 hours of travelling, was it worth it? Yes! it's a definite Yes. When you get rewarded with a beach awashed in pink as the sun slowly sets over the imposing limestone cliffs. I will do it all over again just to experience that magical sunset once again. And yes there are still more adventures waiting for us in El Nido.

Post script: A month before my scheduled vacation, I have been scouring the internet for El Nido related blogpost,. I would like to send my super Thank you to the following bloggers for answering my comments/questions in their respective blogs (*power hug!):

Nathalie of   --> Nath, you have convinced me that El Nido is a must-see during the time that I almost decided not to push through with the trip. I did not end up traveling solo but I might just come back on my own another time.

Madel of  --> Madel, thank you for all information that helped me in the preparation for this trip. I even got the Fort Wally contact number through your blog

Bino of  --> Bino, through your blog you introduced me to the beauty of Nacpan & Calitang which can be considered as the hidden gem of El Nido. Visiting those wonderful beaches has made the trip extra special. Despite vagabonding in Asia, you found the time to answer my questions about these beaches. I did send your regards (check out the photo  below).


  1. wow! finally nakarating ka rin! Amazing di ba? if only I can spend more days or weeks..haaayz

    btw love the 1st pohoto. :)

  2. hi nathalie, sa wakas natuloy din at nakatapak din ng El Nido..sana makabalik ulit :) thank you :)

  3. Touched naman ako... BIG Thanks for the effort in writing that. :) I can relate to your feelings when you first saw the beach.. PARADISE! Glad that you made it na.

  4. @Bino: that's the least I can do for all the information overload from you hahaha..complete with footprints in the sand pa yan :P Enjoy your Asian epic adventure

  5. @ Bino: hhmm..this got me thinking if I really do sound like a guy :D your the second blogger to refer to me as a guy hahahahaha

  6. hahaha ok lang...your not the first na napagkamalan akong guy..pero natawa talaga ako dun..Man na pala ako :P

  7. Haha,., Ako din natawa e :D at nahiya.. Sorry talaga. >.<

  8. I took that ride from PP to El Nido.. but at night. Not only was it bumpy, it was pretty scary cause there was so much construction and no warnings ;) I would still do it again just to get to El Nido (but flying directly is pretty nice too haha).

  9. @allen...doing at night it would be 10x scary :O there's no street lights at all...but I'd still do the van than take a small plane hahah but that's just me :P