It was already our last full day in El Nido and we still haven't experienced the most famous island hopping activity. I whispered a prayer that the weather will still be sunny and the waves will be cooperative. Luckily, everything went well. Thank you Lord!
time for some island hopping in El Nido
There are 4 island hopping tours in El Nido namely tour A, B, C, and D. The most famous tours are A and C. These include the lagoons, great beaches, best snorkeling spots, and breathtaking viewing deck of El Nido. Since it would be hard to choose between the two tours, we decided to do both on the same day. There are many spots to see but we just chose the ones that interest us and drop those spots that may be similar with the others. Now we had a plan!
el nido island hopping tour map - A, B, C and D
Small shops that offer island and inland tours are scattered in every corner of the street. The rate of island hopping tours in El Nido is standard. Tour A costs P700/pax and tour C costs P900/pax. Yes, the rates are per person. No need for minimum number of guests since the tour operators will be the one to look for joiners to fill in the boat. Combination tours are also available so no need to worry. Sounds good but we wanted to maximize our time on the islands that we prioritized to visit. We do not want to see every island that's included in the tour - umay factor naman yun. So to end this dillema, we rented our own boat. Feeling mayaman. ^_^
Combination Tour A and C
We got Northern Hope Ticketing and Island Tours boat rental and service. Ate Neriza - 0939.902.2216, the tour operator, accompanied us. The boat is really spacious, we could have invited her children too to join us. Anyway, we started the combination tour at 8:30am. A fee of P200 is collected to every tourist.
Our first destination was the Hidden Beach. It's a beach located behind these awesome limestone cliffs. A little effort is needed to go here, specially the waves are strong and sharp corals are everywhere. And it's really a must to wear aqua shoes.
entrance to the Hidden Beach
sensha na, lampa lang ^_^
The path is slippery and it has lots of big and sharp corals. It's your call if you wanted to bring your precious gadgets.
hello Hidden Beach
now it's not hidden anymore
There's not much people when we arrived. Good thing we visited this in the morning.
it's also a snorkeling spot
but no need to use some equipment, the water is just knee-deep
The corals are not in their healthiest form, but at least there are some. Aqua shoes are highly needed in this spot. Aside from the fish and corals, there are sea urchins too so be careful.
im a fan of sea anemone
yay, im excited to use my Canon D20 underwater camera for the first time!
Next destination of our choice was the Matinloc Shrine. This area is famous for its great top view. Make sure to visit this spot on 12noon onwards for better viewing. Against the light pag umaga. ^_^
way to Matinloc Shrine
posing for a shot before everyone gets here!
ang crowded ng islands sa el nido ^_^
This place has a sacred monument which was build to honor the blessed Virgin Mary. It used to be a retreat house as well. Unfortunately, the owners wasn't able to maintain this place anymore. Anyway, the spectacular view is not the shrine, but the view from top.
spectacular view from top
copied from Gladys, thanks girl!
Moving on, we headed to Secret Beach right away. This is the most memorable and exciting part of our island hopping. Going through that small opening to enter the Secret Beach was such an adventure. Haha Simpleng buwis buhay.
the Secret Beach
We we're surprised to see a lot of "stranded" tourists inside. Well they are not really stranded, but they looked like it.
stranded in El Nido?
As you know, the opening is too small that only 1 person can pass there at a time. Take turns it is for those who will enter and those who will exit.
the place is not very spectacular
but how you enter this beach is already a spectacular experience
At lunchtime, we settled at Talisay Beach. While our guide was leading us to the best snorkeling sites, the boatmen started to cook our lunch. Sarap ng buhay!
to Talisay Beach
the combination of these limestone cliffs and blueish water kept me breathless
Honestly, the underwater world never amazed me. The corals are dead. The best part of this snorkeling is the view everytime I took my head out of the water. Grabe, ang ganda ng view on land. That's where Im more amazed.
daddy found nemo
garden of not so healthy corals
a brain coral
i sacrificed my skin while hoping there'll be a great sighting of superior corals, but really there was none
the seabed looked gloomy by just having a few species
oh well, at least there are vibrant colored corals around
Again, the view under water may not be something amazing, but the limestone on the surface never failed to impress me.
It's finally time for our lunch. Freshly cooked fish and pork are served. Lunch are usually included in the island hopping tour. For exclusive tours like ours, it's best to request your food choices. Additional rates apply opcors pag bet mo ang lobster and prawns.
a feast for 3
yey, may buko juice!
both of us were not fans of softdrinks
siesta time at Talisay Beach
We're so umay na to do some snorkeling but luckily we did. Our next destination - Shimizu Island showcased a lot of fish. No need to throw some bread, the fishies were very excited to welcome their guests.
school of fish at Shimizu Island
Along our way to the Big and Small Lagoon, we spotted this place with an orange tree. Lakas maka-autumn! We didn't think twice and docked the boat in this island to have our photo taken.
autumn in El Nidoanu ba yan, pumunta pa ko ng South Korea para maexperience ang ganitong foliage, meron din pala sa El Nido
The last destinations on our list was Miniloc Island, were the Big and Small Lagoon are located. For some obvious reasons, tinamad na kami bumaba ng bangka. Kakaumay naman kasi pare-pareho lang ang view. Peace. =P
Ate Neriza still offered us to go to some nearby beaches but we declined. We called it a day, solb na kami. I therefore conclude, combination tour A and C can really be done in 1 whole day. I cant see myself doing these island hopping tours on different days.
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Northern Hope Ticketing and Island Tours
Island Hopping Rates:
tour A - P700/pax | tour B - P800/pax | tour C - P900/pax
combination tour A & C - P1300/pax | discounted rate for group of 4 - P800/pax
boat rental for 4 - P3,000/boat (lunch not included)
they also have a boat which sails from El Nido to Coron. schedule varies.
Thank you ate Neriza for the tour and discounted rates. I hope that the local government of El Nido may give an ordinance / protection to local operators like you. It's just fair that those natives of El Nido must be given priority compared to tour operators from Puerto Princesa and from Manila.
El Nido 4days 3nights expenses
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Overall, I was fulfilled and delighted to finally see and experience El Nido. Surely, it belongs to the top spots to see here in the Philippines. The clear blue water, breathtaking limestone formations, the laid back lifestyle, and the good vibe of the enthusiastic tourists are the obvious reasons why everyone hails El Nido. Im just a proud Pinay. ♥
next post: Bellarocca Resort