El Nido | Combination Tour A and C

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.

colorful corals

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.

im more impressed with the limestone formations

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.

canon delights me, always! 

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 Nido
anu 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

Small Lagoon

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

El Nido | Marimegmeg and Nacpan Beach

I've met a few foreign backpackers on the road. Whenever I asked them what are their top places to see in the Philippines, they would consistently include El Nido, Palawan and Batad, Banaue in their list.

Of course Im not surprised. Those 2 places are really so awesome and surely worth visiting, despite the effort of getting there. I promised myself I'll visit El Nido someday, or soon.

now tell me who doesn't want to spend time in this hanging lounge

Last November 1-4 (thank you 4-day long weekend!), Remay and I finally reached and experienced the beauty of El Nido. Since there are no more direct flights to this paradise island (yes naman kunyare afford namin ang direct flight to El Nido if ever there is), we took the morning flight from Manila to Puerto Prinsesa. From the airport, vans are readily available to take the tourists to El Nido. Reservations are needed though. Anyway, there's also an option to go to the terminal and catch the buses and vans to El Nido. It's cheaper if you take the van directly from here.

hello paradise of Palawan!

Since we still had excess time on our first day, we initially planned to visit the world-renowned Underground River. Unfortunately, due to some unavailable permits needed, we decided to just go directly to El Nido instead. (sa totoong buhay, di kasi kami convinced magbayad ng P1,500 per person para sa underground river tour. ang mahal naman.)

So off we go to El Nido via a private Lexus van for P700 each. Not bad specially we had leg room and uninterrupted journey. Together with some online acquaintances (nice meeting you GT'ers Matet and Charisse), our group endured the 5.5-hr long and bumpy ride.

kuya driver in uniform and his Lexus van

Day 1 - El Nido Adventure Starts Here
First impression of El Nido: it's a bit crowded for such a quiet little town. Since I also have in mind that El Nido is an expensive and luxurious place for a vacation, I didn't expect to see simple and wooden pension houses and eateries. Alright, now Im enlightened. El Nido can really be done on a budget.

There are 2 beaches that I really wanted to see in El Nido: Marimegmeg and the famous Nacpan beach. I just dont know how to squeeze them on our limited time. Going to Nacpan beach would take a consuming 2-hour back and forth travel time. Going to Marimegmeg, on the other hand, is a short 15-min ride from town. Since the sun still looks so perfect for a beach trip,  my housemate and I immediately rented a tricycle to bring us there.

overlooking El Nido town

Luckily, I came across this beach as I was browsing tripadvisor. The beach looks serene and private. There's also not much people when we get there. Maybe not everyone knows about this beach.

El Nido's Marimegmeg Beach
i always love a calm beach

The long shore has fine and white. The water is clear and inviting. Plus factor is the stunning limestone rocks as the backdrop of this calm and serene beach. Simply lovely.

excited magpapicture sa El Nido

We're lucky to have a glimpse of this beach on a sunny weather. We appreciated that it doesn't require much effort to reach this beach. Next time we'll go to El Nido, we'll surely spend more time in Marimegmeg.

Moving on, we stayed in a beachfront resort in Corong-Corong. It's a 5min ride from the main town. The room has an air-condition unit, electric fan, and a private bathroom for P900 per night. Electricity in El Nido shuts off from 6am-6pm. Luckily, this resort brings back electricity every 2pm. Great!

telesfora beach front cottages

our airconditioned room with that kulambo
pang prinsesa ^_^

As a bonus, we think this spot has the best sunset view in El Nido.

getting ready for the sunset

sunset at Corong-Corong

simply magnificent

Day 2: Best Time to be Lazy and Nacpan Beach
At exactly 6am, the electricity automatically shutoff. It's a sign we needed to rise and prepare for the day.

complimentary breakfast at the resort

And so we thought Corong-Corong just had a perfect sunset view, we realized we're wrong. Look at our view every morning.

good morning El Nido (corong-corong side)

the view is breathtaking

The weather is perfect for some island hopping. But unlike most tourists, we chose to stay lazy and spent the whole morning just enjoying the beachfront view. We went to The Alternative, take one of their awesome lounge, ordered some shakes, and we just had the best time in El Nido.

best thing to do in El Nido is to simply do nothing!

now who needs island hopping when we got this view

we didn't regret giving up the island hopping tour for this pagpetix activity

the art of doing nothing - best part of this El Nido trip

At lunchtime, we decided to go to Nacpan beach. This is really the main reason why we scrapped off our island hopping plan for that day. A lot of travel blogger friends said this beach tops their list. I can't miss to see it myself.

Going to Nacpan takes 2 hours, back and forth while an island hopping activity takes place between 9am-4pm. Hhmm, since there's not enough time to visit both on the same day, Remay and I agreed to visit this beach first and just have a combination island hopping tour on the next day. Our hopes are high it wont rain on the next day, else we're doomed!

tricycle to Nacpan beach
ate Neriza 0939.902.22.16
(Northern Hope Island Hopping Tour operator and tricycle owner)

Anyway, we negotiated with a tricycle driver and luckily the owner gave us a very good price! The usual day tour rate to Nacpan beach costs P800-P1,000 but since we knew ate Neriza 0939.902.22.16 (Northern Hope Island Hopping tour operator and also the tricycle owner), she let us use her tricycle and we just paid for the driver and fuel gas for only P450! (anyway, Brenna joined us so the 3 of us paid only P150 each)

quick and yummy lunch before the beach adventure

Finally, we reached the famous Nacpan beach. Our first reaction: none. ^_^ (ang harsh!)

twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang

This beach has a 1km long shore. I can say that the sand is really fine and white. It's a beautiful beach, no doubt about that. But forgive me, uhm it's not my kind of beach.

Nacpan Beach

I seriously didn't set any expectations, really. But having waves that continuously splashes thru the shore is not part of my criteria to make it to my best beaches list.

This beach is nice and is definitely above any other beaches in the country, but I dont know why it has no wow factor for me. Maybe because Ive been to better beaches before.

not sure what island is across Nacpan beach

Though the weather is perfect, the water is not too tempting enough to make us swim. We just did what we do best: do nothing! ^_^

Calitang beach on the other side

Nonetheless, this beach is worth visiting. It's nice to spend a lazy afternoon in the shore specially not many tourists flock here, compared to the beach in town.

to each his own. this couple surely enjoyed Nacpan beach.

To each his own. That's the beauty of traveling. You see the place in your own way, and you dont have to agree with other people who went there before you. What's spectacular to me may not be outstanding to you. Or what's average to you is just so perfect for me.

So that's one of the reasons why I travel: I have to see and and I need to experience it first hand.

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