Traveling to El Nido wasn’t really a part of our plan. Originally, we want to visit Batangas (Stilts Resort, Calatagan) to celebrate our first anniversary. But I have this recurring thoughts of El Nido after reading reviews and the place just got my curious side all hyped up. I really wanted to see for myself what it’s like to set foot on the NAMED MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND IN THE WORLD. And since it’ll be a special day for us, we then give it a go.
We planned everything in a heartbeat. Checked our budget, booked our plane tickets, scout for possible accommodations, and all other minutiae. But we opt to have an agent who’ll get everything done for us. By everything, I mean, the airport transfer, accommodation, and tours for the next 4 days.
Traveling by plane is a first for both of us, so as much as possible we want to lessen the hassle and I think it’s good experience to see first the process of going for a DIY travel.
I’ve been a member of a travel group on Facebook (Byaheng Budgetarian) for quite a while now. The group helped a lot on planning, on budgeting and some members would even refer agents who can help you with your needs. So, we then end up with Mr. Michael Yao of Tripidito Travel. He’s very accommodating and I think that the package he offered to us was the lowest deal which I know of. You can drop a message on his Facebook account or even on their page, I’ll be leaving the links below.
(Michael Yao’s FB Account)
(TripiditoTravel FB Page)
On this blog, I’ll be sharing with you our firsthand travel experience under agency and other info which I’ve gathered from several reviews.
HOW TO GET THERE:
You can choose among four airlines from Manila. There’s PAL, Cebu Pacific, AirAsia and AirSwift. Locals who’s usually on budget would opt for CebPac/AirAsia, as those airlines often have seat sales. While if you are someone who has budget, you can opt for AirSwift, which offers direct flight to El Nido.
You’ll be landing on PPS international airport, travel time from PPS to El Nido, might take 4.5-6 hours at max with one stop-over for lunch/snack.
If you are under agency, airport transfer to and fro El Nido wouldn’t be a problem at all. But if on DIY Travels you can refer to the details below.
– 500php/pax (10 USD) both for locals or foreign
– Pros: More convenient compared to bus transfer, leave on-time, even if the van isn’t full yet.
– Cons: It can be jam-packed, especially, on peak seasons.
Eulen Joy: +63 915 829 3735; or visit their Facebook.
Lexxuss Shuttle: +63 917 686 1118; or visit their Facebook.
Another option is to take the bus. However, for me it’s not advisable. Yes, it might be cheaper but more time consuming as it stops frequently to pick-up and drop-off passengers along the way.
Upon arrival in El Nido, you need to ride a multi-cab to your respective accommodation, which should only cost 50 php. People in El Nido are friendly so you can just ask them nicely for reference.
WHERE TO STAY? – ACCOMMODATIONS:
Our travel to Palawan is a 4D3N stay. Here’s a breakdown of our accommodation – part of the package.
- Gomez Inn
– First 2 night stay in El Nido
– Fully air conditioned, with own shower and bath, queen bed, balcony and a spacious room
- Airport Side Inn
– Last night – Puerto Princesa City
– Fully air conditioned, own shower and bath, double bed. The room was a bit small, but it works just fine since our flight the next day is pretty early
Both accommodation is decent, if you are someone who’s just looking for a place to sleep/rest, this one’s for you and it also comes with complimentary breakfast. I noticed from other backpackers – both foreign and local, most of them scout the area so I guess it isn’t that hard to spot a good/affordable place to stay, unless, it’s peak season.
If you are someone who’s picky or very specific with places you’re going to stay, you can always check online booking sites. Some sites offer tour packages as well.
WHAT TO DO? – Tour Package We Avail
|Day 2 – Tour A||Day 3 – Tour C|
|· Seven Commandos Beach||· Matinloc Shrine|
|· Big Lagoon||· Talisayen Beach|
|· Payong Payong Island/Beach||· Hidden Beach|
|· Small Lagoon||· Helicopter Island|
|· Part of Miniloc Island||· Secret Beach|
|· Secret Lagoon|
|Tour B||Tour D|
|· Snake Island||· Ipil Beach|
|· Pinagbuyutan Island||· Cadlao Lagoon|
|· Entalula Beach||· Paradise Beach|
|· Cudognon Cave||· Pasandigan Beach|
|· Snorkeling Site||· Natnat Beach|
|· Bukal Beach|
- Nacpan Beach
- Taraw Cliff
- Las Cabanas Beach
- Marimegmeg Beach
WHERE TO EAT?
There’s no biggie when it comes to food, since we have complimentary breakfast from the accom, buffet lunch courtesy of the tour package. That leaves us with dinner, we usually head out for the restaurants along the shore. My initial thought was food in El Nido would be way cheaper especially sea foods, but I was totally wrong. Ours costs approx. 500php above for 2, and it wasn’t big serving at all. Anyhow, there are several others that you can check out.
A pizza place called Altrove is also must as per other reviews, unfortunately, we weren’t able to visit it.
- Airfare (RT) – 13,000php (2pax)
- Tour Package – 10,000php (2pax)
- Pocket Money – 10,000php (2pax)
- Dry bags are a must during the tour. It’ll come in handy, for your gadgets and can serve as floaters as well (if there’s a need for it)
- Snorkeling gear (masks and snorkels) are usually part of tour package.
- Stack up on cash, there’s only one ATM (BPI) in El Nido, and it might run out of cash during peak seasons. Better have extra with you.
- Sunblock with high SPF!
- Bring necessary medicine. (For headache, fever, diarrhea, etc.)
- Tour guides are good photographers! (Ours even told us how to pose, they’re also tech savvy) 🙂
- If you have extra cash, it wouldn’t hurt if you give them a little tip. 🙂