EL NIDO, PALAWAN
THE PHILIPPINES SERIES PT11
After the furthest visa run in all of history (Melbourne) I got back to Cebu and decided to stay on Mactan Island for a few nights before flying to Palawan.
BUSY BUT STUNNING
This is the same island Cebu airport is on and just gives you an idea of how big these cities are when there are other cities within. I think Manila has over 10 cities within it. Just going to chill here for a few days before going to El Nido. From what I hear there are some the best beaches in the world so I’m really looking forward to that.
WHERE IS EL NIDIO?
Paradise in Palawan
After my 5a.m. flight I then had a 5 hour bus journey up to El Nido, on the north of the island. There was an entire family in the van and the little grandson was causing all sorts of problems for his family so I decided to say hello to him. The strange white boy talking to him worked a treat and he kept quiet for a while, everyone laughed and enjoyed the quiet spell. Finally arrived and checked into Hotel Balay Paragua which had aircon and breakfast. That was all I needed here!
Again, Paddy gave me a few tips for the place. There are 4 tours which are set up by the government but taken by the locals. It just means that the tourists are kept to specific islands and that the majority are kept clear of boats and crowds which is good. Paddy recommended A&C and from a quick google they are the only ones recommended by anyone. Signed up to Tour A tomorrow.
Good tour but you couldn’t move, every place was rammed. Every time we arrived at a new attraction (each tour consists of 4 different places) it was already full of boats and people so it’s hard to appreciate the place as it should be. One of the places was called secret beach, well it’s safe to say when we arrived the secret was out.
Got back to the beach at El Nido and unfortunately it was one of the worst I’ve seen here. I could imagine back in the day it would have been pristine but all of the tour boats dock here which completely takes away from it. Also most of the restaurants use the beach as a seating area which can be nice but doesn’t make the beach look any better. On the plus side there wasn’t one other person on.
Lying down I noticed these two young girls chatting to other tourists, so I put in the headphones and pretended to sleep. Usually they are selling home made bracelets but others just hound you for money and the only way to avoid the situation is to ignore them. But they were straight over and for every time I pretended not to hear them they just shouted louder. Got to appreciate that!
TOO SWEET TO SAY NO
I am always super defensive here because usually when a kid approaches you it’s for money and I just don’t like to be rude to them. It’s good to set an example. They were super sweet like nothing else I’ve seen. The thing was though they had a flaw in their system. Firstly, they were selling magazines for their school which didn’t go down well, but I played along, they were far too nice to push them on.
Because of their mannerisms I took the magazines and had a look which gave away their second mistake. The magazines were dated 2014 haha! But again they were so sweet and said the money goes to their education etc. Not their personal education but a project for many kids. Again my doubts were raised but fair enough if they were getting it they would spend it on sweets or something but could I trust the guy making these kids go out and work for it?
I know it was only £1.50 but I hate being conned and don’t want to teach them that it works. However in the end I gave it to them as they were just too nice (I think I miss my nieces haha). I said I didn’t want to magazine and told them to speak to their boss about getting new magazines because it would make it a lot easier to sell. They earned it.
They came back later with a few others who were also selling, all of who were wearing trousers and a name tags so I think they were legit. They were actually touring Palawan making money for their project which was nice to see. I told them that selling it to a hard sell like me was more educating for them and not to take it bad if tourists are rude because there are so many scams they are looking out for.
It’s common as a tourist to be called sir, especially by kids but I wasn’t having it and asked them to call me David. However there was a boy who just couldn’t stop himself. I couldn’t at least 5 times within 20 seconds but he couldn’t help it and the others were in stitches. He was like “oh sorry sir” hahaha
- PEOPLE – 9/10
- BACKPACKING – 8.5/10
- WEATHER – 8.5/10
- THINGS TO DO – 8/10
- VALUE – 8/10. Cheaper than most but no longer what it used to be
El Nido’s a unique place and this is as quiet as it will ever be. It’s guaranteed to be one of the most popular beach destinations in all of South East Asia. I just hope it doesn’t fall into the trap but I’ve no doubt it will.
Off to one of the best beaches in the world. Click to read.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
This episode is part of The Philippines Series. Click to view episode1.
- Have you ever been to Palawan?
- What was your favourite island in the Philippines?
- Are they the friendliest people you have met?
Let me know in the comments below . . .