Palawan is one of the largest province in the Philippines and is located between West Philippine Sea and Sulu Sea. Palawan means “The Land of Beautiful Safe Harbor”. The name, once intended for merchant ships sailing through the centuries, takes a new meaning: a land of beautiful haven for traveler who seeks refuge and oneness in nature. Palawan has been given numerous accolades as the country cleanest, greenest and most peaceful city. On top of this distinction, Palawan has been dubbed the “ Last Ecological Frontier” in honor of its unique ecological balance. Safeguarding this frontier are the hospitable Palaweno’s who are deeply committed to the tenets of environmental conservation and protection.
We stayed in Palawan for 1 week and we had an awesome time every day. These are the things that we've done that week:
Day 1: Going to Puerto Princesa and Firefly Watching
It's a 1-hour flight going to Palawan from Manila. Because our flight was delayed and we arrived Puerto Prinecsa late in the afternoon, we decided to rest and do some activities at night.
We decided to have a night out with the fireflies. It was a different world as they glitter numerous mangrove trees that resemble Christmas trees (perfect timing too as we have just celebrated Christmas).
Day 2: Underground River
The underground river is recognised by the UNESCO as one of the new seven wonders of nature. This is because its limestones formations that formed throughout the years. The history embedded inside the caves is indeed spectacular. The 1-hour boat ride takes you to different section of the caves - the marketplace (where different formations of fruits and vegetables can be found), the cathedral, and many more interesting sites. You will also be provided with an audio device so that you can hear the rich history behind the underground river.
After that, we had lunch in Sugbang beach and decided to take the mangrove paddleboat tour where we explored and saw some monitor lizard, snakes, and other interesting crawly-creatures.
We decided to have dinner at Kinabuch's to try the crocodile sisig. It has a unique taste and flavour to it, which Mathias really liked.
Day 3: Going to El Nido
We chose the van services of Daytripper Palawan to take us to El Nido. They are very professional, promptly replies in all our inquiries, and is reasonably priced. The ride was very comfortable too since they don't over
You may go to their website at http://www.daytripperpalawan.com to know more about them and their other services. You can also reach them through their mobile number +639178488755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Upon arriving El Nido town proper, we checked in at Spin Hostel and had dinner at El Nido Boutique & Art Cafe. I love their pizzas and house wine is relatively cheap (P350/glass). Their staff's super friendly and ambiance is homey. This place really sets you for lots of adventures in the days to come.
Day 4: Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Simizu Island, 7 Commandos (Tour A)
The Big and Small Lagoon's tranquil turquoise-green waters of its orchid-lined limestone walls, showcase a kaleidoscope of marine life. Scientists believe that these lagoons were actually caves which abound in these islands. The roofs of these caves must have collapsed millions of years ago and these lagoons have emerged in their stead. Here, you can rent kayaks to explore the lagoons. I prefer to kayak in the big lagoons though because of the amazing natural architecture and peaceful waters.
The rent for kayaks is Php 200. I suggest doing this in the big lagoon as there is less people and more places to explore.
Next, we swam through a hole in a cliff to find the Secret Lagoon. The entrance to the lagoon is really small so we had to crawl our way inside. Here, we can snorkel, eat, and relax.
After that, we went to snorkel around the shore of Simizu Islands as it is known for its beautiful marine life and nature perfect photo setup. Colourful fishes abound the waters of the island which is always a good thing for me when underwater.
Lastly, the 7 Commandos Beach is known for its long stretch of white sand and clear blue waters. It got his name from 7 Japanese commandos who lived there for a period of time near the end of WWII. The names of the soldiers are said to be written on stones around the island, but not much else is known about these soldiers including what happened to them.
You can also find a swing there which is so fun! Alcoholic beverages can also be bought here. It's a perfect place to end the day by watching the sunset while holding a bottle of beer (or alcoholic coconut).
Day 5: Helicopter Island, Hidden Beach, Star Beach, Matinloc Shrine, Secret Beach (Tour C)
The helicopter island is named as such because the island's shape is obviously like a helicopter without the propeller. This island is an ideal place to lie on the fine blush skin-toned sand.
The hidden beach was quite a challenge at that time because the waves were crazy strong. But once we've passed by some fascinating boulders and discover a beautiful surprise. A hidden secluded beach awaits.
Then we had lunch at Star beach. Amazing food as always which is already included in the package tour.
Matinloc shrine offers a panoramic view of El Nido and it is beyond incredible. There's an entrance fee of Php100 that you need to pay but it's definitely worth it. Just be careful going up though as it is super narrow and steep.
Secret beach (not so secret now) is quite small since you need to swim your way to a passageway before setting foot on this tiny secret beach. It's pretty amazing if you ask me.
Day 6: Nacpan Beach
Nacpan beach is considered as an off-beaten-path destination since there's no road going here yet. I have to say that I really enjoyed our time here in spite not having to bring enough cash. See my blog on some reminders before going to El Nido so that you don't have to go through what we did.
Here's a summary of the different tours of El Nido for your reference. You may want to explore the other islands if you have time, because they are all worth the trip.
Tour A, Php 1200: Visiting 3 lagoons on Miniloc Island (Big, Small and Secret lagoon) also Seven commando beach, snorkel in Simizu Island.
Tour B, Php 1300: Snake Island, Cudugnun cave, Cathedral cave, Lagen and Pinabuyuntan Island.
Tour C, Php 1400: Helicopter island, hidden beach, Secret beach, Cadlao lagoon.
Tour D, Php 1200 :Cadlao Lagoon , Pasandigan, Nat Nat , Bucal and paradise beach.
Day 7: El Nido to Manila
The ride going back to Puerto Princesa was faster (probably because we left El Nido quite early). Overall, it was a great experience. I would have stayed longer in El Nido though if possible since there are still more to explore. Some of the other exciting activities that can be done in El Nido: zipline across Las Cabanas (photo taken from 2016 trip), scuba dive the Dimulacad underwater tunnel, visit the Nagkalit-kalit waterfall, and many many more. 1 week is definitely not enough. Perhaps I should extend to a month here next time!