Get me outta here!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Palawan Escapade

Last summer, my family and I went to El Nido, Palawan. We traveled via chartered plane from Manila to El Nido. The flight only took 40 minutes. Upon arriving at the El Nido airport, we rode a jumbo, air conditioned jeepney to take us to a motor boat waiting for us at the shore. 

How awesome is this?
Meet my only brother, Dylan.
The boat ride from El Nido airport to the island where we are gonna stay for 4 days and 3 nights, Miniloc island that is, took 40 minutes as I remember. We weren't there yet, but I already saw the island resort from far away. The landscape was picturesque and very calm. A paradise on earth.

Tourists were given a very warm welcome by the locals of Miniloc Island. The staff happily sung the Palawan anthem, complete with musical instruments, costumes and adorable choreography. We arrived at the Miniloc Island Resort a few minutes before lunch time. We checked in on the sea view hotels and our tour guide advised us to eat plenty of food because he was going to take us on a tour immediately after lunch. The food was heavenly. I’m speechless. There were so many dishes served on the buffet table that I couldn't make up my mind on which one to taste first. After eating, we gave our compliments to the chef and headed on to the tour.

It is a mandatory rule on the island to wear life vests before getting on the speedboat or the motorized boat, but since I am a rebel, I did not wear the vest. Haha! Kidding! Along us were two Korean lovers and a Filipino couple celebrating their anniversary. Our tour guide was Kuya Vladimir, who speaks fluent English and Korean. Impressive, I know.

The very first destination for the day was the Cudugnon cave which is known for its beautiful rock formation. There’s like a small Mickey Mouse-shaped hole inside wherein tourists are allowed to take photos as much as they want. 

But flash photography is not encouraged, for the creatures inside the cave might be disturbed. Totally creepy. By the way, in order for a person to enter the cave, he’s going to have to crawl in a very tiny hole first. I’m quite slim so I didn't have any problem at all.

We went to the Cathedral cave afterwards which smelled unpleasant because of the fruit bats living in there. The formation of the cave looked like a real cathedral, though. Too bad we weren't allowed to go inside the cave because apparently, speed boats are forbidden to enter underground caves now because they emit smoke that somehow destroys the ceiling of the cave. We were supposed to visit the Snake Island afterwards but that day was a high-tide; the Snake Island sinks into the waters on a high-tide, therefore not making it visible. So we went back to the island resort and spent the rest of the afternoon kayaking and snorkelling.

Day 2
The second day of our trip was my favorite. We went island hopping, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and hiking. Our first stop was the Entalula Isalnd. Definitely the most breath-taking beach I have ever seen. Fine, white sand, clear waters and great food. 

We went to the Snake Island after lunch and headed on to the big and small lagoons. From the motor boat, we kayaked our way into the small lagoon. I was paired with my sister Gale. We were very competitive against the other teams. Haha! There were few fishes and corals but the view was amazing. Just being inside the small lagoon was priceless. Fresh air, soaring live stones, clear water and all that.

On the other hand, in order to get in the big lagoon, we needed to ride a speed boat because it was 80ft deep. According to Kuya Vlad, our tour guide, there were even sharks beneath us. But they were reef sharks, definitely harmless. Kuya Vlad took us snorkelling outside the big lagoon after the tour. At first I was all panicky because it was my first time to swim in a vast 80-feet deep ocean; looking at the deep blue part of the waters made me real uneasy because who knows? A shark might be lurking in there, but just like Kuya Vlad said, “It’s all in the mind.” 

When I saw the colorful corals of different shapes, and the fishes swimming around me I felt like Ariel, The Little Mermaid. The experience was soothing and calming. It made me appreciate my mother country even more.

Day 3
We started our third day in Palawan by visiting the other nearby resort, which is the Lagen Island Resort. We ate breakfast there, took a swim and had fun playing table tennis, foosball and pool. 

We went to Dibuluan beach afterwards to eat lunch. Dibuluan beach also had white sand, but not as fine as Entalula’s sand. Food was great too; you have to try their smoked salmon. I tried parasailing but I failed. Wind was too strong and the board was too heavy for me. Next time, maybe. The day ended with the sunset cruise over Bacuit Bay, minutes away from Miniloc. We took pictures for memories as we watched the beautiful sunset.

Day 4
As I chowed down my stack of pancakes, I realized that it was my last day in Palawan. Every 8 in the morning, tourists can feed the jacks near the shore, so we did. I thought they were tiny, colorful, cute, little fishes but they were not. They were not! They were huge, silver (black when hungry) and quite vicious. I heard that they once attacked a tourist as she tried to feed them. The tourist ended up in a nearby local hospital with injuries. Anyway, we fed the jacks and headed to Shimizu Island for snorkelling and fish feeding. 

By Lunch time, we went to a private island and had lunch. We had the whole island to ourselves. Now, how cool is that? There was a cave in the island so we explored it and we took as many pictures as we can.

All ours!

The staff of Miniloc Island is so sweet! They always leave
messages and candies on our beds before going to sleep.

Overall, it was a great experience. Food was great, locals were lovely and the view was simply one of a kind. The Philippines definitely is a beautiful country. I can say that it is the perfect getaway for families, couples and friends. 


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