Category Archives: Travel

El Nido Getaway 2015!

The PAGASA has announced that rainy season has started already. Summer may be over,  but I had a meaningful rest and recreation during the Holy Week when Vimala and I went to El Nido, Palawan. It is dubbed as the Best Beach Destination in the Philippines, and true enough, it is something worth the travel. Vimala is my Indonesian best friend who came to the Philippines just to visit me, so I chose to bring her to El Nido.

El Nido lies in northeast Palawan. The main gateway to this paradise is Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Vie and I was able to book an AirAsia flight in the morning of April 1, we arrived by lunch time, had a quick break and took the van to El Nido. It took us about 5 hours before we arrive in the small town of El Nido.

5 star custome service, affordable and comfortable

Vie and I have been travelling together since our Korea days, and we are very particular with the hotel/inn we’re staying at. In El Nido, we were able to book Swiftlets Inn. It is a relatively new hotel, originally with just 4 rooms. Upon arrival in El Nido, we were dropped off at the terminal, took the tricycle (50 pesos) and checked-in. We were surprised that they have a new floor with additional 4 rooms. We were booked in room 7, which is really spacious, with clean bed linens and a bathroom where you can freely move. They also got a flat screen TV and power plugs all over the room (a must nowadays!) What’s a plus point of this hotel is it is strategically located in the middle of El Nido; 3 minutes from terminal and 5-7 minutes walk from downtown. And free breakfast! You are also far from the noise in the streets. The customer service is pleasing, we had a really good stay here. You can check TripAdvisor for other reviews here.

Awe-inspiring, breathtaking 

We booked for Tour A and Tour C for the island hopping. For Day 2, we started with Tour C because there was the news of a typhoon coming, and since Tour C is farther, we went there first. We had a very kind tour guide and boat men, so we felt secure all the time.

The first destination was the Helicopter island, with that name because it looks like an helicopter from afar. This is the inspiration for the movie The Beach. It is a good place for snorkeling.

My favorite though is Star beach, where we stayed longer because we had lunch here. The boat men prepared the lunch, with seafood overload! 😀

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After Starbeach, we went to Secret Island. The name fits because you need to enter a small rocky entrance before getting in. It was our least favorite – it is too crowded. One foreigner even said “It’s chaos over here!” Haha!

Then Matinloc Shrine. It is a small island with a huge house that was abandoned. We went up to see the captivating view of the ocean.

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We were able to return in El Nido proper by 4pm. After a fun day (we got tanned!), we decided to walk to the hotel. We tried the Crepes and it was good. Go grab something as snack.

The following day, we were booked for Tour A. The good thing about our travel agency (Create Tours) is that they pick us from our hotel via a motorcycle. Oh diba may sundo pa! After our sumptuous free breakfast, we were fueled to enjoy the rest of El Nido.

Tour A goes to Small and Big Lagoons, Secret beach and Seven Commandos Beach.

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Small lagoon is enjoyable via kayaking (300 pesos). But it also gets crowded. I love Big lagoon better (in the photo), though we didn’t stop to swim because it was low tide.

Swimming with Nemo and Friends

One of the highlights of my El Nido trip is my snorkeling experience for the first time. I love beaches but I can’t really swim in deep waters. But one of our tour guides, the 18 year old Richard told me “Mam, akong bahala sayo I will hold you.” Naks! Pero true enough, he helped me. He was the one holding the Go Pro we rented (1,000 pesos) then took these beautiful photos. I was amazed at God’s wonderful creation deep down.

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Tour A  ended in Seven Commando’s beach. It is a huge one, with cottages and a restaurant. Vie and I was able to rest and enjoy; she joined a bunch of tourists playing volleyball.

We arrived in El Nido proper at around 5pm then rested in the hotel. Then my college friend Ate Rej texted me to go to Las Cabanas resort because no one should miss the El Nido sunset. It was almost 6 so I rushed and took a tricycle (150 pesos). Whew! It was a beautiful sunset.

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 Restaurants to try

We did not crave much seafood because the lunch during the tours is just crazy awesome – squid, grilled fish, shrimps and mussels. So when we were at downtown, we decided to check two restaurants for dinner – Art Cafe and Altrove Trattoria. Both are really good and affordable. In Art Cafe, we tried their paella while we had pasta and the oven-made pizza in Altrove. The vibe in these restaurants is cozy and comfy, good to cap a day of beach hopping.

Go and save for El Nido trip!

Look for seat sale and book a ticket! The Philippines is such a beautiful place, with nice beaches and people. But the experience in every travel is worth every penny. I will share to you how much it cost me to enjoy this wonderful creation:

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Thanks, El Nido! It was a blast! 🙂

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P.S. All photos do not have edits. See, ganda talaga sa El Nido!

The Princess wannabe in the Land of the Brave!

As promised in my previous blog, I will share how beautiful Scotland is during my visit in July 2011. Scotland does not exist in my Dream Destination list, and I still don’t understand why God keep sending me to Europe (I am not complaining hehe I’m just wondering ;)).

So there, on July 6 we flew to Edinburgh. We allotted three days before the start of the World Conference for the tour around Scotland. We arrived at night, but it was my first time ever to see the sun around 8pm. Cool, eh? Europe was telling me “This is really the other side of the world.”

On our first day, the first agenda was to see Loch Lomond, which is the biggest lake in Great Britain by surface area.

This is a postcard-ish photo which I took after being captivated by the beauty of the landscape:

As you can see the sky was on the verge of crying. But we’re fortunate that it was after we left that the rain started to pour. We stayed in a Fish N’ Chips restaurant during the downpour and enjoyed the lunch.

Next stop was Stirling! I love the place because it was only that day that I first saw a castle.

Tanaaaaan!

The Doune Castle!

And the Stirling Castle from a far! (With my big face hahaha)

The next day, we headed to St. Andrews, a small town but now a famous spot because of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

St. Andrews University

Just across the university is the coffee shop where the two met (So giddy because I always want to meet “my man” in a coffee shop haha ;))

One of the Tita’s asked us single ladies if we want to stay longer and wait for our “Prince”. We already finished our coffee, but no one came. 🙁

St. Andrews is a small town but the it is very vibrant with happy people roaming around.

The rest of our days was spent in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. There are bagpipers on the street, red telephone booths, and those buildings with unique architecture.

 

 

I always love to go to different places to appreciate God’s wonders. His creation is beyond any explanation. But every time I go outside the country, I see it as an opportunity to appreciate my beloved country more. I may not have all these riches, but our culture is still deemed with high respect. Proud akong sa Pilipinas ako pinanganak.

These are memories painted to last forever. One day, I will show show this photos to my children and proudly say “God brought me there.”

P.S #1: It was an inter-generational trip. Not your usual barkada gimmick. I was with Tita’s from the Girl Scouts of the Philippines. Kyla and I were the only bagets, as you may say. But it didn’t spoil the fun, it actually made the entire trip a happy experience. During the trip, I often find myself laughing with their jokes, and they are as energetic as youngsters walking and walking around. In every trip having a cool and fun company makes all the difference.

P.S #2: Tita Inday has a friend there in Edinburgh, a couple with a 6 year-old son named Michael. For two days, Michael became my “boyfriend” 😀 and didn’t let me walk alone because he wanted to always hold my hand. Hahaha! Such a cutie and bibo boy!