Tag Archives: Philippines

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!

A day will come

A day will come

 
She wakes up in the morning
Tireless, selfless
It’s a new day, she thought
To carry the weight of the world.
 
In every step, in every bow,
She hopes that future’s planted
In the vastness of the universe
In uncertainty, in poverty.
 
When the sun and the moon meets
Signalling that the end is here
She stops, she crawls,
And prays a day will come.

A day will come.
 
 

Give love to Sendong victims

Last Saturday, I woke up around 2pm. I had a good sleep. Upon checking my Facebook and Twitter, I learned that Northern Mindanao was hit by typhoon Sendong. At 2am, while I was soundly asleep in my comfortable bed, the rushing waters came into the households of the people in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. The news reported that the number of casualties as of 6:30 p.m. today is 713 people, while almost 600 are still missing. I felt really bad after seeing the news that morning. We really can’t tell what will happen the next day.

Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City are really devastated now. According to Philippine Red Cross, Sendong affected 21 municipalities, 78 barangays and 13,924 families (63,779 persons), with 245 injured and 807 reported missing. 3,422 houses were totally or partially damaged and there are still 38,332 persons housed in evacuation centers to date.

They lost family members and their homes. They need our help.

I collected from the Internet some ways on how to send donations and relief goods to our needy kababayans in Northern Mindanao. We can start the gift-giving now.

You can send your money donations through bank account of ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya and Kapuso Foundation. Here’s their info:

ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya

BDO Peso Account
Account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Sagip Kapamilya
Account Number: 39301-14199
Swift Code: BNORPHMM

BDO Dollar Account
Account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Sagip Kapamilya
Account Number: 39300-81622
Swift Code: BNORPHMM

PNB Peso Account
Account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Sagip Kapamilya
Account Number: 419-539-5000-13
Swift Code: PNBMPHMM

BPI Peso Account
Account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Sagip Kapamilya
Account Number: 3051-1127-75
Branch: West Triangle, Quezon City
Swift Code: BOPIPHMM

BPI Dollar Account
Account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Sagip Kapamilya
Account Number: 3054-0270-35
Branch: West Triangle, Quezon City
Swift Code: BOPIPHMM

 Kapuso Foundation

Metrobank Peso Account
Account Name:GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.
Account Number:3-098-51034-7

Metrobank Dollar Account
Account Name:GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.
Account Number:2-098-00244-2
Code:MBTC PH MM

UCPB Peso Account
Account Name:GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.
Account Number:115-184777-2 or 160-111277-7

UCPB Dollar Account
Account Name:GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.
Account Number:01-115-301177-9 or 01-160-300427-6
Code:UCPB PH MM

For students, you can help through SMS donation. The Phillpine Red Cross accepts donations that can be deducted from your prepaid credit.

SMS
Text RED<space>AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart)

G-Cash
Text DONATE<space>AMOUNT<space>4-digit M-PIN<space>REDCROSS to 2882

You can donate the following denominations:
Globe: 5, 25, 100, 300, 500 or 1000
Smart: 10, 25, 50, 100, 300, 500 or 1000

Check the Philippine Red Cross website for more information.

For donations in kind, the LBC Foundation offered FREE shipping of relief goods to cities in Mindanao that were hardly hit by Sendong. You can drop off your donations in any LBC branch nearest to you. McDonald’s stores in Metro Manila, Luzon, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Cebu will be used as drop off points for donations starting tomorrow, December 21 until January 4, 2012.

Here are some special needs of the evacuees:  Milk, feeding bottles, diapers, habol/banig, mats, towels, soap, sleepers for children and adults, toiletries, toothpastes, toothbrushes, utensils, emergency lamps, utensils, spoon and fork, plastic cups, garbage bins, disinfectants, toilet cleaning, plates, blankets, basins, pails, dippers.

Let us also pray for them, for strength to those who lost their loved ones, and for recovery to those who were really traumatized.

Donations in any kind you would give will really help our kababayan in the south. Together we can help them cope this tragedy. Let’s unite!

The people may not know what you offered, but our good Lord sees your generous heart.

 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD,
and he will reward them for what they have done.

*Photo from: Regan Santos