There are some places you visit and can’t decide whether you want to scream them to the world or keep them secret because they’re just too good to share. And El Nido is one of those places. Located in the province of Palawan in Bacuit Bay, the region was discovered nearly 22,000 years ago.
The water is clear as crystal, pristine as paradise, shimmering turquoise, the sands are white like flour, and the towering limestone cliffs left me staring into the sky in wonder. Scattered throughout the islands are unspoiled lagoons and tiny hidden beaches. Under the water lay an endless world of incredible corals and rainbow-coloured fish, still untouched after all these years. That’s El Nido!
Let’s Go to Island Hopping!
Island hopping is of course your first priority. This is what El Nido is famous for, and most likely why you’re going there in the first place!
The island hopping tours are standardised and you can choose from numerous different operators. Each one will offer four different tours, aptly named Tour A, B, C and D. We only had time for Tour A and Tour C, which I’d highly recommend. Anyway, here’s what you can expect.
Tour A is one of the best and most popular islands hopping tours in El Nido. During the day, you will discover beautiful lagoons, beaches and snorkeling spots where you can swim and admire the corals, the colorful fauna and its hundred of fishes species. In the afternoon you’ll definitely enjoy lazying on the hammock while catching the beautiful sunset at the last stop of your island hopping.
Most of us dreaming of El Nido with the image of Big Lagoon in our imagination. More beautiful than what I think of. It is the most picturesque of all destination in the island hopping. Calm and crystal clear water, big stone covering the lagoon and the combination of colours from the skies, trees and the seas. That was a perfect destination for honeymooners, soul searchers and wanderers. We will come back to this island!
Located on the cove of Miniloc Island. The Small Lagoon is a pocket-like small pool. It’s challenging to get there, as the only access to the Small Lagoon is a tiny cave-like opening in the lower portion of two extensive limestones, which looks like a massive rock with a pocket-sized hole beneath. Though the area is small, it’s mysterious in its own way and will offer you a peaceful visit, with beautiful colors in its every aspect.
Shimizu has long been considered as one of the friendly snorkelling sites. Indeed, this is home to a variety of marine life. There are a lot of different fishes that you can see here, making snorkelin’ even more fun!
The Bangka anchored in a very nice white beach full of palms. It was really gorgeous. But going to the hidden gem is never easy.
Ouch! Those rocks hurt 😖 (rubber shoes or aqua shoes are highly recommended). So we walked glided to the water slowly until Ed and I reached the hole or small tunnel rock formation.
One by one passing through this small hole or tunnel. At first, I marvelled whether I could fit myself in the hole. 😂
So that’s what happened; I did my best to fit myself into that hole.
There, we were welcomed by this small enclosed lagoon surrounded by dark rocks and limestone. I couldn’t explain the feeling of being able to be there; the place was a bit creepy. I was bewildered. The lagoon has an unusual feel. 🤭
Seven Commandos Beach
Our last stop after a long day on tour. Seven Commandos is named after the seven remaining Japanese commandos who lived there on the island after World War II.
It is one of loveliest islands in El Nido. It has a long stretch of white sand with bar and cottages in the area. Shallow sea level and of course the best spot for sunset. It gives tranquillity and serenity while resting on the sand as the sun settles down.
Tour C is more exciting among El Nido Tours. It will take you to beautiful islands, beaches and snorkelling spots and to an uncanny place: Matinloc Shrine.
Hidden between two rocks is a strip of white sand beach. The beach is unnoticed, and you can’t see it unless you go further between two substantial limestone rocks and cliffs.
Hidden among the lush forested island is the Matinloc Shrine (also known as Shrine of Our Lady of Matinloc and Shrine of the Blessed Virgin) a sacred monument built in 1982 to honor the blessed virgin mary.
It is a heart-shaped abandoned island with a different version of stories but a breathtaking view from the top. One must trek from the karst to see the whole area. You’ll be mesmerised by the aqua blue, turquoise and green water that can be viewed, and you should not forget to take a pose as you head up. Indeed a fantastic creation.
Matinloc is a local term for “beautiful”; indeed, such a beautiful island! We were blown away by an awe-inspiring view!
Our boat stopped at the end of huge rocks and limestones. I heard we were going to a Secret beach. But I didn’t see any! Well, it’s a secret. Haha, I could only see rocks, and that’s it. I asked, where’s the beach?
Then the boatman said follow around. Oh-oh! It was only a matter of seconds when I realized people were swimming under those huge rocks!
I regret, though, I didn’t dare to swim because the waves and currents were strong. And it made the water unstable. 😭
And yes, according to hubby, there’s a hole below the rock formation, and you need to swim and go through that hole to find the secret beach. It was really a paradise, he added.
Helicopter Island (officially called Dilumacad Island) is home to towering cliffs sandwiching thick dark green rainforests. On one side of the island is a massive mountain. From afar, its cliffs looked like its edges are rounded, making it look more nurturing than the other islands. Most parts of the mountain was naked, baring its contours, carved by time, if not God himself.
That moment, I found exactly what I came here for — peace of mind. And how can any other moments beat this? A great, restful, happy time with hubby in Paradise. It was a different kind of high. If only I could stay here forever.
Star Beach on the Tapiutan Island is another spectacular snorkeling site featuring the wonders and beauty of the coral reefs, colorful fish, star fish and sea urchins. More often than not, you’ll see some turtles. This beach is usually the tour lunch stop.
I love Sunsets
It has always been my passion to watch sunset and I know that no sunsets are ever the same. It was my first time in El Nido, so catching the sunset was on my bucket list.
We have had a very memorable adventure in El Nido! Indeed, El Nido is a showcase of the Philippines’ geological and biological diversity. To put it simply, this island blew me away. It really is a heaven on earth!
What’s your unforgettable experience in El Nido? I would be glad to hear them in the comment below.