The Philippines is composed of 7, 107 islands. But as of the latest count, there are actually 7, 641. That is 534 islands more than what was previously known and to be clear, these ‘new’ islands were not on the map before. And luckily, we are blessed with countless beautiful islands such as El Nido, Palawan.
I’m so excited to share the story of this trip because it was one of the cheapest vacations I ever planned and also, this was our first ever family trip. Yup, together with the parents.
Airasia posted an announcement online regarding its ‘redeem free flights’ using Airasia BIG Points, which only applies for people who are registered to Airasia BIG Loyalty Programme. I was extremely fortunate when I saw 0 point flight bound for Puerto Prinsesa and vice versa. That basically gives you a free flight to Palawan, though I still had to pay P1,943 for additional fees which I can’t recall what for. Not bad, right? I paid almost 2,000 pesos for us 4 to go on a very well-deserved trip.
A month before our trip, I inquired to several tour agencies for packages and I ended up at Tay Miloy’s Inn. This place was also referred by a friend who travels frequently. We got a package per head worth P5,300 and that includes the accommodation for 4 nights, breakfasts, tours A and C, lunch during the whole tour, and van transfers to and from El Nido. I must admit, it’s a pretty good deal! Also, the staff are very humble, kind and generous. They even offered to go to the market, buy fresh seafood and cook it for us if we want to save from eating expensive food from the restaurants. And yes, we totally agreed! That’s exactly the reason why we always had buttered shrimp every day! HAHAHA!!
El Nido is a beautiful small town with very welcoming locals. There are lots of restaurants and you will definitely not run out of choices. There are also cafe’s around the area which are good hanging out spots. You can eat dinner by the beach and drink liquors. The night life is very alive and it is very likely you will get to mingle with foreigners from different parts of the globe.
On our first day of tour, I was really praying it would not rain because it has been pouring the past few days and the tours need to be canceled. It seemed providential that the sun arrive on our first day of tour. It was bright and sunny! Just what all the beach bums like me wanted.
Lunch time! Everything was prepared in the boat. Originally, we were supposed to have lunch at Talisay Beach but it was crowded. So the boat captain decided to bring us here at Matinloc Island. The entire beach was ours and it felt surreal. The sand is very fine, water is crystal clear and all that’s left is the camera and our poses. HAHAHA!!
And of course, what is island hopping without snorkeling in between? The body of water here in Palawan is so pristine. You can see the corals clearly even on the boat. While my father and sister are enjoying their swim, my mom and I have our own photo op. HAHA!!
Tour A for day 2. It’s been lagoons and beaches kind of day for us and thank God for yet another sunny day! I was hoping the people we were with yesterday join us but unfortunately, they were already heading back to Puerto Prinsesa and so we were with other set of people. First stop: Big Lagoon! You can rent a kayak and paddle around its wide area, though we didn’t have enough time to do so because we left port a little late and we were a bit behind schedule.
After Big Lagoon, we went to Payong-Payong Island where we had lunch. Same as yesterday, the boat captain didn’t follow the original itinerary. He brought us here because there were less crowd plus it’s more relaxing and more enjoyable if we have the island all to ourselves. Though we weren’t really the only group in the island but at least it’s not as crowded as the usual lunch spots.
After lunch, we went to several beaches and lagoons. One of them is the Small Lagoon. This is where we had a chance to rent a kayak and spend some time paddling around. Me and my sister were having fun until the GoPro fell in to the water. I was in complete panic mode because it’s not mine. It’s my best friend’s GoPro! But thank God, again, for saving the day! A very good diver was able to retrieve it 18 meters down below. How the hell did he do it? Sad I wasn’t able to get a photo with him but, I’m super grateful. The camera is working as expected and I’m just happy I do not need to replace it. HAHAHA!!
A beautiful family selling Coconut juice in Small Lagoon.
And our last stop is the 7 Commando Beach. This was supposed to be our first destination on our day 2 but there were a lot of people, so we decided to just make it our last stop. I was enjoying the serenity. That’s exactly what I deserve after my story in the Small Lagoon, which happened right before this. It was like the calm after the storm for me. HAHAHA!!
- There’s no guarantee that you will always find free flights like what I did, but it would be better if you are ready when airlines make an announcement. Make sure to register at Airasia Big Loyalty Programme and GetGo Rewards by Cebu Pacific.
- If you want to save big time, then you might want to consider Tay Miloy’s Inn. The only catch is that the water is coming from well. I believe they have tap water on their other branch.
- If you are staying at Tay Miloy’s Inn, the helpers will surely offer to cook for you. You will not just save money but also time. You might also want to invite them to eat with you, just an act of kindness for their hospitality.
- El Nido is a small town. There’s no need to ride the tricycle if your destination is just within the town vicinity.
- Get yourself a dry bag. I got mine from Kimstore.
- If you are using a camera like GoPro, make sure to always strap it around your wrist or better, use a floating case just in case.
- Do not eat a heavy breakfast, save lots of space for lunch!
- Be camera ready, always!
- Bring lots of sunblock! HAHAHA!!
There’s so much more to talk about my El Nido trip with the family. Please check out my blog post about Nacpan beach. Thank you!