I had heard great things about El Nido on my travels through the Philippines and as any sensible backpacker will know, you’ve got to get to these places before they become too big of a tourist hot spot like Boracay . So, after visiting the next wonder of the world in Puerto Princessa, being ‘The World’s Largest Underground River’ I jumped on the night bus from hell.
And that’s exactly what it was! The temperature on this bus was about 55 Degrees Celsius (that’s like 131 for y’all American’s) at night, without a gust of wind, and the driver wouldn’t relent around corners, over bumps or stop for anyone or anything. He was on a mission with the pedal to the metal and I can’t tell you why, but it seemed to me it was important for some reason to arrive in El Nido at exactly 4am in the morning, where, at that time morning, the majority of the passengers had nowhere to go anyways. But that’s the Philippines for you, random. On the up side the bus fare was only 380 pesos (US $8.50) for the 6-7 hour ride, which is why I went for the bus option in the first place.
Anyhow, despite risking my life on that bus I arrived safely together with a friend I made in Puerto Princessa. The best thing about befriending people if you are a solo traveler is to hopefully score cheaper accommodation deals. Either that or you could travel with buddies, but solo leaves you a lot more options generally.
This did come in handy, because El Nido is quite expensive and getting more popular every day. Having a travel buddy helped me to score a cheaper deal on a room, and some advice for when you do travel through the Philippines, don’t be afraid to barter for your room, because often you will get a bit taken off. Or if you are close to the beach or the main attractions head a little bit away and the prices will get cheaper. I was able to score a room for 400 per night whereas most hostels were charging 500-600 per bed, in a dorm! So hunt around and you will find something cheaper and often a better bang for your buck.
With all that sorted it was time to chill out before we set off on our Island hopping tour the next day, which is what El Nido is famous for. It’s phenomenally stunning islands peaked up into the sky between tropically inviting crystal clear blue waters. There are many Island hopping tour options between A, B, C and D each varying depending on locations with the general cost between 1100-1500 Philippine Pesos per person. This cost does include the environmental fee that lasts for 10 days, meaning if you choose to do more than one tour you won’t have to fork out for that again.
Among island hopping and relaxing by the beach and in the beach front resorts and cafes, you also have options to climb up to one or some of the peaks in El Nido that boast picturesque views, especially for sunsets. There are also scuba diving adventures to be had, although I passed on this one for I was to do all my diving at me next destination. Being Coron, which is more famous for scuba and wreck diving.
Oh yea, there is wifi in El Nido but it does suck (like most places in the Philippines), but that’s not why I visited. Also, throughout all of El Nido, the electricity is only on between 2pm and 12am. This is because their last Mayor collected money from all the residences and businesses to pay the electrical bill to the electrical company. Only thing is, the Mayor then skipped town with all the money instead of paying the electricity bill, leaving this poor village fighting for their right for power from the electrical company. And that’s just a minor case of corruption from the people in authority in the Philippines.
Corruption really is a bad thing for the Philippines, however, despite that; the people are always so pleasantly friendly, accommodating, helpful and nice. And I apologize for overloading you with adjectives but hopefully you got my point that the people here in the Philippines really are special. This is why the Philippines is in my top 3 favorite countries ever!
As they say #itsmorefuninthephilippines. Who’s been, who loves it and who wants to go?