The Jade Islands of El Nido


This view beacons you to a heap of glimmering islands waiting to be discovered...

Located on the northernmost tip of Palawan, El Nido is distant from all other places in the world. Because of its location, nobody knew its stupendous tourism value.

As late as 1979, El Nido was unknown to beach-goers and wanderlusts, when a group of divers met a sea accident at night forcing them to drop anchor in an inlet.

The following morning, the divers woke up to an amazing scenery of skyscraping dark cliffs, thick green forest, white-sand beach, sparkling waters and, rising above it, a series of magnificently-sculpted jade islands. [Wikipedia]

I was fortunately born late enough to have read the “wows” of tourists who have been there and to have seen the spectacular pictures of El Nido… but it was not until my sister’s insistence three weeks ago that persuaded me to go on a last-minute decision to head on to this remote place.

Two flights from Legazpi and a 6-hour van ride from Puerto Princesa were all it took for us to get there. It was a grumpy day at best as we had to wake up at 5 in the morning to catch our flight to Manila but everything was worth the plentiful sacrifices we did because we were stunned by El Nido’s hidden beaches and lagoons…

In this entry, one sees the amazing shots we took of the different places of interests in El Nido…


Matinloc Shrine & Island

Beautiful seascape engulfing Matinloc Island

            Matinloc means “beautiful” in Cuyonin, a language that originates from the distant island of Cuyo, also in Palawan.

Lovers taking pictures of each other at Matinloc Island...

            The shrine is a beautiful addition to the limestone formations and turquoise waters encircling the island. I quipped to my sister, “it sort of reminds me of Rivendell.” My sister, a huge LOTR fan, agrees with me, answering back in our native dialect, “ayawu!”

The shrine occupies a very small portion of the entire island but it is big enough to add to much of the island's grandeur...


Our Lady of Matinloc, the island's patroness.

I didn't notice this but my sister did. You have to look up to see it. Most people, I surmise, do not expect something hidden in the shrine's ceiling. Photo Credit: Gianina Andes.

This White Pineapple is the centerpiece of our feast in the island. It tastes very sour but I love sour fruits so I indulged!

 
Secret Beach

            Many people should wonder, how long has this beach been secret? Because, apparently, everybody knows it’s no secret anymore…

            Well, there was a small hole that one should pass by first to get into it so the gods of nature must have kept it a secret for a very long time.




When we did get inside, we discovered that the beach was rather small and much of what we saw was a lagoon. Regardless, the limestone rocks encircling the lagoon was very captivating.

The rather small Secret Beach...

Yes, we're included among these tourists. All three of us!



Seven Commandos Beach

            This beach was named as such because seven Japanese commandos during WWII were stranded here. They sculpted their names on some stones in the beach but nothing else was known about them.

The sparkling Sapphire waters of 7 Commandos Beach were a treat to our eyes...

            The beach is still connected to the mainland but, because it is separated by towering mountains, it can only be accessed by boats.


Payong Payong Island

            The island was given this name since several rock formations that resemble “umbrella”, which is translated to “payong" in the local vernacular, are found on the island. When a thing resembles another thing, the usual tradition is to repeat the word, hence the name “Payong Payong” which means “like an umbrella.”

One of those rock formations resembling an umbrella. 


Small Lagoon
 
Captivating limestone formations surrounding the Small Lagoon...

            The most generic-sounding tourist attraction in the entirety of El Nido is, for some reason, the most fun-filled and beautiful.

            We did a lot of kayaking and some snorkeling on the lagoon; we spent the most time here than in any other place in El Nido. The length of time seemed too short however as I would’ve swam the lagoon for far longer if granted.

Kayaking at the Small Lagoon.
Photo Credit: Gianina Andes



            The name doesn’t give justice to the lagoon's stunning appearance though. If given the privilege, I would call it, “The Emerald Lagoon” instead.

Another look at the Emerald waters of Small Lagoon...

 
The El Nido Port


The El Nido Port.
Photo Credit: Gianina Andes

            The port itself was already an attraction. The small boomtown is surrounded by panoramic mountains; the comely sea is dotted by small white boats. We didn’t catch the sunsets on the days we were there but, on our trip back to Puerto Princesa, we caught short glimpses of what it would’ve looked life if we were fortunate enough.

The mountains surrounding El Nido add sentimental appeal to the small boomtown.
Photo Credit: Lorenz Andes.
Our sister making the most of her last days of vacation as we await the next tour.
Photo Credit: Gianina Andes


The Nightlife in El Nido

            The main reason we chose El Nido over all other destinations for our sister’s short vacation was the town’s nightlife. It is bustling with bars and restaurants, in between which were tourists from distant places, most of whom were foreigners.

The busy streets of El Nido are pedestrian-friendly; that is, you won't see vehicles that much!
Photo Credit: Lorenz Andes


Drinking glasses of wine must be even better with this kind of view!


This is where we ate dinner for the second night. It serves Mediterranean cuisine. Bars and restaurants are so varied in El Nido that the town almost felt like a small city already...

            El Nido has something for both relaxation and partying. It certainly lived up to my sister’s expectations and we’ve had great fun.

Comments

  1. Wow! I love adventures. It must’ve been nice to see the magestic views with my very own eyes. The sceneries look fantastic.

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    1. Yes... and thank God, the pictures gave the sights justice! :)

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  2. The views look stunning. Must have been loads of fun. Would like to visit there one day..

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    1. Yes, they were... but it takes a lot of energy... so it's best to go there while still young. :)

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  3. A great travel destination for this upcoming 4 months vacation....

    For anyone interested, Calaguas Island in Vinzons and Apuao Islands in Mercedes are beautiful islands with white sand beaches in my home province, Camarines Norte. The local people are friendly and the food (especially seafood) are great!

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    1. Always wanted to see Calaguas! Thank you for the information, Miss Yanto! :)

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  4. El Nido looks really promising. The shots you took really gave justice to the beauty of the place. Thanks for this! I can't wait to experience it for myself in the near future.

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  5. The photos are awesome. It makes me feel proud as a Filipino, knowing that El Nido is in the Philippines. I'm just hoping we could preserve its beauty for the future generations to see.

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  6. What a stunning view! Loved all the shots.I hope someday I'll be able to experience this too.Thank you for this!

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  7. I've always wanted to visit Palawan. This blog entry somehow took me there. Thanks!

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  9. This deserves to be a part of everyone's bucketlist! Great scenery with great people are a perfect combination for an epic summer getaway 🌊🌞

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  10. Wow! I've always wanted to experience the wonders of El Nido and now I'm more excited to visit it in the future. The pictures alone are incredible that makes me want to visit it sooner. Looking forward to more blogs like this.

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  12. Someday, my family and I would love to witness the beauty withis this island with our own eyes.

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  13. El Nido is one of the wonders of nature in the Philippines which I would like to experience. This blog entry boosts my eagerness to get there much more.
    I ♥️ Philippines

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  16. What a powerful entry! It made me feel like I was in El Nido Palawan by simply looking at those awesome photos and made me realize how blessed we can be as long as we are enjoying our lives with the people we love. How exemplar! Thank you for this!

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  17. El Nido is truly a wonder. Would like to visit there someday. ❤️

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  18. The blog does not just tell about the wonders of El Nido, but aside from being that, it shows more than it apprises. This took me, as a reader, to the island itself as if I am one of the tourists. I felt as if I am living in the experience as I read through. All the more, El Nido felt like a reality with its beauty it exudes. No question that one day, I will be dragging my feet onto the island.

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  19. It must be a great place to spend our summer 😊 Thank you for your blog.
    Hope next time you include your average expenses so that we, your readers, can have an idea about how much should we prepare our wallets hahahaha. Thankiieee.

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  20. WOW! Every picture looks stunning. El Nido is such a paradise. Thank you for capturing sharing the true beauty of the Philippines.

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  21. I've always enjoyed travelling, and El Nido is one of the amazing places I have yet to discover. This has been a very informative and helpful piece that made me realize what I've been missing. Hope I can visit these wonders soon.

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  22. A paradise in the making, a discovered paradise where everyone wishes to experience and lastly, a paradise which resembles the beauty of nature and a reminder that each and every thing existing in this world have its own beauty and its beauty comes naturally. This blog entry encouraged me to pursue more in life in order to experience what beauty life can give. THANK YOU!

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  24. El Nido is really a PARADISE. I hope I'll be able to visit such place soon.

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  25. Whooaaaa! I'm not really planning to go there, but because of you... it feels like it became a need. Thank you so much for sharing to us. :)

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  26. Felt like I've already experienced and gone to El Nido just with this blog. Thank you for this!

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  27. El Nido, Palawan is truly among our country's most priceless treasures. I do hope that I can also go there in the future to witness its natural beauty with my own eyes.

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  29. I enjoyed reading the entirety of the blog and it felt like I was actually experiencing El Nido while looking and scrolling through the pretty shots of the different landmarks. This place has always been in my bucket list and it is truly a treasure of our country. And because of this blog, it inspired me to work harder in order to pursue my dreams. Thank you so much for this!

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  30. A peaceful sanctuary and a beauty within. A place full of surprises and enchantment. A place where beauty of nature is expressed without human intervention. A nature beyond imagination. Lastly, a place that will give you a nostalgic moment and make you realize how beautiful the nature is without human modification. I always love travelling to places and this blog entry make me excited to experience what life would there be after finishing my studies. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!
    #VivaElNido

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  32. El Nido is indeed God's greatest gift! I really appreciate the beauty of El Nido through this blog. I felt the excitement while reading and looking at those pictures.
    I really want to be there soon! Thank you for sharing your experiences!

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  33. The place is really fascinating. I wish I could go there someday!

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  35. I've always been so curious about what El Nido looks like since I keep on hearing how El Nido is such a beaut. Through this blog, I did not only see the true beauty of the place but it was as if I was there myself. It gives me the urge to travel there too really soon. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

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  36. Awesome blog! I love the history behind the names of the places. Thank you for the information! Wish I could go there real soon ✨

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  37. A majestic scenery and a tale of unprecedented discovery, influenced by the rich culture of local countrymen. One of the hidden gems of the Philippines' many natural treasures.

    A place with unparalleled beauty. El Nido truly a paradise, a pride of our country.

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  38. Palawan is indeed a paradise! From the breath-taking views and sceneries to amazing history. I love the photos of the rock formation and even the jewel-like seas. Also, the photos of the foods seem to invite me to really visit the place. I would love to visit Palawan, especially El Nido someday! Thank you for this.

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  40. Indeed it is as stunning as it gets and for sure it's value will also increase overtime. If this keeps up, along with the discipline of Filipinos, then this will have a massive impact to the nation not only in Economic aspect but also of tourism and culture. Hoping to visit these sights soon.

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  42. It really makes me happy that there are such wonderful places that could be found here in the Philippines. I hope we all could preserve and take care of it.

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  44. Wow! 😍 I've heard a lot of stories regarding the amazing sceneries in El Nido, I just hope that people would take measures in order to preserve or improve its beauty, so that the future generation would have the chance to experience what it has to offer as well.

    Great shots and thank you for the information. God bless.

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  45. Such a very stunning and majestic place 😍 I've been to Palawan but I've failed to visit El Nido and seeing those wonderful photos made me regret it. 😅 But still, I look forward to visiting and experiencing a one of a kind paradise- El Nido. Thank you for this. Another place on my bucket list 😍

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  46. These photos made me want to leave all my responsibilities here to go there!! �� literal heaven on earth! ��

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  47. Wow! Excited to see this for myself!!!

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  48. Wow...such a beautiful place! I want to go there, too. Indeed, summer vacation will be full of fun and great adventures because of those amazing sceneries that can be found here in the Philippines. 😊

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  50. Wow! The photos were great and inviting that it made more in love with the sea. Such a mesmerizing place to go and refresh this summer vacation.

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  51. Woooaaaaahhh!!! Thank you for sharing these with us, Sir! I hope I'd be able to visit this place soon (when my means permit me to do so) and when that time comes, I also hope that I can still witness El Nido's natural beauty. May tourists, Filipinos and non, be responsible and accountable enough for these great wonders.

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    1. That is a period... hahahahah "when your means permit you to do so." Please provide your name though. If you can't, include it in the comments. Thanks

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  53. Your first image took my heart away. What a place!!! El Nido looks really dreamy. It must be a fascinating experience to wake up in such a place. What I really loved about the place is that it has been integrated so seamlessly with the natural surroundings. The structure and the decor of each place seem perfectly in harmony with the environment.
    El Nido has always been so high on our bucket list!

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  54. My mom would always tell me that we should go to El Nido because she wants us to experience and see the beauty of the place. Now I know why she is so persistent. El Nido looks so promising!

    I definitely need to look forward to visiting it with my mom and my family soon!

    Thank you for this, sir!

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  56. I'm really grateful for the pictures, Sir, and of course with this blog! To visit Palawan has always been part of my bucketlist, thanks to you, I'm again enthralled of the dream to travel and experience the beaches and nightlife in El Nido. That was indeed motivating. Looking forward for more blogs! Thanks so much!🙌

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  57. This blog did not just showcase the beauty of El Nido but also prompt us to feel blessed to have this place as another proof of the beauty and richness of our country. This is a real invitation for all to visit the place. Please continue doing this kind of content, sir. God bless!

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  59. After reading your blog, I have realized that traveling is indeed a worthy experience. It makes us discover new things, meet new people and experience something new. For some people, traveling helps while reflecting upon themselves and looking for their purpose in life. Moreover, being adventurous makes us come out of our comfort zone and force us to live life to the fullest. So, I am grateful that you have shared to us your El Nido Palawan Experience. More travels to come! Soon, I'll be traveling there, too.

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  60. There are indeed a lot of spectacular places to visit here in the Philippines, that we, filipinos, should visit first before we try to explore other countries. Thank you sir for showcasing El Nido really well. Hopefully, we could also visit, experience, and enjoy El Nido in the near future.

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  61. Nature really is a one of a kind artist. El nido being a vivid proof justifies just its talent. I hope someday that I’d be able to share this nature-served frozen memory of yours. It’s a real beaut!

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  62. Precious Deuda: I wish I could go there too! To fulfill my mermaid life ��☀

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  63. I've always wanted to travel and visit these wonderful places in the Philippines, especially Palawan. With the help of this blog, I've discovered the must-see sights in this beautiful place. These photos really captured the beauty of the place and I can't wait to go there to create unforgettable memories with my family. I hope that these wonders can be preserved to be seen by the future generations.

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  65. Philippines is really rich in terms of majestic sceneries. That would have a sort of high emprise that most of us experience only in our dreams. I've heard a lot of stories from my friends about thier exploits in  El Nido and this blog just aggrandize my desire to visit and have fun in El Nido. Someday El Nido, wait for me.

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  66. El Nido looks majestic! Now, I've made it a goal to also enjoy El Nido's sights and food with my family in the future.

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  67. This blog isnt only persuasive but also informative! El Nido looks promising, and thanks to this blog i might actually convince my family to head here to unwind this summer. :)

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  68. Wow!!! To say that El Nido is beautiful would be an understatement. I hope I could also go to El Nido to witness its beauty and experience what it has to offer.

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  69. The pictures alone showcase a fascinating view. What more if you've been there in person and witness the spectacular beauty of El Nido, it'll gonna be a fun-filled and magnificent adventure. Thank you for the blog, it motivated me to travel and experience wonderful adventures. I'm looking forward to visit El Nido too.

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  70. El Nido is really more than a destination, it’s an experience of a lifetime! Thanks for sharing this great and amazing travel of yours. I do hope that more people will promote local tourism and explore the precious gems of the country. Indeed, it’s more fun in the Philippines!

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  71. I am very certain that at some time in the future, I'm gonna relish my time in here 😍 -Daphne Joy Racho | BSA 1-C

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  72. Six years ago I've also experienced the beauty of Palawan but we were not able to include El Nido in our bucket list (because of limited time dahil nasa competition kami noon and pahirapan pa makapunta sa El Nido during that time). Seeing your stunning photos, I somewhat regret not visiting El Nido. Nonetheless, I was able to spend my summer in Puerto Princesa really great. I hope we can protect and preserve these wonderful places. Proud to be Pinoy ❤️

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  75. I remember back then when I was a child, some of the scenes of the 4th installment of the Hollywood movie series entitled Bourne Legacy are filmed in El Nido. It suits the essence of secret filming, and one of the quite remote location from most of the inhabited islands in the Philippines. Its pristine beauty was hidden to the world, truly magical, a showcase of the Philippines geological, biological diversity and extraordinary natural splendor ecosystem. Thank you for capturing this and sharing your experiences to us. Probably the best travel destination for this upcoming summer.

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  76. The beauty and serenity of nature never ceases to amaze me. Haven't been to palawan but one day I'll be. This just proves that it's more fun to be in the Philippines.

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  77. Palawan is really captivating but I am afraid that exposing it for tourism will have an adverse effect on its biodiversity. Still, thank you for the pictures :)

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    1. Oops that's me po pala - Posoga

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    2. The islands are really clean. No trash wherever... so I surmise environment preservation is being done really well in El Nido.

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  78. Nice blog! El Nido is such a beautiful place. I've always wanted to visit Palawan with my family. Wish we could go there real soon <3

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  79. El Nido, Palawan has always been one of my dream destinations. Thank you for this great blog! I'm jealous! waaaah ����

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