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!|
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.|
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.