El Nido;One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth
Anyone who has a chance to visit this amazingly beautiful place will be bestowed memories of a lifetime, as El Nido is one of Palawan's most beautiful treasures. It is located on the northern tip of Palawan which is a land mass that looks like a large island off to the left of the three regions in the country of the Philippines.
Getting there can be a very long and uncomfortable experience, unless you were to use the only expensive airline that flys directly there. Otherwise, most travelers need to land in Puerto Princesa and then take an early morning van or bus to this city by a cove.
If one takes a van, they will be treated to cramped conditions that while most Filipinos find acceptable, most Europeans will find utterly ridiculous as you are crammed inside of a van like a can of sardines. They will usually try to fill the van far more than its meant capacity. Then you will be treated to series of winding mountain roads, a speeding driver, and rocky dirt trails that will take you to the town's bus terminal where you will then have to either take a tricycle or walk to your hotel location.
The other transportation option, will take you in an even slower bus with no air conditioning. This will at least give you your own seat, but not much else.
Arriving in El Nido
Once you arrive there, you will need to either find a hotel or locate your previously booked one. They can run from about 600 pisos ($15 dollars) to upwards of 12,000 pisos ($300) depending on your tastes and preferences. Regardless of which style you choose they are located either on the beach or very close by within walking distance.
Also note, that unless you book a place with it's own generator, power will go out from 6 am until 2 or 2:30 pm. One would think that they would instead shut down the power in the cooler hours of the evening, say from 10 pm until 6 am, but as an American or European traveler in these parts, one must learn quickly that logic goes right out the window in Southeast Asia.
Once you have secured your place of stay, then it is time to enjoy the beauty of this ecological wonder.
Choosing a Tour
There are four choices of tours and the price is set for each one, so you can't find a cheaper deal elsewhere, but make no mistake they are not all the same. One can be quite disappointed when one sits down to lunch only to see another group next to you with a larger more lavish array of food items. Make sure you ask and get the most for your money as eating only fish, squid and two small cubes of pork with rice was quite disconcerting. Especially since the people next to us has fish, chicken, pork, fruit, and water. Not to mention a much larger portion size to choose from.
Most find the first tour the most appealing considering it will take to you to the most famous (and beautiful) of the destinations. These are the ones you will see on multiple post cards that promote the Philippines and include Big and Small Lagoon, Secret Lagoon Island with Secret Lagoon located next to it, 7 Commandos and a few more. Below you will get a taste of what to expect at the three most beautiful on the list.
Those who go on the right tour will most likely be treated to Big Lagoon as your second to last stop on the first tour. The landscape here is breath taking, with large volcanic rocks and limestone cliffs some bare and some covered in green vegetation set on top of gorgeous dark blue and crystal clear waters. Here you will not be able to snorkel as it is a protected area, but you will be able to do so just outside of Big Lagoon where this picture was taken.
Secret Lagoon Island & Secret Lagoon
After wading through neck to waist high crystal clear waters lined with chorals and rocks one comes to a small opening. Anyone who wants to find the secrets that lie behind this opening must navigate their way through. Once you do, you will find an amazing and natural wonder awaiting you. Let's have a look.
The Secret that Lies Beyond
The secret that lies beyond the entrance is wonderful treat to any and all who get to visit this magical place. Once you navigate your way through a rocky opening, you will find a lagoon that is filled with three different colored waters in clear, blue, and green. This lagoon is surrounded by large cliffs on each side that are covered in vegetation and reach high into the sky above you. One can swim here before heading to the next destination, Secret Lagoon Island located just next door.
Secret Lagoon Island
The first picture shows the large volcanic blackened cliffs that climb into large mountainous wonders lined with vegetation. These are set on white sand beaches lined with coconut trees and these pieces fit into a larger puzzle.
The next pieces are more cliffs set atop crystal clear waters connected to the white sand beaches. These pieces make up the beautiful landscape of this amazing puzzle that is Secret Lagoon Beach.
The Large Beauty of Small Lagoon
Often the first stop, Small Lagoon is Large in beauty and provides excellent opportunities to swim into a serene setting surrounded by stone and vegetation. Unless you have a kayak or a waterproof camera, it is difficult to photograph the inside of Small Lagoon due to the deeper waters one must swim through to get there. It is located through a stone archway and on the other side lies natural wonders abound. Don't be fooled by the name Small Lagoon as it is still very large in both size and natural beauty.
The first picture in this section of the article shows just how crystal clear and baby blue the waters are in this area. They are wonderful to swim in to say the least.
The next photo above shows the bright blue waters lined with sand and rocks at the bottom next to rocky cliffs that line and surround the area. It is truly an amazing experience to visit this wonderful place.
The sand inside the Small Lagoon is something like you will never experience anywhere else. It is quite unique. It is so fine that stepping on it, one would easily assume they were walking on moss, as it seems to slip and slide under your feet. Yet, looking through the crystal clear waters one can see there is no moss visible under your feet, only soft fine white sand.
Crystal Clear Observations
One can't imagine the depth and breadth of the beauties that await anyone who finds there way to these destinations. They are truly memories of a lifetime. These few photos are just a small glimpse into the natural wonders that await the soul. There are many more different and intriguing sites and sounds to be found when one makes there way to this amazing place on Earth. Maybe you have been, or maybe someday you will be, lucky enough to view it first hand.