Saturday, October 29, 2011

this sleepy town - el nido

El Nido is a sleepy town... but not for long. progress is catching up. when i was there majority of the small by-the-beach inns were under renovation. but as much as one would notice the ongoing constructions, it remains a sleepy town at almost anytime of the day. 
 
the narrow Serena Street must be the busiest street but busy in El Nido means seeing ten people crossing path hopping from one travel agency to another. Rizal Street has the most number of those booking centers majority offering the standard tour package rates.
 
amidst the growing tourists in this part of Palawan, you won't see people or kids begging. most them  simply doing their daily chores and errands. treating tourists like they were just one of the locals. this makes El Nido an ideal tourist destination. 
 
i believe that what keeps El Nido from the massive tourists bunch is a good airport to cater bigger aircraft. but a year or two from now, the airport will soon be rehabilitated to cater medium-sized planes which will open its gates to local budget airlines. i say it won't be a sleepy town for long.

how to get there:
>>>from Manila:
option 1: Domestic airlines fly daily from Manila to Puerto Princesa (1-hour flight)
option 2: Direct flight from Manila to El Nido via Seair (as of this post, direct flights are not available).
>>>from Puerto Princesa to El Nido:
option 1: Take a van trip from Fort Wally Van Organization to El Nido (6-hour road trip).
option 2: Take the regular bus trip from the Puerto Princesa Central bus terminal (7-8hours road trip)
>>>from El Nido van terminal:
option 1: take a tricycle for a short ride to your hotel or to the main beach area if you did not reserve for a hotel.
option 2: if you are willing to walk, the main town area is just a walk away. but i don't recommend this if you have big backpacks and if you have a limited time in El Nido. (15mins walk)
>>>for Tour A:
several travel agency along the main streets of El Nido offers standardized tour packages which includes island hopping and lunch.


location:
island: Palawan island
province: Palawan
gateway: El Nido Coast
 

GPS location:

11^ 10" 46' N
119^ 23" 16' E

Monday, October 24, 2011

el encuentro chyng reyes y ga-el hilotin

i started this year traveling with two cool ladies who would go for a top load jeepney ride on a dusty and rough road. apart from being busy with their profession, these two has considered traveling as their passion. chyng and ga-el has proved that ladies can go solo on backpacking journeys. here to share their brief travel profile.      
                          
                                                    "el encuentro" 
chyng reyes                                            blogger                                            ga-el hilotin
no spam no virus no kiddin!                        blog                          the pinay solo backpacker
hong kong                                          farthest north                                  palaui, cagayan
bali, indonesia                                   farthest south                   cemero, lawang indonesia
malaybalay                                         farthest east                                 matnog, sorsogon
bangkok                                             farthest west                                bangkok, thailand

ho chi minh to siem reap                  longest road trip                 cemero, lawang indonesia
paracale to calaguas                        longest boat trip                                  manila to iloilo
clark to kuala lumpur                       longest plane trip                            manila to jakarta
kowloon bay to hong kong airport     longest train trip                       jakarta to yogyakarta

mt pulag                                             highest point                           mt bromo, indonesia
balicasag, bohol                                 deepest swim                                 el nido, palawan
cave connection, sagad                        longest trek                                    palaui, cagayan
tappiya falls, batad                              hardest trek                             tappiya falls, batad

personalized swiss knife                  item/s lost in a trip           id, debit card, memory card
bali singlet                     memorable item/s given/bought on a trip              javanese dolls
bibingkang abnoy                       worst/weirdest food eaten                           fried beetles

note: 
1. farthest places reached are referenced from Manila (with Manila to Europe as West and Manila to Guam as East).
2. records here are subject to update. as we know travelers break their records from time to time. records here are updated as of this posting. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

experience batad

experience the Philippine's finest cultural landmark this year as Eskapo sets another open invite to Ifugao. the invite includes a trek to Tappiyah Falls, Batad rice terraces (amphitheater) plus a side trip to Banaue Rice Terraces.
for details email me: i.dongho@gmail.com deadline of confirmation will be on Nov 8.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

seven commandos beach


if there was a place that i would like to build a hut and stay for a month, it would be in this piece of beach called Seven Commandos. i would guess that Alex Garland, author of "The Beach", spent some time on this beach.

often mistaken to be one of the 45 islands of Bacuit Bay but this beach is actually part of the greater Palawan island coast. got its name from the seven soldiers who stayed in this part of El Nido as shared by the locals.

 
unlike all the other stops in the El Nido package tour A, this is the only part that offered fresh coconut juice. irresistible fresh coconut juice. while waiting, i noticed a number of little dogs. when i started taking photos of these dogs, they started playing around my camera. 
the most interesting aspect of Seven Commandos beach are these little low flying birds on the inner portions of the beach. you can sit down in the middle of those shaded spots and watch these birds fly over you with some going fast as if to hit you.
 
you need not to go far to experience wild. when you observe closely, there are still monkeys jumping over trees. beyond the shade are impressive rock formations to hidden cave entrance.

among all the stops that we made in this tour, this part gave us the best experience of what it meant to be so close to nature. my kind of spot.

El Nido Tour A:
Seven Commandos Beach is part of El Nido standard Island Hopping package tour A which also includes a visit to Small Lagoon Miniloc island, Big Lagoon island, Hidden Beach, Shimizu and Pangalusian island.
Tour A package cost: P700/head. 

how to get there:
>>>from Manila:
option 1: Domestic airlines fly daily from Manila to Puerto Princesa (1-hour flight)
option 2: Direct flight from Manila to El Nido via Seair (as of this post, direct flights are not available).
>>>from Puerto Princesa to El Nido:
option 1: Take a van trip from Fort Wally Van Organization to El Nido (6-hour road trip).
option 2: Take the regular bus trip from the Puerto Princesa Central bus terminal (7-8hours road trip)
>>>from El Nido van terminal:
option 1: take a tricycle for a short ride to your hotel or to the main beach area if you did not reserve for a hotel.
option 2: if you are willing to walk, the main town area is just a walk away. but i don't recommend this if you have big backpacks and if you have a limited time in El Nido. (15mins walk)
>>>for Tour A:
several travel agency along the main streets of El Nido offers standardized tour packages which includes island hopping and lunch.


location:
island: Palawan island
province: Palawan
gateway: El Nido Coast

escape factor: 
accessibility: 5.0
beach: 4.5
boat trip: 5.0
seascape: 5.0
topography: 4.5
 

isolation: 5.0
overall escape factor: 4.8

GPS location:

11^ 10" 46' N
119^ 23" 16' E

Thursday, October 13, 2011

R.O.X. Ultimate Sale

Sunday, October 9, 2011

finding the best island beaches

 
years on-track and off-shore in search of the best island beaches in the country, i must say that setting the criteria alone is already a challenge. whether you give more credits to the sand quality or the availability of a good resort can be subjective.
but when i was on the shores of the islands in Bacuit Bay i would say that it was easy to declare that El Nido holds the best island beaches in the country. accessible but exotic. 
 
on our third stop of El Nido Tour Package A, we were to have our lunch at the island of Shimizu. meal was prepared onboard while we were swimming around the lagoons on our previous  stopover. freshly cooked fish, squid and some meat with bananas and watermelon on the side.
amidst the growing number of tourists visiting these islands, it is unbelievably clean. trees and shrubs around the area are dense green. the waters clean. indeed a top spot for a great escape from the urban lifestyle.
what impressed me even more was the fact that the boat man did not even brief us on keeping our garbage. it seems that it was each one's initiative of the desire of keeping the island paradise as it is, helps preserve the place.

few minutes after lunch, it started to drizzle and the boat man started packing and gathering all that was left over back to the boat. we boarded as we were off to the next stop which is Pangulasian island.  
even from afar, this island was stunning. thatched huts, beach chairs under towering golden coconut palms, kayaks and a well secured area. majority of the beach shore is private as it is part of the El Nido Resorts Group. a portion of the beach is open to the public and highly recommend snorkeling here.
Bacuit Archipelago in El Nido holds 45 islands with 3 islands occupied by the world class El Nido Resorts. the rest, offers exotic and hidden beautiful beaches. El Nido for now holds my highest rate for best island beaches.

El Nido Tour A:
Shimizu Island and Pangulasian island is part of El Nido standard Island Hopping package tour A which also includes a visit to Small Lagoon Miniloc island, Big Lagoon island, Hidden Beach and Seven Commandos Beach.
Tour A package cost: P700/head. 

how to get there:
>>>from Manila:
option 1: Domestic airlines fly daily from Manila to Puerto Princesa (1-hour flight)
option 2: Direct flight from Manila to El Nido via Seair (as of this post, direct flights are not available).
>>>from Puerto Princesa to El Nido:
option 1: Take a van trip from Fort Wally Van Organization to El Nido (6-hour road trip).
option 2: Take the regular bus trip from the Puerto Princesa Central bus terminal (7-8hours road trip)
>>>from El Nido van terminal:
option 1: take a tricycle for a short ride to your hotel or to the main beach area if you did not reserve for a hotel.
option 2: if you are willing to walk, the main town area is just a walk away. but i don't recommend this if you have big backpacks and if you have a limited time in El Nido. (15mins walk)
>>>for Tour A:
several travel agency along the main streets of El Nido offers standardized tour packages which includes island hopping and lunch.


location:
island: Shimizu island and Pangulasian island
province: Palawan
gateway: El Nido Coast

escape factor: 
accessibility: 5.0
beach: 5.0
boat trip: 5.0
seascape: 5.0
topography: 5.0
 

isolation: 5.0
overall escape factor: 5.0

GPS location:

11^ 10" 46' N
119^ 23" 16' E

Sunday, October 2, 2011

el encuentro: edcel suyo y ferdz decena

el encuentro is a new eskapo series featuring two influential travel bloggers' profiles. head to head on their travel records. to jumpstart the series, i have two interesting blogger whose blog themes may be unique from one another yet both started their blogs as a personal journal and ended up finding their niche in travel. 

                                                     "el encuentro" 
edcel suyo                                               blogger                                         ferdz decena
soloflighted                                               blog                                                     ironwulf

hong kong                                          farthest north                                    sichuan, china
davao                                                farthest south                                                 sabah
biliran                                                farthest east                                                   guam
thailand                                             farthest west                                                     laos

manila to sta ana, cagayan                longest road trip             manila to claveria, cagayan
manila to davao                                longest boat trip                         singapore to manila
clark to bangkok                              longest plane trip                               manila to guam
bangkok to siem reap                       longest train trip                           hunan to guangzhu

kiltepan peak, sagada                         highest point                                  emeishan, china
moalboal, cebu                                  deepest swim                                   apulit, palawan
palaui lighthouse                                 longest trek                                       kota kinabalu
sagada cave connection                       hardest trek                                      bantakay falls

sunglasses                                     item/s lost in a trip                         shutter trigger, cap
headware                      memorable item/s given/bought on a trip                       compass
moma in sagada                         worst/weirdest food eaten                                 ant eggs 

note: 
1. farthest places reached are referenced from Manila (with Manila to Europe as West and Manila to Guam as East).
2. records here are subject to update. as we know travelers break their records from time to time. records here are updated as of this posting. 

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