Towering limestone cliffs greeted us as we arrived from our 7-hour long journey, which consisted of getting on a plane, a tricycle, a jeepney and a bus. As we set foot on the white sand beach of Las Cabanas, all forms of exhaustion were whisked away. Like children, we attempted to build sand castles, sipped on and ate the flesh of fresh coconut, and got excited over a party invite left on our spot while we were swimming.
But everything came to a halt the moment the sun started setting, and we stood, gazing in awe and still couldn’t believe we made it to such a beautiful place.
Off we went on a tour boat that day, where our first stop would be the 7 Commandos Island. It was a simple beach with a row of cottages, and the only island in all the standard tours that had a stall selling fruit shakes, halo-halo, and beer. With regards to the beach itself, you could only swim up to a certain distance and it was near that barricade where you can find interesting corals, fish, and unfortunately for my boyfriend, tiny jellyfish that caused him to swim back to shore 😆
Our next destination called Shimizu Island, was named after a Japanese diver who died there during his exploration. For me, it was not so much the island itself, but the underwater life that surrounded it. The moment we got out of the boat, we were greeted by plenty of these striped fish!
Due to the number of tourists, I was glad that our boatman decided to park the boat further away from where everyone else docked and we had our lunch on the boat. As Joshua and I were peacefully snorkeling amongst the beautiful corals and fish, another tour boat started honking at us to get out of their way. That still didn’t stop us from appreciating various corals and fishes, but it also made me think of how this view might not be the same in a few years time if we aren’t mindful of our responsibilities as visitors of these islands. Most of us are well aware of the state of Boracay, the island that was once a pristine paradise but is now facing problems of overtourism, waste management and algae and e. coli infestation. Hopefully, despite its rising popularity, El Nido’s innate beauty would be preserved and respected.
Our next stop was quite literally hole in the wall! After treading through a rocky path, we had to crawl through a tiny entrance to get to the secret lagoon. It felt like a place where you can hold someone captive, like a Jon Snow, perhaps.
It took a while before our boat got back to us, but apparently, it’s because it broke down in the process of trying to save another boat. Unfortunately, this meant we had to cut our trip short and we missed out on seeing the Big and Small Lagoons. As excited as we were to be able to kayak, Josh and I knew this wouldn’t be our last time in El Nido, so we would probably go for a combo tour of Tour A & C next time!
For dinner, we ate at the popular beachfront restobar, Sea Slugs. Coincidentally, this American guy and his Filipina wife who were on our tour, were treating out our tour guides, so they invited us to sit with them. They were al very fun to be with, especially the boatmen who showed us some magic tricks involving only a few match sticks and a 1.5L bottle of soda. None of us figured out how the tricks worked, until they explained how simple it was. When I asked them how they learned it, they said they just used their imagination in coming up with these things!
Then, we were attracted to Pukka Bar’s trippy paintings, black light, but most of all, the reggae music that’s all-too inviting for beachgoers. As night trickled on, the music got livelier, until the dancefloor was filled with people dancing to Spanish pop songs.
Early the next morning, we were debating whether to extend our stay in town, since we loved it so much and were given a chance by the tour operator to join tour A that day to see the 2 lagoons, free of charge. Good thing though, that we stuck to our original plan of going to a more secluded place, further away from the town proper. We were definitely in for a rare treat, and a refreshing round of new surprises.
Here’s a sneak peek of our next adventure, which I’ll be publishing next week!