Tag Archives: Philippine Beaches

The Magic of El Nido, Palawan

12 Jul

One of the world’s favorite destinations is the island of Palawan. And a popular choice for most to visit is the world-renowned El Nido. I’ve always dreamed of ticking this place off my bucket list, and finally, I got that chance.

Since this is a very late blog post already, I couldn’t remember all the details of our trip. However, I am going to enumerate my favorite memories during our short visit to this breathtaking paradise.

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The first thing you see in the morning when you get out of the room. 

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Couldn’t help but have all smiles as we were off to start a new day of exploring this beautiful place.

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Coffee with this amazing view.

Favorite Memories in El Nido:

Island Hopping

Coming from the Island of Cebu, wherein a typical weekend getaway for locals usually include renting a boat and going around the islets littered around the Mactan Channel, Island Hopping is not new to us. However, I was able to prove that doing this activity in El Nido is a wholly different experience.

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With my favorite travel buddies, while waiting for our boat to arrive.

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A lot of boats are actually ready to take all the tourists to the Island Hopping activity. While we were waiting, we couldn’t help but marvel at the beautiful rock formations that surrounded the shore.

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Finally aboard with our new friends from all over the world.

We got to visit four of the most-frequented islands by first-time tourists (which I was).

Small Lagoon
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Small Lagoon, El Nido

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Small Lagoon, El Nido

Surrounded by pristine blue waters and lush, green mountains, the small lagoon was quiet a sight. It wasn’t advisable for us to swim though because of the numerous jellyfishes that frequented this part of the ocean during the time we were there. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the scene from the comfort of our boat.

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Every group took turns in having their photos taken with this picturesque background.

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Small Lagoon.

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Small Lagoon.

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Small Lagoon.

Hidden Lagoon

Next stop was quiet interesting. The lagoon was called “hidden” because you’d have to go through a cave to enjoy this place. I don’t think you would be able to go there if it were high tide. 

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We took turns in getting inside the lagoon.

 

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The water inside wasn’t as clear as we expected. 

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Good thing it wasn’t as crowded as it was at the entrance.

Big Lagoon

This was one of my most favorite parts of the trip. We were allowed to hop on kayak boats and go around the lagoon. It was an amazing and really beautiful adventure.

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It was such a surreal experience to kayak around the lagoon and see the beautiful rock formations up close.

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Every turn was like a taste of paradise.

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Experiences like these are always best shared with people who are special.

It was a bit of a struggle to transfer from our boat to the kayak. But whatever challenges we experienced were worth it when we got the chance to explore the lagoon.

Secret Beach

When we were finally ready to have lunch, we were pleasantly surprised to be brought to this beautiful place. 

The softest white sand with the blue green ocean in sight. It was every beach girl’s dream view while having a sumptuous lunch. While our guides prepared our food, we got the chance to explore a little of the islet.

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Worth every cent.

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This little cave showed the beautiful hues of the ocean.

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It was hard not to enjoy the beach while waiting for the food.

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There were huge trees in the islet. We couldn’t stop ourselves from climbing and enjoying the view.

When our food was finally ready, we took the chance to bond with everyone in our tour group. 

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The thing about exploring El Nido is that a lot of times, you will be with foreigners during tour groups. It’s fun to be able to connect with other people with different cultures.

We finished the day with great memories and an amazing story to tell of exploring the first half of El Nido. It was truly an adventure that we wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world. We still couldn’t get enough of the beach!

Marimegmeg Beach

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This had to be the best place to watch the sunset in El Nido. Chill music with happy hour cocktails and the sound of the beach washing up to the shore. The perfect time to bask in the golden hour.

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Lio Estate Resort

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About 30 minutes away from the town proper of El Nido via motorcycle, this spectacular beauty was a sight to behold. The place had a long wooden bridge that allowed you to be on top of the ocean. It was a bit hidden from the road, but it was a stop worth making.

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Nacpan Beach

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I’ve been to a lot of beaches in the Philippines, but this one immediately became one of my favorites the minute I set eyes on it. If heaven were on earth, this would be mine. The longest stretch of beach I’ve ever seen. People were happily all over the sand, and no matter how many there were, the beach never looked crowded because it just went on and on forever. The waves were a bit huge for people to be swimming in, but everyone as in the water. I felt so blessed to have been given the opportunity to experience such beauty. This place was free from pollution, filled with tourist, but somehow peaceful, and it made me feel free and happy. I could stay here forever and never miss the city.

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We finished the trip in two days. And I know that El Nido has a lot of other beautiful beaches to offer. I will definitely be back for another adventure. I hope I was able to give you useful tips on where to go when you plan for your trip here. If you love the beach just as much as I do, then you will definitely get your fill of it in here.

 

 

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Paradise Discovered: Port Barton, Palawan

7 Jul

When you talk about Palawan, you immediately think about going to El Nido or Coron. The world-renowned Underground River could also be a popular option, or even the Firefly watching and the crocodiles in the city, and the quaint but fairly beautiful Baker’s Hill are the more tourist-inclined spots of the province. But having been in Palawan several times for work, my friends and I wanted to explore less-commercialized beaches and we didn’t regret hopping on that scraggly van to discover the beautiful gem that is Port Barton.

Port Barton, Palawan

Found in the Northwestern coast of the island of Palawan and part of the town of San Vicente, Port Barton is one of the quieter but equally exquisite beaches in the Philippines. About 3 to 4 hours travel from the city, we traversed through several rough roads. It wasn’t a very comfortable trip because the roads aren’t well-developed yet. This is understandable in the Philippines, because usually the government only starts to work on roads when the place starts to get a lot of publicity, which Port Barton doesn’t have yet as of now. We chose to ride the van from the San Jose Terminal because we got left by the bus.

When we finally got to Port Barton, all the weariness that we had from the long and scary trip vanished when this scenery greeted us as we stepped into the beach:

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The place was perfect. The sand was soft and the beach stretched on forever. My most favorite part was that it wasn’t crowded. Tourists were visibly there but the place was clearly peaceful.

We immediately went to our little huts to rest and bask in the beautiful tranquility of the place.

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Our hut that fit the four of us very comfortably.

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Apart from the place, I always make sure to travel with people who can match my vibe.

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The beach stretched on and on forever.

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My view from the hammock in our resort.

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I loved the fact that there were very few people. It gave us the chance to enjoy the beauty of the beach even more.

We arrived a bit late already, the sun was already starting to set. But we still grabbed the chance to frolic by the beach and enjoy the clear water and the soft sand.

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The gang enjoying the soft sand and crystal clear water.

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The beach at late afternoon.

There are a few restaurants littered around the area. There were food places that served affordable dishes, considering that about 95% of the tourists there were foreigners. They weren’t overpricing, which was a relief.

We started early on our second day in this unspoiled paradise.

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Enjoying the sand and the sea.

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The early morning bathe in the water was even more peaceful than yesterday.

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What more could you ask for while you lay and sunbathe in the hammock with this amazing view?

White Beach

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We’ve heard of a secret beach that was a bit tricky to get to. But since everyone was up for an adventure, we took our chances and started off on the search for this mysterious White Beach.

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We had to walk through the whole stretch of the beach to get to the point wherein we could cross the sea to get to the other side.

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Traversing through these rocks was the most challenging part of our trek. They were unforgiving and very sharp. Good thing, it was low tide, if it wasn’t, it would’ve been impossible to get through.

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It was a hard trek from one side of the beach to the other. It was especially tricky because we were on our bathing suits and slippers.

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After the immensely hard rock formation trek was this breathtaking view. I mean, would you look at that? It was definitely worth every scratch and bruise that we had to endure to get to see this.

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We passed by this cute nipa hut by the beach. I suddenly knew what my dream house was.

After an hour’s trek, we finally reached the secret White Beach, and we were glad that we braved through all those challenging rocks and mountains because this place was heaven.

Secluded and brilliantly filled with stretches and stretches of soft and white sand, it was more than paradise. I couldn’t even find the right word to describe this place. It was like a dream. I had to pinch myself several times to make sure I was awake.

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No words can encapsulate the beauty of this beach.

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Leaving footprints, hoping to memorize every crevice of this place.

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The sand was one of the softest I have ever laid on.

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It was so secluded that I felt very much comfortable doing this.

We felt beyond blessed to have been given the opportunity to see this place. It was an adventure that I would be willing to go through again and again just to be able to experience the beauty of Port Barton again. This was one of the best short trips I’ve ever had in my entire life. And I would always tell my friends to visit this place whenever they plan a trip to Palawan.

It’s not your usual tourist spot, but after you’ve seen Port Barton, it will forever remain as one of your most favorite beaches in the world.

Apo Island: Turtles and the Beach

28 Feb

My second time in this beautiful island, and I am still amazed by how stunning it is. I still cannot get over the fact that I got to swim with these gentle sea creatures. 

Apo Island is the largest community-supported marine reserve in Negros. It houses several species of sea animals. But it is best known for the giant turtles that swim freely in its shallow waters. I feel so blessed to have been given the chance to experience this. And I am so thankful to the local government for protecting them and yet, allowing tourists to see them as well. Being assigned in Dumaguete for two weeks made it easy for my friends and me to visit the island again. This time, I got to visit with my sister as well.

From the city, you can take the tricycle to the Ceres Liner Terminal. Ask the conductors and drivers which bus you should take to the Malatapay Port. This is where you would ride a boat that would take you to the island. You could either take the aircon bus, which costs Php 50.00 per person; while the non-aircon bus costs Php 25.00 per person. I recommend that you go early in the morning, so that the island would not be as crowded as it usually is during lunch time. And it’s best if you avoid going there on weekends, so that you could take better pictures of the place, without having to crop out people from your photos. 

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At the Aircon Ceres Bus with my friend and sister.

Remind the bus conductor that you will be going down at the boat port for Apo Island. They’ll be the one to tell you when to get off. There is a short, but scenic walk towards the actual port. It could be hot, but there are a lot of big trees that you could appreciate along the way.

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Road to Malatapay Port

 

As soon as you get to the port, you can approach the tourist desk and they will be the one to arrange the boat ride for you. You could save more if you go in groups. Here are their options:

Medium Boat for 4 People: Php 2,000.00 (Rates are fixed. So if you go there with less than 4 people, minimum rate is still the same.)

Medium Boat for 8 People: Php 3,000.00

*For every excess person, they charge Php 250.00

This already covers the expense for the ride back and forth. When you go to the island during lunch time, they usually don’t have the big boats already; so you’ll be forced to take two medium boats, if you’re more than 4 people. 

The boat ride is smoother and the sea is calmer if you visit the island during the day. I tried going there in the morning and I’ve also tried going there during lunch time. If I were to go back again, I’d definitely choose to go in the morning.

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Appreciated the calm water during morning ride. First boat leaves at 8am.

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The real magic starts as soon as you set eyes on the island. The amazing rock formations are enough to take your breath away. I couldn’t resist taking numerous photos of the place.

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When you choose to go during lunch time, there are a lot of boats littered in the beach front already.

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All smiles for the amazing view.

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Signature rock pose.

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This was during my first trip. Mornings mean lesser boats and a better view.

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Most of the rocks were really sharp because of the strong waves. That didn’t stop us from sitting on them and taking good photos, though. We were rewarded with lots of wounds and scratches, but all was worth it.

We eventually let ourselves be led towards the marine area, where we would start our swim with the turtles.

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Shore line towards the tourist desk where you would be asked to pay some fees.

The locals would then ask tourist fees from you. Please see rates below:

Dumaguete Residents: Php 25.00 / person

Tourists: Php 100.00 / person

Guide (For 4 People): Php 300.00 (They do not allow you to snorkel without guides for safety reasons)

Snorkeling gear: Php 100.00 / person

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Entrance to the Marine Reserve. The adventure starts here!

If you don’t have flippers or aqua shoes, better if you use your slippers. Some of the corals are pretty sharp and there are several areas that are filled with sea urchins. If you’re not a strong swimmer, you can rent life jackets.

The first time I visited the island, the guides were less strict. They allowed us to go near the turtles and take selfies with them. This time, our guide was stricter and only took our videos and pictures himself. We were not allowed to go very near the turtles. The local guides are extremely helpful, friendly, and accommodating. You could also rely on them to take you to the best spots in the marine reserve.

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They swam freely near the shores. It wasn’t very hard to find them. And most were extremely friendly. They didn’t mind the tourists swimming around them.

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A hefty fine will be charged if you got caught touching the turtles. This could prove challenging when they have to go up for air. They sometimes swim towards you and you’ll have to be the one to swim away from them.

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First time snorkeling with our guide.

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Got to be this close to Mr Turtle during the first time.

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Second time with the group and our new guide.

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This time, I swam far away from the turtles. But I still enjoyed, nonetheless.

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The sizes of the turtles varied from small to very big.

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The real challenge here was trying to catch up with these strong swimmers. But every time you get the chance to swim on top of them, you’ll get a rewarding feeling of pure joy.

I don’t have a lot of pictures of the other fishes in this marine reserve, but there were a lot swimming around. For this reason, the island is definitely included in my top list of best places to snorkel in the Philippines.

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You won’t miss these spectacular rock formations littered around the beach front.

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Best part was that I got to enjoy the day with my sister.

All in all, I definitely recommend that you visit the island when you go to Dumaguete. It is an experience that you would not want to pass up. The best time to go is during the summer because the boats don’t travel if the weather isn’t good. 

To cap off this blog, check out my short video:

Till then, Loves. Toodles! 🙂