It was a solo trip. The fear of getting lonely was one factor why I chose to make this trip short.
Budget is limited. El Nido is not a place for average-earners like me. I’m not rich but still … I really want to see and experience El Nido.
My full-time job got in the way. I don’t think the bosses are going to let me be on a long absence.
Why go solo?
Because I’m an introvert 🙂 I have few friends. One just gave birth to a cute baby girl. The other one is trying to get pregnant. The other one is preparing for her wedding. And the other one is working abroad. My siblings? They have their own busy lives.
I joined Tour A. There are a lot of websites explaining what Tour A is. Basically island hopping and a sumptuous lunch in the beautiful island of Shimizu. The highlight of the tour for me is 7 Commando Beach. I love that island so much 🙂 The tourist guide asked us one by one from what country are we from. I was the ONLY Filipino in the tour and the rest are from France, Germany, South Africa, Taiwan and England. One of the foreigners asked me if Manila is safe and I said yes 🙂 I think I will write a blog post about why Manila is safe to visit.
The difficult part of the tour was snorkeling because I don’t know how to swim. But they convinced me to try it because they said the life vest will keep me floating and I won’t drown. So yeah … I tried it and saw colorful coral reefs under the sea. It’s also an experience that I won’t forget and would like to try again. I also like the kayaking part because the waters are so clear and the rock formations are incredible.
After the island hopping tour, I spent the afternoon at Corong Corong Beach where I saw a spectacular sunset. The place was quiet, calm and not crowded. Plus it’s a 2-minute walk from my hotel room. By the way, I stayed at Dormitels PH. I paid 1,900 pesos for a 3-night stay.
I hired a tricycle driver to take me to Nacpan Beach. I paid 1000 pesos. Too bad because I wasn’t aware there are vans available for only 350 pesos one way or 700 pesos round trip. That would save me 300 pesos. Anyway, Nacpan is a stunner sans the crowd. Beige-colored powdery sand, big waves and amazing view of the islands from afar. It made me forget about my worries back in Manila. At 3:00 PM, I had to leave and the driver asked me if I want to visit Las Cabanas which is about 5-minute drive from the hotel where I was staying. Of course I said yes. But I only stayed there for half an hour. The place is good but crowded so I didn’t stay too long.
At 5:00 PM, I went to El Nido town proper. It’s a small town and it’s not possible to get lost. But I wanted to get lost! LOL. The place is busy with many people (mostly foreigners) walking around. At 5:30 PM, I attended Mass at Saint Francis of Assisi Parish. Super thankful because it was just my impossible dream to travel and it finally happened. And it’s even more special because of all places, it’s El Nido. God is gracious 🙂
At 7:00 PM I had dinner at a carinderia and I only paid 70 pesos. Gosh. To think that I was paying at least 300 pesos for my previous meals. I should have just eaten at that carinderia throughout my El Nido stay. You know … to save money 😀
Then 8:00 PM I was back at my hotel room.
I woke up early to catch the 5:AM trip to Puerto Princesa. The RORO bus left at 5:42 AM. I slept most of the time. Then I woke up at 11:00 AM and still no signs of city life! All I saw was mountains, trees and the ocean. I started to get worried. Gosh. What time are we going to arrive at Puerto Princesa? Then at exactly 11:23 AM, I saw a sign that says: TOYOTA PUERTO PRINCESA. That made me really excited. The bus arrived at 11:46 AM or 6-hour travel time from El Nido to Puerto Princesa.
Had lunch at the terminal carinderia for 70 pesos and then I hired a trike to take me to AirportSide Inn. I just checked-in and left my bag. I hired the same trike for a city tour. The driver said I need to pay 600 pesos but in the end I gave him 700 pesos for being polite and for trying to explain to me the places that we are passing by.
For the Puerto Princesa City Tour, we went to: Butterfly Garden (50 pesos), Crocodile Farm (40 pesos), Bakers’ Hill (free), 2 local shops, Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral and Baywalk. I was back to AirportSide Inn at almost 6:00 PM.
Now this is the difficult part of my solo travel experience. I booked for a bed space in a female dormitory. The thing is … I was alone for the night. There are no other guests and I was super scared. I imagined all the horror movies that I watched and I couldn’t sleep. There are also lots of mosquitoes 🙁 All the while I played games on my phone and checked all the photos and videos that I took. I also listened to my phone’s radio. I also prayed. But I was still scared. I fell asleep at 1:00 AM and when I woke up at 8:00 AM, I saw two Caucasian girls in the room.
Back to Manila
I left the inn at 9:00 AM and headed to the airport which was 5 minutes away. My flight schedule was 12 noon. There was a short delay but it was all good. I was at NAIA Terminal 3 before 3:00 PM 🙂
My Palawan vacation is not that adventurous but I wanted it that way 🙂
I love island hopping Tour A. I wanted to try Tour B on day 2 and just skip Nacpan. But my sunburned skin was really painful. I wore sunscreen SPF 50 but my skin is Chinese-level fair and so thin so I still got sunburned. Next time I will use at least SPF 200. I’m not regretful though. Nacpan was worth the visit and also gave me a chance to do the Puerto Princesa City Tour.