El Nido, Palawan
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- Great Outdoors
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Matinloc Island is the best spot for a picturesque view! This is one of the many remarkable attractions to visit. I am so so amazed how gorgeous this island is! From the towering marble cliffs and enchanting lagoons to its white sandy beaches and lush jungle. Such a beautiful place to visit for!! Swear!
El Nido is one of the top tourists destination in Palawan which I wanted to visit too. So I grab the promo of Philippine Airlines which is 4,500 pesos a two way tickets from Manila to Puerto Princesa good for 2 people. From Puerto Princesa we have to ride a van going to El Nido town proper for 5 to 6 hours. If you want to skip the long land journey, fly directly to El Nido from Manila, Cebu or Boracay-Caticlan. This is the fastest but more expensive way. For adventurous travelers who want to maximize their trip, book a flight to Coron-Busuanga Airport (USU) and continue the sea journey to El Nido by ferry.
Reminder number one: Bring all the cash you need. Do not rely on getting money from the ATMs in El Nido. There are only two of them in town (as of early 2017). It will be safer to withdraw your money in Puerto Princesa or before arriving in Palawan.
So after an almost 6 hours ride from Princesa to Elnido town proper, we need a tricycle to bring us to our hotel for about 20 minutes. The fare was around 60 pesos for the two of us. I booked to a budget-friendly hotel in mainland of El Nido. It's not on a beach front but its only 2 blocks away from the beach front and the hotel was nice and clean! It costs 1,700 per night. The most popular place to stay is in El Nido town proper area. You can find many hotels along the beachfront and nearby streets that cater to budget-conscious and mid-range travelers. This area is perfect if you want to stay within easy walking distance to a wide variety of restaurants, bars, shopping, and tourist offices.
Reminder number two: Book your hotel/hostel early. You can book through agoda, booking, airbnb and etc. before your trip. That way, you can bring less cash with you and get a cheaper rates. Reserve your stay as soon as you know you are going because prices rarely go down the closer you are to your trip. Rooms also tend to get fully booked sooner, especially during holiday and peak seasons.
After we arrived and check in to the hotel (i can't remember the name though ) i felt the excitement to walk around and see what this place had to offer. We decided to go directly to the beach front and take selfies . The beach is so beautiful. Crystal clear bluish water with white and fine sand. Holding hands while walking from end to end of the not so long beach front. You may indulge in fresh seafood, go on a food trip in many seafood restaurants along El Nido beachfront as we did . They have lobster, shrimp, all type of clamps, all type of fishes and many more!! Gumana ang katakawan mode ko dito!! There so many restaurants within the area with more different dishes to tastes!! We had dinner at Art Cafe's. Their dishes tastes very good, its pricey but worth the price though! After dinner we decided to rest early for tomorrow activities, island hopping my favorite part!!
Reminder number three: Pre-book tours & island hopping — Check discounts on tours online as well. Save money, time and avoid hassles of exchanging/bringing large amounts of cash. Don’t miss island hopping in El Nido. The boat tours around Bacuit Bay islands is the main highlight in El Nido. Don’t ever skip it during your first trip. The best spots are found in “Tour A” & “Tour C.” You may book the combination tours, especially “Combo Tour A + C,” if it is available.
Since the local will recommend you the tour A and C which is the most popular tour, my husband and I agreed to have tour A first. The tour includes boat transfer to the islands,buffet lunch and drinking water, life vest with a snorkeling gear and an english speaking tour guide.
So here we go.
Tour A: Lagoons and Beaches 🏽♀️🏻️🏖
A must see for all who plan to visit soon. It will take you to the most inspiring rock formations and lagoons. The tour takes us to the following lagoons and beaches:
Small Lagoon is located on the cove of Miniloc Island. Since we are not a very good swimmer we need a kayak to explore and be mesmerize of the turquoise-green waters of this lagoon. The water was so calm and clear! So if you loved snorkeling, then this is one of the best spot.
Big Lagoon - a visit to this lagoon is a running tour on board the boat. Tour guide do not recommend this lagoon for swimming, this area is for sight seeing only. I am so amazed to the karst limestone formations as the boat is approaching to the lagoon. The water is so clear and full of marine life!
Shimizu Island is an island with stunning limestone cliffs. The tour guide prepared our lunch here. This is one of the best spot for snorkeling. Were making the most of our time so we decided to explore the island while waiting for our lunch. Take selfies, pictures every spot of this island. Water is clear with full of marine life. I encountered angry fish here
Secret Lagoon is surrounded by limestone karst cliffts. We have to enter into a small hole to reach inside the lagoon but we have to swim first going to the small hole. Luckily we have our life vest because i am not a good swimmer
Seven Commandos Beach is our last stop after a long day tour. The liked this island. It has a long white sandy beach line with palm tress. I really enjoyed all of our moments here. The stunning view of the ocean from the island is loved . You can buy buko juice, or other refreshments here to beat the heat! They have cottages too!
We deserved a sumptuous dinner and full rest after having a blissful tour. After going back to hotel we ate dinner at the seaside restaurant. We ordered sinigang na lapu-lapu with matching ripe mango shake and it was super yummy! Lamon mode on!
For the next day we're having "tour C". A tour of El Nido wouldn't be complete without visiting tour C. The tour takes us to the following islands:
🏖 Tapiutan Island our first destination. This is one of the best spots for snorkeling and scuba diving. This is one of the most striking island because of its shape and sheer limestone walls.
🏖 Matinloc Island is the longest slim island. It has a white sand secret beach at the corner of a sinkhole which inaccessible by boat and surrounded by steep rock walls.
🏖 Helicopter Island has a beautiful white sand long beach. We had our lunch here. It is called helicopter island because of its limestone cliffs with a helicopter shape when it is view from a distance.
🏖Hidden Beach is hidden between two rocks. You can't see this beach unless you go further in between these two stones. Our aqua shoes here is super sulit! The shallow area is quite full of rocks so you need to walk or float. There's a way in between those rocks that lead us to a small strip of white sand beach. It has a limestone cliff which makes a background of our photo looks perfect!
🏖 Matinloc Shrine my favorite and for me the best ocean view ever! The local also called it Shrine of Our Lady of Matinloc and Shrine of the Blessed Virgin. You will visit a shrine in the middle of the sea of El Nido. As soon as you dock in the island you will be welcomed by the shrine. Inside the little dome is a Blessed Virgin Mary with a cross. The water here is crystal clear. Why is this place is my favorite? Because it offers one of the best views! You need to reach on the top of the cliff which is very rocky to witness the awe-inspiring and picturesque view of Matinloc Island. From the top you will see the water ranging from tortoise to deep blue color, lush greenery and a lot of limestone cliffs. From that time I want to scream that I'm in the top of the world and jump over! The view is stunning! 🏔 All I can say is WOW!! What a majestic view of ocean!! It offer the 360 degrees view of the whole El Nido. For me this is the highlight of tour C.
Reminder number four: You need to go on a 3-day trip, or longer. Island hopping tours usually start in the morning and run the whole day. Taking into account the long journey from Puerto Princesa, you’ll have to add one day each for your arrival and departure in Palawan. So, 3 days is the minimum, but I recommend that you spend at least 4 days or more so that you can enjoy 2 full days for island hopping & inland tours. They are worth it!
It doesn't have to be expensive, there are many options here for travelers on a tight budget. If you can afford to stay in a luxury resort, go for it! If you want to save money, stay at many budget-friendly hotels and hostels in mainland El Nido. You can enjoy the islands on day tours.
We explore Las Cabanas Beach where my husband and I tried the zipline. We ride a tricycle with a fair of 150 pesos two way. Travel time from Town proper is 20 minutes. You can ask the driver to wait for you and he will willingly wait for you. We had a short hike uphill to reach the top but if you're not used to hiking then this would not be that short . We availed one way superman that costs 700 pesos. I also loved adventure and zipline is one of those.
We also explore Nacpan Beach the twin beach of El Nido.
Please take note that power outages are common in the mainland. Bring a power bank and extra batteries for your camera/phone to avoid running out of power during your trip.
This place is a must visit! Worth every penny! 🏖🏔🛶️
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This is the view of the shrine itself since most have uploaded the breath-taking view atop the sharp, highest, most accessible limestone cliff on the island. Once you're on top, the nerves start to really kick in, no kidding. But it was all worth it. It was an experience worth coming back for.
Wish I could show more photos, but this shrine is an important aspect on the island, too. I wonder, considering the image of The Virgin Mary on the round temple/dome, if the locals do religious activities here. I would love to participate!
"Matinloc" means beautiful in the Cuyunin dialact (correct me if I'm wrong, hehe) and it certainly is a beautiful view from the cliff. A little risky climbing up the sharp limestone surface but you could use a little bravery to experience the picturesque scenery.
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Matinloc shrine was a revelation to me. I initially thought there's not much to see but boy I was wrong.
Upon climbing the craggy limestone outcrops, an enchanting view welcomed my eyes. Rocks surround the green and blue water.
Locals say it belonged to a couple who abandoned the island after finding gold underneath.
All the islands in El Nido are picturesque but Matinloc Island would probably be the best spot for selfies and jump shots.
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Matinloc island is part of tour b and this is where you'll find matinloc shrine which is an abandoned church. There's also a building which they say is a dorm for the priests.
The island is tiny but I think the highlight is the view deck where this shot was taken. How breathtaking! Well it's actually not a deck, it's on top of some rocks and you've to climb a (very) steep staircase (carved out of rocks) so just be extra careful and the view is well worth it
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