Remember those gorgeous desktop wall papers or those java applets with crystal clear moving waters on WebPages with ridiculously beautiful looking beaches or scenery that led you asking yourself whether this place is real? Well, El Nido Palawan is like stepping straight into that screen and seeing it all for real with your bare naked eyes. Island hopping in Bacuit Bay showed us that Miniloc Island, the first island we’ll visit is just the tip of the iceberg and it keeps getting better.
Miniloc Island is at the heart of Bacuit Bay and as we go deeper, I can’t help but remember Halong bay in Vietnam. The morning light cast numerous outlines and gradients of the islands on the horizon. El Nido only has 45 islands in Bacuit Bay in contrast to Halong Bay’s more than 2000 but our ocean waters are far more stunning than the later.
The boat ride to Miniloc Island took only around 20 minutes. We anchored on shallow water inside a limestone cove. Our guide Felix pointed to a small crack on a limestone wall and said it was the entrance to the Small Lagoon. We got ourselves ready and jumped into the water and began making our way to the crack entrance.
The water was deeper at the crack entrance but once inside it was only waist deep. I was curious as to what those bubbly viscous liquid over the water was that seemed to be scattered all over. Felix told us that it was from the heat. When the water is low it comes out from the ground. We saw a couple of foreigners on a kayak fumbling helplessly on their way out of the crack. It’s clear these people haven’t kayak before that they easily lose control of their kayak and kept hitting the rock walls.
I thought the small lagoon was just that until Felix lead us to the deeper part of the lagoon. It may be small but it was deep. Around 30meters he say and I get jitters swimming on waters that deep. I usually imagine creatures grabbing me from below. He told us a foreigner already died there.
There is a small cave at the end of the lagoon with waters flowing through. I went inside and there was a small skylight illuminating the interiors. There were fishes as well that seemed to have lived there for some time that they already had a case of albinism and remain motionless in the waters.
It’s a good thing we came here earlier as a good number of foreigners and boats started coming in. As soon as the small lagoon got a bit crowded, we headed out and made our way to the Big Lagoon about 10 minutes away. Our light and moderate sized boat carefully traversed the narrow channel leading to the Big Lagoon. Felix took the helm of the boat and carefully led the way. I could see it was also treacherous with the shallow water and rocks clearly seen at the transparent waters.
Going through the channel led by walls of limestones on each side, I knew we would be treated to something special. And as soon as we saw the waters graduate from crystal white to aquamarine and ending to a wider vista of deep blue waters and limestones on the horizon. We couldn’t help ourselves but exclaim “wow” in unconscious unison. We only toured around the lagoon but we were contented. Nina let her feet hang loose on the side of the boat feeling the gentle of pat the waves on her feet while I enjoy the sun and the view at the front of the boat. We each had our moments basking in the natural beauty of the lagoon.
Nina of Justwandering.org enjoying the waters patting on her feet
Join our next Backpack Photography series, Batanes Outdoor and Travel for on June 24-27, 2010. Take advantage of Seair’s Lean Season Promo on flights to Batanes until May 15. Check details here.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.