Making our way back at the central channel of Taiputan-Matinloc Islands we docked on a beach where Matinloc Shrine is located. Shielded by walls of limestone, It’s a charming place that I felt it’s like a small piece of Greece with its architecture. There’s also a large platform facing the beach on the opposite island. Standing there gave us a surreal panorama of the aquamarine waters and limestone cliffs in every direction or angle.
Asking our boatman Charlie about the shrine, he said that the owner built this shrine many years ago to show her gratitude for curing her sickness. He remembers during his childhood days that he would go here. He didn’t give me a name but if this has been here for some time, I’m glad it’s still in a very good state. Except that the living quarters are already abandoned.
We climbed a few steps to the grotto to get a higher view of the channel. The view is equally amazing from that spot. We spent time taking photos there even with the sun at its peak and after this we made our way back to the boat.
The travel time to our next stop was a lot longer. It would seem we went to the other side of the island. Hidden Beach was our next destination as we were told. I wonder who comes up with these names. But when we got there, the name does describe the place.
We found a beautiful beach with lush vegetation hidden behind towering limestones cliffs. Unlike the Secret Beach, the cove is larger, whiter and the water crystal clear.
Charlie went down with the rest of the guys to pull the boat carefully to the beach on shallow waters. This beach is definitely one of the most picturesque I’ve seen. I’m guessing Alex Garland have seen this place and may have been one of his inspirations while writing his book “The Beach” while in El Nido Palawan.
While waiting for our food to be prepared, we explored the area and snorkeled its shallow waters. We were amused at the nearby corals with amusing anemone fishes aggressively shooing us off. There were small caves on a side of the cliff. Lunch was fish and liempo. As always, the food tasted great eaten by the beach.
We lingered a little longer seeping in what we could of what this great place has to offer. And as soon as other boats started to arrive we got ourselves ready to move one. I thought that the first day of island hopping already showed us El Nido has. But as we get to see more islands and beaches, it just keeps getting better.
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.