“We can’t make it to Snake Island”, our boatman who doubles as our guide, Charlie informed us. It was already late mid afternoon and Snake Island is far down south of Bacuit Bay. We were also told that we needed to refill our fuel soon lest we got stuck in the middle of the bay. We headed to an island they called Helicopter Island, said to be named after its shape. But it looks a lot more like a whale to me.
Our boat dropped us off at the island and left to refuel. With energy levels dwindling low like the afternoon sun, most of the guys decided to just relax on the island. Helicopter is also scenic as well. It doesn’t have the beautiful karst formations like Matinloc but it has towering hills, very scenic backdrop of Cadlao Island and far ahead on the horizon are fading gradations from the island.
Of course there were some tourists who were awkwardly attempting some jump shots when we arrived. But the beach here is really good looking. It’s not fine white powdery sands but the water is like jade, shimmering and irresistibly inviting. Just watch out for some jelly fishes again. Everyone were doing their own thing while waiting for the boat to come back. That either is lying on the sand to doze off or dig in the sands to capture some crabs.
We decided to forego Snake Island for now and just settled for Ipil Beach which is a beach at the foot of the towering karsts hugging El Nido Island. It’s the 2nd extension of Ipil Beach since there was a wedding being held there. Just the same, we had the beach to ourselves. Well almost.
There was a Caucasian couple there gathering some branches so they could make a bonfire and play survivor. People can actually do that here, ask for boatmen to drop them off in the afternoon and fetch them the next day so they could have the beach for themselves. We knew we were intruding their privacy but we’ll be leaving soon as the as the sun sets.
Ipil Beach is a charming beach with a beautiful view of sunset in EL Nido. It’s a good thing our boatmen agreed to wait for us there for the sunset. It’s our last afternoon in El Nido so we’re trying to take in whatever intangible moments we can take. The sunset was magnificent as expected.
We could hear the cracking of the woods as fire started to burn from the couple’s camp. It was also our signal to go as the sun finally hid under the horizon. We made our way back into town and as soon as our boat was making our way off the corner of the karst formations conceling El Nido town, we saw the full moon, large and shining brightly above the town. It was surreal.
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.