Discover East El Nido, the cultural side of this paradise region of Palawan. West El Nido with its dramatic karst islands and stunning beaches in Bacuit Bay may be the main draw for tourist but there’s fulfilment in discovering the quiet side of El Nido East with unspoilt beaches, island and incomparable marine life than the other side. The perfect home base in discovering the wonders of the east is Tapik Beach Park, a rustic, family-run, beachfront lodging in Sibaltan El Nido offering spartan native beach huts accommodation to more sophisticated beach cottages with elaborate designs.
It was two years ago when I first ventured to Sibaltan El Nido out of curiosity to see what’s there. East El Nido was an interesting side as Cuyonon culture can be traced here. The Balay Cuyonon Museum is a good starting point to know more about their history and way of life. There’s also the Bubog Island off coast which we paddled as we brought along a kayak on our first visit. We also stayed at the scenic guard house since there’s little to no accommodation in the area. Two years is a good time to see what has changed. Aside from the improved 3G internet signal in town proper, little has changed really. Electricity is still in the evening at 6–10pm. Roads are slowly being paved but majority are still dirt roads. What would be a welcome improvement are the accommodations popping up. Tapik Beach Park in Sibaltan is gaining popularity in the area and I have to check it out.
Tapik Beach Park
“Gusto lang namin magkaroon ng bahay bakasyunan dito nung una (We just wanted to have a vacation house here at first)” Said Voltaire, one of the owners of Tapik Beach Park. The resort and restaurant are fully owned by humble Filipino family who also struggled to make a living and earned to buy and invest on their property in Sibaltan. They admitted it was a challenge to get their business started. There was a time they would stand by the roadside and entice passing motorbike riders, mostly tourist doing a loop of El Nido, to have cold drinks and snacks at their place. Eventually they got a big break when they decided to list few huts in booking site Agoda. They admit that their clientele is a niche market. Those who are looking for offbeat locations, rustic and away from the crowds loved their resort.
Huts and cottages on the next page…
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.