Cool easterly winds blew toward us at the desolate San Fernando beach in Sibaltan, El Nido like a comforting afternoon embrace to what relatively has been a humid summer day. Only a few resort guests from Qi Palawan were at the beach, mostly couples situated spaced apart on some lounge chairs or standing intently. Enjoying intimate moments together while staring into the blue horizon, waiting for the moonrise. And slowly, a wondrous globe pierced through the horizon, the moon looked bigger and closer to Earth in all its golden glow. The moment was inexplicably both fast and slow as we watched in wonder. We always talk about sunsets and sunrises, but moonrises and moonsets remains an underrated beauty. Much like secluded places, like this resort, Qi Palawan, found in the far-flung corner of Northeast El Nido, away from the tourist town proper, exclusivity and closeness to nature can be found.
Seclusion in San Fernando
It is not for everyone I say. Qi Palawan is a special place only for those looking to escape the touristy crowd of El Nido town. It takes at least an hour drive from poblacion (town) on a mixed of dust and paved road to the east coast San Fernando, Sibaltan to reach Qi Palawan. There were parts when I feel I’m out of nowhere but being lost in a place where there’s little development is part of the allure of this resort. One we reached the end of the road, a beautiful manicured garden, an airy restaurant and bar, a scenic and uncrowded beach, luxurious cottages, a nice looking pool and warm greetings from the staff welcomed my arrival.
Luxurious Cottages and Facilities
Only seven cottages but each of these native style cottages are premium in design and facilities. Qi Palawan is a member of Zero Carbon Resorts (ZCR) assuring sustainable tourism by using native materials like bamboos and cogon roofs to minimise environmental carbon footprint. The cottages are spacious, beds king-sized. Separate rooms for the toilet and an outdoor shower. In the room they have a small table and chair which is always a plus for me so I have space to work. At the time of writing, cable TV is not yet available but they have a library of movies from a USB guest can borrow and plugin in the room LED TV for some entertainment. There’s airconditioning in the room as well but I did find the use of native materials already making the room feel fresh and breathable. My cottage is also one of a couple which has provisions for PWDs (person with disabilities). A ramp at the back of the cottage for wheel chair and toilet with support handles. WiFi is available as each cottage have its own pocket WiFi but internet signal is spotty and hard to come by in this area of El Nido. I find early mornings the best time to access the internet.
Upon arriving, staff would immediately advise guest of what to they need to know about the resort. One main problem facing guest on undeveloped beaches are the presence of Sand Flies which can leave really itchy and nasty bite marks. While its not fool proof solution, the resort provides a complimentary citronella oil guest can use to minimize bites from these mites.
Their restaurant and bar offers European and Filipino dishes, mostly in large servings, more than a Filipino can handle. I really enjoyed their home-made chips they serve to munch on while waiting for the main meal. I have tried a number of their Filipino offerings and they were really flavorful. The seafood pasta was rich in seafood ingredients and plenty. Bread for snacks were still a lot for single serving.
Kiteboarding, activities and summary 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.