Having been to other parts of Palawan like, Coron, El Nido and Taytay, I was looking forward to finally visiting Puerto Princesa because it’s one of the major cities in Palawan and probably the most urbanized among them all. This Hagedorn governed city is the 2nd largest city in the country and also known as one of the greenest and cleanest. Driving through from the airport and making a few stops before reaching the resort, I thought it’s one of those places I could actually live in for a while. Wide roads, well organized city layout and medium sized high rises. I actually like it.
Microtel for many years have already established their brand. “It’s the same hotel where ever you go” as their slogan says. For the regular patrons, this is a good thing. They really do have one of the most comfortable chiropractic beds around and the familiar interiors would make it easier for guest to feel at home. While they do have a template for their hotels, they do make adjustments on their resort-type hotels. Like their Boracay branch, Microtel made adjustments to their beach front hotel in Puerto Princesa, Emerald Playa Beach and Nature Park.
I previously though that going into this part of the last frontier of the country we all know as Palawan would be really expensive. But I learned that with a bit of haggling, looking around and being with other thrifty companions while in El Nido can really stretch your budget. In the 5 days and 4 nights, with two days of Island hopping, 1 day of inland tours and sampling some of the good food of El Nido, I only spent P6082 (US$132) (excluding transport to El Nido from Manila). Read on for the details.
It’s been taunting me ever since we came to El Nido. Those towering cliffs and jagged peaks keep calling me, daring me to tread its trail, conquer its peak and discover what’s up there. We already inquired at one of the tour operators there first time we came here about climbing those cliff. There’s a 300 pesos guide fee per person with a minimum of two persons quota that I thought was expensive. And on our last day I got a good deal and the guide would accompany me to the peaks even on my own.
“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.
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.
The groove to go Island Hopping is back on our fourth day in El Nido. We’re going again with Islanen Outdoors Tours since they have a very good slightly customized package and price (of P650) on Tour C which includes several sites in Matinloc Island and few stops on our way back. We had to wait a few minutes before they got everything ready. We had a smaller white boat this time highlighted by MMDA colors of pink and blue but it seems real solid and capable to handle the seas.