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.
Having my stint in El Nido officially done, I decided to explore more of Palawan before heading home. San Vicente, Palawan has been getting quite some attention lately so I decided to visit that area. I wanted to stay by the vicinity of the famed Long Beach but looking for an accommodation, I noticed that most of them are within poblacion (town) which is 3km away. JuRiSu Resort popped up from my search and found their location amidst the famous beach. It became my home for 3 days in San Vicente.
My curious gaze fell upon a group of people wandering the beach even before the first light of the day came. I was shooting the sunrise but I was wondering what they were doing by the low tide beach. Searching for shells? No. They seemed to be digging through the sand. “Nagsimula na silang maghanap ng wak-wak. (They’re starting to hunt for wak-wak)” I heard from Arvin, a native of Sibaltan and the current tourism officer of El Nido as he called my attention. Wak-wak hunting as he fondly called. I head on to investigate.
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.
Modern tropical-inspired bungalows and villas widely spaced apart for the guest’s utmost privacy. A private beachfront garden with sand and bermuda grass patterns forming natural pathways where people can pleasantly walk barefoot. A small but scenic pool facing the beach where guest can lounge around and watch the changing hues until dusk. For a pace like El Nido town bustling with development, El Nido Mahogany Beach Resort is a breath of fresh air from the often cold and characterless lodgings in El Nido Town.
I could never get tired of walking by the beach in the afternoon after work. In fact I look forward to what the sunset would be like that day. It’s never the same, especially when the amorphous clouds roll in to paint the sky towards the end of the day. El Nido, Palawan has been my home for almost three months and it’s one of the places in the country I wouldn’t mind staying long. When an opportunity arose to work on a project there, I grabbed it immediately. How can I say no to a place surrounded by inviting turquoise waters, dramatic karst islands and captivating sunsets almost everyday? While I go around my ways in El Nido, most of the time walking, I didn’t carry my DSLR or compact camera all the time. It was my smartphone that captured most of the everyday scenery I see, and quite recently the 13MP prowess of the Huawei Honor 6 takes center stage. Here are photos of El Nido that made me appreciate the beauty of the destination every day.
The mountain’s Hersheys chocolate kisses-like shape makes it an eye-catching roadside attraction when passing through the main highway of Pasadeña to Barotuan, about 12km north of El Nido from the town center. But it took a while before someone conquered the summit of Mt Mansilawit despite its low elevation as there were tales of giant snakes and notorious monkeys living on this mountain. Pasadeña Native couple, Sylvia and Alex were brave enough to explore and are now lead guides to share the wonders of this little mountain. I decided to bike here from town since I’ve been curious about this mountain and I thought biking would be the best way to see other places en route. It took me almost an hour to reach the signage pointing the way to the mountain.