With precisely 7,641 islands dotting the Pacific Ocean, The Philippines is an archipelago in Southeast Asia gifted with interesting geographical features and stretches of pristine white sand beaches lapped by crystal-clear turquoise waters. If you want to experience Mother Nature at its finest, there is no better way to do so than by booking Philippines trips right now.
A short video walkthrough of El Nido Island Hopping Tour A for 2023. Highlighting and showing what has changed in El Nido Island Hopping for 2023. A video companion for the post El Nido Island Hopping Tour A for 2023.
It’s only natural to expect a destination to change, especially if got more popular and the inevitable development creeps in. El Nido is one of those destinations where I have seen change since visiting the place several times since early 2000 and even lived briefly as a local. Recently, I was able to return as soon as the pandemic restrictions started easing. Aside from doing the El Nido Canopy Walk, I was able to join the El Nido Island Hopping Tour A. I noticed and observed some minor changes in how they do the tours these days since I last visited.
The 230-meter-high El Nido Taraw Cliff is an imposing natural landmark in El Nido town. I remember the strenuous climb up its craggy limestone cliffs years before. It was not easy but definitely rewarding panoramas. I wanted to climb up again when I came back to El Nido coming from Balabac. Unfortunately, the Taraw Cliff climb is not being offered by any tours. Pandemic restrictions were just easing out and the next best thing is the El Nido Canopy Walk. I could actually see the view deck just behind the bed and breakfast where I’m staying. I thought it was rather low, but since I’m already there and have an afternoon to spare, I decided to try the El Nido Canopy Walk.
There was a night in Sibaltan, El Nido where a group of performers from the Sibaltan Heritage Society (SHC) showcased a few Cuyonon folk dances. Cuyonons, are an ethno-linguistic group that originated from Cuyo Island. I watch at least five pairs of young boys and girls enthusiastically dance on the sand, under somewhat dim light of the night from Tapik Beach resort. The sound coming from a boom box was all treble with scratchy bass but the performance was all heart and passion as we could see the expressions from the young performers as they execute dance steps highly Spanish-influenced, often upbeat to jumpy with a lot of swirl movements from the girl. I could not understand the lyrics but I was told these dances are often about Cuyonon life – livelihood, courtship, marriage that are often depicted with witty naughtiness to slightly obscene which is a character of Cuyonon songs. Watching this humble spectacle made me imagine how the Cuyonons manage to cross the Sulu Seas, traversing at least 100 nautical miles to reach the shores of Paragua, what we know now as the land of Palawan. The newly built Pangko Maritime Museum in Sibaltan, sheds some light into the history of Cuyonon migration.
So you have done all the tours in El Nido Palawan from Tours A, B, C, D and E. The west side of El Nido, the Bacuit Bay in particular does have dramatic limestone karst islands and captivating beaches, but El Nido doesn’t end there. The other side, the El Nido east coast holds more islands to explore and stunning white sand beaches to bum around. Sibaltan is the jump off point for these island adventures. I have written about some of the islands of Linapacan, now discover the limestone island of Imorigue Island. From afar it looks daunting but the locals swear on how rich the marine life surrounding its waters are.
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.