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.
Stuffed and rested, our boatman, Felix signaled us that we should be going. We’re getting too comfortable at the Secret Lagoon Beach and remembered that there are still a couple of stops before the afternoon ends. About 10-15 minutes south of Miniloc Island is an islet they call Shimizu Island (Others spelled Zimizu). It’s supposed to be one of popular snorkeling spots in Tour A.
Exploration of Miniloc Island continues. We passed over the exclusive Miniloc Resort under El Nido Resorts since it’s private, we can’t go down there. And just when we thought we had enough of the Lagoons, we found ourselves on a very scenic beach called the Secret Lagoon Beach. A couple of playful puppies welcomed us at the beach on where would be our lunch stop for the day.
Remember those gorgeous desktop wall papers or those java applets with crystal clear moving waters on WebPages with ridiculously beautiful looking beaches or scenery that led you asking yourself whether this place is real? Well, El Nido Palawan is like stepping straight into that screen and seeing it all for real with your bare naked eyes. Island hopping in Bacuit Bay showed us that Miniloc Island, the first island we’ll visit is just the tip of the iceberg and it keeps getting better.
Bacuit Bay is littered with 45 islands and islets. Some of them are sole limestone islands towering up to three stories high while the larger islands has beautiful stretches of blinding white sands against the deep cobalt blue of the sea. There are also beaches partially hidden by limestone coves and secret ones that can be reached by swimming through small crevices. Other islands have scenic lagoons and caves waiting to be explored. With so many islands it can be daunting for first time traveler to choose which islands to visit first.
It’s our 5th day on our Lakbay Norte Bus which is fast becoming our mobile home after staying inside it on the road for days. On my little corner of the bus I already know the idiosyncrasies of my reclining seat, how our bus help Kenneth know I prefer Fit & Right Pine Orange and like the spice of Labzter snack than Tempura, and how I can efficiently arrange my stuff whenever we leave and board the bus. We got a few more days to go and this time, we found ourselves in Lucap for the Hundred Islands Tour.
Just across Inasakan Beach at Ilin Island is another interesting island called Ambulong. Coming from a local word “bulong” which means “medicine”, the island is known as an “island of healing.” Local tourism are intending to make the island known for its medical tourism. It’s barely one fourth the size of Ilin but it also has its a few villages. For my visit, I was able to explore a couple of places perfect for quiet and soulful retreats.