Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Wednesday, October 09, 2013
As promised, I’ll be writing my El Nido experience on a blow-by-blow fashion, starting from the bus station in Puerto Princesa City to El Nido and back.

22 Sep 2013

My El Nido trip was postponed yesterday, there was a typhoon, heavy rain the whole day.  I called the hotels in El Nido and the bus line contact there and got the info that all tours were cancelled, so I decided not to go, a typhoon in paradise is not so much fun.

The following day, still there was rain in the morning but my feet is really itching, I’ve got to travel, so we walked through the muddy road onto the highway from our house in Puerto Princesa and good thing is, a tricycle passed by who took us to the highway where we took the multicab (8 pesos) to the bus terminal in San Jose (New Market).  As I’ve mentioned previously, the RORO bus line is not in operation, so we took the Cherry bus line which wasn’t bad at all.  We weren’t able to catch the 7:00am bus as we’ve waited for the rain to stop or at least recede, so we took the 9:00am bus to El Nido.

It’s not yet the peak season for tourists, so the bus isn’t even half full, 3 foreign tourists, and mostly locals who travels from one town to another.  Cherry bus is comfortable, we took the airconditioned one at 465 pesos, they also have a non-aircon bus at a fare of 285 pesos.  The bus isn’t stuffy at all, better legroom compared to vans, the aircon works great, the problem (if it’s a problem at all, I’m not in a hurry anyways) is, it stopped 3 times excluding the stops to pick up passengers along the way.

There are 3 major stops, first stop is the check point – to inspect people bringing or taking home a variety of mangoes I think and it’s seed that is grown in that part of the province.  So make sure you don’t have any mangoes with you to avoid any questioning.  You can use that time also to use the bathroom.  Second stop is in Roxas – after two and a half hour from where we started in Puerto Princesa, where we took some meals at the local eateries and of course the bathroom use, about half an hour.  Third stop after about two hours is in a town called Taytay for around 15 minutes, male passengers piss on grasses, as I’ve found out later, use of toilet costs 5 pesos. 

Cherry Bus Line

Then, finally onto El Nido.

The roads from the bus terminal to El Nido  are mostly concrete paved roads except for maybe the last one hour before reaching our destination where the roads are under construction or not yet paved, so mostly potholes of different sizes, so bumpy here and there.  Most roads are zigzags so the bus is like swaying you to sleep, right and left.

It’s a scenic trip passing by rice paddies, green mountains, local villages, coconut plantations, and small local villages, it’s really refreshing travelling during the daytime to El Nido.  By the way, don’t lose your bus tickets as there are several times your tickets will get inspected along the way.  After a couple of hours from Taytay, we’ve reached El Nido.

Approaching El Nido municipality, the rain started to pour and my fear that we’ll be spending our week in El Nido with a bad weather started to creep on me.  We reached the bus terminal and found out that, yes, all island hopping tours are cancelled during that day from the tricycle driver we took  (50 pesos for the whole trike) on the way to our accommodation.  It was raining hard and all we could wish for is a sunny day the following morn. 

In the afternoon, while relaxing at the cottage porch watching the rain pour and the boats swaying on the ocean waves, we found out from the coast guards that there were about 10 boats who defied the weather and took some tourists for a tour.  We saw two boats being questioned by the coastguards.  Talking to one of the coastguards, I found out that there’s a 10,000 pesos penalty for the boat operators in violation of restrictions to operate during a bad weather.  The El Nido coastguards are the ones issuing notice of cancellations for all the boats from sailing on sea during typhoons.

- Before heading to El Nido, be sure that it’s not storming or there’s no typhoon so you won’t be wasting a day or two if the island hopping tours are suspended.  Call either your hotel or the bus company based in EN, try Kim of Cherry Bus in El Nido at 09127920598. 
- Wait until you arrive in El Nido before you book your island hopping tours, it’s cheaper there than online, you can get some discounts upfront.

El Nido Island Hopping Tour C (per person)
Snorkeling gadget rental

*Update : As of October 2013, the rates of Island Hopping tours have gone high. You can still ask for a discount at your accommodation or any tour operators in El Nido town.

How to get there:
Puerto Princesa City to El Nido :

(1)   Take a multicab from the city center to San Jose “New Market” Bus Terminal, fare is PHP 8 – 12 depending on where you hailed them.  Tricycle is more expensive from PHP12 – 50.
(2)  Cherry Bus Line – fare is PHP465 (one-way on aircon bus) from San Jose.
(3)   Tricycle from El Nido Bus Terminal to town centre (or Tandikan Beach Cottage) = PHP50 for the whole trike.
Alternative option – upon arriving at the Puerto Princesa City airport, ask around for the vans that goes directly to El Nido, chances are, you’ll find some vacant seats there, ask at the tourism desk/booth.  Fare should be no more than P700, perhaps less.
Tricycle from El Nido Bus Terminal to town centre (or Tandikan Beach Cottage) = PHP50 for the whole trike. But, if you don't have heavy luggage, you can actually take a walk from the terminal to town, approximately 15 minutes.
Address: El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Google Map Location: El Nido, Palawan



  1. This is really useful information about travelling to El Nido! :-) I might consider using the cherry bus in future too, or if you visit again, my husband and I used the Daytripper shuttle van service and it was excellent so can highly recommend that too! Anyway safe & happy travels to you!