23 Sep 2013
We arrived yesterday, hah! first time in El Nido.
It’s a fine day, although the sun did not shine much, just some peeping here and there, but the island hopping tours A and B were running so many tourists took advantage of that, we didn’t, instead we took the time to swim on the beach in front of Tandikan Beach Cottages and Resort which is also the starting point of some of the boats that goes island hopping, the backside is a main street lined with several stores, eateries, massage parlours, tour operators, and where tricycles are passing by so the place is very central, excellent location indeed.
I booked this place by calling the owner - Jane Fernandez, I got her number from some websites online, try googling Tandikan. Jane is very nice and we were lucky that the place isn’t full, after all it’s not yet peak season. They have about 6 rooms, two facing the sea and 4 sideways, both have porch anyways that is shared by all guests. We got room R-2 on our first night which is 2 doors away from the porch facing the ocean but we got room R-4 on our second night onwards which is beside the porch. What’s good about that is, we were being put to peaceful slumber by the sound of the waves directly whispering on our windows, and during the mornings we could just jump onto the beach literally – priceless!
I just watched the tour boats loading passengers for the island hopping while swimming on the clear waters of Bacuit Bay. The rain drizzles every now and then creating a cocktail of cold water on my upper torso exposed to the air and a bit warm on the lower part immersed on the sea water. I own the beach, no one is swimming except for a couple of local kids. Somehow, the rain, the waves, the limestone mountains on the backdrop creates this kind of melancholic ambiance that soothes the nerves.
By the way, last night, we had our first dinner in El Nido at the popular Seaslugs bar and restaurant. We seated at the chairs laid out on the sands al fresco, in front of the beach, though it’s no longer visible in the dark, the sound of the waves confirms it’s presence right there few steps from where we were. We ordered the fish steak fried in butter with some veggies on the side and rice, and “chopsuey” – a mélange of chopped vegetables also sauteed in butter and soy sauce, until the rain started to drizzle hard again. So we run inside the restaurant and finished our dinner.
Sea Slugs was recommended by the couple staying at our accommodation, for me though, it’s expensive for what it’s worth. Although many foreign tourists frequent the place, probably because there are few good restaurants in town and Seaslugs is one of those favorites. But I think the hush about the place is bit overrated.
Bacuit Bay for swimming : Free - Sweet!
Seaslugs Restaurant average dinner for 2 = P700
El Nido Island Hopping Tour A (per person)
El Nido Island Hopping Tour B (per person)
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.
Address: El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
Google Map Location: El Nido, Palawan