Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

People come to El Nido for the island hopping tours, the 4 sets of boat cruise exploring four to five islands, coves and lagoons.  Each set has its own distinct destinations.

I got some foreign guests visiting me this week and since they flew all the way from a land far far away, I took them to El Nido.  Am I so proud about my place,  I was boasting about the beauty of our province to these guys for quite some time, now that they flew in to see my place, I’ve got to compensate their efforts in coming here.

We traveled to El Nido via Cherry bus, that was a bit of a setback as the trip  long to reach EN, the bus is overloaded with some passengers standing, not a pretty start.  The trip took about 7 hours with foreign tourists pretty excited onboard.  For some reason, it felt like it was my first time too.

I don’t need to go further with many details as I’ve already written about the island hopping tours on my previous posts.  So we took the Island Hopping Tour A, my guests were quite thrilled and delighted by the sights and the beautiful beach islands.  Although a whole day of fun-filled activity tired them up, maybe because they came from a long flight and a long bus trip yesterday.

After the island hopping, they decided to skip the other boat tours, they got overwhelmed with the itinerary, so no to boat cruise the next day.  Aside from the island hopping tours, there’s an Inland Tour available to explore in EN to see the Nagkalit-kalit waterfalls, the not-so-recommended Makinit hot spring and Calitang & Nacpan Beach.

There are two ways to take the Inland Tour, either the more expensive van or the cheaper tricycle.  All travel agents offer this tour.  The van costs approx. PHP3,000 for the whole van with the driver of course while the tricycle costs PHP1,500, you can bargain as usual.

I contacted the tricycle driver I’ve met previously and we rented 2 tricycles, we’re only 4 people but I don’t want my friends to feel uncomfortable with someone’s neck getting stiffed while sitting at the back of the driver – the ceiling is low if you’re particular with these trikes.

Reaching the waterfalls, by the way, means taking a long 30 to 45 minutes trek depending on your speed.  The ride from the town to the start of the trek took about half an hour or less.  If you’re taking this tour through an agent, you should be having a guide, in our case however, we talked to one of the houses just at the start of the trail and a small boy age 9 came to us and immediately, more like mechanically, leads the way, like he knows exactly what to do and seemed like he’s used to it which I found out later to be true.  Although he charges a fixed rate, the idea invites empathy that will prompt foreign visitors to be generous.  Anyways, he walks pretty fast that we have to constantly remind him that one of our friend is a bit +size and I’m catching my breath either.
Since the waterfall is located deep in the jungle, we have to go through the wilderness along some pathways.  Before we got our kid guide, I was hesitant actually, thinking that we can manage on our own,  I told our driver that we don’t need a guide,  I was wrong.  It’s good I didn’t stick to that idea because even if there’s a pathway (not concrete mind you) there’re several fork paths, many in fact that I would assume many non-local tourists going on their own getting lost around the lush forest.  It’s not fun getting lost around this area.  I’m a local and I’m used to getting lost with my overseas adventures, I got lost many times in the forest of Olympos just last year and the breath-taking Kabak Valley where I thought it was the end of me.

The path is not all solid, muddy here and there and we passed by several streams, probably 10 of them, so you’ll be soaking your feet on the rocky water and don’t forget to bring your mosquito repellant lotions.  Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you,  I was bitten twice.  The forest is beautiful though, butterflies flying around, many species of plants, shrubs and trees, vines entangled above along the pathways, not an easy walk on some muddy paths, it’s good it wasn’t raining, it could have been slippery.  There’s an ascending path when we got nearer to the waterfalls, so physically challenged tourists would find it a bit of a grueling task. 

My guests were a bit exhausted that we have to take a couple of minutes rest before ascending.  No people around yet and we reached the waterfalls in 45 minutes or a little more.  It was beautiful and rewarding though.  It’s not really that tall but it’s gorgeous with a small rocky pool below it where we had a cold swim after the tiring jungle trek.  The rocks on the pool is slippery so visitors should be warned to be careful here.  A portion of the pool near the waterfall is also deep that we did not dare getting there until a group of youngsters who arrived later started to swim.  There’s another waterfalls in the mountain above it with a pathway although a bit steep and there’s no pool like this one.

Good thing is, the waterfalls is still in its natural state, no developments made yet, so no entry fees to be paid.  We’ve spent an hour or so soaking and swimming on the cold waters that cascades from the pool gushing onto a stream down below. 

All in all, it was a good trip, just that we have to take the same trek again back to the main road where our tricycles were waiting for us.  My guests got tired with just one itinerary, they’re not used with so many activities in one day, so we went back to town skipping the hot spring and beaches on the itinerary.
Tricycle hire.
How to get there:
To visit the waterfalls, hire any tricycle around the small town of El Nido, they will normally ask for P1,500 for the whole vehicle that can accommodate 4 people.  Haggle to at least P800.
Address: Barangay Buena Suerte, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Google Map Location: El Nido, Palawan.


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