El Nido, Palawan has been a dream destination for me ever since I started travelling. I had the impression that El Nido was a wonderful paradise and an expensive vacation. Going on this trip, I can attest that El Nido is really a magnificent paradise. I didn’t want to leave. I had to drag myself back to Manila when our trip ended. I can also attest that going on a trip to El Nido doesn’t have to be so demoralizing for your wallet. 🙂
We were an all-female group for this trip. Rhan, Shiela, Jella and Jema are all dear college friends to me. They are usually game for trips like this and I love going on food trips with them.
The Flight: Cebu Pacific
Our flight to Puerto Princesa was at 3:40 PM. We all decided to meet at the airport at 2 PM. I already checked us in through Cebu Pacific’s Web Check-in option 3 days before our flight (excited lang). We only had to go to the counters to have our boarding pass printed because my printer ran out of ink.
We still had plenty of time before our flight so we decided to eat at the airport. We were expecting a long travel to El Nido and we didn’t want to feel hungry. Hahaha! We arrived at our gate just as our boarding call was being announced. The flight was only an hour and 15 minutes long. I still haven’t settled into my seat when the pilot announced that we were about to land. Everything was right on schedule.
I just wish that our flight back to Manila was the same though. Our flight got delayed by 6 freaking hours! Our ETD was 10:05 AM but we were informed that there was an aircraft situation and the mechanic still had to fly from Manila. Shiela was supposed to go to the office that day and I had to work when I got home. The delay ruined our plans. Typhoon Luis was still inside PAR and I could understand if the delay was due to bad weather. We were told that our flight would leave at 12 noon instead, but it didn’t happen.
We were given a Chickenjoy meal for our lunch but what we wanted was to go home. We asked to be transferred to another flight as our right but the ground personnel told us that the mechanic would be arriving in the next flight and we didn’t have long to wait. 2 PM came and we still weren’t inside the plane. We were then told that they were waiting for clearance. It was 4 PM when we flew. But the time we arrived in Manila, it was already rush hour. I live in Quezon City so I had to travel from south to north. Nakaka-stress!
If only the ground personnel granted our request to be transferred to another flight. The time spent waiting could have been spent on more important things. I ended up working until midnight that day.
The road to El Nido:
I contacted Northern Hope Tours to arrange for our van transfers from Puerto Princesa to El Nido and vice versa. We paid Php 500 for each way. We could have taken a bus and paid for a cheaper fare but I read that their are several stopovers for the trip. We didn’t mind paying more if it meant getting to El Nido sooner and more comfortably.
When I payed the downpayment and Northern Hope confirmed our booking with them, I was told that the driver would be waiting for us at Puerto Princesa International Airport. I didn’t have time before the trip to call them up and confirm the arrangement but our driver was already there when we exited the airport. We were told that he had to pick up more guests and we will be on our way. We requested to stop somewhere so we could buy snacks for the trip and the driver obliged. There were only 9 of us for this trip and it was a comfortable fit. I liked that Northen Hope didn’t fill out all the seats 🙂
The trip to El Nido takes about 6 hours from Puerto Princesa. We started the road trip at 5 PM and the road was a little creepy. There were no lights and houses were few and far in between. I was afraid to look out the windows in case I see a flash of white or something. Hahaha! The road was smooth and there was no traffic. I felt that the driver was driving a little too fast but I was confident at the way he drove.
At 8 PM, we stopped at Halfway Cafe to have dinner. We were the only guests at the time so it didn’t take long to find seats and order. Food was delicious! I ordered Bicol Express, cup noodles and a large bottled water all for Php 150. And the restrooms are very clean which was a pleasant surprise.
About 1.5 hours before reaching El Nido, the roads alternate between rough and smooth. There were road construction sites that we passed by so I guess the road will get better when these are finished.
On our trip back to Puerto Princesa, we left El Nido at past 10 AM so we were able to see the views – mountains, trees, farms and seas. But we were stuck on the road for more than an hour because there was an accident between two vehicles that blocked the road. We had to wait until they moved the vehicles to the side before we could pass.
We were looking forward to a delicious lunch at Halfway Cafe, but instead we stopped at Bacuit Grill Restaurant. Food was also delicious. I paid Php 95 for the nilagang baka and Coca-cola I ordered.
Our Accommodation: Telesfora Beach Cottages
Me and my companions wanted a beachfront accommodation so I searched for somewhere that wouldn’t hurt our wallets too much. I found Telesfora Beach Cottages while browsing through blogs. Ms. Chat was very prompt in answering my emails and it was a factor that made me decide to confirm our booking with them. She gave us the barkada room which cost Php 500 per person per night.
I also didn’t have time to confirm our arrival time on the day of our trip. I just mentioned in my earlier emails that we would be arriving at night. I was so thankful that our room was ready when we arrived at 11 PM. One of the staff was also there to welcome us. The room was built for 8 people so it was very spacious when we were only 5 in the group. Blankets, towels and soaps were laid out on the beds for all of us when we arrived. I love the way they folded the towels.
Besides these, our room also had air conditioning, a TV and a toilet and bath. No water heater though. But the water was not so cold for shower so I didn’t mind. The water in Manila is colder if you want to have a basis for comparison.
When we woke up the next day, I got a chance to see the rest of Telesfora.
And this breathtaking view was what greeted us early in the morning ❤
The breakfast that came with our room is a simple continental breakfast. We also had the option of taking tea or coffee in the morning. I loved the bread and pineapple jam that they served. We thought that it wouldn’t last us until lunch, but the bread felt heavy on our stomachs.