Day 12: Puerto Princesa – Taytay – El Nido
Welcome to El Nido!
The town traces its roots from a small Tagbanua village called Talindak. Some time in the 16th century, waves of migrants from Cuyo Islands came here to settle. In the 1800s, the Spaniards arrived, and they moved to the part where the present-day Población and Mabini are located. The first Spanish families were the Canovas, Vázquez, Ríos and Rey. In 1890, the Spaniards renamed it as Bacuit. At the time, the center of the town was Cabigsing, then known as Inventario. Chinese families moved into the area about the same period, first settling in Langeblangeban. The first Chinese settlers were named Lim, Chin, Liao, Edsan, Ambao, Que-Ke, Lim Piao, Yu His, Pe Phan and Pe Khen.
We arrived in El Nido around 12:30 p.m. after being on the road for nearly six hours. We immediately took a short break at the view deck before heading to the town proper. The viewing platform already presented us the fantastic view of beautiful beaches and clear blue sea, the mountains and greenery.
Upon arrival at the town centre, our travel companions suggested the Marina Garden where we immediately got a room. It’s located directly next to the beach.
The room costs 1900 pesos or about 33 €. We were a little disappointed. The room was in the new part of the hotel, and it was clean, but it somehow looks a bit shabby. Some small things like wobbly headboard, a loud air conditioning unit, (re. the electric power is only from 4:00 p.m. till 12:00 midnight) no fridge or TV (a fridge would have been good since we love to keep some cold drinks) and a rather small and uncomfortable bathroom. We had to fill the bucket for flushing the toilet. And since there was no electricity, the bathroom was too dark. Our companions opted for the more basic room at the “native cottages”. Maybe a plus was it’s proximity to the beach as well as the town centre. There are numerous hotels in El Nido and in almost every price category. I’ve been to another hotel on previous trips, and theirs are also very acceptable. Next time I’ll be in town, I would probably prefer to try another one.
Towards the end of the day, we decided to take a stroll at the tidal flats since it was low tide. My friend who grew up in an urban Europe found it very fascinating. I grew up in a similar environment like in El Nido, so my fascination is somewhat limited. Growing up on the island, I’ve got used to such encounter with nature every day. Since it was low tide, we could very well see some tiny multicolored fishes and crabs trudging along the rocky beach. Then we found a small octopus, and we thought it was stuck under a rock, but then we saw a little crab tugging with the octopus.
We got back to our hotel and immediately went swimming as the hotel was just right on the beach. Sis Daisy, Kuya Art and the other guy (sorry I forgot his name) were already in the waters enjoying the late afternoon plunge. We were a bit far out in the waters, but we can still feel the sand on our feet. It was just fantastic swimming without any obstacle such as seaweeds or rocks. The towering limestone (Taraw) was a perfect backdrop which I scaled on a previous time I was there.
We then went for dinner at the Art Cafe, a lovely restaurant where you can also sit outside on the upper floor terrace. They have live music almost every evening. I called up my friend Cecile earlier that day and decided to meet there. Cecile then sang (with the band), and it was charming even we were already getting a little bit k.o. from our very long day!
Daisy already booked a boat for us for the next day’s island hopping.