Saturday, December 01, 2007

El Nido

Crew change in October took place in El Nido on the island of Palawan, Philippines. I had heard for some years working offshore the legend of El Nido so when I found out we would be crew changing there I quickly thanked the seismic gods. Crew changes don't come much better than this in such a scenic untouched back drop.

The crew of Pacific Titan landed on the beach of El Nido almost like a invading force. The local populace was spared however as the 5 week thirst took hold of the troops. As if by some strange power everyone started to head for the bar. Bags were literally thrown in rooms at the Lally and Abet hotel as the mad rush for the bar ensued. The drinking went on in earnest, everyone being oblivious to the 4am wakeup call for their flight back to Manilla.

A lucky few managed to wrangle a bit more time in Paradise me being one of them. We moved our accommodation up the beach to a place called Rosanna's which I found to be a lot better. At 700 pesos a night El Nido vacations are friendly on the pocket too. Make sure you bring plenty of money with you though as there is no ATM in town. I managed to get by scrapping up bits of foreign currency I had lying around. Everyone is happy enough to exchange you pesos.

The main town/beach of El Nido was the launching point for our ventures. Development of beach front took me by surprise, I was suspecting something more grandiose. New developments are kept to 2 stories with existing infrastructure already pushed to service this arrangement.

I found the beach free from hagglers maybe because of the lack of tourists? I don't know? If you are upmarket then El Nido boasts some fine resorts within 40 minutes by boat around the islands.

There is plenty to do in Paradise, you can rent canoes, snorkeling equipment or take one of many boat tours around the islands. The snorkelling is fantastic almost everywhere and i'm betting the diving is even better. Unfortunately I still haven't sorted that one out yet.

To get here you need to fly to Manilla and catch a local connection which flies direct to El Nido. ITI will get you there. Other places worth visiting on Palawan are Puerta Princessa and Basuanga.