One of the things we love doing as brothers is traveling – and being in the heart of the Philippines, where the 2nd major airport in the country is situated , we have so many destinations to choose from , domestic and international. March 2013, we had booked a flight to Puerto Princesa with our friends for a weekend vacation in the northeastern part of Palawan, El Nido.
We supposedly are flying out to Puerto Princesa the previous weekend but Zest Air cancelled the flight so we decided to rebook it the next weekend we were originally scheduled. In less than an hour, (approximately 45 minutes upon take off) we arrived at the Puerto Princesa Airport.
Right after we got our checked in baggage, we hopped on a tricycle (Tricycle Fare: 120php for 3 person max per tricycle) from the airport to San Jose Terminal to catch a bus to El Nido. Since our Zest Air flight was delayed, we weren’t able to catch the 2PM air-conditioned bus to El Nido, we opt to ride the 4PM non air-conditioned bus (Bus Ride at 367php).
Roro Bus Schedule From Puerto Princesa to El Nido:
Roro Airconditioned buses Schedule: 6AM , 10AM , 2PM, 6PM, 10PM (Bus Fare: 483php)
Roro Non Aircondidioned buses Schedule: 4AM, 8AM, 12NN, 4PM (Bus fare: 367.25php)
From San Jose Terminal Puerto Princesa, we travelled around 270kilometers (around 6-7 hour travel by bus and around 5-6 hours by van)
11PM Friday, we arrived at the El Nido Bus/Van station and hailed a tricycle for 50php (50php is fare for 3 persons) to our El Nido home for 2 nights, El Nido Waterfront Hotel. Since the municipality is celebrating Balinsayaw Festival, after checking in at the hotel, we then traipsed around town and ended up piggin’ out on barbecue and halo-halo at the Caraenan sa Dalan then glimpsed by the town’s fair before hitting our beds.
6AM. The spread of emerald water and fluffy clouds, Bacuit Bay greeted us with a great morning as we sipped our coffee at our hotel’s lounge. Perfect day for an island hopping tour!
There are several agencies who offer Island hopping tours in El Nido, and for us we booked at Servant Tours, which we highly recommend to everyone. Island hopping tour packages for a minimum of 4 persons and maximum of 10 are available (Price from 700php – 900php with lunch). Contact Servant Tours at 09154157245 or 09178088599.
For this trip we chose to go to the Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island and Seven Commando Beach (Tour A). Our experience with the our tour agency was excellent. And to our tour guide Jay-r, you are awesome! Photos below and watch our video on our El Nido trip to be uploaded soon.
The Island hopping ended at around 4:30PM. We then went back to the hotel to wash up and then off to dinner. We had dinner at Trattoria Altrov’e, one of the most recommended restaurants in El Nido. Their pizzas, we dig! <3 (Pizza Prizes starts at 310php)
Sunday 6:30AM, we started ascending the Taraw Peak. We again booked the mountain guides from Servant Tours to our climb to the peak (Price 300php per person, contact Servant Tours at 09154157245 or 09178088599..) Okay to be honest, this is not for everybody, the climb to the peak is extreme and dangerous. To those who are planning to climb up the peak, here’s a few tips:
1. Wear comfy shoes (preferably rock climbing shoes)
The climb is really rough, specially for beginners. You would be stepping on pointy rocks so it’s advisable to wear those climbing shoes with thick soles/ right cushion.
2. Wear something light and clothes that won’t work against your flexibility.
Since you would be moving so much, wear something comfortable . If you have gloves for climbing, then it may come handy.
3. Bring first aid kit ( Band aid, providone iodine, cotton, etc)
4. Be sure to bring at least a liter of water per person.
5. Before putting all your weight on a grip when climbing, be sure the rock your gripping on is strong and not loose. Same as with your footing.
6. Listen carefully to your guide during the briefing.
Personally, I enjoyed the climb and the breathtaking view at the peak, it was awesome! I just wish the climb would be safer with the implementation of proper gears and harnesses, especially for beginners. 🙂
We finished the climb and the descend in 4 hours. We rendezvous at Servant Tours booking office, where we also booked our 2PM van ride back to Puerto Princesa (van ride fare at 600php). We then had Filipino breakfast at Sea Slugs (150php for silogs served with coffee or tea), showered at the Hotel then checked out at 1:00PM. El Nido Waterfront Hotel’s price for standard room is 1,800php (for 2 people) + 300php for an additional person (Max 3 person for the standard room.) per night. For more information phone them at 0908899537/09062279360. From the hotel to the bus/van terminal, tricycle fare is 10php.
Note: Van rides are faster than buses which saves you an hour to 2 hours of travel.
Just in time for dinner, we arrived at San Jose Terminal Puerto Princesa at seven-ish PM. Checked in first at Corazon Tourist Inn and then walked to Kinabuch. During my first visit at Puerto Princesa, I totally was not impressed with what we ordered at Kinabuch, but this recent pig out at the resto, I totally did. Recommendations would be the Mixed Seafood ala Bicol Express and the Crispy Pata, then end the dinner with Maja Blanca. 🙂
Monday. We have half the day to relax at Mitra’s Mansion and buy pasalubong and eat at Baker’s Hill before heading back to Cebu. We hired a tricycle for 300php to take us to both Mitra’s Mansion and Baker’s Hill Palawan. We stayed at Mitra’s Ranch and relaxed until 10am then headed to Baker’s Hill where we also had our 2nd round of breakfast and bought pasalubong. 🙂
Checked out of Corazon Tourist Inn at 12:30PM. Just 2,100php for the family room per night (accommodates 6 persons.) From the Corazon Tourist Inn to the airport, the tricycle fare is 50php (max 3 persons). Puerto Princesa Airport’s Terminal fee is at 40php. And good thing that Zest Air was on time!
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Photos and Blogged by: Andrew “Doyzkie” Buenaviaje
In my friend, I find a second self.
– Isabel Norton
(Thank you Lord )