Palawan is called the Philippines’ “last frontier” and joins the ranks of “the best islands in the world” among travel websites and magazines these past few years. And so, when an opportunity to visit the province came, deciding was easy. And this would be one of my most epic getaways so far.
This is part of a series
① ② ③ ④ ⑤
Palawan is the largest province in the Philippines, comprised of 1,780 islands. With that many islands, most of which as unspoiled, it’s not that easy to pick a spot. Fortunately, I found a good deal from El Nido Resorts in line with the then forthcoming travel expo. It included a room for two days and three nights, full board meals, roundtrip airfare from Manila to El Nido, and van and boat transfers to/from the island. It’s the most expensive weekend I’ve ever booked, but it’s the most hassle-free!
With four islands under El Nido Resorts, namely Apulit, Miniloc, Lagen, and Pangulasian, all having different offerings, picking one is a pleasant dilemma! You can’t possibly go wrong with any of them! If I could afford it, I’d definitely try them all, but since I can’t, I can only pick one. Eventually, I picked the island of Apulit. All their rooms are on the sea! How could I resist that?
Flying to El Nido Airport (ENI) is currently the fastest way to get to El Nido from Manila. It is currently serviced only by AirSWIFT. From Manila, the trip starts from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) Terminal 4. It had improved from the last time I’ve been here, but it still looks like a bus terminal. It’s interesting that the most frugal of Manila’s airport terminals serves the most exclusive routes to the country’s most luxurious resorts. I wonder what these VIPs think of Manila after passing through this terminal?
Apulit is the farthest island from El Nido among the four that El Nido Resorts offers. It is so far out that it is already under a different town called Taytay. From El Nido Airport, we took a van to take us to the pier of Taytay where our boat to the island awaits.
It’s nice that El Nido Resorts utilizes the boats of the locals to transfer their guests to and from the island. It gives foreigners a chance to experience the local “bangka.” But since these are anything but speed boats, plus the fact that we were going against the waves, it took us quite some time to get to the island. But as we approached the island of Apulit, slowly but surely, our excitement slowly builds up. And you just have to be amazed by the surreal color of the sea!
A glass of drink and a small presentation from the El Nido Resorts staff greeted us upon arrival. I quickly noticed their board listing the activities of the day and sightings of sea creatures around the island. From here, we were guided to the main hall where we’d be checking in, passing by those huts on the sea that I’ve seen on the brochures. There, we arrived at the sight of an ongoing buffet. We were told to have our lunch while waiting for our room. This is the first time I’ve ever experienced having a buffet while waiting to be checked in! If this doesn’t give you a great first impression, I don’t know what will!
* * *