28
Aug
17

Palawan Chronicles: El Nido, et al

There are still a few things that I’d like to save for posterity from my epic Palawan trip.  That includes some interesting sights from Taytay to El Nido, and the little airport as well.

Last view of Apulit Island from our boat.

Our trip from Apulit Island back to the mainland via the town of Taytay took faster than our previous trip the other way.  The tides were on our favor and the ride overall was relatively smooth.  Most of us spent the trip taking a quick snooze so before we knew it, the town of Taytay came into view.

By everyone’s reaction I could say that none of us saw this Spanish fort on our way to Apulit Island.

Interestingly, we noticed a sight we have not seen when we were last on this town.  There’s actually a small Spanish fort just meters from where we departed!  I can’t explain it but somehow, the town managed to hide this point-of-interest well from the sight of tourist.  We weren’t able to get into the fort as we were set to depart anytime and it doesn’t seem to be equipped to handle tourists.

The town of Taytay, Palawan: you can’t miss it with that huge sign on the mountain.

A Spanish fort hidden in plain sight

We again took a van back to the town of El Nido where the airport is.  It’s again a long travel and I was dozed off for pretty much the majority of the trip.  I was fully awakened as we near El Nido when breath-taking sights appeared along our path.  I’m not surprised why so many tourists, both local and foreign, flock this town.  It’s a bit concerning though that it doesn’t look like that the “development” are managed.

One of the many stunning views along the way.

Approaching the town of El Nido…

El Nido Airport is our last destination and it has some interesting features on its own.  Some of them that I already mentioned were the singing grannies that greet the guests upon arrival and the buffet of Filipino snacks.  And as we now depart from this airport, I added a few more things:

Entering the airport premises…

No x-ray machine for luggage.  This means that they do require bags to be opened for manual, visual inspection.  It is quite a hassle if you packed your bags tightly as you can imagine.

At the baggage inspection upon entry.

No air-conditioning anywhere!  The airport terminal in itself is really just an oversized nipa hut but thankfully they offer a lot of seats.  There should be enough for an entire flight but if more than one flight comes close to another, it can get very crowded.

The check-in counters.

No Wi-Fi.  There’s a sign posted at the airport apologizing that their Wi-Fi is down at the time so it could be temporary, but then again, I wouldn’t be able to know.  The mobile data coverage works well in the area so you can still get online, or just help yourself with the buffet while waiting for boarding.

Buffet with Filipino delicacies.

Unpaved for the most part.  In fact, only the terminal itself and the runway are paved in this airport.  From the time we alighted from the van, to the manual baggage inspection, we were walking on dirt so if it rained, it will be muddy.

Suffice to say, it could get muddy.

So many trees.  You’d hardly think you’re at an airport terminal as trees surround you all around, it looks more like a farm!

From this vantage point it looks more like a farm!

Seriously though, someone ought to clear all the webs on the ceiling…

El Nido Airport is definitely the smallest airport I’ve ever seen anywhere, but it definitely has its own unique character.  But one of my favorite elements here are the oversized jeepneys that take flyers from the terminal to the plane (and vice versa) as you can stand in them and they’re definitely unique.

Those two behind me are practically buses disguised as jeepneys.

The “landing” view of the runway facing the mountains.

The “departing” view of the runway facing the sea.

That’s our plane.

As we took to the skies, Palawan again showed us why it’s constantly dubbed as one of the world’s best islands.  The view of El Nido and the surrounding islands of Palawan is just spectacular.  Nature really blessed these islands.  It’s like you can be dropped anywhere in this province and you’d still get a picture-perfect view!  I’m now, more than ever, encouraged to see more of this province that we call the Philippines’ last frontier.  I sure hope though that the locals realize the value of what they have and manage it well so we have something to look forward and keep coming back to in the years to come!

El Nido from above with its seemingly endless beaches and forests.

The island of Coron: another popular tourist destination in Palawan.

We also got a very colorful sunset from the sky…

* * *


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