El Nido

Day 48, Monday 13 Feb, Puerto Princesa to  el Nido

I am writing this post in the semi-dark, two days later in el Nido after a few vodka tonics in a local bar and a couple of beers with dinner, don’t expect Hemingway – I am not that drunk !, but short and possibly incoherent post.

Up early after a lousy sleep, the van to el Nido was supposed to arrive between 7 and 7.30 but was uber early at 6.45 and I was only gazing sadly into my coffee at that stage, so mad rush to get out the door.

Van ride was Ok, the road was not as bad as I expected for the first five hours and I had a wee bit of leg room, though I think our driver was trying to set a record for a van ride with 13 tourists, lets just say he drove like me and used all available road space! It did feel safe though.  We stopped a couple of times, the last stop was at Taytay, where we picked up a woman who squeezed in next to me and went to sleep on my shoulder. The concrete road ended here, the new roads in Palawan are made from foot thick concrete, as the tarseal just falls apart too quickly.

The van arrived in El Nido, in the north of Palawan just before 1 PM. My Finnish friend and I were immediately set upon my tricycle drivers and it took a while to extract ourselves from the melee and consult on trying to find accommodation. We took a tricycle out to where one of his countrymen was staying and they had one bed left which he took. I got the tricycle back to the centre of town, checked out a couple of places on the way and ended up getting a room for the night at the “Alternative” a guesthouse on the bay – and I mean ON, under the deck is THE bay. It was actually my original first choice, but it is more guesthouse than hostel – but it had a good bar and an excellent restaurant which was a plus, the minus was it was not a great backpacker hang out, so not many people to chat too.

El Nido is located on the Bacuit Bay and was initially made famous for its diving, and beauty, by Jacques Cousteau back in the 70’s. Scattered throughout the bay are numerous limestone islands. Tourism hasn’t really hit the town in a big ugly way yet, though tourism is its main money earner, so there is still a good feel and a rustic charm to the place – for instance there is no electricity in town from 6.00 am to 2.00pm !

I wandered around town for a bit and booked myself an island hopping/snorkelling tour for tomorrow and a dive trip on Wednesday. The view from my hostel deck.

Walkabout

They are filming the final in the “Bourne” series in El Nido, watch out for this boat in the movie…

Boat (bangka) building – Philippine style…

El NidoLots of pawn shops on Palawan, I did not see these in Malaysia. My hostel was just up the road.

Can you tell I used two cameras for these photos !

I had a very nice vegetarian meal and a couple of San Miguels and went to bed, where I listened to really, truely awful music from the restaurant until almost 1.00!

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