A Spoonful of Tour C
At 9AM, we sailed on a boat from Corong-Corong filled with high expectations. I was half afraid our trip to El Nido will not live up to the glossy pictures on travel magazines. I set the thoughts aside welcoming the sound of the boat engine to drown out those useless thoughts.
"Let's embrace the present and enjoy this day."
|First Destination: Hidden Beach|
We had two boat men responsible for Greenviews Resort Tour Boat. Ariel, who's originally from Port Barton moved to El Nido to get married, and Edwin, a newbie boat man.
Contrary to my initial impression, they were not fishermen. They took a training in Puerto Princesa, Palawan's capital to obtain a license in operating tour boats.
Island Hopping Tour C
It was jellyfish season around this area when we got there. The white sand and clear water distracted me from these "funny looking but itchy" creatures swimming in the shallow water. The sand is white and the texture reminds me of flour.
|Clockwise L-R: Small Cave / Jellyfish / White Sand Beach|
One of my favorites during this trip was the next destination...
|Secret (Lagoon) Beach: The only way to get there is to swim through that opening|
Inside this karst formation on Matinloc Island is an incredibly beautiful lagoon. The inside is indescribable. Unfortunately, I didn't have a waterproof camera to capture it. The only way to access this lagoon is by swimming through that small hole.
According to urban legends, the Secret Lagoon Beach is rumored to be the inspiration of Alex Garland's novel and movie, "The Beach". Prior to writing the book, the author spent six months during his teenage years living in the Philippines including El Nido. He purposely defined Thailand as the setting but according to many talks within the local travel community, much of his experience here in El Nido were incorporated in the story.
I didn't know about this rumor when I was there. I just had a feeling that it's going to be magnificent inside. Despite my fear of deep waters, I grabbed the life vest, snorkel and fins and swam through that narrow crevice. The water was clear and deep with lots of colorful fish. I felt jitters staring at the vastness of the bottom.
I guess, I'll keep this lagoon a mystery for now and let you discover it for yourself. :)
|Lunch at Talisay Beach near Matinloc|
By noon, we had our lunch stopover here. The sand is white and flour-like. It gradually slopes down leading to a gigantic drop that is visible on the change of the blue hues on the photo. While the boat men turned into chefs as they grilled seafood and prepared the salad, I stayed on the beach chatting with them while Yohann snorkeled.
Yohann swam along the edges of this steep sea floor drop and found a huge array of fish. He also spotted a brownish sea snake (not as lethal as a banded sea snake) and to his amazement, sea turtles! He attempted to follow them but they were incredibly fast.
|The sand reminds me of all purpose flour.|
After lunch, they took us to Matinloc Shrine. It's a forested land with a shrine of the Virgin Mary. A dome guarded by sculpted angels at the bottom of the pillars. Not far from it is an underground room with wall hung images illustrating the massive construction of this shrine in the 80s.
Near the dock, there's an abandoned opulently designed multi-level retreat house built for priests that once stayed here. It is now empty, left for termites to feast on. It's such a shame because they have obviously spent a lot of money on the construction. We entered the said property. It was eerie. It is in fact, perfect for a haunted movie setting.
"Uh, ouch, ah ouch!" The best part of the trip here was this view, after climbing a series of hot and steep rocky steps, barefoot.
Words of wisdom: Wear sandals or flip flops.
Be careful where you step. These limestone formations on the cliff are not entirely secured and stable, but the view is definitely worth it.
|Star Beach for Snorkeling|
|I wasn't fast enough.|
For our last stop, we ended up going to Cadlao Lagoon. There were strong currents on the way to Helicopter Island. I'm glad, we managed to see it though during Fun Full Day Scuba Dive
Cadlao Island is a part of Tour D. The lagoon looks like a gigantic swimming pool. It's 10 meters deep. There's not much to see below but it's a great place to swim .
The whole island hopping tour by far exceeded my expectations.
Given the chance to do it again, I'd love to visit each of the other places in the list.
It is a paradise out there.
Which of the above islands you preferred the most?
Love & light
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