Which island to go when you haven’t been to the Philippines and you don’t have a clue? We went on recommendations online and word of mouth and choose Palawan and Borocay. The latter being probably the most touristy one and Palawan recommended for snorkeling, beaches, and a more quieter vibe.
El Nido (supposedly the place to be) on Palawan is pretty much on the other side of the island from the main airport (Puerto Princesa) and requires a 5.30 hours drive. El Nido does have an airport though, but it is the hardest to find on internet and irregular flights. Persist because although the road is good, cutting out 5.30 hours drive after a few flights is always a good idea.
Palawan is a beautiful island and doing trips from here will get you to amazing lagoons, beaches, and great sea life. We did two trips – everybody offers the same one A, B, C or D, and choose A and C. We saw breathtaking beaches, swam with turtles, paddled through the lagoons, and admired the different colors of blue we came across.
From El Nido we visited beaches close by like Las Cabanas, good for your first day recovery, and 7 commando beach. For 7 commando beach you need to make a bit of an effort, but it is so worth it. Take a tricycle (50 pesos) to Corong Corong, and go to the waiting shed. Wait there for the 7 commando boat or give Vellago resort a call to send it (+63 9175071654). Alternatively ask a local with a boat – as we did – and he might bring you and pick you up. Vellago resort open since March and the only resort on this beach, might be a nice one to consider to stay over also. It has some nicely decorated rooms overlooking the ocean, a lovely host, great food, and a quiet island vibe.
El Nido is a charming village, but I would recommend if you can find a lonely resort set on some of the beaches further out (see above) it would be a recommendation to try one of those. We stayed at Golden Monkey, which I wouldn’t suggest as the location is not really close to El Nido center and not so far that it has the service and facilities a more remote resort would offer.
In El Nido you will find enough entertainment to spend the evening after your trips. Some restaurants I can recommend are Mezzanine, with a great modern setting, and wonderful food, or Jane’s restaurant where you can eat fresh fish with your feet in the sand on the beach, another one is Salangane which has some great French cuisine but also local fish. And after go for Pukka bar with reggae music, or Coco bar where a life band or fire acrobats might entertain you.
And I even spotted a few shops in El Nido worth to recommend, one is A little corner of Paradise and Ti’Kala in the main street , they both have some clothing with a twist and trendy-ish turn on their offerings. Another one is Maya Boutique which you will find parallel on the main street. This is a really good effort of Philippine crafts in regular modern products.
All with all Palawan is a great island to visit, up to the next!