Chronicles: Island Hopping in El Nido, Palawan

Our being out every weekend was especially documented during the months of September to November 2005. I have just arrived from a few days of leave in Manila and came back with a waterproof camera that I took nearly everywhere with me all the time.

On those days, we had access to a red paddle boat that allowed me and my friend Likha to paddle to the island nearest to the town, Cadlao Island, and explore other beaches. Sometimes we also had other friends along with us. It was a great abs and arms workout but it was also the fastest way to get sunburned. The sunblock surely was our greatest best friend.

September 18, 2005

In the morning, Likha and I were off explore Cadlao aboard the red paddle boat. It was absolutely flat when we went out but the waves got really huge on the way back, we had to row the boat sideways. This made the return trip longer by maybe 20-30 minutes but we made it! I did row like a man for we had no life jackets with us. Rose and Del on the house on the hill were watching us worriedly, afraid we would not make it. I’d like to thank my sunblock by the way for making my face shiny on these photos and yet totally protected from sunburn.

  

In the afternoon, we boarded a boat with Rose (Likha’s mom), and our friends from the Peace Corps, to explore the other side of Cadlao Island.

The peace corps back then lived in these two cottages right by the water on Caalan. When they left, the cottages were bought by a Fil-Brit couple, who in turn, built what is now known as the Golden Monkey Cottages. I used to see them walking around with their monkey. In the photos below, we we’re waiting for our ride right on the beach in front of the cottages.

  

We usually explore the west side where Natnat Beach is because it has such a beautiful snorkeling site, but this time we explored the east side, dropped by Bucal Island and actually went up Cadlao to see the lake. That involved a trek through limestone cliffs and some planks while on the lake itself.

  

September 25, 2005

Early morning had us taking a trike to the baranggay of Corong-Corong 3km outside town proper and boarding a boat to Lapus Lapus beach, where a friend of Rose has a beautiful home overlooking the beach. It was the home of a Fil-American yogi and it was evident on the simplicity of the home. Out on the rocks, a balcony was set up especially for yoga and the classes that she holds when she is in the country.

From here, one can see Marimegmeg Beach, Depeldet Island and Pinagbuyutan Island.

We took one of the paddle boats on the beach and took it all the way to Seven Commandos Beach. It was scorching hot and I almost regretted this.

  

 

October 1, 2005

We had one of our little beach trips at Potter’s Place School and went to Seven Commandos Beach where the beach is beautiful and so are the corals. I remember having delicious lunch of barbecue, grilled fish and eggplant, and bananas for dessert!

From this beach, you can also see Marimegmeg beach and the islands of Depeldet and Pinagbuyutan. A common misconception is that Seven Commandos is on a separate island – looking at the map, one can see that it is a beach on the main island of Palawan. It is right on the other side of El Nido town but only accessible by boat.

Pinagbuyutan Island, which we always used to call Ellis Island because Ellis owned it (as well as that big store, hardware and bicycle shop rolled into one right in the middle of town), is probably the most recognizable island in El Nido because it is usually what appears in photographs of Bacuit Bay. I’d like to think now that Cadlao is the most photographed because of the number of people who take photos of it while they are in town.

Here are some blogs with pictures of the island if you are curious to see what’s in it.

I love these photos of the trees that I took while I was laying on a sarong in the sand of Seven Commandos. I had a book with me and was reading it when I glanced up and saw how nice the view was.

 

October 31, 2005

It was sem break and we we’re out looking for things to do. Teacher Joy, Likha, Jun (whose family owns Hadefe Cottages), and I took our paddle boats out to explore Caalan, all the way to Lio, where the airport is. We were off in pairs, with Likha and Joy on the red boat.

  

November 19, 2005

Eric and I went with Derick and other divers out for a diving clean up. We first went to Twin Rocks and then to Simizu. I also went for a dive and mistakenly thought I could bring my camera all the way to the depths of 9m. In truth, I could take it to a depth of 1.5m (or 9 feet) but I took it all the way to 20 something – which my camera by the way, miraculously, survived.

           

December 3, 2005

Some days we didn’t take any boat but still ended on the beach, such as on this day when we went to the airport and took a stroll towards the beach. On the photo is Teacher Eric and Kuya Mesach, our trusted boatman and I guess, all-around-driver. 


To be continued.

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