One of the restaurants I frequent in El Nido is the El Nido Boutique and Art Cafe. The primary reason being, it is owned by our friends Tani and Judith Distal. In 2005, we frequented the shop because we rented our snorkels, masks and fins there, as well as mountain bikes; and bought supplies, like sunblock lotion, swimsuits, slippers, sandals, board shorts, and even accessories like beautiful bracelets made by a local artist. They also played live music every now and then because Kuya Tani is a musician. Our friends Armie, Cecil and Melona hung out a lot here, and Likha used to work here too. The food is good. I would recommend this place to groups. Most of all, I loved the over-all vibe of the place back then. It was so… artsy.
Sometime between 2005 and this year, Tani and Judith had a bigger building built to house the cafe, boutique and travel center. My first time to see the cafe in its new home was when I arrived a month ago. Judith, Tani, Cecil and I had a great time catching up over wine while Sikap band played (click here for that blog).
When Lia arrived, I took her to the cafe too to hang out. I also took that as an opportunity to take a lot of photos.
I took a lot of photos because at this point it still wasn’t as clear as I wanted it to be to me how my wide angle converter works. It’s still not that clear even up to now, so I still take photos of the same thing with and without the converter.
This is a normal shot of my kit lens, 18-135mm.
This is a shot of the same thing with my Vitacon .5x wide angle converter with macro lens.
I’ve said in some of my earlier blogs: the wide angle converter results in vignetted shots with distortion on all sides except the center, and thus, sort of gives a fish-eye effect. This effect is good on particular shots, like some I took of Lia eating bread, and can be used for a certain artistic preference, but is generally unacceptable when doing landscape shots. I am now practicing “artistic shots” with the use of this converter, but I prefer to do my landscapes and outdoors shots without it as I want to have all the details of the landscape preserved. Though I prefer landscapes more than people, I would still only buy a UWA after I have bought myself an SB800, a polarizing filter, an ND filter, a bigger camera bag and a battery grip, in that order. I’m not really into gadgets but more and more, there seems to be a need.
The new building is quite massive. The cafe is on the second floor, like it used to be. Lia loved it there, the first thing she went to was the bench with turtle pillows on it.
Here are more pictures of the place. As I am writing this blog, a wedding reception is being held at the cafe.
The building is found along Sirena St., and this is the street view if you look over the balcony.
A Travel Center is also housed inside Art Cafe, for flight bookings both for Seair and ITI, as well as bookings for boats, vans, and many others.
From their website at http://elnidoboutiqueandartcafe.com/TravelCenter.html
FLIGHT BOOKINGS / TICKETS
SHUTTLE VAN TICKETS
ONWARD TRAVEL RESERVATIONS
ISLAND HOPPING TOURS
And there were a couple of inquiries at the Travel Center desk while we were there.
The cafe is separated into two areas by the staircase. A staircase Lia loved.
In coming up the staircase, people are encouraged to leave their footwear at the bottom of the stairs. Lia could not be still because she kept thinking about my slippers.
At the top of the staircase, the bar will greet you. The area on the left side has the Travel Center and restroom as well as the cashier’s booth and bakery display. There is also the door opening to the balcony.
The area n the right side has the band area, more tables and a sizable book collection, as well as doors opening to the balcony.
While I went around shooting, Lia was just running about. She’d check on me every now and then, making sure I have not left without her.
This was the day Lia wasn’t really in the mood for photos. In the photo above, I asked her to smile, and that smile is what she gave me. (More on those fake smiles later)
Then I started taking photos of the menu.
And it was at this point when Lia came back munching bread and saying, “Mama, I’m eating bread!!!” I said, “Where’d you get the bread?!” Apparently, the cafe’s display case for the bread and cakes open in front, and Lia has been helping herself! I peeked into the display case and saw the banana bread with pinches on it.
So I told the waitresses to just slice up to what point were Lia’s pinches and just put them on the plate and on my bill. She had loved the bread!!
And this is one of my favorite photos of her.
She had really liked that bread!
After this, we went to explore the beachfront.
And when I asked her to smile for me. This is what she did. This smile earned her the “Best in Fake Smile Award”.
This was followed by the best interpretation of an emo moment.
For my part, I was shooting this scene a lot of times because I was after that little bit of sunshine on the other end, making the El Nido Beach Hotel shine bright white.
The beach on this part where Art Cafe is gets shade earlier than the rest because of the towering limestone cliffs.
We started to head back to the street then, passing by the kayaks, that can be rented from the boutique.
And as we we’re leaving, we saw Judith at the boutique. And a dog! Lia loves dogs. She thinks all dogs are friends.
El Nido Boutique & Artcafé
Sirena St., Buena Suerte
El Nido, 5313 Palawan
Office hours: 7:00-20:00h
Yahoo Messenger: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chikka ID: 000610139