Calle Hama begins where Balinsasayaw Road, a road that starts off at Rizal Street, meets the road that goes to the northernmost baranggays of the town of El Nido, at the corner where Lally & Abet Beach Cottages is found. This is the street that we take all the time because we lived a kilometer or so north of town but the entire time I was there, I kept thinking I was going to devote just one day to taking photos of the town, that in the end, I did not manage to. In my last two weeks in El Nido, it kept raining and some of the establishments were in the process of renovating and/or building more cottages.
Most of the originals of my old El Nido photos are lost. The ones I repost are mostly from a folder that I found that has a title “El Nido Town Reduced”, so the files have been reduced. But recently, I found a folder that says “El Nido Town 3” with photos taken from April 2006 and these were original files and have not been reduced. I found these two photos:
LALLY & ABET BEACH COTTAGES, 2006
ROSANNA’S COTTAGES, 2006
My photos of Calle Hama begin at Lonesome Carabao Lounge and end right before Marina Garden Beach Cottages. Calle Hama is the busiest street in El Nido town and has the most number of establishments, accommodations and restaurants. In order, from the intersection, one can find the following accommodations: Lally & Abet Beach Cottages, El Nido Beach Hotel, Inngo Tourist Inn, Devayn’s Inn, and Rosanna’s Cottages.
LONESOME CARABAO LOUNGE
Lonesome Carabao Lounge sits at a location that I remember used to be a rice store… if not a poultry supply store. The building right next to it used to be where the El Nido Public Market was “supposed” to be. The local government has tried to move the public market many times. The public market now has been successfully moved and operating at a big complex in Corong-Corong, where the bus stations are also found. This has done wonders in the vehicle and foot traffic in the narrow streets of the little town and El Nido – something that I truly appreciate.
When I was living in El Nido in 2006, my favorite store was Kuya Loy’s store in front of the waiting shed. We hung out a lot there with Kuya Loy and his wife, Ate Mavic. We borrowed his paddle boat a lot too. Kuya Loy, a musician, played at Balay Tubay and Ricson’s Bar and Restaurant. One of my co-teachers and also my best buddy at that time, Eric, played bass guitar for his band every now and then. (Photo below: Top, 2006; bottom, 2012)
In the photo below, on the leftmost end is Lonesome Carabao Lounge, and on the rightmost end is where El Nido Plaza Inn is.
In between Kuya Loy’s store and Baracalan is a parking lot and El Nido Plaza Inn. El Nido Plaza Inn has been there ever since, one of the oldest and cheapest accommodations in El Nido, but I have never seen it. I don’t know what it looks like inside or where exactly is the building. I just know it’s there.
EL NIDO PLAZA INN
Across the street is a row of beachfront cottages, also with entrances through Hama Street.
ENTALULA BEACH COTTAGES
DARA FERNANDEZ BEACH COTTAGES
This used to be my favorite beach cottage – Dara Faye’s. They had the cheapest beachfront cottage at Php300/night, even cheaper than Marina Garden’s which used to be at Php500/night. The cottage had a balcony that faced the beach, and I had loved having morning coffee there.
Other than the fact that the signage and the paint on the gate have faded, nothing much has changed since 2006.
The biggest hardware store in El Nido, found at the corner of Hama and Osmena Streets, the complex used to have just the hardware store and a big ukay-ukay store. Now it has a myriad of other little stores and the ukay-ukay store is gone. (Photo below: top, 2006; bottom, 2012)
Osmena Street used to be my address. I have ridden a bicycle and played badminton in the middle of this street countless times. At the other end of Osmena Street is Calle Real with the El Nido Resorts/Ten Knots office at the corner and the El Nido Public Elementary School. (Click here for the blog on Calle Real.)
Now at the corner stands Baracalan on one side, and Trattoria Altrov’e on the other.
Fronting Osmena Street, on Calle Hama, there used to be a rice store. It was almost always closed, but it looked like this. It was in between Dara Faye’s and Gloria’s Beach Cottages.
This land is owned by the Fernandez clan so all the cottages here are theirs, Dara Fernandez, Gloria’s Beach Cottages and Rico’s Beach Cottages. Dara Faye, the daughter of Gloria, and Rico, the brother of Gloria. Though they all manage their own businesses separately. Gloria has demolished the little rice store and built more modern cottages.
RICO’S BEACH COTTAGES AND GLORIA’S BEACH COTTAGES
Rico’s is right across the street from Trattoria Altrov’e and right next to the El Nido Marine Club – the first dive shop in El Nido.
EL NIDO MARINE CLUB
In 2006, the El Nido Marine Club was more spacious, with a little garden on the side fronting the street.
After the El Nido Marine Club are a series of little sari-sari stores and some massage parlors.
On the left side one will find Kape Pukka. They were in the middle of renovations when this photo was taken. I always wanted to try their food and their coffee, but I always found myself at Pukka Bar in front of the beach and not Kape Pukka that is right by the street. Both establishments are owned by the same family though.
KAPE PUKKA AND PENSION
At the corner of Hama and Magsaysay Streets is La Chupetta, a little snack bar.
On the same side as Kape Pukka, after an empty lot, is the Garnet Hotel building.
If the intention was to grab attention, they achieved it, BIG time.
Before this was Zaniya’s Pension, this was one of those pretty little bungalows on this street.
And this street, without Garnet Hotel, was more rustic, looking like this:
The little garden in front of Squidos Restaurant has been replaced with another table to accommodate more guests.
Squidos Restaurant is found at the corner of Abdula St., across it is Mabuhay Bar and Resto, which used to be BOM Disco.
Going back, on the right side, on the same side as the El Nido Marine Club, near La Chupetta, you will find the little entrance going to Habibi Beach Bar.
HABIBI sign says this way…
EL NIDO WATERFRONT HOTEL
RIC SON’S BEACH BAR AND RESTAURANT
The signage of Ric Son’s used to look like this. This signage now hangs on the wall by the stairs on its beachfront entrance.
LALLY & ABET BEACH HOTEL
MABUHAY BAR AND RESTO
On the same little alley that you need to take to get to the Mabuhay Bar and Resto located on the second floor, you will find Sea Slugs Beach Bar and Resto and Og’s Pension and Resto at the other end. And of course, the beach.
This used to be where BOM Disco was. (Photo below: yellow building)
BOM DISCO, 2006
From here, the only notable establishments, aside from the El Nido Police Station, would be the Asylum Bar on the left and Marina Garden Beach Cottages on the right. On the day that I was taking these shots of this part of the street, it also so happened that the cast and crew of Aureaus Solito’s new film was shooting.
You can see the black signage of Asylum Bar in the middle of the photo. This used to be Hard Rocks. Just as I never ventured inside Asylum Bar, I never saw the inside of Hard Rocks either. It was famous for being a place where rowdy drunks danced at, and where European tourists could not tell whether they were dancing with a lady or a ladyboy.
HARD ROCKS DISCO AND VIDEOKE BAR, 2006
And then you can see the store right in the middle of the photo, a store located in Rizal Street, and where Hama Street, or Calle Hama, ends. (Click here for the blog on Rizal Street)
Hard Rocks in 2006 and Asylum in 2012, occupies the same location, nearly right across Marina Garden Beach Cottages. And although I would recommend Marina Garden Beach Cottages to anyone who wants to have a good, beachfront location, with relatively low rates, I would not recommend it to anyone who wants it “QUIET” because the sound from Asylum makes sure there is no such thing at night. Asylum can close as late as 3am depending on the season.
This blog will be followed by the documentation of El Nido beach front, which will have nearly all the same establishments, as Hama Street runs parallel to the beach and some establishments have entrances on both street and beach.
This is a series:
- The Before-and-After El Nido Photo-documentation Project – Calle Real
- The Before-and-After El Nido Photo-documentation Project – Rizal Street
- The Before-and-After El Nido Photo-documentation Project – Sirena Street
- The Before-and-After El Nido Photo-documentation Project – Hama Street
- The Before-and-After El Nido Photo-documentation Project – Beachfront