Islands in the Bay
When choosing an island getaway, the best options (in my opinion) are in the Philippines. Why do I say this? There are 7,107 islands in the archipelago and not all are created equal. So if you visit Batanes islands in the north, you will find a landscape of green, rolling hills like that of Ireland. Or get a taste of Santorini at Bellaroca in Marinduque. At El Nido Resorts in Palawan, the bay is dotted with limestone karsts similar to the backdrop in the photo above.
If your ideal getaway is to do absolutely nothing but sit by the pool and read a book, then this is the place to do it. But if you feel like indulging in various adventures out at sea, there are a number of possibilities. Island hopping is de rigueur here. For starters, we took a short motorized outrigger ride to Miniloc Island for buffet breakfast before feeding the jackfishes in the protected area right in front of the restaurant. We also had the option of snorkeling (equipment provided free of charge) in crystal clear waters with colorful schools of fish visible even from the pier.
Outside the Small Lagoon
Jackfish feeding over, we sailed on to the Small Lagoon which can only be entered with a kayak. This was one of the most thrilling adventures we participated in. The entrance to the lagoon is just enough to clear your head through but don't touch the rocks as they are a bit rough and can cut your skin as it did one of the kayakers in our group. Other visitors swam to the Small Lagoon. Outriggers can enter the Big Lagoon which is enclosed by towering limestone cliffs.
Entrance to Cudugnon Cave
So we tread softly and hope we can come back to the El Nido we left behind - pristine and unspoiled.
Island Transvogayer Inc. (ITI) has daily flights to El Nido. From the airport to the town of El Nido, there is a jeepney that meets passengers at the airport. To go to the islands, guests are transported by boat or motorized outrigger. If you are staying at El Nido Resorts, they will arrange the flights, the transfer to the island of your choice (Lagen Island or Miniloc Island and soon, Apulit Island), and the accommodations. All activities (except diving) are included with the price of the room as well as the use of snorkeling gear. Meals are paid for separately or you can opt for full board. For more information on El Nido Resorts, go to their website at http://www.elnidoresorts.com/.
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Images by Charie Albar
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