The Style Mermaid by Kisty Mea

The Style Mermaid | Kisty Mea • El Nido Travelogue
Every wanderlust has their own lifestyle and preference, so you either fall in love with El Nido or with Boracay. And in my opinion, both El Nido and Boracay offer a different kind of relaxation: Boracay is commercialized, while El Nido is more… provincial. 
Anyway, we only had two days to enjoy El Nido, so we did not waste any time and booked their two best-selling boat tours: Tour A and Tour C. Here are my thoughts about the tour:[[MORE]]
Tour A: Lagoons & Beaches
For Tour A, the hotel chose a pretty decent travel guide. There were eight of us, so they got us a big boat. The tour guide was also quite knowledgeable and considerate. 

Seven Commandos Beach is named after the 7 remaining Japanese commandos who lived in the island after World War II. This is honestly my favorite from the tours because of its pristine beach and waters. Perfect place to bask under the sun. 
Shimizu Island has this stunning limestone cliffs. This is where most of the tourists each their lunch. But since our boat was big, we had the chance to eat on board, and rest. 
Secret Lagoon was our least favorite from the tour because 1) the island was surrounded by rocks and corals (Better use a kayak to avoid injuries) and 2) the lagoon was muddy… reminds me of an uncleaned toilet. :( 
Small and Big Lagoon were simply breathtaking. In case you want to know, the second and third photo were taken inside the Small Lagoon. The fourth photo was the Big Lagoon, though the awful glare from the sun made it difficult to capture it’s wonderful beauty. Trust me, the Big Lagoon looks like a scene from Jurassic Park! 

Tour C: Hidden Beaches & Shrines
I’m not entirely sure we got our money’s worth with this tour. First, the current was really strong that day. Second, we were eight people (4 tourists and 2 guides) riding a small fisherman’s boat (see 8th photo). Overall, my experience with the Tour C guide was slightly traumatizing and less enjoyable. 

Matinloc Shrine is a sacred monument that was built in 1982 in honor of the blessed Virgin Mary. 
Tapiutan Island provides a wonderful opportunity for you to snorkel or scuba dive while your guide cooks your lunch. JP said that if I went further, I could’ve seen the colorful city of corals and fishes. Since this is where tourists have lunch, somebody should enforce CLAYGO. There were so much junk on the beach, it was impossible to walk barefooted. 
Hidden Beach is a 100-m white sand beach behind a huge limestone that separates its shallow waters from the ocean. A lot of hermit crabs live here.
Now, this is where the “fun” began. When it was time to leave, the guide told us to wear a life vest because a life buoy will pull us towards the boat. Sounds easy, right? NO IT WASN’T. The other guide (who was on the boat) was literally pulling us towards the deeper parts of the sea. Even if I was wearing a life jacket and holding real tight on the life buoy (and on my iPhone), I still felt like I had to fight for my life because the currents were really strong. 
After that, all I wanted to do was go home.

We only booked the tour through the hotel. The price includes a towel and lunch. We had to pay extra if we want to use the kayak and mask. I highly recommend you request for a big boat and rent a kayak for every tour, especially if you have kids with you. 
All of these are taken with an iPhone 5, edited with the fantastic VSCO Cam app. You can view the rest of the photos on my Instagram gallery or on my photo blog.
P.S. Don’t forget to read my quick guide to El Nido, Palawan!

El Nido Travelogue

Every wanderlust has their own lifestyle and preference, so you either fall in love with El Nido or with Boracay. And in my opinion, both El Nido and Boracay offer a different kind of relaxation: Boracay is commercialized, while El Nido is more… provincial. 

Anyway, we only had two days to enjoy El Nido, so we did not waste any time and booked their two best-selling boat tours: Tour A and Tour C. Here are my thoughts about the tour:

Read more

The Style Mermaid | Kisty Mea • Guide to El Nido, Palawan
El Nido is considered to be one the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines, so it seems fitting for JP and I to celebrate our five wonderful years of being together here. But planning a trip to El Nido was no easy feat. In fact, if you don’t have the cash to burn, the trip can be such a hassle. But that’s okay because my JP and I had fun. :)
I’ll probably share my photos and personal thoughts on my next post. In the meantime, if you’re planning to go El Nido this summer, I hope this quick guide will help you out. Enjoy! :)
[[MORE]]
Getting There
There are two ways to get to El Nido: a jet for PHP6750/person… ONE WAY trip only. So that’s roughly PHP13,500 for a two-way trip. Insane, right? But what are the benefits? The jet will land closer to El Nido and the travel time is just one hour from Manila.
The cheaper way is through a shuttle van from Puerto Princesa. It’ll take you 5 hours, with two stopovers, to get to El Nido but it’s 10x cheaper. One trip cost PHP600/person. A total of PHP1200/person for a two-way trip.  
What To Do?
There are four boat tours in El Nido to choose from. According to our hotel, Tour A and C are their best-selling tours. Other activities are motorbiking, diving, and trekking.
Expenses
El Nido doesn’t have any ATMs, and only a number of establishments accept credit cards. Here is the list of expenses during our 4-day stay (technically, it was just a 2-day vacation because we had to allot the other 2 days for land transfer): 
Airfare & Hotel

Hotel (Ipil Suites) - USD299.46 / PHP12000 Hotel includes breakfast and free wifi. Rooms are clean but there are no TV and hot water doesn’t always work. 
Airfare (PAL Express) - PHP2100/person 

Expenses (Per Person)

Shuttle (PPC-El Nido) - PHP600 
Lunch (Stopover) - PHP120
Eco-Tourism Development Fee (Valid for 10 days) -PHP200
Tour A - PHP1400 
Kayak (Tour A) - PHP700 
Mask and Fin Rental (Tour A) - PHP100
Tour C - PHP1400
Mask and Fin Rental (Tour C) - PHP100
Shuttle (El Nido-PPC) - PHP600
Lunch (Stopover) - PHP115
Accumulated Snacks + Water (4 Days) - PHP150
Domestic Terminal Fee - PHP100TOTAL: PHP 5485

Dinner Dates for Two 

Dinner @ Beachfront (Unknown Resto) - PHP510
Dinner @ Art Cafe - PHP1150 Although their food were tasty, the serving was really small and the side dish is billed separately. Expensive.
Dinner @ Sea Slug Resto (Beachfront) - PHP1000 Affordable with really big serving! The Sizzling Chicken w/ Rice cost PHP300 and Beef Steak Pinoy with French Fries was PHP250 only. If we did not order the Calamares and Choco Crepes, the total bill should’ve been PHP680 only.  TOTAL: PHP 2660

Things To Know
There are no ATMs in El Nido and only a few accept credit cards. If you need cash, ask someone to do a money transfer and remit them in pawnshops. 
Electricity is from 2:00PM until 6:00AM. Check with your hotel if they have a generator. 
There are health centers and private doctors but no hospitals. 
There’s a PHP200 Eco Development Fee (valid for 10 days) that you need to pay before you can do any of the boat tours.
Resources
The Internet made it very easy for me to plan and prepare the trip. Not to mention, most of their tours are guided and all you have to do is book it. For more information, I recommend you visit the following links:
http://www.elnidoboutiqueandartcafe.com/
http://goseasia.about.com/od/philippinestopattractions/tp/el_nido_palawan.htm
http://www.adaphobic.com/philippines/palawan/a-complete-travel-guide-to-el-nido-palawan/

Guide to El Nido, Palawan

El Nido is considered to be one the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines, so it seems fitting for JP and I to celebrate our five wonderful years of being together here. But planning a trip to El Nido was no easy feat. In fact, if you don’t have the cash to burn, the trip can be such a hassle. But that’s okay because my JP and I had fun. :)

I’ll probably share my photos and personal thoughts on my next post. In the meantime, if you’re planning to go El Nido this summer, I hope this quick guide will help you out. Enjoy! :)

Read more