The Russian called Vlad - El Nido, Palawan | Travel Blog

When in Rome do as the Romans do, when in El Nido, island hop. Island hopping is definitely the way to go and there are 4 different tours available to choose from. Each tour (A, B, C & D) visits 5 different islands/beaches/caves/inlets and includes a delicious lunch consisting of grilled fish, chicken, pork and a selection of fresh fruits. The tour leaves Bacuit Bay at around 9am each morning and returns at about 4pm.

There’s no need to book these tours online as there are various agencies that you can book through while staying in El Nido. What you should inquire whilst booking is whether or not snorkeling gear is included. Tours range from 1,200 Pesos – 1,400 Pesos for the banka (normal pump boat) which generally seats 12 people. Or you can opt for a private tour on a speedboat and pay a bit extra.

On Pinagbuyutan Island – Tour B

Tour A and C are highly recommended for its scenic beauty, as our photos attest, though we also enjoyed Tour B as it was less busy (commercial) and included some good snorkeling sites.

Having lived in Korea we’ve realized that with each trip it’s paramount to bring an open mind.  The majority of the time you’ll have no control over which people’s company you’ll enjoy (or endure) for the duration of the trip.  Fortunately we made some great friends on Tour A, they included: Bobby (computer analyst at NASA) Anders [pronounced Andush] aka Vila (Property Manager from Stockholm, Sweden) and his German girlfriend Monique (computer programmer). Later in the week a 6th member was added, Arzum (business owner from Turkey).

Drinks at the Mezzanine

This friendship was not only cemented by the appreciation of the aesthetic beauty around us but also by our mutual dislike {and amusement} of one of the passengers on the boat. He was loud, boisterous and Russian, therefore we nick-named “Vladimir”. This heavy-set man was also fond to show off his (unsightly) crown jewels which frequently slipped through the numerous holes in his trunks that one could only assume he mistook for swimming shorts.

All in all, he was a great source of entertainment though not in a positive way. He also had with him a Filipino escort. Sadly this is seen all over Palawan as girls in their 20s walk around with foreign men ranging between 50 – 80 years.

Okay, so here’s some info on what you can expect to see while island hopping. Tour A takes you to the following spots: Small lagoon (best viewed on a kayak), Large lagoon, Shimizu Island, Secret lagoon (which turned out wasn’t so secret as it was packed with tourists) and of course the 7 Commandos beach (which has a bar – bonus!)

Tour B takes you to the following spots: Pangalusian Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Snake Island, Cadugnon Point and Cave and Pinasil Island and Cathedral Cave.

During our time in El Nido the Philippines was hit by a small typhoon and even though our archipelago was unaffected by the rains or wind, heavy swells haltered most tours for 2 days as the conditions were too risky.

So for Tour C we decided to rather get a speedboat as it cuts down the travel time as well as giving you the added benefit of arriving at the islands first. Tour C includes: Dilumacad and Helicopter Island, Tapiutan Island, Matinloc Island and Star Beach.

Sometimes being on a secluded beach with friends just isn’t enough. Enter Modern Talking. That band from the 80’s you say? The one and only. DJ Vila rocked that little beach with his Ipod and mini speakers and soon we had a beach party of our own. You’re my heart, you’re my soul…you get the picture.

Each evening we would go out for cocktails or sun-downers before exploring the quaint little town of El Nido by indulging our taste buds at different restaurants.

Cuisines varied from Italian to French to selecting your fish or chicken on the grill whilst sitting barefoot at a table on the beach overlooking the beautiful horizon.

Keep your eyes peeled for the third installment of our journey in the Philippines “Body surfing with a sea turtle”.

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