El Nido

Our expectations were set rather low after visting the world famous underground river - so El Nido took us by surprise!

It is absolutely worth the visit - never mind the long and uncomfortable travel: 45 mins boat ride from the Coconut Garden Resort, another 2 hr jeepney tour and finally a local bus to El Nido for another 5 hours (of cause stopping in every single village). Including waiting time this might have been a record setting 10 hr trip for 180 km!

El Nido itself is not that special but the surrounding Bacuit Archipelago is. It's an amazing archipelago consisting of immense limestone cliffs surrounded by crystal clear turquoise water inviting everyone for a snorkelling tour. Island hopping tours are the only way to explore the archipelago with its stunning lagoons. We booked the two most recommended ones (A and C) and weren’t disappointed. In the evenings we met with Dany and Layak (a Lebanese couple we met in a shisha bar) and Maaike and Marc (a Dutch couple we met on one of the tours).

Well, El Nido itself is not a bad place after all00

Stunning views everywhere on our two trips23_03_El Nido_02 23_03_El Nido_03 23_03_El Nido_04 23_03_El Nido_05 23_03_El Nido_06

The small lagoon hidden behind huge limestone cliffs and only visible when the tide is low - from outside, inside and around23_03_El Nido_07 23_03_El Nido_08 23_03_El Nido_11 23_03_El Nido_13

Way into the big lagoon23_03_El Nido_14 23_03_El Nido_15

Selfie time23_03_El Nido_16

No one knows the true story of the heart island (Matinloc Shrine / Fernandez's Abandoned Mansion) but our tour guide told us the following: a rich german man bought the whole island which comes in the shape of a heart for his wife. He build a catholic center but when he died nobody took care of it anymore. The following years it slowly fell apart.

Is anybody out there willing to give us money to buy this island? 23_03_El Nido_17 23_03_El Nido_18 23_03_El Nido_19

Maaike and Marc are relaxing in their hammock which the carry around the world23_03_El Nido_20

Two days of great swimming and snorkeling come to an end ...23_03_El Nido_21

Our new pets23_03_El Nido_22 23_03_El Nido_23

Niels went nuts with the selfie-stick from Layak23_03_El Nido_24

Local busses at the main bus station in El Nido 23_03_El Nido_25

Finding a good place to relax during a break on the way 23_03_El Nido_26

Port Barton - Laziness newly defined

Booking the accommodation for Port Barton gave us a hard time. Finally, we decided to stay at a place run by a half Swiss half German who offers some known Swiss dishes at his restaurant which we were dying for. Not giving up for 3 days Niels somehow managed to get in contact via Facebook (all other means of communication failed). Not sure if everything worked out we took a local minibus for 5 hours from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton - surprisingly a boat was awaiting us.

45 mins later a small island came into sight. The Cococnut Garden Resort was the only place on the island. Therefore, we enjoyed western dishes every day e.g. Gulasch with mashed potatoes or Schnitzel 😉 After traveling for almost 10 month you appreciate western food a lot. The place was a bit like a small zoo: dogs, cats, monkeys, ducks, ducklings and many more. We are not big fans of wild animals being locked up but in this case they only treated one injured monkey with her baby.

Since there was nothing to do besides eating, swimming, and playing cards it was all about being lazy without having a bad conscious.

View from our cottage23_02_Port Barton_01


First sight of the island (the very left building was our cottage)23_02_Port Barton_02

The Coconut Garden Resort & around (next 5 pics)23_02_Port Barton_03 23_02_Port Barton_04 23_02_Port Barton_05 23_02_Port Barton_06 23_02_Port Barton_07

Locked away for its own good - an injured monkey with her baby23_02_Port Barton_08 23_02_Port Barton_09 23_02_Port Barton_10

A local fisher boat passes by23_02_Port Barton_11

On our way to the next destination “El Nido” several transports were necessary (boat, jeepney and a local bus)  23_02_Port Barton_13 23_02_Port Barton_16 23_02_Port Barton_17

Impressions on the way – special effects23_02_Port Barton_14 23_02_Port Barton_15

Sabang and Puerto Princesa

Go to Sebang they said - it's going to be amazing they said... Eva wanted to organize something special for Niels birthday and booked a full-day tour to the world famous underground river in Sabang. But small changes made a big difference. Instead of getting picked up at 8 am the pick-up got prescheduled to 7am - Niels is not exactly a big fan of getting up too early. But the tour was prepaid and it was our only chance to see the underground river. Being on Palawan and not seeing the undergrund river is like being in Paris without paying the Eifel Tower a visit.

The drive from Puerto Princesa took us around 2 hrs, arriving in Sebang we needed to wait for another hr before finally a small boat took us to the cave (3 1/2 hrs total travel time). The river winds its way through the cave for more than 4 km before emptying into the sea. But you can only go for the first 1,5 km. Inside the cave there are huge chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Thousands of bats hanging upside down from the ceiling. But to be honest the view from the outside is much prettier than the cave itself. Niels even requested a new birthday present....

Back in Puerto Princesa we walked around the city center and ended up in a shopping-mall where Niels found a play-area. Finally, there was some happiness. Aside from various Philippine means of transport which come in all shapes, colors and sizes there is not much to see in Puerto Princesa.

Outside view of the underground river23_01_Sabang_01


Hard to believe but it seems to be true – Natural world heritage 23_01_Sabang_02    23_01_Sabang_03

The black dots are bats – not easy to catch it with our shitty camera :/23_01_Sabang_004

Small boat but big waves - quite a bumpy ride to the cave23_01_Sabang_05 23_01_Sabang_06 23_01_Sabang_07

Coconut water is even good against AIDS and Cancer...23_01_Sabang_09

Does he really look like someone who is having a bad birthday?23_01_Sabang_010 23_01_Sabang_011


Thats where the taxes go...23_01_Sabang_012

Jeepneys - old army jeeps modified in the Filipino style - chrome, colored headlights and colorful paintings23_01_Sabang_01623_01_Sabang_017

Tricycles are the Philippine answer to the rickshaw. Little roofed sidecars attached to a motorcycle. Sometimes with music and disco lights 23_01_Sabang15


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