Philippines round two! Although I had gone to Boracay in the summer, I was given about one week notice from my teaching job in Korea to book my winter holiday. Because the Philippines is a close and cheap flight I decided to go to the island of Palawan. With about zero planning my friend Jaelim joined me and we were on our way right after Christmas 2013.
We stayed in Puerto Princesa just for a night before we took a 6 hour bus ride up north to El Nido. I had heard from multiple Korean expat friends how beautiful El Nido was, so of course I had to see this in person rather than just their #instagram accounts.
Jae & I stayed about half a mile from the beach because we had booked our place in advance. It cost us $20 a day ($10/person) which was honestly way too expensive. If you are planning to go to El Nido there is NO NEED to book accommodation in advance. There are so many little beach bungalows that cost just a couple of bucks/night. Those are the places that can’t be found on the internet.
The beach was very small and we were able to explore the whole place. The week was filled with island hopping, snorkeling, rum and coke, and relaxing.
**My favorite memory of the trip was on New Year’s day 2014. Jae and I hitched a ride on a tuk-tuk and went about an hour into the jungle. We got out at some random trail head and climbed another two hours to a waterfall. It seemed a bit odd that it was just Jae, our driver, and myself in the middle of nowhere without a clue where we were going. However, we ended up at the top of the waterfall and were greeted by about eight young teenage boys who were offering us shots of rum in celebration of New Years. I declined the cigarettes from our driver and of course said yes to the rum. We swam and hung out for a bit. After that little adventure our tuk-tuk driver took us over to a beach we had not yet been to. I taught some kids how to throw a frisbee and we relaxed in the sunshine. What a PERFECT way to start the year.**