Asia, Featured, Philippines, Travel 30 COMMENTS

Exploring: El Nido, Palawan

el nido palawan BC“I need to explore this country more.” is a thought I often find myself having every single time I travel outside Metro Manila. I’m first to admit it’s easy for me to forget what a beautiful country we have because I’m so distracted by the horrible city that is Metro Manila.

Two weekends ago, I was reminded just how beautiful this country is when Spin Hostel El Nido invited me, Dianne, David and Vina to stay at their hostel and explore El Nido, Palawan. I had one whole day to explore before I had to go home, but despite the short trip, I was able to see El Nido in a very underrated way. Originally our itinerary included island hops and visiting lagoons, but because of the terrible weather due to a storm passing through, the coast guards had to cancel all sea trips to keep tourists and locals safe. So, how do you deal? Well, you explore the land! I’ve been to Coron before, and it basically looks exactly like El Nido, so I knew I wasn’t really missing out on much that day. It was perfect because I was able to see El Nido in a way most tourists choose not to unless they’re trapped on the island due to bad weather.

SPIN Hostel El Nido

One of my favorite parts of the hostel is the facade. It’s beautiful and basically just screams, “Come stay with us!” 

I’m a huge fan of hostel culture so I was really excited when SPIN invited me to stay with them. We landed in Puerto Princesa and Dianne and I had to endure a 5-6 hour drive to El Nido. We were supposed to take a chartered flight straight to El Nido through ITI, but unfortunately all seats were booked so we had to fly with PAL and then have a van take us to El Nido. I usually wouldn’t mind long car rides, but traveling at night isn’t one of the best choices for safety. So, if you’re thinking of visiting El Nido, I would definitely recommend the chartered flight. It may cost a bit more, but you don’t have to endure a 5-6 hour car ride anymore.

It was around 10:00 in the evening when we finally arrived at Spin Hostel, and upon arrival I instantly knew Spin Hostel was gonna be my cup of tea. The best part was that it didn’t even look like your stereotypical hostel. It was bright, fun and Instagrammable — which is highly important considering the power in the age of social media nowadays; the designers definitely knew what they were doing.

I definitely see it as a top choice for young travellers to stay in and I would definitely stay in other Spin Hostels around the country (which I heard they’re building more of! Yay!) if they’re available. I also want to note that it’s a very affordable hostel to stay in despite it looking “luxe”, with beds available for as low as Php625 in a 4 co-ed dorm room (breakfast included), that’s not bad at all. I’ve seen other hostels costing more and the place just spells out sketchy. (You can check out the other available rooms and prices on booking.com)

The front desk with very nice and accommodating receptionists. The snacks are there to tempt you to buy some, which Dianne and I did. Lots of them.

They have a bulletin board for announcements like today’s weather and BBQ nights at the hostel. 

Travellers having breakfast before heading out to tour the island, locals and foreigners alike. This is the perfect time to meet people and make friends.

The breakfast buffet — I’ll admit I wish they had more on it, like ham to make sandwiches with the egg station they have out by the deck. :-)The hangout area where you can play games, talk to people, play music on instruments. Basically, this is the social zone. You can’t sit here and expect to not be minded.

A very Nat Geo-ish frog chilling by one of the pillars

One of the decks where some guests have their morning yoga/meditations. David is Instagramming though, so he’s doing it wrong.My island tour OOTD. I eventually had to buy slippers at a nearby sari-sari store because my Annie & Lori sandals are obviously NOT travel friendly. I was expecting a trip to the beach ok!!! Not riding on the back of a motorbike and getting wet from the rain and getting mud all over me.

Touring The Island

Six motorbikes for the 6 of us touring… I’ll admit this was hella fun even though I was afraid for my life 90% of the time. I kept playing tragic scenarios in my head of the bike slipping and I end up flying off and dying.

The best way to see El Nido is renting a motorbike. As much as possible try not to settle with the trikes, they’re slower and you’ll most likely not get a lot of touring done through this mode of transportation.

Nacpan beach was our first stop, and although it looks sunny now, the weather will end up betraying us. We spent around 2 hours here, climbed up a hill, had lunch and then took off to explore another area.

Dianne, Me, Vina and David

Me & Vina

Me & Dianne

Some Europeans getting a tan… mostly just getting red, tbh.

We climbed a hill to get a majestic view of the twin beaches Nacpan & Calitang! SO GORGEOUS. I couldn’t believe it!

After lunch we headed off to another portion of the island where we had to trek through a forest and several rivers. It was quite fun despite the constant threat of losing our slipper due to the strong currents. Thankfully our tour guides (aka motorbike drivers) were always quick to help save our runaway pairs. Heehee!Nature has a way of really amazing me. I’m not big on trekking but with views like this, I definitely don’t mind the effort!After about 30 minutes, we finally arrived at the smaller Bulalacao Falls. We had a dip while some of our motorbike drivers decided to jump from the waterfalls. I didn’t have the guts to do it and kept telling them that if I didn’t have an upcoming trip, I would jump for sure, but right now I’m living my life carefully so I don’t die and miss out on October. Haha

After the falls, our group decided to head to another beach but because I was an idiot for not wearing my glasses the entire day, I ended up with a terrible optical migraine that was causing me terrible pain, nausea and sensitivity to light. I have high tolerance for pain, and me being unable to walk around was a sign that things were way worse than I had initially expected it would be. I had to head back to the hostel to rest, and I missed out on BBQ night with everyone else. I had my name listed down for squid earlier that morning and I couldn’t even eat it cause I was confined on my bed :-(

Overall my El Nido trip was an adventure for the books despite the very short stay, the bad weather and getting sick — but that’s what traveling is all about isn’t it? Embracing the experiences, especially the bad ones, because without it the traveling wouldn’t be an adventure at all.

I have more snippets of my trip in an upcoming video blog which will be up this week, so stay tuned!

I hope you guys enjoyed reading all about El Nido and my experience! What place in the Philippines should I visit next? Gab and I plan to visit more of the country next year :-)

To know more about Spin Hostel, you should definitely like them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/spinhostel) and keep them in mind when you travel to El Nido or elsewhere in the Philippines! :-)

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30 Comments

  • Reply patriagarcia 18 August 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Bataan <3

  • Reply Mikyu Maglasang 18 August 2015 at 8:01 pm

    It’s good that you’re starting to appreciate our country more, Camie! I remember one of my comments before in this blog (here), hoping that you get to explore more of the Philippines after your Eurotrip. There really is a lot to see here besides the mountains and beaches (although those two are my favorites). :)

    • Reply Mikyu Maglasang 18 August 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Ooohh by the way, island hopping is really nice in El Nido! We experienced it last year, and it’s one of the best. :)

      • Reply Camie Juan 18 August 2015 at 8:15 pm

        I saw photos from David since they stayed longer!! I think I wont go back to El Nido for a while to island hop. Maybe save that another time with other people since I already went to Coron last year, and as Ive seen from photos, El Nido and Coron look so much alike! Anyway, I really wanna go to Batanes!!!!

    • Reply Camie Juan 18 August 2015 at 8:12 pm

      I’ve always appreciated the beauty of the Philippines, and I would even recommend it to travel bloggers/vloggers I follow :D I just always thought that I would always have time and resources to go around the country, but not a lot of time or resources to visit other much more expensive countries. My logic is that while I’m young with zero responsibilities except for myself, I would invest in seeing the rest of the world first, because I’m young and making money… and then it would be easier to explore the country because it just costs less. I may not be super patriotic but if there’s one thing I will forever appreciate about the Philippines, it’s its natural beauty :)

  • Reply hle 18 August 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Where’s the video camie? So excited!!!

    • Reply Camie Juan 18 August 2015 at 8:16 pm

      Patience, child. Patience. It’s uploaded na on YouTube BUT I haven’t published it. It’ll be up by Thursday hopefully! :D

  • Reply Helga Weber 18 August 2015 at 8:35 pm

    I’ve NEVER been to Palawan and my mom’s boyfriend told me and Joey that we have to go with them when they visit again (I think he plans on buying land to retire there lol). RIDICULOUS because it’s like everyone has been there (even my old titas lol) and I haven’t.

    I really liked Sagada! Slow living with easy hiking trails and cold weather. I want to go back but I’m still kind of scared because of that bus crash. =/

    • Reply Camie Juan 19 August 2015 at 10:24 am

      Its worth the trip talaga to go! I used to think overrated but when I first visited Coron I finally understood all the hype!

      I also wanna do Sagada but after the Tadhana movie I heard medjo bugbog na so maybe I’ll visit when the hype has died down too. Just to lessen the tourist traffic cause I heard the locals arent taking it so well! :(

  • Reply Anna B. 18 August 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Hi! Nice photos. Breathtaking view may i know what camera you used? Thanks!

    • Reply Camie Juan 19 August 2015 at 10:25 am

      Hi Anna! Thank you :) I used a Fujifilm x-A2 camera :)

  • Reply Colleen 18 August 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Wow, may ganito pala sa El Nido! Akala ko puro lagoons and beaches lang mapupuntahan doon. Thank you for this blog :)

    • Reply Camie Juan 19 August 2015 at 10:25 am

      Same here! Haha

  • Reply Jae 19 August 2015 at 12:56 am

    We hope to go on a trip to Palawan when my husband and I visit my family in the Philippines if not next year, in 2017! Between Coron and El Nido, which do you think is more conducive for a week-long family vacation? Thanks for sharing, Camie!

    • Reply Camie Juan 19 August 2015 at 10:27 am

      Hmm… I spent 4 days in Coron and there was more than enough to do! I cant really say the same for El Nido cause I only stayed for about one whole day! So I cant compare. I feel like its also not a huge difference because they offer the same crystal clear waters, nice beaches, lagoons, etc. but i heard Coron is best for diving. I love to snorkel and be in the water so Coron for me is perfect!

  • Reply Mark-Anthony Villaflor 19 August 2015 at 1:08 am

    Awesome! So excited to go there next month. Glad to see a hostel out there. Sorry to hear you got sick and had bad weather but again that’s just part of the game isn’t it! Looks like you had a great trip regardless :)

    • Reply Camie Juan 19 August 2015 at 10:28 am

      Thanks Mark! Lots of foreigners here. Haha but try out Spin because I find the price and amenities incredibly worth it :) we need more hostels like this honestly!

      • Reply Mark-Anthony Villaflor 19 August 2015 at 10:42 pm

        gonna look for land there or in san vicente to put up a hotel/hostel not sure of the concept but camilles an interior designer so should be an epic design!

  • Reply Rachel Liwanag 19 August 2015 at 8:58 am

    The hostel looks so cute, so instagram worthy! haha you take such beautiful photos

    http://rachelkiml.blogspot.com/

    • Reply Camie Juan 19 August 2015 at 10:28 am

      Thanks Rachel! And yes loved the interiors of the hostel :)

  • Reply Pearl 19 August 2015 at 9:47 am

    Wow! El Nido looks so majestic! We’re definitely blessed to have paradises like this in our country <3

    • Reply Camie Juan 19 August 2015 at 10:29 am

      Definitely one of the best things about this country!

  • Reply Corinth 19 August 2015 at 2:09 pm

    The photos look so beautiful! The view! UGH! I’m really excited to go back home just to travel to the beaches all over our country. My sisters flew home for two weeks a couple months ago and they hated Metro Manila’s state.

    • Reply Camie Juan 20 August 2015 at 9:34 pm

      Everyone hates Metro Manila now. Haha I can’t fucking stand it hereeee!!! It’s so draining and this city just eats you alive. Even the foreigners from my French class have expressed their hatred for the city. Everywhere else is okay but this city… DAAAAAMN SON. Haha When are you coming home? We should meet <3

      • Reply Corinth 22 August 2015 at 1:50 pm

        I don’t really have plans yet. Maybe in two years? Our focus right now is to move and to settle in the States soon. But yes to that meet!!!

  • Reply Nina 19 August 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Wow that hostel looks really good! It’s great that they opened there. In my opinion, Philippine hostels and guesthouses needs a lot of improvement design-wise, so the influx of these hostels with modern interiors might stimulate them to step up their game.

    I’m so happy you loved El Nido! It’s one of my favorite places in the Philippines. Do check out Batanes!

    • Reply Camie Juan 19 August 2015 at 10:51 pm

      I agree! I hope they develop better hostels here to attract backpackers.

      Batanes is one of my travel goals in the PH! Hopefully I’ll get to go next year because my boyfriend’s parents have been wanting to go and they already invited me to come along :P

  • Reply Travel Vlog: El Nido Palawan - Wild Spirit 20 August 2015 at 9:40 pm

    […] very different from a blog post. With a vlog, you can really get to see the images from my previous El Nido blog post come to life and even get snippets of moments I never captured through photos. […]

  • Reply chinnychynnchin 21 August 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Definitely Davao, Camie! I’d LOOOVE to see you in person! ;)

  • Reply marion kit 13 August 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Wow!!! super nice place…

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