“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! :-)