Saturday, November 2, 2013

Architect's Summit Day 2 + 1: El Nido Tour A without the C

I arrived in El Nido around 4:00 AM Sunday morning.  There are plenty of tricycles at the terminal even at this hour.  I asked one to take me to Tay Miloy's Inn.  I originally planned on just leaving my things and just wait for the tour around 8:00 AM at a coffee shop somewhere.  But because I wasn't able to sleep on the bus, I decided to check in that early morning.  I texted my reservation the Friday prior for a night's stay at a Fan room for only 400php.  When I got there, my name was not listed and there's no vacancy.  The owner was kind enough to take me on his motorcycle to Egay's Place a few blocks away and finally I was settled.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the contact number for this new place.

Tay Miloy's Inn
Lisang Street, 5313 El Nido Bacuit, Palawan, Philippines

Early Morning, navigating my way around town looking for the stall of Northern Hope Tours

I booked my tour at Northern Hope Tours for A&C combination and was asked to be at their shop by 8:00 AM.  That morning, I forced myself out of bed to look for their place which is just beside the church.  When I got there, I was informed that they don't have the combination tour due to lack of participants and was asked if I am willing to go on Tour A.  Since, I was not presented with any other option, I said yes.  Just as soon as I gave my payment comes another guy in a motorcycle asking if he could just include me in their group for Tour A&C combination.  The person from Northern Hope declined saying he was able to convince me to take tour A.  I can't help but feel bad because all of these is happening right in my face.  Looking back, I wish I just went with the other guy, since I only have a day to spend in El Nido.  I'm sure Northern Hope had very satisfied clients but they need to learn from this.  Some guests have limited time and would want to maximize their tour experience.
Everybody seems to be on their way, except us!!!

I am not letting this incident ruin my vacation.  I figured, maybe this is God's way of giving me a reason to go back.  I will just go with Tour A and hope all things go well.  I was asked to be at the beach by 9AM.  The tour organizer assisted me in paying for the environmental fee and was asked to wait.  It was disappointing how other Filipinos have no respect for other people's time.  We waited almost an hour for a group of guests joining us.  That's not all, nobody explained what to expect and what we need.  It was when I had the initiative of asking if we ever need a Kayak or Aqua Shoes, when they got them for us.

Finally, after waiting for an hour, we boarded the boat to our first stop, The Secret Lagoon.

Walking from the boat, up to the beach and the entrance is made challenging by the rocks on the sea bed.  It is said, that this was once a cave that collapsed.

The small entrance to the Secret Lagoon
What the Lagoon looks like... let's keep it a secret for future visitors.

Shimizu Island

On this stop is where the boatmen will prepare our food.  While waiting, we explored the cliffs, coves, swim and snorkel in the nearby reef.

The Lunch Prepared for us.

Small Lagoon

You can either swim or kayak your way to a hole in the cliff to enter the small lagoon. 

Big Lagoon

Unfortunately, the tides are low when we got here.  We just swim on the sandy floored portions of the reef. We were encouraged to kayak to the lagoon, but I don't have the energy anymore from lack of sleep and the long travel.

Seven Commandos

The last stop, ideal for swimming, with white fine sand beach.  It also has a bar and the perfect place to view the sunset.

The Bar at Seven Commandos:  Beer Costs 75 pesos per bottle and they do have mix drinks as well.  A Buco Stand is located farther on the opposite direction of the bar

In spite of what happened in the morning, It was a great tour.  Our tour guide was fun and the crew very helpful.  I will definitely be back for the other tour package.  We arrived almost 5PM, and by this time, I feel feverish from fatigue.

Northern Hope Tours
Lisang Street, Maligaya Pob. (Barangay 1), 5313 El Nido, Palawan 
0927 735 3221

Tour A:  700 pesos
Environmental Fee:  200 pesos
Kayak Rental:  700 pesos
Coffee while waiting for the other participants:  20 pesos
Beer at Seven Commandos: 2 Red Horse, 150 pesos

Total: 1,770 pesos

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