[Palawan, Philippines] ~ Seeking El Nido’s Hidden Beaches

Playing hide-and-seek on my second day – 08.30.15

Five-hour trip from Puerto Princesa got me to this small town where I spent my first day just the usual walking around and immediately falling in love with realization that dogs were everywhere. Caught the sunset at MARIMEGMEG BEACH over beer and new camera ‘test-drive’ on day. Full day the following day spent on Tour C which I chose for its promise of hop within hidden beaches called HELICOPTER ISLAND,  (well) HIDDEN BEACH, that beach with name I did not catch but has the loveliest water and most beloved seclusion andSECRET BEACH which inspired Alex Garland’s The Beach. Last half day was this sudden detour to swim NACPAN’s gentle waves and see from a hill its twin CALITANG. 

 

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Let’s take you to that tour C, shall we?

Second was an early day for me. Coming from an early sleep night, I managed to wake up early, eat some leftover and had more than enough time waiting for my 9am sundo in front of the hostel. My sundo came in around 15 minutes and this impatient side of me was coming out but I was relieved when I was assigned to a small group – composed of couples and small groups – which worked perfectly for me as that kind of meant I get that distant friendliness of my stranger tourmates.

What immediately struck me was the blue silkiness of the water – which was similar in silkiness but of different shade from what was in Moalboal

Our first stop is this called island called HELICOPTER, named such because well, it was shaped like a helicopter. (I regret though not having a capture of it). If I remember it right, we stayed there for less than an hour so inasmuch as the island is so for beach bumming, I chose to spend that little time on the water.

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Our travel buddy for the day

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Oh look at that blue

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And here is more

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Oh look at that sand

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Calm water, too

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This my beach, indeed

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I cannot not take a selfie

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One more underwater

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More blue, (ironically) the merrier

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Off to our next destination

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Next stopover is at HIDDEN BEACH where we had to park someplace then swim our way to a (well) hidden beach. Nothing spectacular at first glance but when our guide noticed I seem to be wondering whether I could swim further, he almost forced me to snorkel to someplace not so near shore. He guided me all throughout of course. There was just this funny comment when we were almost done that went like “Nakakalangoy naman pala. Mabagal lang/ Okay so you can swim, just slowly”). Okay. Thanks (?) :p

Not much to see there but I remember having some kind of independence ‘snorkeling’ around. Maybe it was partly due to that comment so there was some kind of belief I can actually do it.  I banked on it too much maybe that I was actually on snorkel until the shallow parts and until we were at the boat already.

 

GOPR0206_1441255963305_highThat consistent blue

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Oh how that water reflects is… just amazing

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20150830_104103How many shades of blue

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GOPR0213_1441255963305_highWhere boats were parked

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GOPR0216_1441255963305_highInside the hidden beach

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G0020250_1441255963305_highThose rocks formations that separate this beach from the sea

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GOPR0284_1441255963305_highWhere the Nemos live

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GOPR0287_1441255963305_highThanks to Kuya for this Nemo twins photo

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20150830_113738Intrigued by that island from afar (which later on we would have a chance to see much closer)

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GOPR0324_1441255963305_highOff to our lunch area

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Next stop was lunch at this ISLAND WITH NAME I DO NOT KNOW (help from those who have been on this tour and remember its name) – which is kind of crappy as this island is my favorite in the tour. There was lot of room for snorkel and there’s this spot under this rock where sand’s so soft your feet gets buried in it in seconds.

I was snorkeling in my vest and gear for so long in that shallow part of water they must have been wondering what I was enjoying so much about it. 😛

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GOPR0329_1441255963305_highApproaching our lunch island

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GOPR0331_1441255963305_highOh come on, who threw that bottle?!!!

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GOPR0332_1441255963305_highA tourmate testing the water

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20150830_115819Now that is white

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20150830_115820I was there

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GOPR0333_1441255963305_highWoot to that shallow

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GOPR0334_1441255963305_highMore faces I see

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GOPR0335_1441255963305_highSomeone forgot his snack

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GOPR0336_1441255963305_highSome shade

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GOPR0337_1441255963305_highI sense some pattern on where I take shameless selfies

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GOPR0340_1441255963305_highUh huh

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GOPR0341_1441255963305_highLeads to nowhere

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GOPR0342_1441255963305_highMan prints

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GOPR0343_1441255963305_highSand this soft

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GOPR0347_1441255963305_highFrom that spot between the rocks

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G0040350_1441255963305_highWas scared to go where that color changes

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GOPR0418_1441255963305_highSeabed was not as pure as sand on shore but that just motivated me to float more with my vest

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We got served! 

Sorry for those water spots 😛

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GOPR0457_1441255963305_highWhat I like to think is some kind of castle in this side of town

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After lunch is this stop at another beach named SECRET, which according to Research is what inspired Alex Garland in his novel The Beach. It was the part of the tour I was most excited about, but also what I was most scared of as we had to pass a cave opening to make it to the beach.

It was not as amazing as I expected, most likely because there were too many people in such a small area and water too shallow which is not an advantage when seabed was rocky. What I liked about that beach though is how it is separated by those sharp rocks and how rays of sun try to get its way inside the cove.

20150830_132836Had to pass by that hole with all that foam to get to the inside other side

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GOPR0464_1441257167541_highNot so secret anymore

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GOPR0465_1441257167541_highOh buy with yellow snorkeling mask *-*

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GOPR0470_1441257167541_highAt least one of them I must have ‘bumped’ into while snorkeling

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GOPR0471_1441257167541_highSome piece of land inside

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GOPR0472_1441257167541_highAnd from there this is what can be seen

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GOPR0475_1441257167541_highHuman fishes

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GOPR0476_1441257167541_highWhen I lied on my back with my vest on

(yes, because I cannot make myself float haha) 

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GOPR0477_1441257167541_highSun and cloud wisp

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GOPR0479_1441257167541_highHeart-shaped find

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GOPR0484_1441257167541_highBlack and white

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GOPR0515_1441257167541_highThese faces almost haunt me

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GOPR0516_1441257167541_highMore black and white

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Love the colors, Mr/Ms Fish

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GOPR0523_1441257167541_highBecause our guide volunteered to take this picture.

My face kind of blends with the rock formation though

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GOPR0524_1441257167541_highA closer one. We kind of lost the background though

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Last stop is in this island where MATINLOC SHRINE is (also known as Shrine of Our Lady of Matinloc and Shrine of the Blessed Virgin). There is no swimming there but area offers a scenic view of the sea and mountain. What is more interesting to me is this abandoned building in the area. Eerie, I must say, but this checks off an item in my to-see list.

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So I remember where we were parked

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GOPR0530_1441257167541_highSome kind of dock

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… and here a dog

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Amazing sharpness

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GOPR0537_1441257167541_highI love that stained glass detail on the dome

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GOPR0539_1441257167541_highOn the way to ‘the view’

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20150830_143716Panoramic ‘the view’ from up there

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20150830_143727Strip of white sand

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20150830_143730For some reason this view made me want to fly (and swim too of course in case I fall 😀 )

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Here’s a view from one the rocks nearer the edge

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Like some giant charcoal

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The greens looking unreal

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I don’t think I captured well what is

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Thanks to guide who volunteered to take this

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Most people busy someplace else but these hidden what-not interests me most

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I even got ‘in’

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Abandoned place of rest

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Each minding own business

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So I kept on finding these random spots

Was that a cooler?

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Just to give perspective

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… and some more

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I see again faces on those rocks

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Like a giant toad

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FAIL.

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This one’s more like it

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Edgy

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The Virgin

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Dead end

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Was so curious I went back to see more of the building

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Windows still okay

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Outside structure too

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Our tour called it late afternoon. We were supposed to wait until sunset by the boat but we still had about an hour to wait that it was a consensus decision of the group to just go back to base instead.

There was a slight moment of panic when our boat’s engine temporarily stopped but just like always, our boatmen handled it pretty well. We were safely back at the town proper a little before 5, which to me was perfect as it was time for my afternoon beer.
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Another face lies somewhere

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A chicken head, a boot or an angry man’s face?


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Water now a darker blue?

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Boobs or heart?

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Can you guess what music plays in this bar?

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Bar bursting in color

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Clearly I am in the Philippines

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Enjoying my post-tour beer

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Each enjoying their afternoon

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“Anito” (translated to English as deity) shadow  by the shore

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Their afternoon playtime

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Maybe tired from the tour, spent my night with restful sleep in preparation for next day’s going back home. But then again, didn’t know I would still have my last hurrah by then.

To follow my entry on twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang.

PRACTICAL DETAILS : 

There are many tours available in El Nido which you can read about online. I am pretty sure you can book it from your accommodation but I booked mine online.

From what I know, pricing is pretty standard, but there can be minimal discrepancy depending on the agency you will use and probably some charming haggling skills (which I did not have so I just booked whatever was most convenient online)

 

 

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