Finally, some sun, swim and saaand! 🙂
We have been planning this trip since January this year, because I was scheduled to have my holiday in the Philippines on August, and to make a long story short, we decided on El Nido! We booked our flights to Puerto Princessa via AirAsia since direct flights to El Nido are quite expensive. Then we decided on whether to plan ourselves or just book a travel agency to take care of everything. So the latter won 😛
We availed of the 3D2N tour from Our Restless Feet Travel and Tours which included the following:
Our Restless Feet is actually owned by Paula Peralejo (remember Ang TV! days?, she is also Rica Peralejos’ sister) and her husband, and I was communicating with her through email since January. It was fairly easy to talk to her, and she was very willing to answer all of my inquiries. We chose the Hadefe Cottages since we’ve read good reviews about it. After confirming everything, we just deposited the total amount on her account and we were set. After that she sent me a service voucher complete with all the information we would need during our trip, as well as recommendations for dinner and tips on saving money for tricycle fees. I’ve always been a DIY kind of traveler, but hiring Our Restless Feet services was actually also a very good idea. So after all has been set, nothing to do but wait for the day of our trip! 🙂
Flying with AirAsia Zest
I didn’t know that AirAsia bought the local airline ZestAir to cater to domestic flights within the Philippines, so I was kinda expecting the red airasia logo in our plane. Also, the terminal for AirAsia Zest is in Terminal 4, which is just the old domestic airport renamed as such. Anyways, we used the same plane to and fro Puerto Princesa, and not to be complaining much but the smell is so bad inside (like a smelly fish), and the seats are also not in so much of a good condition (my seat on the trip back to Manila doesn’t have an arm rest). But everything’s still good, since we won’t allow anything to douse our excitement. We took the 7:35 am flight (altho a bit delayed) and reached Puerto Princesa by 9:30 am.
Once we landed in Puerto Princesa International Airport, we went straight to the parking area to look for our designated tour guide.
Initially we were supposed to leave for El Nido right away, so we were expecting to reach El Nido by 3:00 pm but we were told that we need to wait for another group that will reach PPS around 11:30 am. The driver took us to a Souvenir shop first, then to Robinsons where we had our early lunch and waited for them to pick us up. At about 12 something we were finally off to our looong ride to El Nido.
After almost 6 hrs of travelling (with 2 bathroom breaks), we finally arrived! And in time for the sunset too :). We were taken to Hadefe Cottages via tricycle since it was still quite a distance from town. We were given the Pamana Room, which was not beach-front but was clean and spacious. My sister and I had queen size beds each, plus we have our own toilet. One thing though is that there are no hot water in our bath, haha so my friend always tease me that they can hear my shouts from their room whenever I’m bathing.
Once we put all our things in our rooms, we went straight near the beach so we can catch the sunset and take photos. The view of sunset from our cottage is better than the view when in town because there is no mountain blocking it. I must say, it was a lovely way to end the long day of traveling ❤
We arranged for the tricycle driver to fetch us later that night to bring us to town for dinner. We decided on Art Cafe, which was also recommended by the travel agency. It is found on the 2nd floor of El Nido Botique & Art Cafe, and quite famous among foreigners. The food for me was okay, we just chose the pizza and pasta, and cocktail drinks as an end to a beautiful day. The highlight of the place is probably the ambiance, as well as the entertainment. They have an acoustic band playing every night which was a nice background while having dinner.
And with that we asked to tricycle driver to fetch us to return to our cottage for a well deserved rest. We paid the driver 200 php roundtrip fare.
Of course this is just the beginning, the next day was better as we got to have our Island Hopping (Tour A) of the gorgeous, lovely, beautiful (adjectives much!) places El Nido has to offer.