Light at the End of the Tunnel

My last weekend here in the Philippines was spent exploring the island of Palawan; which, as all my co-workers made sure i knew, is ranked as one of the top 5 most beautiful islands in the world.  After my trip, despite having a special place in my heart for my previous years spring break destination of Fort Meyers Beach in Florida, I would be inclined to agree.

To get to the island I had to hop on a plane from Manila for a 1 hour flight to Puerto Princessa, and let me tell you those plane seats were definitely built “Filipino sized” as my knees were jamming into the seat in front of me.  The airport on Palawan eerily reminded me of the landing strip in the third Jurassic Park movie but thankfully no T-rexs made any surprise appearances.  From the airport it was a 6 hour shuttle ride north the El Nido where our hostels was for the weekend, the ride flew by as it was and incredibly scenic drive along the coast for a good portion of it.  We arrived around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon and got all situated and our tours for the next day booked before heading to Las Cabanas beach where we saw the sunset before heading back to the hotel and then on to going out to one of the bars on the beach in the town of El Nido.

The second day in Palawan we luckily got to go out on our kayaking/snorkeling tour besides the mildly choppy ocean in the morning.  The tours had been cancelled for the previous 4 days so we ended up being really lucky getting out there.  The tour was amazing, we went around a whole manner of lagoons and coral reefs in our kayaks and snorkeling, the coral itself was so close to being straight out of Planet Earth I’m pretty sure if you dive deep enough you can hear David Attenborough narrating.  For wildlife I got to see my first ever sea turtle in the wild as well as a jelly fish so big I was more than a little scared can’t lie.  I also spotted some clown fish and after repeatedly asking them if they spoke English I deduced that Finding Nemo is a fictitious tale.  Towards the end of the tour they showed us where the closing scenes to the movie The Bourne Legacy were filmed and I though I recognized them but am definitely going back to re-watch the movie to confirm.  After the tour we headed to a restaurant with an amazing view of the sunset, as it was late afternoon, where I of course ordered the most fruity, “girly” drink I could find on the menu.

Our last half day in Palawan was spent heading over to Nacpan Beach which was about a half-hour ride north of our hostel but it was a hidden gem.  Not only were we 3 of maybe 10 total people on the beach but it was also some of the most breathtaking views I had seen in the Philippines.  The water was as warm as a bathtub and since the open ocean was out in front of the beach it had some of the largest waves I had ever seen, so naturally I was  hurling myself into them at full speed.  Even though we were only able to spend a few hours at Nacpan it very well may have been the highlight of my entire 2 months here in the Philippines.  After our beach morning we headed back to the hostel, hopped in the van and strapped in for the 6 hour ride back to Puerto Princessa and our flight back to Manila.  I arrived back at my apartment at about 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, promptly passed out then woke up for work at 7.  It was a whirlwind weekend but without a doubt worth it, one could easily spend a whole week on that island alone and not even see everything, I guess that means I will have to come back!


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