The journey to Palawan started the night before we even left the island. We packed up our flat and moved our belongings to our new apartment. Yes, we have moved out of the jungle palace! Unfortunately there had just been too many hiccups and communicating with our landlady, who doesn’t live on the island, was becoming a bind. Too much of our time was being spent buying things that should already have been in the flat when we arrived or organising for them to be delivered. Luckily, I had met a lovely guy on the beach a few days earlier and having spoken to him about our issues, we came to an arrangement on one of the villas he owns in the same area and it’s just divine. Authentic but practical.
Take a peek if you fancy!
The next day we set off for Palawan stopping by the immigration office to renew our VISAs. With all the papers ticked and stamped we got the boat to Caticlan which is a 5 minute journey from the tiny airport! Max parents were meeting us in Manila so we were really excited to touch down!
Many terminal fees and a delay later we arrived in Manila where we only had 30 minutes before our connecting flight to Puerto Princesa was scheduled to leave. We dashed to the gate expecting Max’s parents to be waiting for us. However, this wasn’t the case. Having asked an airline rep to check the system, we knew their plane had landed but they hadn’t checked-in yet, in fact at this point, the check-in for the Puerto Princesa flight had closed. There was nothing we could do so we boarded the plane. Frustratingly we went on to wait for an hour on the tarmac whilst they were stuck in the airport facing a 4 hour wait until the next flight.
Upon arrival, we organised the bus transfer to El Nido. Yup, a 5 hour bus after 2 flights and a 5 hour delay. OUCH. Luckily we were escorted to a chic french owned bar with big sofas and good food. Max’s parents finally arrived looking rather tired from their very long day. Unfortunately that wasn’t the end of it! We hopped on the bus, only to find some delightful other passengers had ‘reserved’ all the comfy seats and left us with the two small seats in the front with the driver and 2 seats with no headrests. After a little tussling, we secured Max’s parents 2 comfy seats and took the no headrest seats ourselves. It was only then that the noticed the seat had no sponge left in it and some really uncomfortable metal rods to sit on. I managed the first few hours and then swapped with Max’s mum who unpacked most of her suitcase to make it slightly more pleasant.
We stopped for some pitiful roadside grub on the way and arrived at our villa in the dark feeling more than a little tired. 18 hours of travelling. Was it going to be worth it? We went straight to bed not really knowing what we would wake up to.
Thankfully, the wait was worth it. All the tired vibes from travelling for a day vanished almost immediately.
What a view!
This breakfast and good coffee, all bought to our villa by the polite and friendly staff.
We swam, chatted, admired the view and basked in the sun, dosing in and out of consciousness for most of the morning.
By lunch, the pitta-patter of raindrops and our hungry tummies encouraged us out of the heavenly villa and into town.
We stumbled upon a great spot right around the other side of the bay called Cadlao Resort. We didn’t know it was there and you would never have guessed it from what we passed along the way. A graveyard, some tiny little island shacks and a few small eateries bordered the dust track before we arrived at this rather upmarket resort complete with stunning pool and view over the ocean.
This made me chuckle.
El Nido doesn’t have that perfect white beach and crystal clear water, but it’s still very beautiful in a more raw way I think.
Fresh fish and prawns all round followed by Nespresso Coffee, heaven. An excellent way to spend a drizzly afternoon. With full and satisfied tummies we decided we would eat at the villa in the evening so we headed to the market to buy some basics, dodging the rain on the way!
The market was overflowing with fresh produce.
A human controlled fly fan.
We dodged the meat and got lots of eggs and some other simple ingredients to make a big omelette and some tasty fruit for a little fruit salad. It’s even cheaper than Boracay!
The rain continued to pour throughout the evening. We had a boat tour planned for the following day so kept our fingers firmly crossed for better weather and enjoyed a relaxed evening and early night.