Turtle Time – El Nido, Philippines

We woke up to bright blue skies and glorious sunshine. We devoured our delicious breakfast, grabbed our rash guards, plenty of suncream and trotted off down to the boat. After the excitement of the first tour, we set out on Tour A wondering if it would quite match up to what we had experienced on Tour B.

Tour B is based around the visits to Big and Small Lagoon where the tranquil turquoise waters of its orchid-lined limestone walls, showcase a kaleidoscope of marine life. Scientists believe that these lagoons were actually caves that collapsed millions of years ago leaving behind these beautiful gifts, the lagoons.


We were first to arrive at Big Lagoon. It felt like such a privilege to have this area of outstanding beauty all to ourselves. The water was pristine and the scenery was just out of this world beautiful.





It sounds really corny but it was truly a breathtaking place. Max’s mum actually welled-up!

We jumped into the refreshing water for a quick swim before moving into the next location.


Secret Lagoon, a much smaller lagoon, tucked in a corner of Miniloc Island is only accessible through a small hole in the limestone cliffs. We pulled into a shallow area and walked across rocks, trying to dodge any coral in order to penetrate the cave.


The limestone caves cast a shadow across the water, causing a lovely cool environment, perfect for a little wallowing.




Next on the itinerary was Shimizu Island, an island with stunning limestone cliffs where swiftlet nest and produce the much sought after bird’s nest soup, believed by asians to have healing powers. Personally I don’t think it sounds particularly appetising.

Birds nests aside, the beach was dreamy and deserted.


Professional coconut hunter scaling a trunk for refreshments.


Meanwhile, I found myself a little log to lie on.


A little side story for you. As we got back on the boat after relaxing on this blissful little island, a Korean man was using a drone to get a birds eye perspective of the island. At first I thought this was pretty cool but I quickly realised we were in danger of being hit by the propellors as he struggled to control it. He was clearly having some issues but managed to get it down in front of him, at which point he grabbed the drone and the propellors sliced into him arm. It could have been so much worse. It was no more than a inch from his face and a few metres from us. He explained that as the GPS signal is poor, the drone struggles to maintain stability hence it was darting around uncontrollably in the air. The fact is, it could have hit any of us. That evening, I saw on CNN that there is going to be new laws introduced regarding drones and the day after, I read a very sad story about a police horse who had served for 10 years who was spooked by one resulting in his death. I now don’t like drones, this has really highlighted the need for a massive crackdown on where and when they can be used before one causes a human death.

Moving on…

We jumped back on the boat and travelled to Small Lagoon, located on the cove of Miniloc Island. You can enter through a small hole either by swimming or on a kayak. As we hadn’t tried kayaking yet, we rented 2 at 300 peso each and began paddling towards the entry point!








As you can see, we had the whole lagoon to ourselves! As you can also probably tell, I was chief photographer and did very little paddling. That was until Max decided to go for a swim, despite the fact we saw some pretty large jellyfish wobbling around.


He was desperate to climb up the (sharp) rocks (much against the advice of me and his mother) and dive into the water. He did exactly that, hurting himself along the way * snigger snigger *.

After enjoying the lagoon for quite a while we got back on the boat for lunch and an ice-cream from a man in a little boat. He even had ice-cream themed music. Cute.

Stuffed full of fresh goodness (except the ice-cream!), I took a nap on the way to the next island where the beach is called, Seven Commandos Beach. Seven Commandos is named after the 7 remaining japanese commandos who lived on the island as straglers after World War II.

We arrived alone again and had the island all to ourselves. It is an excellent snorkelling spot but first we chatted to the ‘Island Keeper’ and his dogs.





Max gathered our gear and we went off to snorkel.




Our day soared to a new level of awesome when Max and I were snorkelling and spotted a beautiful turtle that looked like she was just sleeping amongst the coral. Inevitably we woke her up with our excitement but we swam with her for a further 10 minutes at least. She soared through the ocean looking so graceful and at ease in the water.

It is a moment I will never forget.


We sailed home elated.

Another day, another beautiful sunset and yet again, more magical memories created. We are so lucky.



One thought on “Turtle Time – El Nido, Philippines

  1. Christina and Bernard

    Lottie – just read your latest blog entry which has had me reliving all those extraordinary moments of our Time all together in Palawan. Merci, merci, merci mille fois …!


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