Spanish for ‘the nest’, El Nido is the gateway to Palawan island in the Philippines. The town is sandwiched between towering limestone cliffs and Bacuit Bay, is cluttered with buildings that creep onto the beach with businesses that cater to tourists.
Spending a few weeks here we hopped to different parts via ferry. Keeping a hammock ready proved useful, not only for using them on the 2-3 hour rides but especially when during the day we had views like this…
You can rent motorbikes or opt to take a tuk-tuk to check out different beaches or waterfalls. The dirt and bumpy road to Nacpan Beach are worth the hassle because of the white sand that gently squeezes between your toes, but most of all, the breathtaking view from the hill.
During the day I went scuba diving for the first time to get PADI certified. There were 5 dives over 2 days and a multiple-choice test at the end. I was amazed at the sea life and it felt like entering a new world. One that is often ignored by the life on land. The coral was dead and broken on the floor. The remnants of ocean acidification. School of barracuda swam by, a sea turtle lackadaisically gliding by and other random colorful fish. During one of the maneuvers needed to get certified it was required of us to remove the entire tank from our body and hold the respirator, our life-line used to breathe, out in front, remove the mouthpiece and hold our breath.
After, we needed to put all of our scuba gear back on and continue the dive, all while balancing 10 meters underwater. While I was doing all this, midway, I heard a loud pop echo multiple times and my instructor seemed irritated. After we got on board and were removing our wetsuits to head back to the main beach, my instructor said disappointedly and angrily that the noise we heard were poachers using dynamite.
Diving is tiring but well worth it. Heading back to the guesthouse we were staying at children would be playing a game. Think bowling but instead of a ball using a flip flop. The only downside was the power cuts during the summer. Between 8 am and 2 pm there was no electricity. I’m lead to the thought of heat and the most under-rated pleasure. You are sleeping in hot scorching summers under the fan with full throttle speed, oscillating. Suddenly the power goes out. Time passes as you contemplate on energy crisis cursing the power-cuts. You are floating in the sweat on the bed. Suddenly the power comes back and you see the fan blades trotting slowly. The feel of the air touching your body, seeping through the pores, cooling off the sweat and the pleasure that follows is heavenly. As the clock ticks and trickles into the end of the day, the sky turns from blue to orange, fiery red with hues of purple, beachgoers will get a front row seat to the best sunset on the island. Sit back and relax with a drink in hand as the day ends.