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Third Time's a Charm: Back in El Nido

El Nido is one of those places I'd like to keep coming back to because of its idyllic ambiance and beautiful destinations. For this trip, I wanted to visit some of the beaches I have yet to see.

Beach Hopping Tour D

I've seen many changes since the last time I've been to El Nido, which was (if I remembered correctly) two years ago. The new town just before entering the old one has many more either completed or almost complete new establishments from cafes to restaurants to hotels or guesthouses. There is more hustle and bustle (and traffic) just outside the old town. There is also a new BPI branch where visitors can withdraw and deposit money. For someone who has been there before all these, it was both refreshing and scary, this once idyllic town may just turn into another tourist haven (or trap). El Nido town is fast becoming like many of the tropical destinations in other parts of Southeast Asia like the islands of Thailand and parts of Indonesia.

I didn't let the changes dampen my spirit, as El Nido's attractions aren't nearby except for a few. Most of them are in other islands far away from tourists and rapid commercialization. For this trip, I was determined to do Tour D (the last one I have yet to do since my first visit a couple of years ago), even if I had to rent a boat to do it. .

I was on this small boat sitting in front of the boatman.

I had no luck as no one was doing this trip, so I decided to rent a private boat for around P1500 which includes boatman and guide. I ended up on a very small boat, which barely had enough room for two people. I had no seat but had ample room to sit down and have part of the shade cover me. After the initial shock I was raring to get the tour started, our first stop was Cadlao Lagoon.

I've been to Cadlao during my first trip to El Nido, but on this adventure, there were no other tourists. I heard the birds, insects and the lapping of the waters. El Nido's land and seascapes are things that I will probably never get tired of seeing.

Our next stop was Paradise Beach and again i was the only tourist. It lived up to its moniker because of the dancing coconut trees, fine, bone white sand and clear, cerulean waters. I dipped into the glass-like waters as soon as the boat docked.

It was June and I expected rain, I thought I'd get away with no rain during my trip but the skies darkened as soon as we landed on Bukal Beach. This small, idyllic island isn't quite as nice as Paradise Beach, but it was small enough to have an intimate lunch or lazing around with friends. The boatman also told me that there was a viewpoint, we didn't get to go because of the sudden downpour.

During the boat ride to Natnat Beach the rain began to worsen, the drizzle turned into a torrential downpour. We could barely see in front of us because of the fog. It felt like an adventure because we were on a small boat piercing through fog with the next destination barely visible. Thankfully, the rains weren't accompanied by rough seas. We eventually made it to Natnat Beach for an extra half hour of lounging around and swimming.

Sunset in Paradise

Before the day ended I wanted to catch the sunset in Las Cabanas, I've heard that that area had one of the best in El Nido.

When i was here a few years ago, there was only one resort lining the beach front; now, there are beach chairs and bars blaring loud music. So much has changed in such a short period of time.

The views once the sun set in Las Cabanas were nothing short of spectacular, it was a fitting end to another trip in El Nido. I could sense that this once idyllic town is on the cusp of (rapid) change, but I can't help but remain hopeful that it retains its old soul despite it.

Read my recent guide for El Nido here: budget and itinerary for El Nido

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