Extremely cold weather is not my cup of tea, and the last few freezing days here in Poland have made me dream of a tropical escape again. The island hopping tours that we did in El Nido, the Philippines, last year have been some of the best memories I’ve from traveling. I revisit the photos from the Philippines often and marvel at the incredible natural beauty the islands around El Nido have to offer.
On one of those days, we went on yet another island hopping tour, the highlight of which were lagoons. A small lagoon and a big lagoon. The lagoons were unforgettable but to me the entire experience was as well. The banca ride through the sea, the scenery of lush limestone cliffs meeting the clear blue sea, the most gorgeous deserted beaches we could see from the boat and sometimes even turtle spotting on the water! It was a dream.
‘The Beach’ by Alex Garland has been one of my favorite travel books, and I found out after the trip to Palawan island, that the writer was inspired by the scenery from the Bacuit archipelago although the story is set in Thailand. It’s easy for me to imagine why.
As we tried to swim to the small lagoon through a small entrance between rocks while most people used kayaks, we were bitten by territorial fish. That didn’t really matter and it was more of a funny experience than scary. Discounting the hordes of tourists, I imagined how relaxing it must be for the locals and fishermen alike to just dock the boat and take a rest in one of these incredible hidden spots. All for yourself.
The clarity of the water was so incredible that I stared into it for a long time in disbelief.
We stopped at a beach and had lunch. The lunch was prepared at the boat by the crew. With a dreamy view like this, anything would taste good to me.
El Nido was once a playground for the rich, with its high-end resorts on multiple islands throughout the archipelago. In the last few years, it has been attracting backpacking crowd who stay in budget hotels scattered in El Nido town and go on island-hopping day tours. It wasn’t easy to get there all the way from Poland, but it was so worth all the miserable hours we spent at the airport, planes and the road.