After 5 relaxing days in Sibaltan we took the mini van 7:30am to El Nido town. There is one between 7 and 8am and another between 2 and 3pm (actually it’s moor possible that it leaves between 4 and 6pm. Because we didn’t book a room in El Nido town and a lot of hotel rooms were already booked we decided to take the early one. It took us 1.5 hours to get to our destination and we started to find a hotel in the main beach road near a dive center called “Palawan Divers” which we found on TripAdvisor and looked good for us. The first guesthouse was full and the second hotel too expensive. All good things are 3 and so we found a nice guesthouse called “Inngo Tourists Inn” located in the beginning of the main road and not too expensive. 2000 pesos a night isn’t cheap but the room looks nice and they have air conditioning.
After check in we walked down to Palawan Divers and arrived there after about 100 meters. It looks nice and we were welcomed very friendly. Everything was perfect and after some explanation about he dive center and the dive sites in Palawan we signed up for 2 days diving with 3 dives a day for 4200 pesos (84€) per person per day. It wasn’t even noon and we already had everything done we wanted to do this day!
We went to a nearby place called “V & V bagels” and had a small lunch in form of a bagel called “Big Italian” with smashed olives, dried tomatoes and pesto. Amazing! And the bread is homemade and very good. That is not necessarily the case in this country. After having a full stomach we walked to the beach and sat down in a good located restaurant called “Sealine Restaurant” to get a cold San Miguel Light. Later we went to have a small nap before dinner. We had a great wood oven pizza at “Altrove”.
After dinner we tried to get money from the only ATM up in all El Nido. And they installed it just in October last year. We arrived there and met 2 Spanish guys. The ATM just took their card and was rebooting. After startup the software was re-initializing itself and the ATM seemed prepared for new transactions. No luck. At least it didn’t take more cards 😳 but no money.
We asked for alternatives and were told that ther is the option of money transfer. The website is reachable through Enjoy El Nido. It looks professional but this day is was already too late.
The next morning we had to be at 8am at Palawan Divers. We ordered breakfast for 7:30am and then arrived on time. After a short explanation of the dives this day we packed our equipment and left to the boat. Our dive guide for today is called Nhoy and we dived with another couple called Lanny and Peter. Lanny is Master Scuba Diver and Peter is Instructor and technical diver. So both of them a lot more experienced than we are. They were also equipped with Photo- and Videocamera and I didn’t even bring my GoPro because I forgot it in my bag which I stored in Puerto Princesa 😅
The first dive was on a sandy ground but there was sooo much to see! A lot of frog fish, seahorses, lion fish, stone fish, stingrays, nubibranches, seastars and many many more. But good luck we had Nhoy as he found everything, also the smallest animals down there! I was happy to see my first seahorses ☺️
Back on the boat we talked with Lanny and Peter and the other divers and had a coffee and some biscuits. Also the landscape was just amazing! We were diving at the same places where they go for the day tours to see the beaches, rock formations and the crystal clear water.
As we talked with Lanny and Peter they told us that Lanny works for an organization called Sea First. They have events for cleaning the beaches and teach at school about the importance of clean oceans and environments. Of course they do more than that, go and see their website! Peter is a passionate wreck diver and explores the thousands of sunken ships all around the Netherlands.
After the 2 more exciting dives we returned to the harbor and cleaned our equipment. Later we met Lanny and Peter for dinner in a beautiful located restaurant called “El Nido Corner” on the northern end of the beach from where we had a beautiful sunset scenery with food and drinks and interesting conversations. Unfortunately Lanny and Peter already did 3 days of diving and it was their last day.
The next day we did the same as the day before. 7:30am breakfast and 8am arriving at Palawan Divers. This day Ari and I had Nhoy as our private dive guide. The captain did a special route for us and entered the Big Lagoon (one of the must sees) at Miniloc. Beautiful! At our last dive it started to rain. But suddenly, in the middle of the dive, there appeared 2 wonderful Manta Rays just in front of us! They were flying by with such an elegance it looked magical! Another magical animal we saw the first dive this day was an electric oyster. I didn’t know this exists and inside the shells electric flashes were visible.
We ended our diving in Palawan with the 2 Manta Rays and Ari’s 30th dive since she started in January! But now she was tired and we skipped the 3rd day diving I thought we could do. But we spent many days under water and for this I’m happy and also for the fact that Ari fell in love with diving as I did!
After the dive we tried the money transfer. With bad internet connection and a long registration process not too easy! After some failed attempts we decided to try our luck at the ATM again. The luck was on our side and we got enough money to spend the rest of the days in this lovely part of the world.
The last 2 days up in El Nido were relaxing days. We didn’t do a lot. We planned to go to Napcan Beach are Las Cabañas but we were too lazy and also it started raining from time to time so we just walked around went to the local beach and had good food. We met a nice couple from New York City who had their room just next to ours. They had a little bad luck because they planned a day trip to the islands but it was raining a lot and the didn’t join. Weather is not always predictable, that’s nature! We went to the El Nido Corner restaurant for a drink at sunset and then to the “V and V Bagel” to get a burger for dinner. They are amazing and huge!
On Sunday, April 17th, we took a minivan back to Puerto Princesa at 9:30am.