Thinking of an adventure-filled weekend getaway in the Philippines? Well, the country boasts of over 7,000 islands, one of which is El Nido in Palawan.
El Nido literally means 'the nest' and it is called as such due to the presence of edible-nest swiftlets in the area. Swiftlets, which are small, blackish to brownish birds but with paler colors on their underparts, create their own nests from their saliva. The locals collect these solidified nests and sell them for more than Php500 per nest. It is the main ingredient of a $3,000-bowl of nido soup.
Enough with the origin of the place. Going back, there are many reasons why El Nido is a haven for the adventurous souls.
1) Scuba dive
El Nido has over 20 easily accessible diving sites. The majority of the islands also offer diving equipment rentals, in case you forget yours. Nevertheless, if isn't on your itinerary but you want to try it, enlist yourself in any of the dive courses offered at the local marine sports centers.
For adventure-seekers who are also nature junkies, snorkeling is the perfect way to discover El Nido's well-celebrated marine diversity. You'd see house reefs and various fish species endemic to the area as well as uniquely interesting underwater creatures. While snorkeling, get up close to the species and feed them. Snorkeling gear can be also rented.
Not everyone knows it, but El Nido has quite a number of surfing sites as well. The best surfing spot, Duli, is found at the northern part of Calitang and Nacpan although there are other spots a few minutes of walk away from the main town. Some resorts and locales offer not only surfing equipment and gears, but also provide surfing lessons.
There are battalions of nature trails in Palawan and El Nido is not an exemption. Trails in the area pass through a forest and end in coves. The most famous trail is the Taraw Cliff, which takes about an hour to climb the limestone karst.
5) Bird watch
On your way, you may choose to stop from time to time to marvel at the gorgeousness of Palawan hornbills, ashy-headed babbler, peacock pheasant, Philippine cockatoo, red-bellied pita and more. If you must, attend an education presentation common to most resorts in El Nido.
El Nido has several small lagoons, big lagoons and even hidden lagoons. Nonetheless, you may kayak your way to one of these hidden lagoons amongst the towering limestone cliffs. Kayaks can be also rented for only Php800 per kayak. You may use it throughout the day.
7) Rock climb
With all these majestic limestone cliffs, rock climbing is taken seriously by the tourists. The rock climbing spot is the one that separates the Corong-Corong Beach from the main town. Rock climbing costs around Php500 for one person and Php600 for two persons. Some locales offer what they call rock climbing boat trips where they will take you to another and usually a bigger rock formation to climb.
Yes, you read it right. An increasingly common activity in Palawan is known as the full-moon party. It is not your typical party where guests get wasted to a fault although, of course, drinks are served by the host. Guests are encouraged to bring their camping gears. Some resorts offer sunset cruises where guests may also do stargazing after or while moon-watching.
Don't be fooled by its mesmerizing cliffs, water, and sand. There is more to El Nido than meets the eye, and by more, it means opportunities for adventure. Indeed, this is a great way to satisfy your hunger for more adventures, of course, while appreciating the works of nature around.
About Author: Harry Neal is a blogger and a freelance writer. Love to explore different places and loves to do outdoor activities in Philippines. Photo from wikimedia.