Island hoppin’ and incredible dives!


West Entalula, El Nido

My time in Philippines has quickly come and gone. Although the initial plan was to do two weeks in Philippines, poor travel timing and my tummy virus cut it down to about 5 days. Regardless, I made it there and had an incredible time! With such a short time, the trip focused only on one destination… El Nido, Palawan. After some simple google searches, I realized it would be the ultimate place to conclude my trip and it lived up to it.

We flew into Puerto Princesa and took a mini-van shuttle to El Nido, about a five hour ride through the lush green landscapes of Palawan. Even though the scenery is jaw-dropping, the ride is quite intense. The van speeds around stray dogs, slow tuk tuks, crossing pedestrians, and sharp turns.

Tip #1: Book the seat behind the driver for ample leg room and a window to rest ya head. It will be the most comfortable seat you can get. 


El Nido is at the Northern tip of Palawan and is home of the Bacuit Archipelago. The waters were crystal clear and a perfect 80 degrees. The most common thing to do in El Nido is one of the day-trip options provided by every single shop in El Nido to explore the archipelago. There are four options A, B, C, & D. Max and I opted for tour C as it offered more snorkeling areas. Tour A is the most popular though, with “more” picturesque beaches and lagoons.

Tip #2: Try booking with a company that does smaller groups, some companies host larger groups of up to 30 or so… which is not the ideal.

Trip C included a visit to Helicopter Island, Hidden Beach, Secret Beach, and Mantiloc Shrine. Although each stop is pretty packed with every other company that is doing the same tour, each stop is breathtaking.

The portal to the secret beach.
Inside glimpse of the secret beach.
The hidden beach is just beyond that wall.

What is the difference between the secret and the hidden beach? They both evoke more of The Beach, with Leonardo Dicaprio, and its probably because El Nido inspired the book the movie was based off of. The hidden beach you can access through simply walking in while the secret beach requires swimming through a hole (totally The Beach).

The highlight of the day-trip had to be the family we spent the day with. Our boat only consisted of Max and I and a family of six from the UK. The whole family was so awesome and a lot of fun. The extremely outgoing daughter, Mikayla, was amazing.

The best island-hoppin crew!
Max and Mikayla.

Nacpan Beach

About 45 mins away from El Nido, is the secluded Nacpan Beach. Its about a 4 km stretch with only a few local food stands and lined with coconut trees. Accessing it during raining season can be pretty rough, as the road turns to mud, but the local drivers are successful in maneuvering. In addition, you can get a whole grilled fish and rice for about a 3 bucks. The meal comes with about 8 dogs staring at you as well.

The dives

Lastly, my final day in El Nido was marked my 15th, 16th, and 17th dive. And boy were they incredible! I have been blessed to have been diving in Vietnam, Honduras, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Malaysia, and now Philippines. Out of all of the dives I have done, El Nido offered such a memorable dive in South Miniloc. The currents provided plenty of nutrients for the diverse life. Such beautiful topography, coral, and life!

Tip #3: Go Dive!

A Grip of Photos from the Dives

Coming to an End

I now await to board a plane for a night in Manila, where I am meeting my dad. Following Manila, we fly to Singapore for a night prior to the 16 hour flight home. I am excited to get back to school and work, but bummed to leave such beautiful areas that has left such lasting impressions on my life. All things considered, the last two months have been incredible!! I will withhold my sappy emotions for my departure video, so stay tuned.

Thanks for checking in with my travels, hope you enjoyed!

And of course, if ya want to check out any previous post click here!