El Nido, Philippines, how long can the hype last?


Just arrived at El Nido in Palawan island, Philippines. Every person, travel guides, travel blogs or travel magazine that I came across presented El Nido as the greatest beach destination ever. Need less to say that my expectations were really high. So, an hour long flight from manila to Puerto Princessa, followed by a 6 hr long van ride and I was ready for my aha beach moment. The view from the distance was phenomenal. As the tricycle found its way to the beach front hotel I was ready to jump into the water. Then the moment of truth…

There was nothing but a sliver of sand no more than 10 feet wide at few places at that. Rock croppings and fishing/tourist boats had taken over what ever beach was there. Water was dirty (probably with sewage) almost black in color. I could not even dare to dip my toe in water. I took a step back in pure horror. Felt angry and almost ready to head back to Manila. Found myself walking in disgust along the so called beach wondering how come so many people be so wrong or am I that gullible.

Luckily, met a french restaurant/lodge owner. He explained that people come to El Nido just to visit the islands close to it. Some of the good beaches are elsewhere in Palawan island. El Nido has been living off of the hype for last 20 years or so.

I found myself at Nacpan beach following his recommendation. A 45 min long bone-jarring ride in a tricycle. The only tourist in town (who was staying there) and there it was…a miles and miles long perfect beach with not a soul in sight. The perfect beach by any criteria.

Nacpan beach

Lesson learned. Don’t fall for the hype. Find my own road less travelled.

There are 3 comments in this article:

  1. 9/10/2014Traveling the Road Less Traveled | RaisingDAD.org says:

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  3. 15/10/2014cherelyn rabi says:

    How was ur vacation here in the phillipines…i was expect u r came back that morning before u leaving in sagada…i was resigned at my work from sagada brew…i was leaving 3days ago…im here in manila…ill be home in my province…heres my no. 09351700729…see u on ur next vacation miss you…

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