It was practically a spur-of-the-moment trip planned by my mom, so I barely had two weeks to inform people at the office that I would be taking a pre-Holy Week vacation (which I think I very much needed anyway). So, very early on March 30 (a Friday), I found myself with my mom, my dad, and my sister at a small charter company waiting for our plane to El Nido, Palawan. We took a 19-seater (?) airplane with propellers (!!!) and landed in El Nido Airport some time around 9am.
We had been booked on Miniloc Island, but since check-in was at 2pm, we opted to take a day trip to sister resort island Lagen, which boasted, among other things, of a saltwater pool. We were welcomed to the strains of a little jingle about Palawan, then had the first of our many buffet meals. Our package included three buffet meals a day, and to my waistline’s regret I think we overindulged. Ü
Most of our first day had been spent traveling in the air and on the water, so I was glad when I got the chance to relax on one of Miniloc Island’s beach lounge chairs. Sun exposure was limited in the afternoon since the beach faces east, so I didn’t get a chance to work on getting a tan that day. Instead, my sister and I perfected our kayaking technique, which would come in handy for the next day’s island-hopping tour.
We then proceeded to Snake Island. There aren’t actually any snakes on the island, which is named after its sandbar, which stretches out from the island’s foundations and zigzags for what seems like a few kilometers before ending several yards away from another nearby island. Although the sand was still powder-fine on Miniloc, the beach there had some pretty bumpy coral and shell fragments, so it was a relief to walk on Snake Island and wade offshore for a bit without worrying about injuring my feet.
The next destination on our itinerary was Entalula Island. Despite the numerous jellyfish which had washed up on shore after the night’s high tide, we found that the waters around the island were perfect for swimming. Entalula was not as developed as Miniloc or Lagen, and I think that was part of its charm for us. We definitely felt like the island was solely ours for the enjoying.
The last stops on our tour were the Big and Small Lagoons. We took kayaks through a small gap in the rocks which led into an eerily quiet lagoon (this was the Small Lagoon). The water was enclosed on all sides by towering rock, and the water was so deep that we couldn’t see the bottom. We were able to take a speedboat through the Big Lagoon, where we were shown a small platform where weddings and other occasions were sometimes performed. Our guide explained that thousands of years ago, the lagoons had been underneath a rock ceiling and were limestone caverns that had eventually fallen in.
After returning to Miniloc, my sister and I still found some energy to go snorkeling and kayaking, this time using solo kayaks. On our last day we took our kayaks past Miniloc Island’s breakwater and stared in awe at the reef beneath us. The water was so clear we could see where the reef ended and dropped off into the ocean depths. In the distance we could see a beach we could very easily reach by rowing, but we decided not to brave open water. Instead, we did a few more rounds disturbing the floating pink jellyfish and making small slow ripples on the water’s glasslike surface before returning to our cottage and packing up.
There were some activities arranged by the resort staff we didn’t get to do during our stay, such as the sunset cocktail cruise, rock climbing, bottom-fishing, or introduction to diving, but I think that gives us something to look forward to on our next visit. And maybe next time I can really laze in the sun and work on my tan, too; I used an SPF 50 sunblock and barely gained any color in my cheeks!