El Nido Palawan- Now possible for budget travelers 😁

Maybe a few years ago when you say “El Nido ” one thing that would come first in your mind is ” Expensive” , sure it was!.

This beautiful place is known for foreign tourist a while back and not for locals since it was kinda hefty.. WAS means not anymore. El nido’s tourism at the moment is booming like crazy, i’m definitely not exaggerating people.  Mainly because lots of tour operators and even accommodations are being offered at a reasonable price plus your skill in hunting for cheap airfares thru Cebu Pacific, this might sound really unfair for the other airlines since I feel like I’m always promoting Cebpac ( and they should probably pay me for this! lol). As usual we just paid 1000+ for our round-trip MNL – PPS tickets.

There are several ways to get to El Nido. First is by flight via Puerto Princessa and by Van or bus to El Nido. Flight time is approximately 1 hr from Manila, then followed by a van transfer for approximately 5-6 hrs. Or you can take a charter plane from Manila straight to El Nido ( could be pricey, but more convenient). If you will be coming from Coron you can take a boat or a ferry to El Nido.

Van Fare is approximately 500-600 PHP.

Since we already had a pre-book package ( accommodation+ tours) it was more convenient for us . If you check in Facebook or just google it, you can find lots of tour operators offering packages. In our case we paid 4,700 PHP per person including the Van transfer,accommodation, 3 tours and 2 days breakfast . Yeah! you are definitely reading it freakin right, 4700 PHP. There are six of us so we were able to get a good deal also, my friend Rossel stayed at the same Inn ( Tay Miloy’s) when she first visited El Nido, so that there my friend is the advantage of having some contacts hahaha, very useful. It’s actually kinda funny since we think that the owner probably misquoted us with the price,that’s how we got the deal haha, I can see his very confuse look when he talked to us..
Just a head up guys considering how cheap we had our package, please please do not expect a fancy room in fact, we stayed in one family fan room, so very basic, and if you are visiting during summer, might as well get an upgrade or be willing to pay more for an air-conditioned room. Summer lately is really hot and it’s very uncomfortable at night ( Thanks to Global Warming).

If you are doing a DIY trip to El Nido below are your options, rates ranges from 1200- 1500 PHP per person :

Tour A: Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Simizu Island, Secret Lagoon and 7 Commandos Beach

Tour B: Entalula Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Snake Island, Cudugnon Cave and Cathedral Cave

Tour C: Hidden Beach, Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine and Star Beach

Tour D: Bukal Island, Ipil Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon and Paradise Beach

We took two island hoping tours as part of our package ( Tour A and C) and a trip to Nacpan Beach which is definitely NOT to miss.

Our boat is approaching 7 commandos beach- what a beauty

Simizu Island

After a tiring day you can enjoy this madrama view  while having dinner

And lastly, the breathtaking Nacpan beach.  From El Nido you can either rent a motorbike or tricycle.

You can climb up to the hill and see this…

Seriously guys you definitely should NOT miss this beach, been to many beaches already and Nacpan is at the top of my list


Samal Island and Mati Davao Oriental Get away

I am from Mindanao ( Davao city) so writing this one is a bit easy .

The easiest way to get to either Samal, Davao city or Davao Oriental from Manila is to Davao International airport, lots of air fare sale via CepPac or AirAsia and even the regular fares recently is affordable.

One thing that I find very amusing when arriving in DVO airport is before you leave the airport, guards and usually some Police will ask all the passengers entering Davao city of their last names. Yes! Part of the security protocols probably checking if you’re in their list hahaha

Best way to get to the city from the airport will be by Taxi or if you want it as cheap as possible, take a jeepney just outside the airport which will take you to the city, don’t be scared to ask for directions, Davawenyos are very accommodating and don’t be surprise with how conyo most of the young people speaks hahaha yeah!

​ ​I feel so weird hearing people speak a combination of tagalog, English and Visaya tho it’s amazing lol.. more of maarte I should say 😛

First Destination will be …. The ​I​sland garden city of Samal!

I grew up in Davao and it’s a pity that I’ve only been in this beautiful island twice😬😬.

From Sta Ana wharf, we took a boat to Isla Reta which where we are staying for one night, boat ride will take around 1 hour and a half, that actually depends if the weather is shit 😅

​ The boat fare is around 80-100 php per person.

Since it was a peak season, we were unable to book a room/cottage so instead we rented a tent for 400php which I think is expensive lol. If you have your own tent best if you can just bring your own and just pay a hundred.

​Samal Island might not be the best beach but its white sand is beautiful and the water is clear, if you live in Davao , Samal is your best beach near the city.

Isla Reta beach resort

One thing that I would recommend you doing while in Samal is the Island hopping plus the intro diving. I was more keen of doing the intro dive honestly since I’ve done lots of island hopping already. Pro Dive Davao is offering an Island hopping experience ( 3 locations) plus the intro dive experience for 1200php which is not bad considering that lunch and some snacks are included and by the way whoever cooked the lunch they’re  serving is doing a fantastic job ​! kudos to the cook :-). Their boat will be picking you up at the port at exactly 7 AM.

Diving 101

Trying to look cool hahaha

I was pretty nervous doing the diving since it was my first time and tho I can swim, I don’t really trust meself being down there hahah . The master divers were doing a great job tho and manage to keep me alive 😂😂 after that experience I’m seriously thinking of taking a proper dive training and get certified so I can dive with the sharks and chase Nemo 😄😄

If you want to check for more details regarding the activity , you can check them in Facebook, Pro Dive Davao. Payment can be by cash or credit card.

​Next destination is Mati Davao Oriental. ​

​From Davao Airport ​​​, ​at the arrival area, if you want to go straight to Mati, drivers will offer you a taxi or a van rental which is a bit hefty so instead take a jeepney or a taxi to Gaisano Mall and ask the driver to take you to the van terminal to Mati, fare will be around 150 php, travel time is approximately 4 hrs. Upon arrival we hired a habal-habal ( motorbike) to take us to Dahican Beach. I paid 150php which later on I was told that I got overcharged! Oh well like what I always tell meself .. help the locals hahaha

Not to miss while in Mati is the amazing view of the sleeping Dinosaur, if you’re not stopping along the way to Mati proper, you can hire a motorbike to take you there.

Apologies, my sis photobombed Barnie’s head hahaha

We stayed for 1 night at Surfers village which is a just walking distance to the beach.. We paid 1000 php for two with breakfast included. The accommodation is pretty basic and the comfort room and shower is shared. They also offer surfing classes and board rentals, we paid 500 php for an hour session but since it was the low season I think we were surfing for more than an hour or maybe I just felt it was darn long since it was my first time haha

Our home for one night

Ladies,when you try surfing, dont wear a bikini , most likely your top will get wash by the big unforgiving waves, trust me.. been there 😂

Also Dahican beach is a sanctuary for turtles so if you’re lucky you might see some tiny baby turtles gettin out of their shells and ready to explore the water.. isn’t that cute😁😁

​While in Mati, you can also do some Island hopping, just ask the locals or where you’re staying and they can hook you up with some local boatman. Also, you may visit

​​Subangan Museum​ to see Davor the Whale​, it’s 53-feet fossilized remains of a 20-ton sperm whale found at the coast of General Generoso​.