El Nido DON’Ts and so many DOs part two.

Here is a part two more oriented on El Nido village, after part one which was more about the how to get there and some Manila things. It is a mix of don’ts and dos, as I remember and experienced. Well I forgot a lot of bad experiences but this is the fun in travelling.

  1. don’t take the cheapest local accommodation as 3 stars there are not 3 European stars. We have different standards but it is not to blame.
  2. I stayed at Cadlao resort my first week and then found a room to rent at a local bed and breakfast facility, Rosanna pension. The difference is huge from Cadlao owned by a french guy married to a Filipino (pinoy) women; the law forbids you to own 100% of the business in Philippines.
  3. but don’t go to international hotel chains for two reasons:
    • your experience is altered, artificially forced at a western level and takes you out of the local life. I mean especially at the lagoon houses, very tempting in the pictures but so secluded. They are good for honeymoons and nature dive, or meditation.
    • in any destination consume local goods, make an impact in local life and their quality. This is sustainable tourism.
    • but don’t go to international hotel chains for two reasons:
  4. don’t take breakfast in hotel– never if a tourist. It is expensive and it is better to get out and have a breakfast on the Bacuit Bay cafe or at Art Cafe.  Remember there is no bread culture like in France! Bread is something sweet like coffee in Shanghai is in fact a 3 in 1 soluble!
  5. and yes pictures are even less impressive than the reality – it is real heaven. Must do island hopping, each day a different island or beach.  The sand is like flour.
  6. do use locals for your island hopping tours. I hired someone that the lady from Cadlao recommended us, just near the resort – a local community. They made us also a simple lunch every day, a fresh one – tuna on grill, rice and salad. Just amazing.
  7. go to fish market at 6 o clock in the morning with a local, as we did, to buy your lunch – it might be fish or, better, mangrove crab – the price is nothing and the taste is so freshly sweet. If staying at locals they’ll cook it for you.
  8. don’t be afraid to bargain but do not exaggerate – it might be fun for you but for them is their earning that you are bargain about.  Don’t worry if you pay more, it is nothing compared to what you earn.
  9. the discrepancies are huge– rich westerners and Chinese vs local inhabitants.  You’ll have to use with that allover Asia and try to be less impressed; I did not said less empathetic. If not than don’t visit as you’ll be very emotionally distressed.
  10. and yes, there is a club in El Nido, with prostitutes, male and female, in fact boys and girls, for every tastes. It’s kind of sad…..
  11. don’t worry about food – there are a lot of restaurant catering for European taste. You’ll recognize the menu. But it’s not about the food, it’s about eating on the beach with your feet soaking in the sea. This is unforgettable, along with your happy hour cocktails at Sea Jane Resto Bar.
  12. for desert the best is the fresh mango!
  13. don’t try balut – the fertilized egg. I did and it’s disgusting.
  14. don’t use local transport, as in a kind of tuk tuks. It’s dangerous and it’s kind of funny for the youngsters that drive them, to race one each other on the narrow streets.
  15. pay attention on the road as there are no sidewalks. We, Europeans, are lacking a lot of survival instincts that we lost due to development.
  16. I would go in February or November, on the dry season, and less touristic, if you wanna have the beaches for yourself like I did, hear the monkeys, see the turtles, swimming along the shores for fish viewing – it is better than an aquarium.
  17. unfortunately pollution is at it’s peaks even in here; too much plastic bottles lying on the 7 commando beach.

 

El Nido is a once in a lifetime destination; I would definitely return for at least a month this time.

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