Instead of me rattling on about how amazing this place is I thought I’d invite professional writer and one of the subjects in this post be my guest blogger instead.
El Nido, Philippines | The most beautiful place you’ll never go…
Words by Nate Davis
Photos by Steve Babuljak
El Nido: vibrant jungle, untouched coral, and deserted beaches. Gray crags, blue skies, sapphire seas. Kayaking, snorkeling, diving, or just sitting on your balcony watching the rain come in over the bay. In many respects, it’s the perfect tropical vacation. So why don’t I think you’ll ever get there? Because like a lot of the best vacation spots, it’s a little off the beaten path–and when you’re talking about the Philippines, even the beaten path is a little bumpy.
El Nido is one of countless scenic spots in the Philippines, but the country as a whole isn’t as smooth a tourist experience as more popular Asian countries like Japan or Thailand: the flights are more expensive, it’s poorer, smoggier, and dirtier. It’s a third-world country with world-class scenery. If you’re the type of tourist who sticks to places with ubiquitous wi-fi and drinkable tap water, it’s not for you.
But if you’re up for the adventure that is travel in the Philippines, it’s only 7,000 miles from the West Coast–a 20-hour flight from San Francisco to Manila, give or take a layover in Seoul or Tokyo. Then once you get to Manila, you take another (short) flight to the island of Palawan, then finagle a seat in a crowded van for a five-hour drive over intermittently-paved roads. Then you’re finally in El Nido, where we found a room simply by walking down the one beachside streets and comparing rates and views.
It’s no Waikiki; you may find yourself awakened by the Philippines’ unofficial national bird, the rooster, or by unmuffled motorcycles whizzing by. But you can rest assured that you’ll see some beauty that most of the world can’t match–and that you’ve left the rest of the world behind.