Heartaches In El Nido


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Asia » Philippines » Palawan » El Nido
December 14th 2013
Published: January 10th 2014
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El Nido + Friends = Great Time



I am extremely grateful to find this group of fun loving dive friends. On this trip, we were happy to see that our dive khakis are increasing too (khakis = malay for close friends). It is difficult to find people of the same hobby or even of the same personalities to come together to do something they enjoy.

As this group of friends are die-hard divers, our trips are always filled with the maximum number of dives we can do, and thus we will constantly be out at sea. For those who were hopping to get more information about land activities in El Nido, I am so sorry I am not able to write much about it.

Anyway, while on this trip, I realised I am kinda "amphibious" - I need both land and water activities. Thus, for my subsequent dive trips, I will definitely be taking 1-2 days off to do some land exploration, the way I did for Puerto Galera (my previous entry) and Coron (which will be coming up soon). I get kinda bored fast, and my body need more recovery time as compared to my other dive
Calao ResortCalao ResortCalao Resort

One of the resort we enquired on, but they were full.
friends.

In the few entries coming up, I will be describing all the various islands around El Nido, and all the dives that we had done. I will also describe how El Nido is different from Bohol and Puerto Galera, from a girl / family oriented travellers point of view. Most importantly, I will also talking about food (we really spend alot of time eating) and the best place to chillax in El Nido.


Misunderstanding & Surprises



We started our hunt for a dive resort since August 2013 After countless correspondence and long distance calls, we decided on a dive shops and finalised our resorts stay. After much deliberation, we decided to go with Deep Blue Seafari for our dives, and with El Nido Reed Strand Resort for our stay.

The resort had been recommended by our dive shop, as the other resorts that are closer were all fully booked by end of September. Finally much googling and checking up the maps, we decided to trust google map on the distance, as it mentioned that the resort was a 10 minutes walk from the dive shop. We were very worried as it would be very tiring for us to be walking
Tricycles of El NidoTricycles of El NidoTricycles of El Nido

The private tricycle from El Nido Reed Strand Resort was half the size of these normal tricycles. It was amazing how my friends squeezed on it everyday.
constantly to and forth as we have several dives each day.

Unfortunately, when we finally arrived at El Nido town, we had several surprises waiting for us. Even though we were prepared for the electrical outrage - from 6am to 2-4pm, at El Nido. We weren't expecting the following few:




(1) Most shops were closed in the afternoon, 12pm - 4pm

As most of El Nido was out of power, most of the people are closed during the hottest time of the day as well. This is especially so for some dive shops. As these dive shops were manned by 1 or 2 person(s), the rest of the workers were mostly free-lance. They were mostly closed during the afternoon as well.

This posed a huge problem for most of my friends, as they wanted to drop off their gears at the shop before going to the resorts, this is to help us lightened our loads.

As we got to El Nido about 3-ish. We decided to wait out for the dive shop owners to come back from their dives, which we had estimated it to be able 4plus 5pm.


Small AlleywaySmall AlleywaySmall Alleyway

This is the small alleyway which connects the resort to the town. Unfortunately, it was due to this alley that the van was unable to pass through.


(2) The Inaccessible Resort

Meanwhile, we managed to got our van driver to give our resort a call to inform them that we will arrive later. It was then we received a 2nd shock. The van which we were on, was not able to drive us all the way to our dive resort, and we were informed to seek an alternative form of transport to the resort.

Hence, we decided to wait out for someone from the resort to pick us up. We took out our dive gears, and waited with our remaining luggages at the dive shop. Soon after, there was a nice guy on a cute little tricycle, bearing the words "Private Transport of El Nido Reef Strand Resort".

Initially, we thought that we could grab one of the tricycles available to get us to the resort. After much confused communication, we realised that the only way to the resort was only on foot or a motorcycle. As the lane, leading up the resorts, was too small for any tricycle to pass through.

Soon after, the divers came back!! We managed to exchange greetings and finalised on the details for our dive. As we were still early, we enquired if there was any night dive available that day. As most of them really wanted to check out if the waters were as good as what the reviews had said.

Hence, we excitedly made our way to the resort. The tricycle guy from El Nido Reef Strand Resort helped us by packing all our luggages into his tiny tricycle and made his way to the resort. As for the rest of us, we slowly made our way to the resort. It was then we realised that the walk was not 10 minutes. Our leisure walk was about 20 minutes long, with rain and a stop-over for fried bananas.

We became worried as it would mean that we have problems going to and forth the dive shops from the resorts.




(3) We had to walk past a cemetery to get to the resort & to go back before the tides come in

Ok. I know this may sound weird, but it was kinda taboo for Ed and I, the walking past the cemetery. It was a super big issue to us. T top it off, the 20 minutes walk was a huge deterrence to us as well. We didn't like the idea of having to walk so far after an exhaustive day of diving.

After much negotiation and argument, Ed and I backed out from our stay, and forfeited our downpayment. As for the rest of my friends, being nice and easy-going, they decided to stay at the resort. The resort was really beautiful, and they felt bad for going off just like that. Unfortunately, due to this, we did not get to enjoy this trip as much as we wanted, as we had less partying and drinking session.

As one of my friend described, "It just doesn't feel right to be walking back to the resort, half drunk, while walking past the cemetery every night."

Hence, we didn't drink much every night, neither did we stay up late to chat as they have got to rush back to the resort before the tide comes in.


In The End



Despite all that, we still enjoyed ourselves in El Nido.

If only the resort was much closer to the main town, and without the little .... in between, it would have been wonderful. The guy on the bike, from the resort, had to ferry my friends several times a day. It was pretty tiring for him as well.

Anyway, I will be describing our many wonderful dives with Deep Blue Seafari, as well as the few resorts that Ed and I stayed in. Stay tune...

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