Preparing for El Nido, Philippines

Photo credit: Ace Reston on Flickr

Photo credit: Ace Reston on Flickr

In just four weeks’ time I will be heading out to the Philippines for a two week holiday. It’s been a long time coming since I bought my flights nearly seven months ago. Recently I’ve been planning the various aspects of the trip: accommodation, transportation, wardrobe (read: online shopping), what camera to bring, etc. There’s still plenty to be done before take-off in mid-November.

The majority of my two week getaway will be spent in El Nido, a small town in the northern part of Palawan island. Here’s what I have to look forward to:

Photo credit: Aleksandr Zykov on Flickr

Photo credit: Aleksandr Zykov on Flickr

Photo credit: Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ on Flickr

Photo credit: Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ on Flickr

Are you jealous yet? Well, I can’t wait!

As far as the preparation goes, I think I’ve covered the broad strokes:

  • return flight to Manila; I’m flying with Emirates so there’s going to be a quick stop over in Dubai (bonus: first time on the Airbus A380!)
  • return flight from Manila to El Nido; choosing to fly directly to El Nido instead of Puerto Princesa is more expensive (PHP 10,900 per person, approx. GBP 150/USD 230), but will save me from a five (5) hour coach journey on rough roads
  • accommodation in El Nido; El Nido Cove Resorts & Spa is located 10km away from the town proper and should offer a relaxing start for my holiday. There’s no electricity in El Nido town between 6am and 2pm daily so this should be a welcome break from pretty much everything.
  • accommodation for a few days in Manila; my partner and I chose to try Airbnb for this one instead of booking a regular hotel room. We chose a two bedroom flat as we will likely have friends over for a long overdue catch-up. This is located in Fort Bonifacio Global City, the financial centre in Metro Manila, and offers a wide variety of shops, bars and restaurants.
  • I will not be bringing my DSLR; having recently upgraded my phone to the iPhone 6S, I’ve decided not to bring my trusty old Canon DSLR with me. The 6S has a 12 MP camera and can shoot 1080p HD or even 4K video. This will be my primary camera for the trip, but I might bring my Canon AE-1.
  • as for the wardrobe, well, I still haven’t stored away my shorts and flip flops after the summer plus I’ve spent a considerable amount of time shopping online for swimwear, so I should be sorted!

Did I forget anything? Ah yes! You may have noticed that I haven’t booked any tours, be it for island hopping or snorkelling. These I plan to figure out when I get there. Or maybe I’ll just find a spot on the beach and arrange for a steady flow of drinks with the hotel staff.

Do you have any recommendations for must-see/must-do activities in El Nido or Manila? Do let me know in the comments below!

Featured image credit: Allan Ascaño on Flickr