A year ago, I and my friends visited one of the top beautiful islands in the world – Palawan. It is by far my favourite island in the Philippines with the wide array of activities, truly amazing natural wonders and the unforgettable islands of El Nido. Tell me, who would not dream of coming here? It surely must be in everyone’s destination bucket list.
However, the trip was not entirely perfect for us. There were situations we encountered that no one told us about nor have we read in other blogs. So in this post, allow me to be honest and share with you the things we wish we knew before our Palawan trip.
First. Going to El Nido was a long 4-6 hour drive. I think everyone knew this. However, what they didn’t tell us was how winding the road was. It felt like we were on a rollercoaster ride and our driver drove like there’s no tomorrow. Good thing my friends were ready with plastic bags as some felt really dizzy during the trip. So if you’re planning to go to El Nido from Puerto Princesa through land trip, be ready with plastic bags or medication for the dizzy buddies.
Second. Underground River was a whole day activity. Yes it was, but it was mostly waiting. Now I understand this because they explained how the Underground River is the busiest National Park in the country. But then again, the waiting. We arrived between 9am-10am and it took more than an hour of waiting to ride a small boat to get us from the main land to another part of the island where the Underground River was. When we arrived, we spent another 2-3 hours waiting for our turn for the main attraction. Please understand that I am not discouraging you from visiting the Underground River. For me, it’s still a must place to go cause it was just stunning inside the cave. It’s an experience you probably wouldn’t get from anywhere else. But then again, you have to wait. Just remember that patience is a virtue 😉
Third. Still while waiting for our turn in the Underground River tour, I did mention that it was a 2-3 hour wait right? I must tell you, when we were there, there was no store in the area. We weren’t able to neither eat nor drink anything during the wait. We were able to take only our meals after the tour which ended at around 3pm. Good thing it was a buffet spread. We were starving and had no more energy. So another tip: bring some snacks and water to keep you up during the wait.
Fourth. During the trip, we also had a Firefly watching tour at Ihawig. We went there not
knowing that we needed to put on mosquito repellent. Thinking that maybe tourists had no idea, a store inside the center sells mosquito repellants for your convenience. So if you ever plan to do this tour in the near future, don’t forget to bring repellants cause it’s a must.
Fifth. Dry bags aren’t entirely waterproof. So okay, this isn’t about Palawan. But maybe I can share with you what happened in Palawan that made me say so. You see, some of my friends wanted to bring our important stuff (phones, cameras, money etc) while we go to the Secret Lagoon. So we placed our stuff inside a dry bag. The waves were kind of strong at that time and to get inside the secret lagoon, you really have to go through the waves. So the dry bags also swam with us and we were confident that nothing would happen. So you ask me, must you take this risk? It depends with you. But my friend ended up with his camera broken because it got wet inside the dry bag even though it was thoroughly closed. We don’t know what happened but it just did.
The last thing they didn’t tell us before our Palawan Trip was that when we’d be able to visit, we would want to come back again and again! I cannot exaggerate how much I admire Palawan and all its beauty. Palawan, especially El Nido, is truly enchanting. We left with regrets that we can’t spend more time there cause it just wants to make you come back. For sure, our next trip would be longer cause a good 3 day trip to Palawan just isn’t enough.
So there you have it. I hope that you will find these tips useful in your future trip to Palawan. Know that nothing can guarantee that everything will go smoothly during your trip. But it will surely be better if you have planned, read and thoroughly researched about the place you are going. Also, no matter what happens, just enjoy the moment. You deserve that vacation! 😉
Got anymore Palawan tips? Comment them down below.
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Photos taken by Nerissa Heyrana and Paul Henry Simborio.