The Next Boracay

Trip Start Jul 06, 2010
Trip End Jun 28, 2011

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Where I stayed
Rosanna's Cottages
Orange Pearl

Flag of Philippines  , Palawan,
Monday, April 4, 2011

Wow!  Now this place is why we came to the Philippines.  El Nido is fantastic!  The beaches are beautiful, the islands truly memorable and the town is a little gem.  The best part is that we were able to visit before it blows up with tourism.  Sure, there are some tourists around, but it feels like it is just the beginning.  Probably because this town is still pretty hard to get to.  It took us 5.5 hrs in a van over winding roads from Puerto Princessa to get here, of which the last 70KM's are gravel.  Of course no van/bus trip would be complete without a crazy driver loosing control on the gravel and coming within inches of skidding us over a cliff.  After all, it is completely reasonable to drive on the wrong side of a poorly graveled road doing 80KM's an hour without breaking as we head down a windy hillside.  Right?  Anyways, we eventually made it and checked into Rosanna's Cottages which was absolute luxury.  Air conditioning (from 2pm-6am....the town has limited electricity), a nice comfy bed, wrap around balcony with an ocean view, great shower pressure etc.  It was heaven!

The next day the skies opened up and the sun began to shine!  It was a good omen.  So we hopped on a boat and did an island hopping tour.  We aren't going to lie.  At first we were skeptical as our last two island hopping tours were busts.  But we were pleasantly surprised. These guys "got it".  The boats all seemed to do slightly different itineraries so that you weren't visiting an island with too many other tourists.  It was amazing!  We saw some lovely beaches, a couple lagoons and did a bit of snorkeling.  The snorkeling was pretty mediocre, but the scenery made up for it.

We ran into a couple Calgarians we had previously met in Donsol, and after several drinks together we realized why they looked so familiar.  They live in the condo building next to us!  Nothing like traveling all the way to the Philippines to meet your next door neighbour.  We actually met many Canadians in El Nido.  We divided much of our social calender between a comedian and friend from Edmonton and a couple of jazz musicians from St. Catherines ON.  Nothing like some great company to add to a great beach town.

Anyways, the next day we headed to Los Cabanas beach just outside town which had a beautiful strip of white sand and blue water.  It was so nice that we decided to move from our luxury cottage in town to the very basic bungalows on this beach.  We are still not sure what we were thinking.  We must have been drinking too much of that cheap Philippine rum.  Which, on a side note, costs about $2 for 750ml....crazy we know.  Anyways, that rum is deadly and somehow clouded our better judgment, because the next day when we arrived at the bungalows to check in we found our room crawling with ants.  Ants were everywhere, including the bed.  So we very nicely requested the staff rid our room of the ants.  To their dismay, and ours, a simple sweep of the broom just couldn't fix the problem.  So we nicely requested they spray the room down with raid. 

While the room did have plenty of ants, it lacked everything else.  We had to ask for a mosquito net.  Then we had to ask for a toilet seat.  We overheard some of the staff mocking us in high pitched girl voices "oohh I want a toilet seat"  We just thought that was funny. (And in our defense, before committing to staying there, we were assured that we would have a toilet seat).  In an effort to keep our business, they said they'd get us a toilet seat.  We wondered if they would have to fashion one out of bamboo or something being so secluded.  Funniest thing was...they HAD toilet seats.  They just chose not to put them on the toilets.  After 3 guys spent 20 minutes attaching the toilet seat, Garry couldn't help wondering out loud what else they had stock piled out back...maybe some screens for the windows, trash cans, mirrors, a piece of furniture, a hook, or a shelf.  Maybe they have the rest of the paint, or crown molding, or the covers for the electrical outlets.  It seems that they just completely stop working on the interior at...bed.  Oh yeah, and did we mention that the bungalows only had electricity for 6 hrs a day.  So with the windows closed (no screens), and the lights and fan off (no electricity), we (and the ants) sweated it out for a couple of was a nice beach after all.

We spent most of our evenings eating at this lovely little French restaurant overlooking the water.  In addition to fabulous food, they make their own flavoured rum, and give you a free sample shot at the end of the meal.  Pineapple and Apple Cinnamon were the best.  We're going to try making it at home.

While we would agree that this might be the "next Boracay," we are off to check out the current Boracay to see what all the fuss is about....
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VeePee on

That place is AWESOME!!!!
Um...try the squat pots - you don't need toilet seats - just good knees!

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