Welcome to another post of Behind The Lens! In this section I will be writing a little guide about the places we visit. We travel with a tight budget so that means we have to prepare quite a lot before hand, and that also means that we are able to get to know quite a lot about the countries we visit so I thought that would be a nice idea to share it so you can benefit from it and hopefully save you time. I will include images, tips, hotels, restaurants, routes and many more. Also make sure you check the bold words together with the Tips section to get key information about your trip.
I really hope you enjoy it and find it useful!
The cameras of choice are Sony A7R and sSony a6300. For this trip I took 3 lenses with me: Sigma 16mm for video, Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART for photos and also Sony 85mm. As always I took my drone with me, DJI Mavic Pro with its polarised filters. Also the stabiliser Ronin SC.
What comes to your mind when you hear about El Nido, Coron, Philippines? Paradise, best beaches on earth, overrated, tourist trap…?
You will hardly find a person speaking badly about El Nido, however if you read few blogs you will find that many of the photos show an overcrowded area and maybe not so clean and idilic as you may expect, and other will show a perfect paradise. But which one is true? What should you expect from El Nido?
In one sentence: A bit of both. Let me explain…
We were in El Nido for about 5 days, but we were very unlucky cause there was a typhoon nearby so it was stormy 4 of the 5 days. The first day we were able to visit the local beach and then we had to spend 3 days around the city which wasn’t what we wanted at all. The city is nice to go for lunch or dinner but not much more than that. On our last day we took a private boat tour to the best spots around which was the highlight of the trip by far.
So, what should you do in El Nido?
- Visit local beaches. The best ones we saw were Marimegmeg Beach, las Cabanas Beach, and Nacpan Beach. You can access all of them by local transport (small tricicles) and it is quite cheap, but note that Nacpan Beach has a muddy 4km road that takes you to the beach so I would not recommend to drive your scooter there unless you are experienced driver. You can use a tricicle for that although will be more expensive. Tricicle rides around the el nido area cost around 100-150php.
- Taraw Cliff. We were not able to do it but it looks amazing! Just do some research about it before planning cause you will need a guide. It is a quite dangerous trek and you will need some protection also. Price: around 900php
- Boat Tours. This should be your number 1 priority in your visit. They have the same boat tours everywhere: A,B,C or D. Each tour includes a series of spots that will take you pretty much all day to visit. Now that being said you should think what you want: Are you on your own or with somebody? Do you prioritise money over privacy? Do you mind sharing a boat with people you dont know? You can take a boat tour that will cost you around 1000php for any tour but that means you will join a boat with other people, which also means you will be tied to their schedule and more likely you will be on the spots at the same time as many other boats. The other option is private tours, you will have to say where you want to go and at what time but that will cost you much more. We were a group of 6 so we decided to go for private and that was the best choice cause we did not share spots with anybody but we could see other places with hundreds of people on one spot. It is really recommended to do it that way because you don’t want to travel all the way to the Philippines and be surrounded by tourists. Prices: from 1000-10000php
Philippines is a true paradise, so it is not overrated at all, however what makes it not so good is the tourists. Can you visit those places without tourists? Yes, and it is worth planning to do the private tours. But if you cannot go private then I would still recommend to do the boat tours because the places are amazing, and then you can always try to avoid people somehow specially if you are in low season.
The places you visit on the tours are set but if you are in a private tour you can decide where to go and arrange a price for it. For example, as we were in a private boat they took us to a private beach for lunch, it was one of the best beaches i have ever seen and it was all for ourselves! What is the price for that??
You will see many tour operators around so no need to book online the boat tours, and prices are pretty much set. On town there are a few nice spots for lunch and breakfast but is best if you walk around and find your best spot. We recommend the Art Cafe for breakfast or nibbles, it is run by a Swiss woman that really invested in the business and it is a very nice place with nice views and vibe.
Do you want some more? Just click play to watch the video of the trip!