Saturday, November 19, 2016

El Bohemio in El Nido:
The Poblacion

             Rizal Street
      It was past 7 o'clock in the morning, September 14, 2016, a cloudy day. I thought of having a little walk around the town of El Nido before I head back to Puerto Princesa in a couple or hours. Though I should have taken these photos the day before in mid-afternoon, when the place looks more lively with open shops and tourists walking down the streets. But then again, these early morning  scenes gives us a different mood of this popular provincial town.

   September is actually a slow month in El Nido. I was told that from November to February, these streets are filled with foreign pedestrians, outnumbering the locals. One explanation is that American and European expats in China escape the winter then come back when the Chinese New Year celebration there is over. Filipino tourist, on the other hand, usually come in from March to June. So if you want to see an international crowd, you know when to go hehe.

             St. Francis Of Assisi Parish

       El Nido may sounds like it's a town that was founded by Spanish missionaries but the town's name was changed to El Nido only in 1954. Well it was still the Spaniards who gave it it's former name Bacuit when the place became a new municipality in 1916. But way way before history began, humans already inhabited this place. Fossils and burial sites dating back to the Late Neolithic Age can be found in many caves and excavation sites surrounding the municipality. Cool huh?

           Real Street and a part of  Mt. Taraw. 

   "Nido" is Spanish for "nest" and this town is named so because of the edible nests made from the hardened saliva of the swiftlets, a bird locally known as "balinsasayaw" that builds its nest in the crevices of  limestone cliffs in the area. These nests can be made into a gourmet soup and they say it's packed with nutrients. I think I've tried nido soup before in a Chinese restaurant in Manila years ago. I don't remember the taste anymore haha.

    Anyway, needless to say, tourism is one of the main industries of El Nido and like I said in a previous post, the town itself is something to explore. There are quite a number of restaurants and bars to discover. My bosses showed me around and brought me to their favorite places. Is it Vietnamese noodles you want? How about authentic Italian pizza? Or may maybe a Moroccan sandwich? You'll find them all here and you will not find these same restaurants in Manila. (Some are not even restaurants but road-side stalls!) Because owners of these establishments are expats from around the globe (who brought their recipe books with them haha).

             Calle Hama

      But you will certainly not end up broke in El Nido because of expensive food. Along some of the streets you will still find those eateries serving popular Filipino viands. I remember my dinner of Pinoy style  barbecue and isaw with rice. Also a snack of dimsum and sago in a nearby sari-sari store. Fast food chains? Nope, you will not find them here and I think that's awesome!   ; - )

    Shops abound in the poblacion. If you forgot to bring something you need for the beach trip, you'll find 'em here - rash-guards, boardshorts, waterproof bags, etc. Did I mention there are shops where you can rent a GoPro cam ? I also saw nice boutiques with items that you will not find in malls or bazaars  in Manila. There are souvenir shops of course but If you intend to buy Palawan woodcarving, I suggest that you buy them in Puerto Princesa instead as the choices and prices are better there.

               Bacuit Bay

         Sea Cocoon Hotel, along  Real Street, was my home for a few days.

   After a day of island-hopping, your boat will be back in Bacuit Bay by 5 PM. After freshening up in your hotel you really should go out and have a walk around town to make the most of your stay in El Nido. On my next visit I do hope I get extra hours in the daytime so I can try the zip line on top of Mt. Taraw. ^_^

    You know, I really love this place. I can imagine myself living a bohemian life here haha. Maybe make a living by selling artful souvenirs, or as a tour guide...  or maybe simply just retire here. *sigh*  Who knows?

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