Monday, November 14, 2016

El Bohemio in El Nido:
The Transit


   You know the last time I took a plane was 14 years ago haha! Well I certainly am no jet-setter. Not the gypsy or hobo type of boho.  I'm at least a passive traveler - one who waits for the opportunity to travel, unlike some of my friends who has made travelling to far and different places an annual thing.

     I also have not traveled alone for a very long time - like almost 2 decades. So this lonesome 380 mile travel South of Manila, that took place on the 10th of September this year, feels very much like the first time. Well, there are actually a lot of first-time things for me about this trip. First time to book a flight online, to commute to the airport on an Uber car, to step inside the NAIA Terminal 3 departure area, and of course the first time to see Palawan.

    The flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa in Palawan is just about an hour. I took PAL's 1:10 PM flight over the 6:05 PM flight which I think is too late, and over the 5:20 AM flight which is too damn early haha! If one must to be in the airport 2 hours before departure time, that means I need to be there at 3:20 AM for the 5:20 AM flight!

    But maybe next time I will do the extra effort of catching the early morning flight. Because it's good to get to El Nido on the daytime (at least early afternoon) to maximize your stay there. You see, there's a 230 km road travel from Puerto Princesa to El Nido - that's a five to six hour drive. I actually enjoyed that long ride to El Nido. I love seeing Palawan's mountainscape and the road twisties made me miss my motorcycle. I feel lucky to be first passenger to get on the van because I get to sit at the front and enjoy a nice chit-chat with the driver about Palawan - how beautiful and peaceful it is there.

    I would have enjoyed that long road trip even more if it was entirely in the daytime. It was starting to get dark halfway to our destination. It even rained in some areas and it was getting a bit scary haha. Imagine driving on lampless roads along cliffs on a rainy night. But good 'ol manong driver knows the road like the back of his hand.

    If you plan to see El Nido you must condition yourself for a road trip that is this long. But there will be stops of course. There's this big road-side eatery in Roxas, I think, and drivers of tourist-filled vans get a free meal for stopping there haha!

   There are direct flights to El Nido if you dread being on the road that long. But the flights are not by the leading airlines and the fare would be more than double compared to MLA - PPS flights which is just around Php 5,500 (2-way) . You can do a lot of fun stuff in Puerto Princesa with that added cost. But hey if you have money to burn then by all means hop on that charter plane! Or your private jet hehe!

    So anyway, I reached my destination, the Sea Cocoon Hotel, past 9 PM. If you make a reservation to stay in this awesome hotel they will gladly arrange your Puerto Prinsesa - El Nido commute with their recommended van transport companies. Now that's pretty convenient huh? A one way van ride to El Nido is around  Php 600. If you're a group of 10 you  can rent a van for Php 6,100 (one way).

    There are buses too. The known RORO Bus Company charges Php 480 for an air-con bus ride (Php 350 if not air-con).

   Well I do hope you watch out for the succeeding posts about my El Nido vacation! More pictures coming up! ^ _ ^

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