Who would have thought that the most beautiful island in the world is in Philippines? “This exotic paradise in Southeast Asia has been voted by travelers as the world’s best island – not just once but twice in a row.” Lucy Morris, Mail Online. I definitely agree to that! In fact, I will be taking you to that one place in Palawan which I think a mere representation of its beauty — that is El Nido, a sheer perfection.
ABOUT THE ISLAND
El Nido is a first class municipality in the province of Palawan. It is situated at northern part of Palawan, or 238 kilometers north-east of Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital. The island is most known for its breathtaking views of nature.
HOW TO GET THERE
Puerto Princesa International Airport: This is the cheapest and common gateway to Palawan. You can book a flight with Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia. El Nido Airport: AirSwift (former Island Transvoyager Inc.) has several flights a day to and from Manila/Cebu and is the charter airline for El Nido Resorts. Non El Nido Resorts guests may book with ITI only 5 days in advance, while the El Nido – Manila flight is bookable ahead of time through their General Sales Agent El Nido Boutique & Artcafe. Note that the airport can accommodate only small aircraft, so the prices tend to be much higher than to Puerto Princesa. For more details, please visit this website http://www.elnidoboutiqueandartcafe.com/TravelCenter.html
From the airport, there are vans waiting that will take you directly to El Nido. Minimum fare (one way) is 500-600 pesos and the travel time is 5 hours. In my case, I availed the van transfer from the hotel I checked in. It’s 1200 pesos roundtrip. If you want to travel to El Nido from Puerto Princesa Airport at a cheaper cost, you can take the bus that will depart from San Jose Bus Terminal every 2 hours from 4AM to 10PM during the night. This has much longer travel time compared to van, around 6-7 hours.
Stress has always been a part of our life. People have different ways of handling it.For me, traveling is the best method to get away from it all.
It was a hell of a week at work. So, weekend that time, I rushed myself way home and packed up for another solo travel. I decided to visit Manjuyod White Sandbar since it has been on my list for quite some time waiting to be ticked off.
ABOUT THE PLACE
Manjuyod White Sandbar, though technically belonging to the jurisdiction of the neighboring Manjuyod town, the sandbar is closely associated to Bais City because of its proximity and popularity in the Bais area. This pristine 7 kilometers stretch of premium white sand has an estimated total strip area of 600 hectare, including the submerged portions. Unfortunately, I was not able to witness its full shape when I visited because the tide was just started to fall.
On the island, you can find native wooden houses built on stilt and appear to be floating on the water during high tide. These cottages could be rented for overnight stays and can be booked at the Bais City Tourism Office which can be reached at (035) 541-5161 / 402-8174 Fax (035) 402-8181.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Cebu City
1. Go to Southbound Bus Terminal. Look for a Ceres bus with a sign board that says BATO via OSLOB. Fare from Cebu City to Lilo-an Port is 185 pesos for air-conditioned bus. Travel time will take approximately 4 hours.
2. The bus will drop you off directly to Lilo-an ferry terminal in which you will take a fast craft bound to Sibulan pier. Fare is 65 pesos (including terminal fee) and travel time takes about 15-20 minutes.
3. Upon arrival at Sibulan terminal, walk around 5-10 minutes going to the bus stop station. Then wait for bus that has a sign board that says Manjuyod. Tell the conductor you are heading to Manjuyod sandbar. They know where to drop you off. Fare is 65-70 pesos.
4. Bus will take you to a certain junction (I forgot the name of the place) where there are a lot of tricycles waiting to take you to where you can get a boat. It’s 10-15 minutes away from the main road. Roundtrip fare is around 150-200 pesos.
From Dumaguete City
1. From the city proper, take a habal habal and tell the driver to take you to the bus terminal. Fare is 8 pesos only. Some drivers will ask for more but tell them that the local rate is 8 pesos per passenger because it is.
2. Upon arriving at the terminal, board a bus going to Manjuyod. And then follow details provided above.
(FYI: The route I provided above is different from what you usually read on other blogs. I prefer this one because it is nearer to the sandbar and you have a great chance to haggle to the boat owners.)
“People don’t take trips — trips take people.” A solo trip, in particular, can have lasting benefits. It’s a perfect time for me to be free from distractions of daily life. I focus myself on the present moment , feel the good vibes and enjoying the gift of solitude. Reflect, introspect and relax as much as I want. There’s a plenty of time to know more of myself – to have deeper understanding of who I am and what matters to me. Having a strong sense of self will contibute to a calmer, more centered state.
1. Always check the weather condition.
2. If you travel alone, expect that it will be a lot expensive.
3. The best time to visit Manjuyod Sandbar is during 6AM – 9AM in the morning or 3PM – 5PM in the afternoon.
4. If you want to arrange a boat, please contact Kuya Demi at this number +63 936 201 7027. He can help you look for a boat at a cheaper price. If you are traveling alone, like me, prepare around 1500 pesos for the boat. But I haggled and got it at 1200 pesos only. Kuya Demi will also help you find a place to shower after your dip.
5. Book ahead from your travel date if you want to rent the private cottages.
6. Be polite to locals.
7. Throw your garbage properly. Leave no trace principles.
It has been two years since I engaged myself to outdoors. I have travelled to some famous islands all over Philippines. And then, there is this Sumilon Island which happens to be at close proximity of my hometown Argao that I have never been to. So one weekend, in an impulse, I decided to visit the island through Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort
ABOUT THE ISLAND
Sumilon Island is a 24-hectare coral island off the coast of Bancogon, Oslob, Cebu. The island is located in the southeastern tip of Oslob. It is the first marine protected area in the Philippines; created as a marine sanctuary in 1974 under the guidance of the Silliman University Marine Reserve.
The island hosts the Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort which developed the island into an eco-friendly haven for those who want to get away from the stress of city living.
ABOUT THE RESORT
The resort is a sister resort of the popular Maribago Bluewater resort in Mactan, Cebu. It is a bit expensive but all worth it when you get there. The resort features villa rooms, restaurant, infinity pool, spa services, bar/lounge, mini playground for kids, public free wifi and activities like kayaking , snorkeling and etc. All of the activities are for free if you avail their rooms or have a day use for 2000 pesos.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Cebu City | Go to Southbus Terminal. Look for a bus with a sign board that says BATO VIA OSLOB. The island is approximately 3 hours bus ride from Cebu City (depends on what time you are travelling) and 15-20 minutes boat ride from mainland. I would recommend to travel early, around 3AM – 5AM, for a shorter travel time due to less traffic. In my case, I was already at the bus terminal at 3AM since I needed to catch the first trip to Sumilon Island at 8AM. If you will be having a day use in Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort, you need to tell the conductor to drop you at Bancogon. The fare is 156 pesos for air-conditioned buses.
WHAT TO DO
The resort features a lot of activities, from land to water activities. Here are some of Sumilon Resort activities.
ISLAND HOPPING TOURS
When I was there, swimming/snorkeling was prohibited due strong monsoon winds creating strong sea currents. I only did the kayaking, fish feeding and trekking.
Check the weather on that day. You can’t enjoy the island on a rainy day 🙂
If you are planning for a day use, catch the first trip at 8AM so you have the entire day to explore the island.
Sunday is the best day to visit. The resort has small amount of guests on the day.
All network providers are available. When it comes to internet connection, Globe has it. But dont worry, there is a free wifi on the restaurant and bar/lounge area.
The resort has a corkage fee if you bring foods. But you can bring water though. In my visit, our bags were not inspected. So, I guess it’s okay to sneak some junk foods. lol
Bring soap and shampoo. The resort will only provide you a towel.
Listen to the staff before doing any activities. Their primary goal is your safety.
They don’t accept debit card payments. Only cash and credit card.