After another nervewrecking busjourney, Mark and I arrived back in Manila. Jan Jan was waiting for us with our luggage to take us to the terminal of Air Swift, the private airline we were taking to go to El Nido. We chose not to take the Puerta Princesa route, since we didn’t want to waste too much time traveling.
The terminal is a little hard to find. Jan Jan knew where he was going in general, but when were close we really had to look for the signs. I think if you ask your taxidriver to go to the old miltary airport, you can follow the signs from there. Be sure not to miss it. We missed the entrance and had to ride in reverse (or as Jan Jan would say: atras) on the side of the road, because going around and coming back would take too long with all the traffic.
We arrived really early (around 6 am) and wouldn’t fly untill 11 am. There were 2 flights leaving before ours, but the fee to change flights was 1170 pesos. We decided to stay in the lounge, catch up on some sleep and have some breakfast. The standard luggage allowance with Air Swift is 17 kg: 10 kg for checked-in luggage and 7 kg for handluggage. They didn’t weigh our handluggage, but I think it’s because I only had a handbag and a smaller backpack instead of a trolley or duffelbag. Mark only had a smaller backback, but it weighed 9 kg. We had a total weight of 40 kg checked in luggage and had to pay 200 pesos per kg overweight. They told us though that we could book prepaid overweight charges, which were 400 pesos for 20 kg, but that they couldn’t offer it to us on the same day. It’s a shame they didn’t state this on their website, since it would have saved us 3600 pesos (which is about €75). We booked the prepaid luggage for our flight from El Nido to Cebu right away.
It was time to leave before we knew it and within 55 minutes we landed in El Nido. Once you arrive, some of the locals will sing you a welcome song and if you are staying at one of the El Nido resorts, the staff will take you to a van to bring you there. There are 4 resorts that are affiliated to Air Swift, but they are very expensive. We looked into booking something there, but the only one that had free rooms was the Apulit El Nido Resort and would cost €1500 for 3 nights. Maybe next time :p
We took a tricycle to El Nido Town to our hotel: Spin Designer Hostel. It took about 30 minutes to get there and the beginning of the trip was a little rough because the road wasn’t paved. Our driver, Jun, asked us if we needed him to takes us back to the airport so we exchanged numbers.
After check-in, we walked around El Nido town to buy a towel and some groceries. There are lots of places to eat and so many people are offering tours to go Island Hopping. We booked our tour at El Nido Art & Boutique Café.
Lots of tricycles will ask you if you need to go to Las Cabañas, one of the nice beaches just north of Corong Corong. We decided to go there for some drinks and watch the sunset. A tricycle ride costs 150 pesos per journey for one way and a maximum of 4 people can sit in a tricycle. The beach is beautiful, lined with lots of palmtrees. We walked a bit further to Maregmeg Beach, which is one of the best places to watch the sunset. It was so pretty!
Tomorrow we will go island hopping, which is the highlight of any El Nido trip. Everybody we know that has been to El Nido always raves about how beautiful the Bacuit Archipelago is. I am so excited to go!