El Nido is all about island hopping. There are at least a dozen of small and beautiful islands nearby where hordes of tourists are taken by weird looking boats every day. There are 4 different tours: A, B C and D. A and C are the most popular ones. I have to say that they have managed to commercialize the whole thing very well. It’s kind of a `collect them all´ thing and tourists are bragging to each other how many tours they did.
But once again we wanted to combine island exploring with physical exercise, so we decided to rent a kayak for a day. 4 liters of water and some cakes and Corn Bits with us we started our own tour. After 2 km we reached the first beach. It was a nice one but nothing spectacular so after a quick break we kept going.
We saw couple other kayaks as well and decided to go further. And there was a payoff. We found a well sheltered beach and a stunning tiny lagoon called Ubugon cove. It is one the most beautiful places I’ve seen so far.
After founding this place I was stoked. `Maybe there is something more, let’s go around this little island´, I was thinking. There was just one little, or actually very big, problem. This island is called Cadlao Island and it’s one of the biggest island nearby. But I didn’t know that at the moment so we kept going. Lotta was asking many times, that should be turn back. But since we had already come a long way, it didn’t make sense to me turn back. This same problem occurs also in business quite often. You have invested so much money and time in the project so that you just have to finish it – even you know it is not really worth of it anymore.
It was a rather windy day and the ocean was testing us with decent size swell. I was trying to keep up the spirit with some jokes and songs, but the lady was turning quiet. It was getting late and we didn’t really know how much more there was still to go. Kayaking in the darkness didn’t sound that much fun, so we just increased our speed. We were thinking to ask a ride from the fisherman but we could see any. So it was just us, the kayak and the ocean.
When we finally got around the island we were both relieved: We finally saw some fishing boats and we knew that we can make it before the complete darkness. One more hour of kayaking and we were back. In total we were kayaking 5 hours and the distance travelled was almost 25 km! This is nothing short of magical for experienced kayakers with good kayaks, but for us it definitely was. I felt so happy when my feet touched the ground again and I was able to clean all the dried salt from my skin (especially from armpits). Later we rewarded ourselves with great pizzas in Altrove restaurant. Our journey in Philippines was going to end up soon.
Next morning we took early bus to Puerto Prince, flew to Manila, spent a night in Airport and took flights back to Finland via Hong Kong and London. I think we travelled almost 48 hours in total.
Last thoughts about Philippines
It was my first time in Asia and I truly enjoyed it. You might see lot of trash on the ground in some places, toilets are not that comfortable, food is different and so on, but you get used to it. People in Philippines are smiling a lot, they are curious but yet polite and it is easy to communicate with them since they speak English. Nature, especially in Palawan, is super beautiful and hopefully they are able to maintain it so.
Philippines is going to change a lot within next years. More and more tourists are finding it and the richer `Manila´ middle-class is growing quickly. Prices are going up and they say that especially Palawan has already changed so much during the past 5 years. So who knows how it will look like after next 5 years?
For some reason I’m fascinated more about the Latin culture, so I think there will be my next destination. Or maybe somewhere in Africa. And how about the Philippines. Yes, I would love to go back there someday. We saw so little of it and missed places like Banaue Rice Terraces, Mindanao and Siargao.
There are so many places to see – Never stop exploring.