Monday, November 29, 2010

Islands in the Bay

Lagen Island

When choosing an island getaway, the best options (in my opinion) are in the Philippines. Why do I say this? There are 7,107 islands in the archipelago and not all are created equal. So if you visit Batanes islands in the north, you will find a landscape of green, rolling hills like that of Ireland. Or get a taste of Santorini at Bellaroca in Marinduque. At El Nido Resorts in Palawan, the bay is dotted with limestone karsts similar to the backdrop in the photo above.

Miniloc Island

If your ideal getaway is to do absolutely nothing but sit by the pool and read a book, then this is the place to do it. But if you feel like indulging in various adventures out at sea, there are a number of possibilities. Island hopping is de rigueur here. For starters, we took a short motorized outrigger ride to Miniloc Island for buffet breakfast before feeding the jackfishes in the protected area right in front of the restaurant. We also had the option of snorkeling (equipment provided free of charge) in crystal clear waters with colorful schools of fish visible even from the pier.

Outside the Small Lagoon

Jackfish feeding over, we sailed on to the Small Lagoon which can only be entered with a kayak. This was one of the most thrilling adventures we participated in. The entrance to the lagoon is just enough to clear your head through but don't touch the rocks as they are a bit rough and can cut your skin as it did one of the kayakers in our group. Other visitors swam to the Small Lagoon. Outriggers can enter the Big Lagoon which is enclosed by towering limestone cliffs.

Entalula Island

Lunch break at Entalula Island and a short nap later, we hopped on to Snake Island where we walked across the strip of sand just a couple of feet underwater. Best time to see the snaking sandbar is at low tide. Our most challenging adventure of the day was to explore Cudugnon Cave which we entered through the eye of the needle (literally). We did this by crawling through a narrow and low opening. Once inside the cave, we were dwarfed by the height of the interior cavern where light filtered through an opening in the rock above. It is believed that this cave was a burial ground in neolithic times. Human remains from that period were found here and now rest in a museum. 

Entrance to Cudugnon Cave

El Nido Resorts encourages its guests to be ecologically minded and not leave trash behind (especially non recyclable items) nor take away seashells, pebbles, rock or plants, but leave things as they are to preserve the fragile ecosystem.

  
So we tread softly and hope we can come back to the El Nido we left behind - pristine and unspoiled. 

Island Transvogayer Inc. (ITI) has daily flights to El Nido. From the airport to the town of El Nido, there is a jeepney that meets passengers at the airport. To go to the islands, guests are transported by boat or motorized outrigger. If you are staying at El Nido Resorts, they will arrange the flights, the transfer to the island of your choice (Lagen Island or Miniloc Island and soon, Apulit Island), and the accommodations. All activities (except diving) are included with the price of the room as well as the use of snorkeling gear. Meals are paid for separately or you can opt for full board. For more information on El Nido Resorts, go to their website at http://www.elnidoresorts.com/.

*  *  *

Images by Charie Albar


View Larger Map

No comments: