Here in El Nido there is pretty much only one thing people do here – island hop. Tourist shops and most hotels offer to take you on four different tours (A, B, C or D). We chose to do tour A – the most common one – that goes to 3 different lagoons to snorkel around.
Before our boat left at 9:30, we grabbed some breakfast and I bought a disposable underwater camera (720 pesos, $18).
We got roped into booking our tour with our hotel. It cost 1500 pesos each ($35) but it included lunch, island transport fee (city money grab of 200 pesos) and snorkel and fins which other tour companies were renting for another 200 pesos.
So, overall, we actually got a pretty good deal as other companies were offering the tour for 1400+200+200 or 1800 pesos.
Of course this tour almost didn’t happen as I didn’t realize the 200 pesos for the island transport and the 200 pesos for the snorkel/fin rental were included so originally I thought I was looking at a cost of 1900 pesos ($45) each.
Add to the fact that Methzie didn’t bring a bathing suit which would cost me another 1400 pesos to buy and I was looking at a cost of 5000 pesos ($125) which is alot of money to spend for a day trip in the Philippines.
As I sat on the fence as to whether we should go, the girl at the front desk offered to lend Methzie one of her bikinis.
That kind of sealed the deal and we were on our way at 9:30. Our boat wasn’t a huge tour like the other boats. We had the hotel’s boat with us and one other couple staying at the hotel plus the captain, his first mate and his 9 year old daughter.
We had a speedboat and, man, did it skip over the water. It was a bumpy ride but we didn’t get wet and before we knew it we were at our first lagoon.
Now, I’m not a swimmer. I haven’t swam in years and frankly I’m kind of terrified of it but I figured I’d give snorkeling a try.
The hardest part for me was learning to breathe with only my mouth and not with my nose like we normally do.
I stood up in the shallow water and put my body flat with my face in the water. I lasted 10 seconds before I panicked and stood back up.
This happened twice more until the captain just told me to relax and get used to breathing through my mouth for a couple of minutes and then just go.
Once in the water I felt perfectly fine and safe. I was snorkeling! The water was so clear and the fish would swim right up to me, look me in the eye and then swim right past. So cool!
After snorkeling for awhile, we hopped back in the boat and went to the next lagoon where I felt much more confident this time and just popped right in there in search of fishies.
This is was time for lunch. We went to another island at around noon and kind of sat and relaxed while our first mate set up a bbq grill on the beach and grilled some amazing seafood and pork chops.
We each got some squid, full fish, and a pork chop along with some rice and salad.
Oh my God… nothing beats fresh grilling – on the beach no less!
After lunch we toured around some islands and snapped lots of photos before setting anchor in the middle of a few islands for our last snorkeling of the day.
By now it had been a few hours since I snorkeled and I was having trouble adapting the breathing again but after relaxing and figuring it all out again I was back in the water.
Last stop of the day was to the beach on Helicopter Island (from the air, it’s shaped like a helicopter) where we just kind of hung out for a good hour before heading back into El Nido around 4pm.
It was at this point that I realized how sunburnt I was. Despite being responsible and spraying on the sun screen all over my body at the beginning of the trip, I was red – like, really red!
We grabbed our bags we had stored at the hotel and hopped on a trike to our new hotel for the next two nights – Big Creek Mansion.
When I looked at places online, Big Creek was actually the place I wanted to stay all 3 nights here in El Nido but it wasn’t available for the first night so I settled for Pura Vida last night.
Turns out this place sucks and Pura Vida would have been a much better choice for all 3 nights.
Let’s start with the checkin. Travelling with a Filipino has it good and bad points. One of the bad points is that people tend to communicate with her in Filipino instead of with me in English. The guy at the front desk was no different and I was becoming increasingly frustrated. It didn’t help that I was on the cusp of heat stroke and all I wanted was a hot shower.
Once we got to our room there were a few problems – safe didn’t work, tv was fuzzy and no internet in room. I could kind of overlook those but then when I went to flip one of the light switches in the bathroom I got a jolt. That sucker wasn’t grounded!
Okay, I would deal with this all later – I just wanted to hop in the shower. Well, heh heh, joke’s on me. The showers in the Philippines are heated by having an electrical box in the shower that heats the water. Normally they are always powered on. Of course mine wasn’t.
I got dressed again and headed to the front desk and came back to the room with the guy where he looked at everything and apologized. His handyman helper then pulled open the box in the shower and reset the button with a pen.
Yay, shower power!
For 30 seconds…
And then the switch popped back and it was cold water again.
I put my clothes back on again and walked back to the front desk and the handyman came back again and reset the button. I asked the guy if I would need to keep doing that and when I asked him which button I reset I put my finger to it and felt a HUGE shock.
Um, that was stupid.
Honestly I was so ready to pack up and just get out of this hotel and I told Methzie that if I popped in the shower and the hot water turned off again we were gonna do exactly that – I didn’t care what it cost.
Luckily the shower went off without a hitch and afterwards I was much more relaxed. I think the heat and the inane desire for a shower put me in a pretty foul mood.
We walked back into the main part of town around 6pm. It was nice to see the city in the daylight as opposed to last night when it was pouring rain.
We decided to grab a couple of drinks first and then head somewhere for dinner. Two rum and cokes in and it was very apparent that drinking alcohol was not the best thing to do.
It was also pretty obvious that I was suffering from mild heat stroke and by 7pm I was ready for bed and feeling a bit ill.
We went by DOY restaurant where you pick the seafood, chicken or pork you want and they grill it for you and then serve it with rice and veggies. Both of us weren’t overly hungry so we just ordered one meal of chicken to share.
While we waited for our dinner to be cooked I started nodding off. We decided to actually ask to have the food packed up as I needed to get to bed and I wasn’t hungry anyway.
We got back to the hotel at 8:30 and I was in bed, asleep, at 9pm.
The sun just wiped me out today.
Tomorrow is going to be a lazy day as I’m going to a bar at 6:30 in the morning to watch the Superbowl and then really have nothing planned for the rest of the day.