El Nido, Philippines

El Nido, Palawan: The Last Philippine Frontier

Late Landing
Fisherman packs his bangka after anchoring on a beach on the outskirts of El Nido.
snake island
Bangka passengers go snorkeling on Snake Island.
Manual disembarkation
Tour guide secures his traditional boat on a Matinloc beach.
Speckled horizon
Silhouettes of the cliffs of the Bacuit archipelago rising from the South China Sea.
family network
Sisters have fun on a hammock in El Nido.
shallow dive
Native guide investigates the seabed on the remote island of Matinloc.
tropical anchorage
A bangka parked on an idyllic beach in Miniloc.
Sky Lark scooter
Small tricycle leaves El Nido airfield.
Guia rests for a moment of shallow snorkeling in a hidden lagoon in Matinloc.
somersault style jump
Kid exhibits water acrobatics in El Nido Bay.
walk on water
Visitors to El Nido roam the spit of sand that gives Snake Island its name.
on a lava beach
Bangka anchors between rocks of volcanic origin of the Bacuit Archipelago.
Lagoon in Miniloc
Passengers on a Bangka tour enjoy a Miniloc lagoon.
bangka at sunset
A traditional boat on a quiet beach near El Nido.
Bangka in translucent water
Small bangka anchored on an island near Miniloc.
pure smile
Smiling girl from El Nido.
Brown eyes
Bangkas await passengers on an island in the Bacuit Archipelago.
Plann. of Palawan
An El Nido resident decorates a boat in front of his house.
under the palm trees
Bangkas anchored on the beach at Seven Commandos.
mushroom rock
Isolated rock formation on a beach off El Nido.
One of the most fascinating seascapes in the world, the vastness of the rugged islets of Bacuit hides gaudy coral reefs, small beaches and idyllic lagoons. To discover it, just one fart.

Viewed simply, the journey north of Palawan could be the price to pay for the good to come.

The bus, a veritable folkloric relic, worked its way along the bumpy road that connected Tay Tay to El Nido. Loaded even further, inside the cabin and on the roof, it was easy prey for other vehicles that passed it and left it enveloped in a cloud of dust that clung to our pores.

Every time I packed for a few kilometers of progress, I would stop by the roadside to repair a new puncture or pick up passengers, a myriad of sacks and bags, and other out-of-format luggage.

Amid gentle hills, dry rice paddies and areas of Filipino savanna, we slowly made our way across the map as the bright colors of the bus painting and everything else on board were devoured by an implacable white.

The Dusty Entry into the village of El Nido

Almost sixteen hours after leaving Puerto Princesa, already at the El Nido terminal, none of the natives seemed to be surprised by the ghostly disembarkation. During the long summer season, it was like this, floured, that buses appeared in the village, jeepneys, aged vans and tricycles from the south.

Erika Mother

Jeepney overloaded with passengers and cargo makes a climb near El Nido in northern Palawan.

With about 30.000 mostly Christian inhabitants, 85% of whom live in rural barangays (parishes), El Nido is the gateway to one of the most exuberant scenery on the island of Palawan: the Bacuit archipelago.

Despite colonizing an uncharacteristic and improbable territory on the other side of the globe, the Spaniards came to find their old Moorish archrivals in the southern Philippines.

The Sino-Hispanic Past of Palawan and El Nido

In the second half of the XNUMXth century, friars based on Luzon (the country's largest and main island) sent missions to Palawan but were faced with strong resistance from local Islamic communities.

They then built churches protected by garrisons that allowed them to defend themselves from enemy attacks and managed to establish themselves until the Philippine revolution of 1898 and the passage of the territory to the possession of the United States of America.

Sisters, El Nido, Palawan the Last Philippine Border

Sisters have fun on a hammock in El Nido.

Around that time, El Nido and the area around the far north of Palawan welcomed the first Spanish families: the Canovas, Vázquez, Ríos and Rey.

At the same time, Chinese settlers arrived, some from the China others of Luzon quality other parts of the philippines: the Lim, Chin, Liao, Edsan, Ambao, Que-Ke, Lim Piao, Yu His, Pe Phan and Pe Khen, among others.

Since the Sung dynasty – 960 to 279 BC – the Chinese visited the area to collect the abundant swallow nests (collocalia fuciphaga) disputed in the kingdom due to its numerous therapeutic effects and the taste of the soup in which they were made, considered a delicacy.

Around the 1954th century, the product had such a commercial value that it justified the emigration of collectors and intermediaries. But it was only in XNUMX that the village received the Hispanic name that it retains, inspired by the importance that the nests found on the surrounding limestone cliffs had for its affirmation on the map of the Philippines and the World.

Bacuit Archipelago, El Nido, Palawan the Last Philippine Border

Silhouettes of the cliffs of the Bacuit archipelago rising from the South China Sea.

If nests have always been part of the region's history, tourism only emerged in 1983, when a Philippine-Japanese partnership called Ten Knots Development Corporation opened the first resort on the island of Miniloc and an airstrip on the barangay Villa Libertad, on the outskirts of the city.

El Nido, the Convenient Starting Point for the vast Bacuit Archipelago

In 1996, Time magazine included the area around El Nido in a list that ranked top secret travel destinations. For a variety of reasons, this distinction did little to disturb the remote, wilderness aura of the Bacuit Archipelago.

Shortly thereafter, the Philippine government created the local Marine Reserve, which protected an area of ​​almost 100 hectares with a precious ecosystem that includes manatees, turtles of various species and dugongs, the Asian relatives of manatees.

Snake Island Tour, El Nido, Palawan to Last Philippine Border

Visitors to El Nido roam the spit of sand that gives Snake Island its name.

Today, perhaps El Nido lacks the charm that matches the surrounding scenery, as some visitors do. If genuineness is valued, maybe not.

Trapped between the Bay of Bacuit and huge sharp limestone cliffs, its poorly finished ground-floor houses welcome businesses geared to both locals and outsiders.

They come to live side by side, feed houses and other products for fighting cocks with small bars, restaurants and internet houses. El Nido is a pointy urbanistic case.

Although they used the name of the población and from the surrounding region, because they consider it unworthy, the two exquisite resorts on the coast allow wealthy guests to pass by by boat. This rejection impedes development, as we soon found out.

A Disused Jeepney and a Humble Family from Povoação

As we explored the bay's sand, we discovered a jeepney – the national vehicle of the Philippines, created from adaptations of the American jeeps left over from the 2nd World War – burgundy parked in the backyard of a wooden house.

We call the owner and ask him if it still works and what he does right there on his doorstep. Jolly Rivera responds between enthusiasm and disappointment: “I bought it to repair it and set up my business. But things in the family didn't go well and I still haven't been able to touch him."

Jeepney communion

Jolly Rivera (at the wheel), family and friends around the jeepney that the first one bought to recover and thus start his business in El Nido.

Jolly Rivera's mother is right next door. He fell ill, and returned from Canada to the indigenous shelter in El Nido where he now lives, in a wheelchair. Jolly spends too much money on his medications and appointments and hence the dream of jeepney remains delayed.

To serve as an SOS in these cases, there are some backpackers who, averse to spending large sums on luxuries, boost the savings of some native families every time they stay in guest-houses, feed from groceries and restaurants and hire the services of typical boats in the area to explore the Bacuit Archipelago.

Seven Commandos, El Nido, Palawan the Last Philippine Border

Bangkas anchored on the beach at Seven Commandos

The Bangkas for All Service

Various bangkas remain anchored in the bay in front of El Nido awaiting passengers. Once installed and recovered from the southern voyage, we charter one of these noisy boats and head out to the bay with the enthusiasm of those who know that the reward is just a few miles away.

On board were the local helmsman and guide Johnas and his assistant, plus Mona and Hans, a Swedish couple exploring the Philippines in backpacker fashion but with recurrent regrets for being away from their children and grandchildren for too long.

In the initial moments of the route, attempts were still made to continue the dialogue established on boarding, but the noise of the old two-stroke engine simply did not allow it. We are dedicated to contemplating the majestic nature around.

Sheltered Bangka, El Nido, Palawan the Last Philippine Border

Bangka anchors between volcanic rocks of the Bacuit Archipelago

We skirt the enigmatic Cadlao island. The vastness of the South China Sea full of islets and boulders scattered until out of sight.

The landscape reminded us of other, Asian and famous ones: Halong Bay from Vietnam, Guilin, China e Krabi in Thailand.

It has something additional. In addition to the limestone cliffs and the internal lakes, at the foot of the cliffs and hidden in its interior, with underwater access, miniature beaches with white sand and seductive sea appeared, one after the other, decorated by coconut trees in places so unlikely that they arrived to seem artificial.

Mushroom Rock, El Nido, Palawan the Last Philippine Border

Isolated rock formation on a beach off El Nido.

Johnas takes us to the most interesting places and gives information about each of the islands and mini-bays: Miniloc and Secret Lagoon, Lagen, Matinloc, Tapiutan, Seven Commandos beach etc. etc.

It stops from time to time for passengers to test the beaches. We enjoy each of these marine recreations until the last minute.

And the Distinguished Itineraries of ENPOOA through the Bacuit Archipelago

The number of islands, islets and rocks in the Bacuit Archipelago is such that ENPOOA (El Nido Pumpboat Owners and Operators Association) divided the archipelago into four distinct routes.

He assigned each of them a tour to be carried out preferably starting at nine in the morning and ending around four in the afternoon.

Even when taking pictures, the sunny days are so lazy and lazy that they generate remorse.

Snorkeling, El Nido, Palawan the Last Philippine Border

Native guide investigates the seabed on the remote island of Matinloc.

Hans and Mona almost completed these itineraries: “My friends, we never feel so good in our lives doing nothing”, confessed the most communicative wife. We agreed without reservation.

In one of the afternoons and tours, we landed in Matinloc, on an apparently deserted beach, lost in an extraterrestrial setting, made of solidified lava. We jump onto the beach and then into the water.

Guide rests in a moment of shallow snorkeling in a hidden lagoon of Matinloc

On our way back to the beach, we noticed a group of men in work clothes, squatting Asian-style in the shade of the trees. 

The guide says that they are nest catchers. We approached, greeted the group and discovered in their hands the set of tools that always accompany them. A shoulder bag, a flashlight and a knife. A bottle of rice whiskey completed the set.

Out of nowhere, we come face to face with the raison d'être of the El Nido name. Johan asks one of the men for a piece of nest and hands it to us: “Amazing isn't it? ” exclaims. "That's why they risk their lives."

In the middle of the afternoon, Johnas and his assistant returned to grilling freshly caught fish that we shared by the sea in lively conversation.

Snake island, El Nido, Palawan the Last Philippine Border

Bangka Passengers Snorkel Snake Island

We then disembarked on the south coast of Miniloc to visit a new lagoon, this time the Secret Lagoon, as the name implies, hidden among some of the highest and steepest limestone cliffs in the archipelago.

Until four in the afternoon, we still stopped at a delightful inlet on Simisu Island and climbed to a nearby ridge to look down on the dotted expanse of the Bacuit Archipelago.

El Nido, Palawan the Last Philippine Border

Fisherman packs his bangka after anchoring on a beach on the outskirts of El Nido.

Bacolod, Philippines

A Festival to Laugh at Tragedy

Around 1980, the value of sugar, an important source of wealth on the Philippine island of Negros, plummeted and the ferry “Don Juan” that served it sank and took the lives of more than 176 passengers, most of them from Negrès. The local community decided to react to the depression generated by these dramas. That's how MassKara arose, a party committed to recovering the smiles of the population.
Camiguin, Philippines

An Island of Fire Surrended to Water

With more than twenty cones above 100 meters, the abrupt and lush, Camiguin has the highest concentration of volcanoes of any other of the 7641 islands in the Philippines or on the planet. But, in recent times, not even the fact that one of these volcanoes is active has disturbed the peace of its rural, fishing and, to the delight of outsiders, heavily bathed life.
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Boat Trips

For Those Becoming Internet Sick

Hop on and let yourself go on unmissable boat trips like the Philippine archipelago of Bacuit and the frozen sea of ​​the Finnish Gulf of Bothnia.
Boracay, Philippines

The Philippine Beach of All Dreams

It was revealed by Western backpackers and the film crew of “Thus Heroes are Born”. Hundreds of resorts and thousands of eastern vacationers followed, whiter than the chalky sand.
Hungduan, Philippines

Country Style Philippines

The GI's left with the end of World War II, but the music from the interior of the USA that they heard still enlivens the Cordillera de Luzon. It's by tricycle and at your own pace that we visit the Hungduan rice terraces.

The Philippine Road Lords

With the end of World War II, the Filipinos transformed thousands of abandoned American jeeps and created the national transportation system. Today, the exuberant jeepneys are for the curves.
Vigan, Philippines

Vigan: the Most Hispanic of Asias

The Spanish settlers left but their mansions are intact and the Kalesas circulate. When Oliver Stone was looking for Mexican sets for "Born on the 4th of July" he found them in this ciudad fernandina
Marinduque, Philippines

When the Romans Invade the Philippines

Even the Eastern Empire didn't get that far. In Holy Week, thousands of centurions seize Marinduque. There, the last days of Longinus, a legionary converted to Christianity, are re-enacted.
Marinduque, Philippines

The Philippine Passion of Christ

No nation around is Catholic but many Filipinos are not intimidated. In Holy Week, they surrender to the belief inherited from the Spanish colonists. Self-flagellation becomes a bloody test of faith

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Coron, Busuanga, Philippines

The Secret but Sunken Japanese Armada

In World War II, a Japanese fleet failed to hide off Busuanga and was sunk by US planes. Today, its underwater wreckage attract thousands of divers.
Esteros del Iberá, Pantanal Argentina, Alligator
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina

The Pantanal of the Pampas

On the world map, south of the famous brazilian wetland, a little-known flooded region appears, but almost as vast and rich in biodiversity. the Guarani expression Y bera defines it as “shining waters”. The adjective fits more than its strong luminance.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
Bay Watch cabin, Miami beach, beach, Florida, United States,
Architecture & Design
Miami beach, USA

The Beach of All Vanities

Few coastlines concentrate, at the same time, so much heat and displays of fame, wealth and glory. Located in the far southeast of the USA, Miami Beach is accessed by six bridges that connect it to the rest of Florida. It is manifestly meager for the number of souls who desire it.
Full Dog Mushing
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pentecost Island, Vanuatu

Naghol: Bungee Jumping without Modern Touches

At Pentecost, in their late teens, young people launch themselves from a tower with only lianas tied to their ankles. Bungee cords and harnesses are inappropriate fussiness from initiation to adulthood.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Cocoa, Chocolate, Sao Tome Principe, Agua Izé farm
São Tomé and Principe

Cocoa Roças, Corallo and the Chocolate Factory

At the beginning of the century. In the XNUMXth century, São Tomé and Príncipe generated more cocoa than any other territory. Thanks to the dedication of some entrepreneurs, production survives and the two islands taste like the best chocolate.
Saphire Cabin, Purikura, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

Japanese Style Passaport-Type Photography

In the late 80s, two Japanese multinationals already saw conventional photo booths as museum pieces. They turned them into revolutionary machines and Japan surrendered to the Purikura phenomenon.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

When, in mid-May, Iceland already enjoys some sun warmth but the cold and snow persist, the inhabitants give in to an intriguing summer anxiety.
Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Mme Moline popinée
LifouLoyalty Islands

The Greatest of the Loyalties

Lifou is the island in the middle of the three that make up the semi-francophone archipelago off New Caledonia. In time, the Kanak natives will decide if they want their paradise independent of the distant metropolis.
Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

Sanahin Cable Car, Armenia
Alaverdi, Armenia

A Cable Car Called Ensejo

The top of the Debed River Gorge hides the Armenian monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat and terraced Soviet apartment blocks. Its bottom houses the copper mine and smelter that sustains the city. Connecting these two worlds is a providential suspended cabin in which the people of Alaverdi count on traveling in the company of God.
The inevitable fishing

Florianopolis, Brazil

The South Atlantic Azorean Legacy

During the XNUMXth century, thousands of Portuguese islanders pursued better lives in the southern confines of Brazil. In the villages they founded, traces of affinity with the origins abound.

Northern Lights, Laponia, Rovaniemi, Finland, Fire Fox
Winter White
Lapland, Finland

In Search of the Fire Fox

Unique to the heights of the Earth are the northern or southern auroras, light phenomena generated by solar explosions. You Sami natives from Lapland they believed it to be a fiery fox that spread sparkles in the sky. Whatever they are, not even the nearly 30 degrees below zero that were felt in the far north of Finland could deter us from admiring them.
Cove, Big Sur, California, United States
Big Sur, USA

The Coast of All Refuges

Over 150km, the Californian coast is subjected to a vastness of mountains, ocean and fog. In this epic setting, hundreds of tormented souls follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Henri Miller.
Iguana in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Yucatan, Mexico

The Sidereal Murphy's Law That Doomed the Dinosaurs

Scientists studying the crater caused by a meteorite impact 66 million years ago have come to a sweeping conclusion: it happened exactly over a section of the 13% of the Earth's surface susceptible to such devastation. It is a threshold zone on the Mexican Yucatan peninsula that a whim of the evolution of species allowed us to visit.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
El Cofete beach from the top of El Islote, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain
Natural Parks
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

Fuerteventura's Atlantic Ventura

The Romans knew the Canaries as the lucky islands. Fuerteventura, preserves many of the attributes of that time. Its perfect beaches for the windsurf and the kite-surfing or just for bathing, they justify successive “invasions” by the sun-hungry northern peoples. In the volcanic and rugged interior, the bastion of the island's indigenous and colonial cultures remains. We started to unravel it along its long south.
Uxmal, Yucatan, Mayan capital, the Pyramid of the Diviner
UNESCO World Heritage
Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico

The Mayan Capital That Piled It Up To Collapse

The term Uxmal means built three times. In the long pre-Hispanic era of dispute in the Mayan world, the city had its heyday, corresponding to the top of the Pyramid of the Diviner at its heart. It will have been abandoned before the Spanish Conquest of the Yucatan. Its ruins are among the most intact on the Yucatan Peninsula.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
view mount Teurafaatiu, Maupiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia
Maupiti, French Polynesia

A Society on the Margin

In the shadow of neighboring Bora Bora's near-global fame, Maupiti is remote, sparsely inhabited and even less developed. Its inhabitants feel abandoned but those who visit it are grateful for the abandonment.
Goa, India

To Goa, Quickly and in Strength

A sudden longing for Indo-Portuguese tropical heritage makes us travel in various transports but almost non-stop, from Lisbon to the famous Anjuna beach. Only there, at great cost, were we able to rest.
The Toy Train story
On Rails
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
full cabin
Saariselka, Finland

The Delightful Arctic Heat

It is said that the Finns created SMS so they don't have to talk. The imagination of cold Nordics is lost in the mist of their beloved saunas, real physical and social therapy sessions.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
Rhinoceros, PN Kaziranga, Assam, India
PN Kaziranga, India

The Indian Monoceros Stronghold

Situated in the state of Assam, south of the great Brahmaputra river, PN Kaziranga occupies a vast area of ​​alluvial swamp. Two-thirds of the rhinocerus unicornis around the world, there are around 100 tigers, 1200 elephants and many other animals. Pressured by human proximity and the inevitable poaching, this precious park has not been able to protect itself from the hyperbolic floods of the monsoons and from some controversies.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.