SPIN Hostel was very accommodating. We decided to have our breakfast there for less hassle at P200/head buffet breakfast. They have a few selection of drinks (coffee, tea, juices) breads (pandesal, loaf, wheat), jams(strawberry,blueberry), fruits (watermelon, pineapple) and even an on-the-spot cookery of pancakes and egg- just the way you like it.
Around 8am, we talked to the front desk person to arrange our day 1 island hopping tour. We opted for Tour A which included Secret Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Mimiloc Island (supposedly Simisu island but it was on rehabilitation), Small Lagoon, and Seven Commandos Beach.
We were to leave at 9am, so while waiting, we played a nice game of Jenga instead.
Jaysel and Lorenz | photo by Armen/ @armenavy
DAY 1 – TOUR A
After prepping ourselves for the day’s agenda, we were fetched by a tricycle to bring us to the town where we should setup our island hopping tour. We were accompanied by another tourist during our short ride to town.
Tour A costs 3500 for 2 people, and 700 for every succeeding person. We were 7 in the group, making it P1,000 per person. We opted for a private island hopping tour as well so we won’t have to be with people we don’t know, be worried of our things being left on the boat, and have time constraint. And an additional P200 for the required environmental fee good for 10 days. The fees included our boat, life vests, snorkeling gears, licensed tour guide and our lunch and drinks.
The before riding our boat selfie. It was my first time for me to *actually* use my GoPro. (Related – my GoPro box opening)
Our first stop was Secret Lagoon, which was around 35minutes away from the El Nido town proper. We had to line up under the heat of the sun before entering an opening in the cave leading to the vast and dirty waters inside the lagoon. Water was cold.. but really dirty.
And the inside is this… I didn’t notice my GoPro was moist so the photos are smudgy 😦
Honestly, I find it a waste of time entering the place.
15minutes away was the next itinerary, the Big Lagoon. It was only a sight seeing trip around a chunk of mountain as the water was very prone to low tide and being in the area during that would be a hassle to leave. The water was crystal clear and you can see what’s under. We all had our share of photo opportunities where mostly our photos were in Gian’s camera, where it was submerged in salt water during our day 2 😦
While we were appreciating the wonders of nature, our tour guide, kuya Milan, and the assistant kuya Nonoy were prepping our lunch food.
Around 12nn, we headed to our lunch area in Mimiloc Island, which was supposedly Simizu Island, but the place is under coral reef rehabilitation.
While waiting for our food to be setup in a more proper level, we went around to enjoy the rest of the view in Mimiloc Island.
Photo by Armen/ @armenavy
Gian and Me | photo by Armen/ @armenavy
Look at our food and awesome plating by our boat companies. Our food consisted of 7 pcs of grilled fish and a bowl of delicious sauce/dip, pork liempo, a plate of pipino, huge mussels, pineapple slices, bananas, rice, a 1.5L of Coke and a 5 gallon drinking water.
Foood was greaaaaat!! I especially love the liempo! But everything was really nice.
While we were waiting to be on track for our day tour, we chilled shore side and talked about life.
On the other hand, Jaysel and I were pretty busy turning Jed into a mermaid :DDD
Also a summery shot for my IG!
Fourth stop, Small Lagoon!
I was overwhelmed when we reached the place. Kuya Milan told us that we have to kayak ourselves in the lagoon to appreciate it since boats cannot pass through the small gap in the mountain. I wanted to experience it so I fought my fear of water and depended on the power of my life vests should any unforeseen incident happens. Kayaks costs P400/day/boat paid along with our tour expense. P500/day/boat on the spot at Small Lagoon.
You can also find a short kayak video of me and Armen here.
Inside the lagoon, we came across Gian and Jed too!
And…. Gian had a weird thought… see for yourself
Yep. he tried pulling 2 kayaks by swimming. Everyone was looking at us during the time, he seemed to have fun, and us too because it saved us some paddling haha. We had an unspoken race back to our boats too in which we won, hoorah!
Around 3pm, we headed to our next destination, the Seven Commandos Beach.
There were a number of boats docked across the shore, so needless to say there were a number of people with us too in the beach. Most of us stayed under a shade of a tree while Gian, Jed and their enthusiasms were swimming in the waters.
We also tried out a huge swing hung from a tree during our stay in Seven Commandos.
This photo for now since all the others are taken by Armen haha.
Armen on the swing
Around 4:30, we were bound back to town. All tours end around this time probably because it’s unsafe to travel at night, and the boats don’t have any means of light either.
Upon reaching our hotel, we were finally able to check-in properly and see our room. We were glad we were put up in a connecting dorm room where another door connects to the other room. Since the room has 4 beds each, and we were only 7, our room had an extra roommate whom we didn’t know.
Gian, Jed, Jaysel and Lorenz who were in the other room were pretty disappointed about their air condition in their room. It was hot inside and the smell of wet clothes are everywhere.
Our room on the other hand didn’t look clean at all. The cabinet I had had coins inside, and ate Yon’s had some random string inside hers. Coming up to the top bunk of the bed, even the top of the cabinets were dirty (like ever cleaned) and the beds were pretty dusty. I was kind of disappointed too.
Anyhow, we cleaned ourselves as needed. I love their bathroom because they were pretty wide and clean. And what made me feel at ease was their shared bathrooms with ceiling to floor dividers. Showers were pretty easy to use too unlike other hostels where lots of turning is needed.
After cleaning ourselves of sand and salt form the trip, we headed out to get dinner. We were eyeing Trattoria Altrove as we’ve repeatedly read it through blogs, but they were full and our stomachs are not ready to wait. So we headed to another restaurant, El Nido Boutique and Art Cafe.
Their food were mostly good for 2 people. Armen and I decided to share an order of Seafood Pasta which costs P260 and a seasonal Avocado shake worth P135 each. Gian ordered a 9-inch Margherita for P320. Jaysel and Lorenz shared a Ham and Cheese Sandwich worth P200 and Paella worth P320. Jed also ordered pasta and ate Yon had Paella too.
Photo by Armen/ @armenavy
Our seafood pasta was pretty amazing, shake is bland and sad :(, the paella, a so-so, the ham and cheese sandwich was good, and the margherita has nothing special. Service is bad. There were only a few waitresses attending to guests, and they were pretty slow. Food arrived at least 30 minutes too.
After eating, we decided to head back to our hotel to finally get some rest.
On the way, we encountered another hotel that would fix our dilemma for our schedule the next day. Rovic’s Tourist Hotel had a 40% discount for check-ins at 6pm-12mn. Since our flight back to Manila was not until 12nn the next day, We thought it was a good opportunity for us to get some rest before another 6-hour trip to Puerto Princesa before our flight.
We took on the opportunity to assure ourselves a place to stay after whatever we were planning the next day. We had to pay P357 each as share in one of their loft type room.
Back to SPIN Hostel, ate Yon took out a game called Exploding Kittens, which I think as another type of Friendship Over game. It was pretty addicting I should say, and we played until around 10:30pm.
Before sleeping, Gian called for help regarding the bad airconditioning unit in their room. There was immediate help and the filter was changed. It didn’t completely help, but it was better than when they first came in.
Around 11:30pm, the other person occupying the fourth bed in our room arrived, and it was apparently the lady we rode the tricycle with early in the morning. She looks Filipina but judging from her accent, she doesn’t seem to be living in the country. I never got her name though.
At 12:30, I tried my best to sleep. But I couldn’t sleep properly anywhere other than my bed so I wake up every hour or so.
PS. I’m pretty toasted after our day 1 trip. Can’t imagine how my skin color would be the next days.