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El Nido Island Hopping Tour A and C

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The next day, we had the boat all to ourselves. The plan for the day was to have the combination tours A and C which included the following:

1. Helicopter Island
2. Secret Beach
3. Matinloc Island
4. Shimizu Island
5. Big Lagoon
6. Small Lagoon

Helicopter Island was so named because its shape resembled that of a helicopter. It had powdery white sand but a small shore.

Helicopter Island
To get to Secret Beach, one has to go through a small rocky opening. Unfortunately, the waves were too strong and only one of us was able to get through. Clin warned us that shouldn't attempt to go through any longer. Oh well.

Next, we visited the Matinloc Shrine. Clin told us that bishops used to visit the shrine and have their spiritual retreats there, but lately they haven't been coming back. Only the caretaker of the shrine resides there.

Matinloc Shrine

Shimizu Island was where we were to have our lunch. It was a crowded island. Lots of tourists were already there and the shore was almost filled with pump boats. While Clin and the other boatmen prepared our lunch, I snorkeled and marveled at the various fishes found on this island. The fish here were fearless. I often got bitten by palm-sized fishes if I stand still on the water. I was taken more by surprise rather than pain when they did this. Still, I had the uneasy feeling that a piranha attack would be akin to this.

If yesterday was any indication, then our lunch this day would be just as bongacious. And in fact, it was. Clin once again laid out a feast for us. We had pork, grilled squid, steamed shrimps, ensaladang talong (grilled eggplant), grilled fish, bananas and mangoes.

After the sumptuous lunch, it was time to feed the fishes! I still maintain that the fish we saw in Balicasag Island were the most vibrant I had seen. While those in Coron, specifically near the sunken shipwreck, had the most varied species. The fish in Shimizu were still abundant, though, and were more varied than those found in Boracay. Still, I was disappointed that the corals in El Nido were mostly dead, too, just like in Coron.

In my entire life, the most beautiful corals I had ever seen were in Nagarao Island, off the coast of Negros Occidental. The live corals were huge, maybe almost a meter in diameter and all clustered together. And at night, every step you took disturbed glowbugs on the beach. They were like faint disco lights on the beach. But that was way back in 1994. I haven't returned since.

The Big Lagoon
Anyway back to El Nido. Our next destination was the Big Lagoon. This was one of the most scenic spots in all of El Nido. Our little boat passed through a small opening while our expert boatment avoided the rocks. Clin told us that most of the pictures of El Nido were taken at the Big Lagoon.

Our final stop was the Small Lagoon. Like the Secret Beach, we needed to pass through a small opening to get to the lagoon. It reminded me of the Twin Lagoons in Coron, only larger. This was a very peaceful place. No waves. And we just relaxed and swam all around.

When we were done, it was time to go back. It was nearing the end of our adventure.

That night, we had dinner at Arts Cafe, where we enjoyed the live acoustic band and also bought a few shirts from their souvenir shop.

We left El Nido at 3 am the next morning, with Clin still accompanying us all the way to Puerto Princesa. We had a short stopover to buy pasalubong before finally heading for the airport.


Chyng said...

do you recommend to have this tour combined?
or drop tour B and have solo days for tour A and C?

Ysera said...

Hi Chyng! Personally, if you're pressed for time, I'd recommend combining A and C because you get the best of both tours. The only places you'll miss is the Star Beach and the Seven Commandos Beach from both tours.

If you skip Tour B, you'll miss out Snake Island, which is a must-see. Also, Candugon Cave is also nice to visit.

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