You need to heed my advice: travel to El Nido.
If it's your dream to enjoy the best of summer, then it's time to book your tickets to El Nido, Palawan.
It's a renowned sanctuary in the world for various flora and fauna and it encapsulates the best marine ecosystems in the world. The famous Calauit Island is another haven for animal enthusiasts, zoologists and tourists who are eager to see these animals naturally.
Note: We actually prepared for months before our actual flight and this blog can be helpful for first timers. (We were first timers months ago when we planned for it).
1. Palawan is a beautiful Island with the best tourist attractions fit for your DSLRs, or your iPhone cameras. As a top-notch tourist destination, the price is right for first world dwellers. But for local tourists, the price is quite above sea level. Bring as much cash as you can.
2. Traveling is an expensive hobby. It really is because you need plane tickets unless you own a yacht. We reserved our tickets months before to cut the story short. (that's how it works in the Philippines and in other Asian countries).
2.5 No more PISO fares (Cebu Pacific Air offered this years and years ago which they no longer offer now) therefore booking in advance and knowing those dates that you are free as a bird will help you a lot. I had my own share of expenses with twice the amount of my colleagues who booked for more than 6 months.
Lesson Learned: Another advice would be in groups more than 4 so you can have more fun and games with the money you can save while you're staying there. The Van transfers from PPS to El Nido can be bulky if you travel alone or with your shattered heart.
3. If you don't have a pair of Aqua shoes, then better save up for it. No need to buy the really expensive ones. Going to El Nido entails island hops and stony corals which may hurt your foot or your leg (Especially in the Hidden Beach).
Piece of advice: The Aqua shoe size you'll need should be fit to your foot. Don't purchase extra allowances; trust me, you'll need those fit shoes for walking especially in Secret Beach, Helicopter Island, and many other spots.
Our international tourist colleagues (the ones we were side-by-side) got their feet scaled up by wearing havainas slippers. Better safe than sorry.
4. We booked in advance (deposited amount at his bank account) through Tay Miloy's Inn which is a frugal accommodation and we never had luxury as an option. Exploration is a thing for travelers and the ambiance, too.
5. Scrutiny was the verb when we compared packages A, B, C and D. Good thing Tay Miloy had better options so we chose A & C by which we didn't have regrets at all. (It was a fast travel and we literally basked for 30 minutes at each destination before hopping to another).
6. Bring antiseptic sprays which we FORGOT. We got bruised up by the huge waves at the Hidden Beach as we tried to push through the crevice. Good thing we were at the same boat with French tourists and they lent us this important lifesaver.
7. There are Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) & Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) ATMs around the Poblacion just in case you feel terrified to bring loads of cash. Deposit your money in advance.
8. Bring Mats or tents if you wish to stay by the beach or at some uninhabited islets around El Nido. We actually saw a couple of backpackers or 'tenters' around Commando Beach. Further, you can even use these mats if the tables get fully booked at night around Pukka Bar.
9. Before I forget, don't forget to bring a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge or s7 edge which had definitely better results than iPhone. During the night, bring the iPhone counterpart (we had an affluent colleague who had both phone units and we had the momentum to compare the finished photographs).
10. GoPro 4 with a DOME is a better deal than bringing a DSLR. Here's the thing: I brought a DSLR with a good lens as a starter pack for strolling. Never did I imagine how shut down I was after the long travel (six hours) and I didn't make fun strolling while carrying it (it's also heavy).
Lesson learned: it's more fun to bring BOTH actually. The GoPro works better with amazing light from the sun plus the fact that it is capable of underwater navigation. The DOME PRO is another add-on by which the other half of the world can be taken a shot while you are underwater.
We used the GoPro4 when we were at the Small Lagoon when it could've been used in all locations with good depth. It sucks if the water level is too shallow. Better use this when swimming at the Hidden Beach (which is quite dangerous) or at the Secret Beach where numerous limestone deposits can be captured.