A few more photos from our recent trip to Miniloc, at El Nido. There are actually 3 separate properties in the the El Nido Resorts located in El Nido, Palawan (they have a fourth property, Apulit, the old Club Noah Isabelle, on the other side of Palawan). We stayed at Lagen on a previous visit to El Nido, a slightly more luxurious property with a pool. Miniloc is more adventuresome, and probably best described as being for the younger and more active crowd. Pangulasian is their soon to open highly luxurious property (rebuilt after many years; the old hotel destroyed by fire) that they hope will rival “Amanpulo”… And for those of you wondering why I have several posts on the resort recently, it’s because the family and some guests spent a couple of days there recently, and yes, we paid for our accommodations and food and airfares to the resort, so this is NOT a sponsored post. :)
The trip starts out from a private hangar at the Manila Domestic Airport, where you board one of three small aircraft that can carry perhaps just 18-19 passengers. If the weather is good, it’s smooth sailing all the way to El Nido, if the weather is unkind, you may need the barf bags provided. We have taken these small planes many times before, and you get used to them, but for the faint of heart, be forewarned… this isn’t a jumbo jet landing on a two kilometer runway. No siree. :)
The plane flies at a relatively low altitude, and I don’t think the cabin is even pressurized, but it is airconditioned. A few minutes after take-off, I glanced down and was thrilled to see The Beacon Academy campus in Mamplasan, Binan. Mrs. MM and Marketman helped in the set-up of that high school and earlier, The Beacon School in Taguig.
After a quick nap, you wake up as the plane descends towards a small dirt airstrip in El Nido town, Palawan, and you pass some spectacular pristine beaches on your approach to the airport.
From the airport, you are ferried by jeepney some 400 meters away to a purpose built wooden dock from where you board a dinghy that takes you to a relatively large banca for another 45 minutes ride to your resort, in this case, Miniloc. If the waves are rough, this is an adventurous experience in and off itself, but the bay was quite calm on our recent holiday. I suppose the remoteness of the place, the rigamarole of getting there, is what allows it to remain so beautiful and relatively untrodden by tons of tourists and locals alike.
You dock at the resort, right beside a small breakwater, outside of which the massive talakitoks come to feed twice a day…
…and after a personal greeting, a welcome drink and some garlic peanuts and some song and dance from staff, you are shown to your rooms, either over the water…
…or directly on the beach. This was our home for the few days we stayed at the resort. A nice comfortable second story room, the Teen and guests were next door, also on the second floor.
The room was relatively small, say 22-25m2 including the bath, and adequately appointed. This is not a luxury kind of resort, more eco-friendly, they like to say, so the basics are there and the view was great from our balcony/bed…
The bath was spartan even for this kind of resort, but it had lots of hot water and plush towels. The toilets used recycled water, which I am all for, but it was such an off-puttingly light brown that you always wondered if someone hadn’t left an unflushed dump there prior to your use. It just took some getting used to, that’s all. :)
Soon after we arrived, we headed off to a couple of lagoons nearby to explore… and the natural beauty of the place was just breathtaking.
MM and the Teen trying to burn off a few calories (not that SHE has to) so we could chow at the buffet later that evening…
…you pass by rock formations and stalactites, and the guides explain that one theory is that this lagoon was once inside a huge cavern or cave that collapsed.
Back at the resort early evening for a drink or two…
…and a hearty buffet dinner at their restaurant. I recall that the last time we were at El Nido, the food was not memorable at all, but this time around, despite the remote location, the difficulty finding ingredients, and their commitment to using more sustainable produce, the food was much better. Not “starred” dishes mind you, but a nice selection at the buffet for a maximum guest count of say just 100 folks at every meal.
After dinner, a leisurely stroll on the short dock and beach, and it was off to sleep after a day of activity… Many thanks to all the great folks at the El Nido Resorts, who made the stay an extremely pleasant one. We look forward to our next trip there, maybe to check out Pangulasian… :)