25 Apr2012

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… :)



  1. bakerwannabe says:

    Serene and breathtaking views. The place to rest and rejuvenate one’s tired mind and body.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 4:58 am


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  3. bluegreen says:

    *sigh* so beautiful . . .

    Apr 25, 2012 | 4:59 am

  4. Jade186 says:

    Many thanks for sharing, MM :-) We’ll be going to El Nido next month!

    Apr 25, 2012 | 5:16 am

  5. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    “We have taken these small planes many times before, and you get used to them, but for the faint of heart, be forewarned…” You also get on the weighing scale, together with your luggage.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 6:12 am

  6. bearhug0127 says:

    MM, thanks for the tour. As usual, your photos are breathtaking and I can only dream that maybe in the near future I can bring my family there. Beautiful. Just simply beautiful.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 6:26 am

  7. Mimi says:

    So beautiful! I remember those airplanes in the 90s going to Boracay. Ours had clotheline wires holding the door! The pilot was even so casual chewing on a sandwich while we were literally a few meters just above the rides at Enchanted Kingdom. It is an experience I will never forget and do not want to repeat! I am not a good traveller, so you can imagine where my breakfast went.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 7:24 am

  8. marilen says:

    I will trade the fear of riding this biplane for the joy of seeing the landscape at birdseye view level. It must be so beautiful. Thanks, MM. We always enjoy ”going’ with you and your family on vacation. I have not forgotten your Morocco vacation!!

    Apr 25, 2012 | 7:33 am

  9. Betchay says:

    For the faint of heart on small planes and rough seas like me, I was surprised that El Nido can also be reached by land from Puerto Princesa! My sister and her family(6px) will be going there this weekend. They hired a private van for P15thousand to take them there roundtrip…not bad eh? ….half the price of a plane ride. An alternative is a public bus P600/px one way.She was told the trip takes 5-6 hours.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 7:54 am

  10. Marketman says:

    Betchay, yes, it’s a long winding, often rough road trip I am told… But actually, I would like to take the trip, as it will pass by parts of Palawan worth seeing at least once…

    Apr 25, 2012 | 8:24 am

  11. Mari of NY says:

    Haaaayyyy….memories flashing back here of our stay in Miniloc last February. It was as you said before, a bit pricey but well worth it. Now, I have good memories of our stay there and do want to go back again. I, too together with my husband thank the whole staff of El Nido Resorts for making our stay a very pleasant and memorable one.

    Thanks MM for posting your vacation pics…it is what I do remember of our stay.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 9:36 am

  12. blaise says:

    Ang ganda! I want to go there…

    Apr 25, 2012 | 10:00 am

  13. becky says:

    @Betchay, we’ve taken the land route from Puerto Princesa to El Nido on a private van, also P600 per person for a one-way trip. Just get ready because more than half of the journey will be on rough road and winding, mountainside roads. But you’ll be treated to views of the forest and some wildlife along the way :)

    It’s all so worth it when you finally get see the peaks of the islands peaking through the mountains. that’s when you’ll know you’re near

    Apr 25, 2012 | 10:06 am

  14. Cheryl says:

    o my God! this place captivates my heart! how did you book for the hotel and flight MM? do you have contact numbers? sori, ofw walang alam. hehehe thanks to you, nag stroll na ako sa pinas. heheheh

    Apr 25, 2012 | 1:11 pm

  15. Kay says:

    Shouldnt it be ‘Hangar’ instead of ‘Hanger”?

    Anyways, this place looks fantastic..and expensive..One of these days…

    Apr 25, 2012 | 1:22 pm

  16. Marketman says:

    Kay, yes, you are correct, hangar it is, edited… thanks! Cheryl, just go to the link or google el nido resorts.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 1:35 pm

  17. Mila says:

    We were there in 2010 and stayed at Lagen right above the water, in one of the water cottages. Our 8 year old daughter loved it so much as she was able to go kayaking and feed the fishes so many times. Want to go back and try Miniloc next time. MM and your daughter look good, not an ounce of fat in your bodies.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 1:36 pm

  18. melody says:

    you’d have to drag (or drug) me to get me to board a plane like this, haha. i’ve been to el nido a couple of times and all by land. the roads are better now than what they used to be. how i would love to go back again.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 2:44 pm

  19. jheng says:

    hi MM! it’s so nice to see that you and the Teen has some nice quality father – daughter bonding. And the place — wow! so pure.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 3:10 pm

  20. jheng says:

    I just couldn’t resist but with you as her father (with great cooking skills and more), how could she be so slim? I mean, every time i look at your blog pictures I feel I am actually gaining weight. tingin pa lang un ah. Both of you look so good in your picture. :))

    Apr 25, 2012 | 3:14 pm

  21. Marketman says:

    Jheng, until I was 30+, I could eat ANYTHING in ANY AMOUNT and I wouldn’t gain weight… a fast metabolism, probably. But in my late thirties, that changed dramatically, and now I can gain 15 pounds in a few months if I eat with abandon. :) The Teen has good genes perhaps? Don’t let photos deceive, I am honestly fatter in person than it seems in carefully selected snapshots… :)

    Apr 25, 2012 | 3:30 pm

  22. PITS, MANILA says:

    The place is … magical, MM. And I have yet to see it.

    Apr 25, 2012 | 7:45 pm

  23. denise says:

    Artisan Chocolatier…that was done too on the return flight from Basco but not on the flight from Manila

    MM…I’ve checked their website and just wow! :)

    Apr 25, 2012 | 8:45 pm

  24. natie says:

    Great angle, MM..I can see lean muscles and back-bone showing!..the water is so blue it looks artificially colored! Spectacular!

    Apr 25, 2012 | 10:13 pm

  25. Katrina says:

    I have only been to Palawan once, and only to Puerto Princesa, so it was NOTHING like this. (To make it worse, the weather was bad on the one day we went island hopping.) Especially since I’m a diver, I long to return and stay at a *beachfront* resort next time. Miniloc, despite your saying it is spartan and not luxurious, is still above my budget for now. But I hope to get there one day. (Amanpulo and Pangalusian are beyond my even hoping for.) THANK YOU for such a detailed, descriptive post! It inspires me to keep dreaming. :-)

    Apr 25, 2012 | 11:27 pm

  26. Marketman says:

    natie, hahaha, you could have also said, “back fat”… :)

    Apr 26, 2012 | 6:31 am

  27. kikas_head says:

    We have stayed there (at Lagen) and it is worth every penny. Seriously. Save up as long as you need to. It is that good. The staff is amazing and some of the best snorkeling is in front of Miniloc. Also, it is worth noting that if you call them, they will let you know the promos. When we went we got about 20% off the printed rate.

    Apr 26, 2012 | 8:04 am

  28. Pinksalmonlady says:

    All the photos taken are very relaxing to the eyes. I wish I can have the chance to visit EL NIDO but not sure about the small plane. :)

    Apr 26, 2012 | 8:08 am

  29. Clarissa says:

    Marketman, you should have a like button on your blog. :) I can imagine how many people will be clicking on it!

    This post is so inviting that I ended up texting my friends “Let’s go to El Nido” midway through reading this. But I’m assuming that this is as expensive as it looks considering the difficulty to get there. :)

    Apr 26, 2012 | 2:24 pm

  30. sunflowii says:

    this is getting really funny. last year, your family and mine stayed at the same hotel in vancouver but missed each other by a day. this time, we stayed in the SAME ROOM but missed each other by 2 years. hahaha
    MM, i found the extra-headroom jeepneys so amusing. (do you have pictures of those?) it’s clearly modified for tall foreigners who keep bumping their heads on the jeep’s ceiling. but really, i think the manila jeepneys should be taller too. i used to take them and when sitting, i had to slouch just so i don’t hit the ceiling. so non-ergonomic but i guess because it’s for the poorer folks, nothing’s done to improve it as the owners probably can’t afford it either.

    Apr 26, 2012 | 10:02 pm

  31. giancarlo says:

    Thanks for the pics. Would love to experience Miniloc.

    Apr 29, 2012 | 11:15 pm

  32. TeresaT says:

    Thank you for sharing these amazing photos! Love them all! The accommodation, the place, and the view… all simply breathtaking! Definitely a must-see destination in my list.

    P.S. That’s a fab pix of you and the Teen :-)

    May 4, 2012 | 4:05 am

  33. Lynne-Enroute.com says:

    Oh man. I remember out Miniloc Island Trip some time back in 2005.

    Yes that plane ride was harsh! It can get so hot and stuffy, that even without any turbulence you can just heave out your breakfast.

    As for the resort itself, I have to agree it is breathtaking, with the limestone cliffs and all. Price-wise, for some strange reason, it was not something we saw as of good value unless you are in a certain income bracket.

    One place we did love staying in Palawan was El Rio Y Mar Resort (same people that run Club Paradise) just about an hour’s trip from the Coron airport. It’s not as luxurious looking, but it does have a certain charm (at half the cost, too).

    And their jetty port that acts as the bar shakes up some mean cocktails. In the event you feel you need to shake off that alcohol, just jump into the water and swim with the tropical fishes that have made the pillars of the jetty port their home :)

    – Ray

    Jan 15, 2013 | 10:56 am

  34. BlueAngel says:

    The place is totally breathtaking not to mention the way how the place was articulately decbribed by MM. This only shows how magnificent our nature is thus, needs to be preserved.
    Thank you MM for sharing your El Nido trip. This surely inspires all your followers like me to be more appreciative of nature and to be aware how an individual like me can help in my own little way to preserve this kind of beauty. Hopefully, I can visit El Nido too with my kid who desperately want to taste the El Nido soup.

    Mar 14, 2013 | 2:53 pm

  35. Kristin says:

    Hi MM! I hope you enjoyed your kayak ride with the teen. :) Did you ever get to kayak in the small lagoons where you have to lie flat on your back just to get in and out? That’s what I remembered doing when I visited El Nido last 2009. I stayed at Lagen Island. It was really a breathtaking experience to see the wonders of El Nido.

    I can’t wait for my next trip on April and to stay at Pangalusian this time :)

    Looking forward to your next post. More power!

    Apr 3, 2013 | 8:30 pm


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