Let’s Start with…
How to Survive an El Nido Camping Trip
For obvious reasons, this differs from any normal camping trip up in the mountains or hills for the basic reason that you are basically staying at different islands every night, without ever going back to town to replenish supplies. You also don’t have a chance in hell of finding fresh water in any of these places.
I will be the first to admit that I am no camping expert but I have learned some things from this wondrous trip that you may find useful if you decide to go El Nido Camping one of these days
Bring Your Own Vices
Due to the events that transpired following the ingestion of a $10 bottle of Shiraz in record time, it was unanimously decided that no alcohol would be brought into the trip. With that, the only bad stuff we brought with us were ciggies and a deck of cards.
Feel free to chuck your own bottles of alcohol into the boat.
[For some, a good book counts as their only vice]
Say Goodbye to Showers
We were out there in the islands for 3 days and it was for three days that my armpits only form of cleansing was some sand and salt water at the end of a grand day of island hopping.
Bring Your Own Juice
And by juice, I mean, battery juice. Our boat had a little place where you could charge a cellphone here and there but I decided to bring my own portable battery for cellphones. Cameras and cellphones are the main culprits that make you want to head back to civilization to have a taste of charging power. We had an e-reader with us, which thankfully is good for a whole month on a single charge. So basically, cameras and phones- or just go without them. Kidding. I know nobody who reads this can.
All That Effing Sand
It’s one thing to camp out in dirt, and another thing to camp out NEAR a beach but to actually pitch your tent ON THE SAND meant that there would be sand everywhere – no matter how much you do pre-tent entrance foot washes. I really wasn’t that much bothered by it – at first – but I can imagine some people would be. If you’re like me, you wouldn’t mind have a crunchy night’s sleep.
And once you’ve gotten the tasking parts of the camping trip – here are the glorious silver linings that make the entire trip just so damn worth it…
THE BEST THINGS ABOUT CAMPING IN EL NIDO
Five Star Service
Here I thought we would simply be driven from island to another, be given a bare tent and be fed the most basic of dishes, what I didn’t expect was this whole 5-star service. We’re talking the WHOLE EFFING NINE YARDS.
I still don’t call it glamping (glamour camping) as most items are still basic and simple but what they provided was just way beyond from what I was expecting that I was caught off guard.
Once we peeked through the zipper opening of the tent, my mouth went to the floor, or rather, sand. There were our pillows, on top of fluffy sheets with towels rolled up and place on top. Turndown service, anyone? Plus, underneath all that, mattresses line the entire bottom of the tent. Mattresses! On the beach!
We had tiki torches. Here we were, 2 people with 3 headlamps packed between the two of us and as soon as night hit on our first night, I couldn’t help but stare at the glow of 5 tiki torches that basically lit up the party well enough for everybody to play cards.
We could’ve really roughed it but with a very long table equipped with 4 plastic chairs, how can you NOT take advantage of those amenities and sit like you would if you were back in town?
We were spoiled, pampered and taken cared of – I’m pretty sure those are all synonyms of each other but with memories of plush mattresses on the sand, candle-and-tiki-torch-lit dinners by the water, I am not one to think of vocabulary right now.
Amazing Meals Each and Every Time
Food seems to taste better when you’re on a boat, by the beach or eating by candle light/sunset/sunrise or in a very special setting. And for us, breakfast, lunch and dinner were served in an least one of those settings every time.
We had lunch right in front of the Cathedral Cave, which is a massive and commanding presence in itself. We ate as the waves splashed around the boat and as the rain came and went around us.
We had Hidden Beach all to ourselves and we had the amazing experience of eating in the smack dab middle of it with our food floating along in a kayak.
Breakfast was done just after you exhaust your daily quota of sighs staring at the wonderful sunrise.
And dinners? They were done either by the light of tiki torches or by the last light before night blanketed over Bacuit Bay
It was always the same menu of fish, seafood, rice that was capped off with some awesome fruit. Early on, we had provisions for chicken and pork as well. But each meal just tasted wonderful every time. But for me, the highlight was the fruit.
There is nothing like coming up from an hour of snorkeling and having the sweetest of pineapples, mangoes, bananas and watermelon with the slightest tinge of salt water in your mouth. I know, you can taste it, can’t you?
I brought my own but the boat crew of our trip were just amazing. They didn’t tire of talking and chatting to us about their daily lives, life in Palawan and local gossip from here and there. I was very happy that Miguel and Jason were there to accompany me and Jared on this trip because we probably would’ve drowned each if we didn’t have anybody else to talk to at the time.
Exploring Islands at Night
These islands, you only get to enjoy during the day, in the company of every other tourist staying in El Nido at the time. The magical of camping out is that you literally have the whole island to yourself. In fact, by the end of the 2nd day, we found ourselves on the prickly grass of Pinagbuyutan Island doing absolutely nothing more than reading a book, staring out into space and doing some rock balancing.
Since you’re not burdened by the restrictions of a day trip, you can snorkel your heart out. We did. Errr, I did a normal amount, Mr. Enthusiastic here overdid it. I found myself looking to choreograph a dance or cheer routine in the time we spent just waiting for him to come around the cliff and head towards back the boat.
Beach Hair Waves
What is a Super Tourist Eileen post without something completely narcissistic?
Despite the fact that my hair didn’t see the light of fresh water in the 3 days we were out, I was pretty happy with the look my hair had. All vain girls know that the secret to those sexy beach waves was salt water and NOT combing it all.
No rinsing, no shampooing and no problem. Hair was sexylicious that I didn’t care what my armpits smelled like, my hair looked sexy – which was the only thing detectable in social media anyway.