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Accommodation

Dream Land Beach Cottages – El Nido Palawan

One of the things that I heard from my friends, and this they were unanimous, is that accommodation in El Nido is a price of gold. Now I’m not sure where my friends went because in my case, I found a beach-front lodging, which rate only goes for PHP 500 (10.05) a night. The place is called Dream Land Beach Cottages and it can be found in Corong Corong.

The lodging setup at Dream Land, as hinted by the name is in the form of cottages, which looked like little houses. A room with aircon is PHP 700 (USD 14.07) per night while the fan room is only PHP 500.

I stayed in a room with a double bed, stand fan, and its own bathroom. The bungalo style room is spacious, probably because it is hardly furnished. The walls are made of sawali  and despite not being air-conditioned, it didn’t feel stuffy inside. Most cheap accommodation I’ve tried didn’t come with a towel, but this one did. But let me tell you something about this towel. This towel is big, too big that it could pass for a blanket, too big that I had to twirl it around my head several times after showering, too big that when I covered it around myself it looked like I’m wearing a long dress. The fabric of the towel though is of poor quality, in fact, it is hardly absorbent. But I didn’t bring a towel on this trip and I am only paying 500 pesos for the room so I couldn’t really afford to be picky.

First Solo Travel in El Nido, Palawan

Because I checked-in when it was dark I haven’t a clue of the beauty that awaits me in the morning. So when I opened the door of my room the next day and saw this lovely view of the sea dotted by boats and surrounded by the massive rock formation that Palawan is known for, I couldn’t help but feel ecstatic. A place that is not only cheap but situated by the beach, how the hell did I get this lucky?

Click here to get $24 off your first airbnb booking

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The night before, the caretaker asked me if I wanted to have breakfast for PHP200. I should have said no but she was so nice I haven’t a heart to voice it out. I asked what’s on their menu, she said that breakfast is whatever they decide to cook that day. I wanted to say, “what if you decide to cook a human being, should I just eat it then?” Instead I said, “Okay.”

Booking.com

There is a table and some chairs in the veranda of my room and that’s where I found my breakfast in the morning. I was served with a sachet of instant coffee with a coffee cup and a thermos, and a plate of rice, spam, sunny-side-up egg, and a slice of sweet mango. I looked at my breakfast and thought, “This is friggin’ 200 pesos?! You have got to be kidding me?!” Disappointed? Yes, but it’s not enough to ruin my mood. Looking at the bright side, at least I didn’t leave the place with an empty stomach.

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To be honest though, the price of that breakfast is a tad too much and I highly recommend that if you ever decide to stay at Dream Land, you should just eat your breakfast at some nearby eateries where food is cheaper. If you want good food, consider going to the port area instead where some restaurants and cafes can be found. The port is just 10 minutes away from Dream Land, a tricycle ride going there is only PHP10.

After eating, I wandered around the area to breathe some fresh air and to take some photos. Admittedly, the beach area here is not the best that I’ve seen in Palawan, in fact, the sand is coarse and unrefined and is of light brown color. But the serenity of the place, the clear water, and the fresh air more than made up for it. I can really get used to this.

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Book via Agoda

If you think about it, I got nothing to complain. Well, save for the non-absorbent towel and the expensive but so-so breakfast, but that can be easily overlooked.


Dream Land Beach Cottages
Corong-Corong, Barangay Zone IV,
El Nido, Palawan
Contact no.: (63) 910-3511537

alqueria gift certificate
Events

Coffeehan’s 5th Anniversary Giveaway – Alqueria

[Updated: We have a winner!]

Do you remember my first blog giveaway? No? Well, can’t blame you there, I haven’t been quite generous when it comes to this thing. but maybe we can change that. Let’s start today as I officially open Coffeehan’s second blog giveaway because one, I turned 33 last August 19 and two, it’s Coffeehan’s 5th Anniversary this coming August 31. That’s two celebration y’all so I am holding two giveaways! Are you excited? I hope you are! For the first giveaway, one lucky winner will receive a PHP1,000 worth of gift certificate at Alqueria Tapas, Paellas y Bistecas.

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Itinerary Philippines Travel

First Solo Travel In El Nido Palawan

Sometime last year, I couldn’t get myself to sleep, oppressed with despair over a dispute with a friend. What do you do when things like this happen to you? Some of you might answer, listen to music, watch or read something funny, hang out with friends, or the most popular choice of them all, eat. In normal days, I would do the same things, but it wasn’t a normal day because Air Asia was having a cent sale! In a bid to find solace, I booked a flight to Puerto Princesa. I didn’t even care about the fact that I would be traveling alone and that it’d be my first time to do so. The impulsive decision turned out to be one of the best that I have ever done in my life. In June this year, I took myself in a 5-day solo trip to Palawan.

The Preparation

In 2013 I went with some of my colleagues in Coron, Palawan so I made the decision to go to Puerto Princesa and El Nido this time. Tips and recommendations from friends came aplenty after I announced my plan to take this trip. Some of the suggestions, I followed, such as hiring Lexxus for my Puerto Princesa to El Nido transfer, choosing Tour A for the island-hopping adventure in El Nido, and joining the firefly watching tour in Puerto Princesa. The rest of the details I discovered on my own through constant Googling.

One of the things that I had to decide on is whether I’d do this backpacker style or do it the Martha Stewart style. Well, it turned out to be a little bit of both. There are some things I already arranged before like my accommodation in Sibaltan and Puerto Princesa, while there are also some things I did spontaneously like the sitting zipline. Because I tried both approaches and they actually worked, I recommend you do the same thing. At least there are some things you no longer need to worry about without taking away the opportunity to be a little adventurous.

el nido palawan air asiazest

Because I chanced upon a seat sale on Air AsiaZest, I booked a round-trip flight for only PHP 1,500 (USD 30.15). I felt so proud of myself for scoring such a cheap flight that I immediately posted the flight details on my Facebook. I didn’t know I made a mistake on my booking until a friend called my attention to it. Unfortunately, I mistakenly transposed the flight details that instead of Manila to Puerto Princesa, I booked Puerto Princesa to Manila. This piece of inattentiveness ballooned my bill to PHP 3,898.24 (USD 77.99) because I had to pay extra for the re-booking. So tip no. 1, always double check the information before you confirm, more so if you are booking via your mobile phone.

Getting There

My first destination is El Nido and there are two options to reach the place; the first and the fastest way is through a direct flight that would cost you an arm and a leg, and a soul, the second and cheaper but time-consuming way is by flying to Puerto Princesa followed by a 6-hour land travel via bus or a van. I cannot afford to sell my soul so I took the second option.

El Nido Tour A Islands: the beauty, worth the return

On June 10, 2015, I flew through Air AsiaZest and touched down Puerto Princesa a few minutes ahead of schedule. I saw my name on the sign held by a woman the moment I stepped out of the airport. She is from Lexxus, the agency that took care of my land transfer from Puerto Princes to El Nido and vice versa. After the introductions, she told me that we still have to wait for the other passengers and that our travel is set at 1PM. That means I had two hours to burn, which I spent for eating in a nearby eatery and checking out a souvenir shop.

puerto princesa airport

There are many agencies that offer land transportation services from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. Prices vary, some offer it as low as PHP 600 (USD 12.00) while some can go as high as PHP 1,000 (USD 20.01). From what I’ve researched, the most comfortable and recommended land transfer service is Day Tripper. Unfortunately, Day Tripper’s schedules are fixed and I didn’t find one that can accommodate me, hence, I went for Lexxus. Lexxus has daily trips to Puerto Princesa, Sabang, and El Nido for PHP 700 (USD 14.00). They also have special trip for Air Asia passengers who take the morning flights. For the schedule of their trips, refer to the photo below.

lexxus fare

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I was traveling alone that they assigned me a jump seat, or that one lonely seat by the door. It was downright uncomfortable made worse by the fact that we traveled for 6 hours. The travel practically ate up the whole day so tip no. 2, if you’re going to El Nido book an evening flight. That way, you don’t waste the day for the transfer alone and you can just sleep in that 6-hour road trip.

Click here to get $24 off your first airbnb booking

The Stopovers

We had three stopovers along the way, first one is at the View Deck. I saw a sign by the restroom that says something like, “unlimited selfie for only 5 pesos ($0.10).” I didn’t understand the logic behind it until I entered the restroom and found that it has a glass wall. Imagine yourself doing your thing while looking out to the majestic view of the sea. I was impressed in spite of myself.

view deck roxas palawan

Our second stopover is at Bottega Resto and Bar in the town of Roxas. At first glance, it didn’t seem like there is anything special about the place until I took the side door that led to the al fresco area. Further back, you can see this bridge on a stilt that leads to a cottage on top of the water. None of my fellow passengers dared to explore but me, I went all the way to the cottage.

Because I’m alone I have to take my own pictures, good thing I’m a selfie expert hehe… But if you too want to go on a solo trip, bring a monopod a.k.a selfie stick. I cannot emphasize enough how much it helped me take better selfies. At least some parts of my body, including the background were included in the picture, as opposed to taking selfies sans the monopod, which most of the time, limits the frame to just your face.

bottega

Our last stopover is somewhere in El Nido in a place that sells souvenir items. By this time, I’ve already been talking with some of my fellow passengers like this very nice couple, Susan and Bobby Castillo.

el nido palawan

Corong Corong

My original plan was to continue my way to Sibaltan upon reaching Corong Corong because I had a reservation at Tapik Beach Park. My plan inevitably changed because we reached Corong Corong at around 7:00 p.m. By this time, the service van of Tapik took off already. The driver and my fellow passengers were all telling me to just spend the night over in Corong Corong, fearing that something may happen to me along the way.

Booking.com

I immediately assessed my situation; I have to be at El Nido Port as early as 9:00 a.m. the next day because I booked an island-hopping activity. Sibaltan they say is an hour and a half away from Corong Corong and the travel to and fro is tricky. I realized it’d be wiser to just stay in Corong Corong, do the island hopping tour, and just go to Sibaltan on June 12.

Accommodation

I asked the driver to take me to a resort or an inn, the cheapest he could find. That’s how I discovered Dream Land Cottages, a beachfront inn that offers lodging as low as PHP500 per night. Kindly click the link below for the review of this resort.

Dream Land Beach Cottages – A Cheap Beachfront Accommodation in El Nido Palawan

dreamland cottages

Island Hopping

El Nido is famous for its immaculate beaches and beautiful underwater realm and seeing them for myself is of course, the highlight of this travel. The prices of tours in El Nido are uniform regardless which travel agency you book your tour with. I booked mine with Sea Horse Travel and Tour with the help of a friendly driver from Lexxus. In both Puerto Princesa and El Nido, most drivers you will encounter would ask you these two things, “How long is your stay?” and “Did you book a tour?” These drivers are either offering tour packages themselves or know someone who does. Unlike in Boracay where people are more forward to offer their tour services, I find the locals in El Nido less aggressive and inject their offers during idle conversation instead of doing a street-vendor like marketing.

payong payong el nido

I can only spend one day in Corong Corong for the tours because of my plan to go to Sibaltan. I learned from blogs, friends, and even the locals that the best tours to get are Tour A and C; I picked the former.

What to expect on Tour A in El Nido, Palawan

Sibaltan

The reason I cannot stay long in Corong Corong to do the other tours is my slated rendezvous with Sibaltan. It is approximately an hour and a half away from Corong Corong. Getting there is a bit complex because only one bus makes the travel and it makes the round only twice a day. My reason for going there is this secluded resort that is widely favored by foreign backpackers or honeymooners. It’s called Tapik Beach Park. My experience deserves a separate story so please watch out for my review. Thankfully, Tapik Beach Park has a service van to pick up their guests from Corong Corong Terminal. The van service works a schedule though so I hurried my way to the terminal after I checked-out from Dream Land Cottages.

The road to Sibaltan is a mix of rugged and paved surface. This is actually true to the rest of the highway of El Nido with roads being constructed in many parts. The construction is not done in a way that is continuous like somebody looked at this long strip of land then randomly selected which part will be cemented. I noticed though that the rough segments are more pronounced in the side of Sibaltan.

sibaltan

At around 6:00 p.m., just before the light leaves the sky, I reached the place that made this solo travel all the more memorable, Tapik Beach Park Guesthouse.

tapik beach park

Tapik Beach Park Guesthouse

There’s an old advice that one should never make decisions at the height of emotion because most of the time, they lead to regrets and dreadful consequences. But regret has opportunely, the least of all things that I felt for this decision. In June this year, at age 32, I was able to travel in my lonesome. And if you have the time, I’d like to share with you the things that happened in my five-day solo adventure in Palawan. This post is just the beginning.


Itinerary

You may view or download my itinerary for Puerto Princesa and El Nido, Palawan trip by clicking the image below ↓ .

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Food

A Blast Of Spanish Cuisine at Alqueria

I still remember this interview that former MTV VJ, G Toengi had with Latin sensation, Ricky Martin. When G finished her spiel, which was spoken in Filipino, Ricky commented that the language is laced by some Spanish words. Well Ricky Martin, that’s just tip of the iceberg. The Spanish culture is so deeply ingrained in the Philippine culture, traces of it are still highly evident to this date. It’s in the names of the people – Julio, Cruz, Ricardo; name of places – Estrella, Geronimo, Guadalupe; language – para, importante, muebles; and also in the food – afritada, arroz caldo, menudo. Even so, I have yet to meet someone to answer Spanish when asked for his favorite cuisine. In fact, go ahead and try asking some people, I bet your A you’d get Italian, Thai, Japanese or Chinese. Now take these people to Alqueria Tapas, Paellas Y Bistecas and then ask them the same question again.

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Travel Bug

Travel Bug Series 2 – Michelle Melo

Michelle Melo, more known to her friends as Michy is the first food blogger that I’ve met and become friends with. And this August, she is the star of our Travel Bug Series. Read on to know more about this food blogger and her travel adventures.

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smdc wind tagaytay
Accommodation

Room With View Of Taal Volcano In Tagaytay

Have you ever found an accommodation where you felt so comfortable you never want to leave? This place is exactly it for me. I found this room through Airbnb while I was looking for Tagaytay accommodation. Not only is the room clean and charming it also offers the view of Taal Volcano.

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Philippines Travel

7 Best Things I Found In Tagaytay

Out of all the trips I’ve arranged, this has been the most stressful. I will remember it most for the trip with the most number of people who bailed. It’s not just two people, not even three, but seven goddang people! Thankfully, one person seemed to have taken pity on me and determined to push through with the trip. Let’s all give him (Cai of Travelosyo) a round of applause, clap clap clap. Teehee!

It’s as if the universe was trying to make amends, so in exchange for those 7 people are these 7 best things that made this Tagaytay trip worth taking.

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villa lourdes resort boracay
Accommodation

Cheap Accommodation In Boracay Station 2

I do have that fantasy; waking to the sound of waves, sipping from a glass of wine — but I don’t like wine so let’s make that a glass of mojito —  spending the lazy afternoon gazing out to the sea, feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin, all to the confines of a beautiful room that faces the sea. But then who doesn’t want this? When we go on a vacation, doing it in comfort is of course very much desired. In Boracay, there are many accommodation that can offer these things and more. With beauty and luxury though come a hefty price tag; high-end beach front hotels carry a daily outlay of 3 to 4 thousand, and that’s the lowest. But what good is a posh accommodation if you will be spending more time outdoors.
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