Have you ever considered yourself traveling alone?
That was one of the questions I kept asking myself before I learned to finally pursue it. I was always afraid of being alone and I didn’t really like the thought of having no company at all. But our preferences change as we mature and learn more about life. I have never been more excited, inspired, and challenged of the thought of traveling alone and El Nido, Palawan was a pretty great start for my first ever solo trip.
A little backstory, this trip wasn’t really planned to be spent alone. There were originally four of us, including my ex-lover but the other two declined to go on with the trip but I decided not to and pursued it even if it meant traveling alone. My ex did the same. The thing is, I went to El Nido and he just went to Puerto Princesa so technically, we just met during our flights since our tickets were booked together.
My travel dates were from August 11 – August 14 only. Yes, what a short time to travel El Nido. Some of my friends said that it will not be enough and I must expect that there would be delays during my trip and I might miss out the tour/s that I’ll be booking in El Nido and everything that I’ve planned will be ruined. Despite all those things that were likely to happen, I still went on because I really wanted and needed to go to El Nido. I challenged myself and anticipated for the best and hopefully not regret anything at all. Well, I guess I made the right choice.
Air Asia had a Piso-fare promo when we booked our tickets but unfortunately, there were no more flights from Cebu directly to Palawan so we needed to book connecting flights from Cebu to Manila to Palawan and vice versa. Our estimated time of arrival in Palawan was around 7-8PM assuming no delays. Land Transportation
Upon arrival at the PPS airport, you will encounter a lot of tricycle drivers outside offering you a tricycle ride from there to San Jose terminal where you can ride a bus or a van to your destination. In my case, I got really lucky because there weren’t major delays during my flight and I arrived in Palawan just around 8PM. I was even nauseating and had a terrible headache since my flight from Cebu, however, I managed to make it through until I arrive in El Nido.
– Tricycle from PPS Airport > San Jose Terminal – Php 50.00 – Php 60.00 –Bus from San Jose Terminal > El Nido – Php 450.00 –Tricycle from El Nido Terminal > Nido Bay Inn (the place that I stayed in) – Php 50.00
Buses from San Jose Terminal operate until 10PM while the vans are only up until 6-7PM. Most, if not all, hotels in El Nido offer van transfer services from the airport to El Nido and it costs at around Php 500.00 – Php 600.00 on one-way trip. In my case, I didn’t avail a van transfer since there will be no more vans to accommodate me because of my 6PM arrival time. You will also not get bored during your tricycle trip because I noticed, tricycle drivers were really accommodating and they really talk to their passengers to entertain them.
Seven Commandos Beach
Inside Big Lagoon
Nido Bay Inn
If you are planning on travelling solo, I’m sure you’ll get overwhelmed of all the preparations that you are going to make. One of the biggest questions will be, “Where will I stay?”. There are loooots of places that you can actually stay in El Nido, from the cheapest lodges and inns to the grandest hotels and resorts. I researched and researched until I decided to stay at a place where I can overlook the ocean so I looked for a beachfront hotel/inn. I found out about Nido Bay Inn and looked up its reviews and I got interested because it’s a budget inn. I even got lucky (again!) because they offered me their only available seaview room for 1-2 persons.
– The room costs Php 1,500.00 per night, so I paid Php 3000.00 in total for two nights. which already includes breakfast. The room was cozy, with air conditioning unit, small tv, and a hot shower.
Tips in finding your hotel accommodation:
– Decide first where you want to be situated at. In my case, I wanted to overlook the ocean, hence, I looked for a beachfront hotel/inn. There are lots of beachfront hotels in El Nido and there are even mountain-side hotels as well. There are also a few other hotels at the back of the beachfront ones which are only a few steps to the seashore.
– Make a list of all the possible hotels that you might be staying. Look for each of their reviews (in TripAdvisor, Agoda, etc.) Compare and contrast these hotels.
– Look for a blog post or article about these hotels to know other people’s personal experiences.
– If these hotels have contact numbers, text or call them for faster transaction. Emailing them will take time. To make sure that they will get and attend to your inquiries, email them as well and use a keyword such as “Urgent” in your email subject.
You can refer to the links below for more accommodation choices:
You never go to El Nido without available at least one of their tour packages. Since I only stayed in El Nido for two days, I only availed one tour because I might run out of time if I force to have another tour the next day. The local government of El Nido has already standardized the tour operations in the town which means that all tour choices with their respective destinations are already given with a fixed prize, whatever resort or travel agency you are going to avail them. Tour A destinations include:
– Seven Commandos Beach
– Simizu or Shimizu Island
– Big Lagoon
– Small Lagoon
– Secret Lagoon
– Tour A costs Php 1,200.00 per head plus Php 200.00 environmental fee.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go the Secret Lagoon because of the big waves. Another backstory here, I could literally say that I was the luckiest solo traveler when I got to El Nido because during the last five days before I arrived there, all the tours were canceled and every other tourist and traveler were stranded. Some of them didn’t even get the chance to have their tours because they already needed to fly back home. The day I got in El Nido was the day that all tours were resumed. Say what?! I even got the feeling of having my tour getting canceled that day but it was pursued instead, despite a still-not-so-fine weather. I was totally relieved. Imagine traveling alone for two days in El Nido only to find out that the only thing you are looking forward to will be canceled? Thank goodness, the odds were in my favor, and definitely the universe was with me.
Entrance to Baker’s Hill
I met fellow Bisayas as well during the tour and they’re from Davao. I would really like to thank them, Kuya Wilson and his daughter Mel, for the fun conversations and also for intentionally giving me a mini-itinerary for my another Palawan trip in Coron, soon! They were really friendly and supportive of my endeavors. Kuya Wilson even shared to me his past travel experiences in Palawan three years ago when it’s still not a well-known tourist destination, and also a few of his knowledge about its history. Guess I wasn’t really alone all along. Haha!
– Fare from San Jose Terminal > Baker’s Hill > PPS Airport – Php 400.00 – Php 500.00
I wasn’t really ready to leave El Nido, not that soon. I guess I needed to believe that even the sun sets in paradise. Haha. It was already time to fly back and for all the lucky experiences that I had during my El Nido trip, I thought it will all end to a very bad godsend luck when I arrived at the PPS airport at around 6PM. I even rushed in buying pasalubong from Baker’s Hill because I needed to catch my 7:45PM flight. “The flight is postponed until tomorrow morning, 6AM, due to aircraft situation and bad weather”, said an Air Asia staff. So I thought this is it, this is my bad luck. What would I do? Where would I sleep? Good thing I still haven’t booked a room in Manila. And then they told us, “But we will shoulder your accommodation for tonight with dinner.” Okay, that’s great. That’s it. I’m the luckiest traveler alive! Haha. Air Asia brought us (all the postponed flight passengers) by group in a van to the hotel. In awe, I was shocked that we were staying at Sunlight Guest Hotel in a Deluxe Room. It was too big for me but I didn’t complain because I liked it the moment I stepped into the room. The room was all mine. The bathtub was all mine! Haha. My money that was supposed to be for my hotel accommodation in Manila was left for me to save because everything was already shouldered by Air Asia. I had small plans in Manila that time. I wanted to go Bonifacio Global City in Taguig because I wanted to visit their incredible artsy murals and take Instagram-worthy photos but it was all canceled, which was fine and I was already over it. There’s always a next time, anyway. Having our flight postponed that night wasn’t a bad luck after all but a blessing in disguise.
All in all, you are likely to prepare an approximately Php 10,000 to Php 15,000 budget excluding the airfare. Budget includes the figures I posted above plus the pasalubong and miscellaneous expenses.
– Travel time from Puerto Princesa to El Nido – Via Van is around 4-5 hours – Via Bus is around 5-6 hours – There will be pit stops (2) during the travel so you don’t need to worry if nature is calling you or if you are hungry. These pit stops have restrooms and stores that sell food. – You might also need to bring the following: – Aqua socks to protect your feet from rocks or sharp coral reefs (http://goo.gl/7QdRVW) – Waterproof bagbecause the whole tour will involve a lot of water splashes that might not like your gadgets to get in contact with. There are also lots of stores in El Nido that sells waterproof bags if you forget to bring one. (http://goo.gl/41tcvo)
Congratulations for making it down here! Make sure to watch my travel diary in El Nido above and don’t forget to like it and/or subscribe to my YouTube channel! In the video, you’ll see the room that I stayed in and the beachfront as well. Watch in HD for a better experience. Thank you so much for reading and I hope this post inspired you to travel alone or helped you in your upcoming solo trip! For more inquiries, you can contact me through my email or through my social media accounts.
I really encourage everyone to go beyond your comfort zone by traveling alone at least once in your life. Have a soul searching and take time to contemplate life on your own. I can’t even wait to travel alone again! It was genuinely a wonderful experience and you are going to feel great right after. Well, I kind of also felt sepanx (separation anxiety). Haha! I think everyone who left El Nido did.
I am hoping for your safe and wonderful (and lucky?) solo trip, just like mine. If you already experienced traveling alone, you can definitely share it by commenting down below! 😊