After traversing thousands of miles over the course of the prior 6 weeks, we decided to dedicate our final few days in Southeast Asia to enjoying a little R&R, as a lack of overall movement was quite in order. With our destination residing on a small Filipino plot of oceanside paradise, located at the very tip of the island of Palawan, the tiny one-road-in/one-road-out coastal town of El Nido was the perfect destination to say farewell to our time in the Orient. With a pace of life that makes Williamsburg seem chaotic (seriously, what bagel shop doesn't open until 11AM?!), relaxation is not a choice, it is the only option.
With that being said, while the pleasure of watching Julie read crime novels is quite the enjoyable way to pass the hours, a few activity-filled highlights were sorely needed to comprise the remaining 99% of our time:
Cyclone Avoidance - With July representing one of the "non-preferred" times to visit El Nido due to the nonstop threat of village/vacation-destroying cyclones (at least according to every travel guide/forum/post we came across), we decided to tempt fate, and hope Mother Nature had a more pleasant, tropical-storm-free weather forecast in store for us. Luckily enough (unless you happen to habituate in Taiwan), any potential risk passed by to the North, leaving us with 5 days of perfectly blue skies, clear water, and the occasional, entirely unavoidable, 30-minute afternoon monsoon.
Accommodation - Having spent upwards of 25 wallet-busting dollars per night for our own small slices of luxury throughout Asia, we made the decision to finally treat ourselves to a "what-any-normal-person-would-spend" form of accommodation, opting for our own cottage overlooking the bay of El Nido. At $85/night, the additional splurge of $60 managed to afford us incredible views, amazing sunsets and a friendly population of food-craving ants that would join us typically 7-8 minutes into our breakfast each and every morning. Oh how i will miss those endless crawling lines, streaming from our balcony directly to the jar of why-did-they-give-us-so-much-sugar.
Island Hopping Tours - For those unable to spend 5 consecutive days of little to no activity (cough me cough sorry Julie cough cough), the unavoidable go-to option is found in the form of "Island Hopping Tours." With 4 options (appropriately named A, B, C & D), your day is spent aboard an "outrigger," traveling from hidden beaches to secret coves to any other adjective to describe something as "undiscovered, but not really, as there are hundreds of people around you right now." Despite the crowds, which in all reality, were minuscule in comparison to the rest of our trip, our time on tours A & C (obviously the best letters) involved snorkeling, eating delicious freshly-cooked food, and swimming through countless "secret passages" leading to Leonardo Dicaprio-inspired Beaches (capitalized for emphasis).
Tricycles - As the primary form of transportation around the entire island of Palawan, the hilariously-designed "tricycles" are more of 2001 Space Oddysey-esque time machine, powered by your ever-efficient 110CC motobike. Designed with a bit of "flare" that helps to differentiate one from the other (typically involving the word "Princess" followed by the name of the drivers wife), all of $0.75 is needed to travel to your intended destination (unless of course that destination involves a hill, in which case, your legs are the preferable form of transport).
Sunsets - It's pretty much like God (or who/whatever you choose to believe has control over sunsets) decided to take a nice LCD trip around 6:30PM each and everyday.
Onto the pics: