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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

HOW TO GET TO EL NIDO via Puerto Princesa @NorthernHopeTours

Here's the thing,Puerto Princesa to El Nido takes 6 hours.When I first heard about that a few years ago while in a van from downtown PP to the Underground Riiver which took only two hours but to me felt like eternity,I said,wow! Layo! It immediately reminded me of MNL-Baguio which takes roughly the same duration.And honestly,travelling to Baguio for me now is such a pain.Naiimagine ko palang yung 6 hours sa bus nabo-boring nako.But hey!This is is not just any other place, it's EL NIDO for heaven's sake.Kinaya nga namin yung 9 hours to Banaue and another 3 hours to Sagada ito pa kaya?

So there are no more excuses.And here's what I discovered.

Kasi sa Pilipinas,when we estimate time of travel,we usually go for the lower end of the estimate.Pag sinabing 2 hours,it means 2 hours na ang pinakamababa.We know that it could 99% of the time go beyond two hours.Minsan 3 or 4 hours pa.With El Nido, 6 hours is the generous estimate.If you take the van (which I highly suggest),it will take roughly 5 hours.


the long road to El Nido Palawan

Yes,it took us only five hours on our way there and five hours (uli) on our way back.And what I like about that 5 hours is that it didn't feel like five hours at all!Why? It is a reasonable five hours.What I hate about 6hours going to Baguio is that there are so many annoying road blocks along the way.I feel robbed of precious hours each time.From PP-El Nido walang sayang na sandali.Dere-deretso lang ang byahe.

One more thing,the view is really beautiful.Looking out of the window from your car feels like "therapy".Ito yung moments na ang sarap mag-imagine at gaganahan ka to plan for your next getaway.I even told myself on several occasions  "I wanna get lost here".


Roxas and Taytay

The reason why traffic is smooth is because the area North of PP is remote.The only major towns you will pass through are Roxas and Taytay.Even by saying "major", I didn't even feel those towns are big enough to cause traffic delays. Unless you are really tired or travelling at night,try to appreciate the view.Especially when you get to the area of Taytay,that's when the sight becomes "eye candy".

I would love to explore Taytay one day.I heard it is gaining popularity these days.

The Bumpy Road

Before entering El Nido,you will notice the road getting bumpy.It will be a bit difficult to sleep during this time coz it could really get noisy with all the small rocks hitting the belly of the van.It's nice to note though that the local government is already working on it.As one of the foreigner we were travelling with exclaimed "they are on it".And you can tell coz the road is already bulldozed and many half- sections are already concrete.Even at this point,vans could still go as fast as 50kph.Van drivers to and from El Nido are fierce!But it is safe don't worry,they drive new vans and you can tell that they are in top condition.You wouldn't feel worried at all.
only 1-stopover

Better Road in the Years Ahead

I talked to the van driver on our way back to Puerto Princesa and he said it is much better now compared a few years ago.He said the only concrete section of the entire route five years ago was from Puerto Princesa-Roxas.I immediatelly looked at my google map and I was surprised.PP-Roxas is halfway palang.Meaning,kalahati ng buong route a few years ago is rough road? Yes,he said it usually took them 8hours to El Nido.During rainy season, they had to brave muddy sections."Dadating don sa point na magdadalawang isip ka kung itutuloy mo pa or babalik kanalang sa Puerto Princesa" he said.I guess things are really looking up.

I am for making El Nido more accessible.This is a win-win for everybody.The heck with thosw who say it should stay isolated and difficult to reach so as to maintain the beauty of the place.I believe development and protection of nature can be sustained.I find the "keep-it-isolated-to-keep-it-beautiful" mentality rotten.It is elitist.The reason why until now,the ones who go to El Nido are either those who "have the money" or those who have "the luxury of time".Both are hard commodities to find.Make El Nido more accessible for everyone to enjoy.

So ,  

1.By Van
Take the van from the Airport to El Nido.That's it!

PRICE: 500-700php
depending on what tour company to take.

In most cases,600php PP-ElNido.And 500php El Nido-PP.I don't know but it's usually cheaper going back.

Don't worry about where to take the van.The moment you land at the airport,tour operators will offer you rides.That easy.If I would have known that it is possible to go on a night trip,I wouldn't have bothered staying in Puerto Princesa overnight.Although as I said,if staying in PP overnight means staying at Hotel Centro,why not!

But there.As long as you arrive in a passenger plane in PP,there is a big chance you can get to El Nido via Van transfer no matter what your time of arrival is.Van operators abound at the airport.

RORO Bus to El Nido

2. Bus (Roro Bus)

There is an option to take the Roro Bus from PP-El Nido but I will not talk about it extensively as I haven't tried it.I think the airconditioned bus would be okay but for me the ordinary one is a NO NO.Expect both to mean slower travel (1 or 2 hours longer than the van) and if you go for the ordinary bus,expect a lot of "dust" along the way.And when I say a lot,I mean 1.5-2 hours of rough road and a lot of covering-your-head-sessions.Yes,not just the face but the whole head.Or else,mukha kang espasol pagdating mo ng El Nido.We were joking about it each time we see an ordinary Roro bus pass by.Me kasamang "omaygad", Rupert would remark --- "Di kapa nakarating ng El Nido,gurang kana" hahaha.Haggard Moments.

If you insist of taking the bus,these blog posts might be of help.

hello El Nido!


I would suggest you contact a tour operator beforehand.I highly recommend NORTHERN HOPE Tours.
It is an El Nido-based tour operator manage by Ms.Neriza --0939 902 2216.She can arrange van transfer for you.Standard rate so no need to worry. Well, she can actually arrange everything. It was with her tour company that we took the island hopping tour. She has an Inn as well and she well connected with other establishments in El Nido so you can contact her prior to the trip and she will make things a lot easier for you. ^^


Ate Neriz--
Mobile Numbers
(+63) 939-902-2216 (Smart)
(+63) 927-735-3221 (Globe)
(+63) 942-375-2441 (Sun)
E-mail: northernhopetours@gmail.com
Facebook: facebook.com/NorthernHopeTours

There. Bus,van?Your choice.If El Nido could talk,it would tell you, "I don't care how you get here,just get here if you can". But if you could, get there in style.


More of #ElNidoSummer2013 Series
coming soon!


  1. I cant wait for the main post regarding el nodo. Excited much!

  2. I cant wait for the main post regarding el nodo. Excited much!

  3. parang kakapagod ang byahe ahh! at rocky roads pa
    pero ayun sulit aman ee ganda nung vie sa last pic ahh

  4. grabe! tagal ng biyahe ah.... sakit sa puwet... pero tingin ko naman sulit eh... :)

  5. I recently went to El Nido and we took the RORO Bus. It's better to secure tickets early so you could at least get to choose your seats. Last trip from PP is 10PM. Travel time is 6hrs. Bring blankets and pillwows if you're travelling at night, it could get too cold and uncomfy. The PP-El Nido trip was smooth, for me at least since I'm used to frequent Baguio bus trips.

    We took the RORO Bus again for our trip back to PP and it was a bit frightening. Our bus was going too fast that the luggage on the overhead carrier were all falling down. I'm guessing it was an isolated case naman kasi our driver seems to have left something at El Nido and is in a hurry to go back. Trip this time only took 5 hours.

    Fare's between 500-550. Half-fare for kids.

  6. Nice discovery. But I have to agree, travel time is quite long. Thanks for sharing!

  7. f I would have known that it is possible to go on a night trip,I wouldn't have bothered staying in Puerto Princesa overnight >> hi via van rin po ito? pdeng night? may i know what co. or the time? do they pickup from hotel or should be from airport? ty

  8. wow thank you so much for the info,were planning to go there this coming summer holy week vacation break..by the way do you have idea what hotel offers cheapest accommodation but very comfortable to stay in EL Nido?please i need your info thanks again...

  9. thanks for the info, do you have idea what hotel offers a cheapest accommodation rate but very comfortable to stay in El NIdo?thanks again

  10. Hi Fritzy, we stayed in BLESSED INN. I think good naman yung place for the price. I can say I can recommend it ^^ http://www.pusangkalye.net/2013/04/elnidosummer2013-blessed-inn.html

  11. @DYUBI--- contact Ate Neriza of NORTHERN HOPE TOURS: and they can arrange everything for you from Airport transfer to accom to Island Tour. Sya na bahala. She has all the connections and she can make your visit a lot easy . ---READ: http://www.pusangkalye.net/2013/04/northern-hope-tours-el-nido-island.html

  12. Is theres a bus or van at anytime there going to el nido? I mean from puerto princesa airport.. since our arrival time is around 8pm ;(

  13. Is theres a bus or van at anytime there going to el nido? I mean from puerto princesa airport.. since our arrival time is around 8pm ;(

  14. yes. hanggat alam nilang me parating na flight. yung dati namin 11pm n ata kami nakarating nabigla ako me nag ooffer ng van, if I knew dina sana kami nagbook ng hotel sa PPS at dumeretso na sa El Nido. Yung mga kasabayan namin puti deretso van. Sayang, pera pati oras ^^

  15. We recently went to El Nido and took the Daytripper shuttle van on the way there and another shuttle service called Camarih on the way back. The Daytripper service was significantly better and safer!! With Daytripper the driver was friendly and made our journey smooth & comfortable (with good stops along the way for lunch & toilet) but on the way back with Camarih it was a little scary! The driver was so fast and the places we stopped for breaks were not so nice so wouldn't recommend this one. Although Daytripper is relatively expensive (approx 800 PHP) it's worth it but needs to be booked quite in advance as it's popular now! Hope this helps everyone - happy & safe travels! :-)


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