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El Nido COMBINATION TOUR A and C via #NorthernHopeTours

Most people prefer not looking at photos of their travel destination so as not to spoil the fun.That can't be helped in my case since I do all the planning in our trips.Fortunately,in most places we visited,there's always the element of surprise.No matter how researched you are,something unexpected always comes up.That's the beauty of life.

With El Nido though, no matter how many good photos you have seen,the actual experience will always go beyond how good you think it is.It will literally blow your mind.This place is definitely my favorite to date!

There are four (4) main tours in El Nido ----A, B, C and D.Arranging for your island hopping is as easy as buying fast food.All you need to do is to drop by one of the travel/tour companies kiosk somewhere in town.Don't worry where to look coz they are scattered everywhere too.

In our case, we had to pick only one (1) tour since we didn't have the luxury of time.Half of our first day was spent on the transfer from PP to El Nido and the sidetrip to Nacpan-Calintang Twin Beach while the third day meant we have to return to PP to catch our flight back to Manila.That leaves us with Day 2 to go island hopping.

Among the four (4) tours, many said Tours A and C are the best. Good thing many tour agencies now offer COMBINATION TOUR A and C.That means you can get a sample of the best of Tour A and the best of Tour C . Hallelujah!
Island Hopping Rates in El Nido
El Nido Combination Tour A and C


As I said, it's as easy as 1,2,3 in arranging a tour.But if you are sigurista like me, better contact a tour company even before going to El Nido.This is way better coz your contact in El Nido can make life a breeze.They can arrange for everything from van transfer to your hotel accommodation.And don't worry about being overcharged. You even get special discounts!

My Tour Agency of choice of course WHEN IN EL NIDO is Northern Hope Tours.
Ate Neriz: 0939 902 2216 is a superwoman.She is amazing.Actually, tawag ko sa kanya is BDO ----she finds ways .Hehehe

El_Nido Palawan Isalnd Hopping

EL NIDO Island Hopping Rates (2013)

Single Tour Rates
TOUR A: 1,200 Pesos/person
Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Simizu Island, Secret Lagoon and 7 Commandos Beach
TOUR B:  1,300 Pesos/person
Entalula Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Snake Island, Cudugnon Cave and Cathedral Cave
TOUR C:1,400 Pesos/person
Hidden Beach, Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine and Star Beach
TOUR D: 1,200 Pesos/person
Bukal Island, Ipil Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon and Paradise Beach
Inclusions: lunch, guide and snorkeling gears.

NOTE: If you are a reader of this log, just mention to Ate Neriz of Northern Hope Tours that you heard of the tour company from and she will take extra care of you. ^^

COMBINATION TOUR A and C is a little flexible.Depending on how early you start (standard is 9:30AM departure from El Nido Town) and how long you stay in each destination.It helps if you listen to what your guides tell you.Make sure you keep constant coordination with them.

There were only three (3) of us in a boat.Private tour (esp.if you are a couple) costs 3,500php (2013 rates). A little more than the individual rates but at least you have the whole boat by yourself. Walang kaagaw sa mga photo-opts in front of the boat.lols

But if you want a Combination Tour, call Northern Hope Tours for Pricing.

NORTHERN HOPE Island Hopping Tours
Ate Neriz--
Mobile Numbers
(+63) 939-902-2216 (Smart)
(+63) 927-735-3221 (Globe)
(+63) 942-375-2441 (Sun)


Northern Hope Tours

We were assigned three people.One was our driver, an assistant, and another assistant con travel guide.Rickneil, pictured above was the newbie guide who we really liked a lot coz he brings with him the passion for what he is doing and the cleverness of information. Halatang he is enjoying his work.He constantly make kwento so walang dull moments. Wink *****

This was our itinerary for our Combination A and C Tour.
1.Small Lagoon
2.Big Lagoon
3.Simizu Island
4.Secret lagoon + Lunch on the Beach
5.Secret Beach
6.Star Island
7.Matinloc Shrine
8.Tapiutan Strait
9.Hidden Beach
10.Helicopter Island

w/ Kuya Rickneil, our wonderboy island hopping guide


1.Small Lagoon

Our first destination.Only underwater camera inside coz there is no beachfront.One can swim to enter here.In our case,we rented a kayak so it was a lot easier to get inside and explore the place.One has to go through a small opening which would fit a few people at a time when it's not high tide.One can snorkel inside to appreciate how clear the water is.We paddled around to appreciate the karst formation.First destination palang jaw-drop na kami.

It definitely started with a wow,wow,wow!

2.Big Lagoon

Probably the spot which gets the most exposure in DOT's promotional posters and travel brochures.Thanks to the photos commissioned by El Nido Resorts.This part of the tour is more on sight seeing as boats are not allowed to dock.For your eyes only to marvel.This is where El Nido Resort's famous weddings are held.Again,water is amazingly clear.I remember what two tourists from Israel mentioned when they compared El Nido to Halong Bay, they said the advantage of El Nido is the torquise water.You can see the seafloor even if you know it's already deep.


3.Simizu Island

This is where we stopped for a while to snorkel.Not much to see underwater except a few fish and a few corals but since the water is soooo clear and the seafloor is characterized by patches of sand and rocks,enjoy parin mag snorkel.Fish feeding in El Nido is already prohibited so don't expect to lure a school of fish around you.

It was here where we took a underwater shots from the waterproof camera I borrowed from Chyng Reyes.At mahirap palang kumuha ng pictures underwater.Na-lowbat na yung camera halos wala pang maayos na shots.hahaha

By this time, mapapa- ---Wow Philippines kana. :)

photos below taken using an underwater camera

4.Secret Lagoon + Lunch on the Beach

PS: In El Nido, Hidden Lagoon is different from Secret Lagoon.You will understand when you go there. :)

Finally docked and got to step on the beach.By this time, I realized that the sand in El Nido beaches is not the fine.But it's white just the same.I am not complaining okay.You see, it's difficult to find islands w/ GRAAAAAND limestone formations w/ white sand beaches w/ crystal clear water.We are so lucky to be living in the Philippines.

We made our way to the Secret Lagoon while our boatman and two guides prepared lunch.Only our 4th destination for Combination tour A and C but it was already lunchtime.The disadvantage of starting the tour late.Things happened quickly in the first three destinations so walking on the beach here and taking our time was a welcome thing.

We found our way to the secret beach which could be accessed by walking through waist-deep water.No the seaside is a bit rocky in some areas leading to the small passage but nothing sharp.Sandal would do just fine for protection just in case you want to be sure.

The opening to the secret Lagoon would only fit one person at a time.It was low tide when we were here so it was easy.I reckon it would be more of a challenge if its high tide and the waves are big.
True to its name,the Lagoon is small so it was therefore a bit of a challenge to take photos to show that it is a lagoon.water inside is not easily replenished by the sea so it's greenish in color.Kinda scary to go to the center coz we were not sure how deep it cold get.The towering,cathedral-like rock formations enclosing it is a thing to marvel at.
We joined our guides after a few minutes taking photos.By that time,lunch was already laid on the table.Bilis!
We had lunch here.....

And what about this for lunch?Tas ganito pa kaganda ang view.Life in paradise!

It would have been nice to rest for a while and laze by the beach (under a coconut) after that hearty lunch but we had to get going.Still overwhelmed by the view, we were fully recharged for the next destination.More front-of-the-boat-with-views-of-the-island photos.

Next up, the Secret Beach!


5.Secret Beach

Ito yung,ma-effort na part.Water leading to the opening of the Secret Beach is deep so you have to swim your way through it.Everybody gets a life vest so no need to fear for those who don't know how to swim.All you need is to wag those legs!

There were already many boats docked near the opening so we were a little far off.That's around five minutes swim.All the effort will be rewarded once you get inside.Ang ganda ng Pilipinas!

6.Star Island

This place enticed us when we were on our way to ***Matinloc Shrine.We stopped to snorkel on top the coral shelf.Water is around chest deep so one should be careful not to be on lateral position or else you would step on the corals.I mean,there are not so many corals anymore.The coral bed is basically dead.Saw small blue fishes and believe it or not,blue starfish!First time kong makakita ng Blue Starfish.Parang gummy bear lang.
Star Island_EL NIDO

We wanted to approach the beachfront near star island but rocks are kinda sharp so we just snorkeled around the edges.Lakas maka-superman ng lugar na to.Remember Superman Returns?The rocks here looks like it was bombed.Organized chaos.It gives a mystic appeal to it though.On the background is the giant island.Rocks,trees,rocks,trees.Amazing view!

7.Matinloc Shrine

I have reservations about the concrete structures on the island.This is one classic example of lack of foresight and proper planning of our tourist spots.why was the structure given the go signal to be built jn the first place.the transport of construction materials from Manila to the island for sure had affected the reef system around the island.People didn't realize that it is unsustainable to maintain an edifice in this place.

8.Tapiutan Strait
From this point,the contrast between the shallow and deep sections of the sea separating the two islands is more noticeable.Unfortunately for my photography again,I failed to capture that dramatic effect.

Tapiutan Strait
El_Nido Palawan Isalnd Hopping
KARST_rocks_El Nido


9.Hidden Beach
This is one of my favorite destinations in El Nido.I think it was sweeter coz we knew staying here would be another case of limited engagement.I prefer a beach with open space.We kayaked within the hidden beach and into the open sea and back.

kayaking at Hidden Beach

10.Helicopter Island 
Helicopter Island was our last destination.It takes this name because of its shape.Our friend Rupert and I actually thought it looks like "chickenjoy" (drumstick) from afar.Maybe we were already hungry that time.hahaha

It was here where we stayed until sunset.We lazied on the beach.Quiet moments to appreciate the beauty of El Nido.The beach is not that beautiful but as in any spot in the islands the view from there is amazing. Walang pangit na angle sa El Nido.            
bonding moments with our guide (at Helicopter Island)

This particular trip to El Nido was something that came up all of a sudden.I simply felt one day that I want it badly,so badly that we booked tickets less than a month before the flight even if it meant spending around 7,000 pesos for the airfare alone.Darn, kung kelan nauso ang mga seat sale.Don't ask me about the detailed expenses coz I didn't take note.Roughly 17,000-18,000php for me and my wife including pasalubong.

Don't get me wrong.If you are a couple and want to travel on a shoestring, you can bring that figure to even half the total amount.As I said, El Nido is not as expensive as we think it is.Remember that spent 7,000php on airfare alone.

Back to island hopping, I thought it would be better if you could take Tours A,B,C and D on separate days so as to appreciate it more.I honestly felt rushed at times during our Combination A and C tour but for some who don't have the luxury of time, (like us) the combination tour is perfect for you.You get the best of the best and you get a taste of how amazing the islands of El Nido are.I would love to go back and explore the other islands and beaches.I think I wouldn't go tired of Island Hopping here.Bring me back to your arms El Nido!!!!

other posts in my #ElNidoSummer2013 Series

HOW TO GET TO EL NIDO via Puerto Style!
#ElNidoSummer2013: BLESSED INN
NORTHERN HOPE TOURS: El Nido Island Hopping Rates



  1. PS; Re-published this post as the 1st one didn't satisfy me as deemed it very lacking in information and at the same time felt like it was composed without enough conviction.hope you like it.

    Here were some comments that were deleted with the deletion of the original posting:

    Anonymous said: Very Informative.. Thank you.. Vic d R. on #ElNidoSummer2013: COMBINATION TOUR A and C

    Mecoy said .... saya naman ng summer mo! on #ElNidoSummer2013: COMBINATION TOUR A and C.

    keep the comments coming. :)

  2. haha kaya pala parang na dejavu ako hahaha
    anyway the best travel blogger talaga ohh

  3. Ang ganda nga!!

    Hey, just a little correction. It's 'laze' or 'lazed' when you mean it as a verb, not 'lazy' because the latter is used as an adjective. :-)

  4. thanks for the correction dude.edited. wink ****

  5. Hello! I hope you get to read this. I'm going to El Nido by the end of January and I plan to take tour A/C. I'm just wondering if it's safe to bring my DSLR onboard during the tour? Is it ok to leave it on the boat when we're underwater, especially when we go to the secret/hidden beach? :) - Martin


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