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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Nobody's Tour? EL NIDO Tour-B Will Surprise You: Entalula Beach, Pinagbuyutan Island, Snake Island and more via #NorthernHopeTours

You know that in El Nido, Island Hopping Tour is as easy as choosing A, B, C and D. What you might not know is that there is a new addition, Tour E, which includes Nacpan Beach and Mt. Taraw which I think you can do on a d.i.y.

Everybody also knows that the most popular tours are A and C. And no contest at all, Tour C is the best so it is where everybody goes. The 2nd option is always Tour A which is equally good. I have been to both and I can personally attest to that. While some tour companies offer speacial combination tour A and C, read: El Nido COMBINATION TOUR A and C #NorthernHopeTours, I still suggest you go on separate days so as to enjoy each spots more unless you don't have the luxury of time as what happened to us in 2013. Thanks to Northern Hope Tours we were able to do the combination tour back then. 

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And since many are first-timers in El Nido and many are also on a short stay, tours A and C are always the option. Tour B and D therefore don't get too much attention. Our guide actually referred to Tour B as "nobody's tour" and we have to admit, we too Tour B because it was stormy during our stay that Tour C was restricted. Waves were too big that no tour companies were allowed to set sail in the open waters leading to Matinloc Island. And so, no choice kami since we have already done Tour A on the 1st day.

Surprisingly, Tour B for me didn't disappoint. I was actually surprised that it could match, if not exceed Tour A. yes, if you take tours A and C, you feel the redundancy. But Tour B is like a breath of fresh air. It is the other side of El Nido which will make you realize that the place is diverse and multi-faceted. Read on.

EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING 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



All Tours Schedule: 9 AM to 4 PM
Inclusive of: Lunch, mask & snorkel, life vest and guides to assist you

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Northern Hope Tours
Calle Real, Barangay Buena Suerte, El Nido, Palawan
E-mail: northernhopetours@gmail.com
Mobile Numbers
(+63) 939-902-2216 (Smart)
(+63) 927-735-3221 (Globe)
(+63) 942-375-2441 (Sun)
Facebook: facebook.com/NorthernHopeTours
What I like about Northern Hope Tours is that they are flexible with the tour. They put into priority the satisfaction of their guests.

Cadlao Lagoon
It was still rainy so they suggested we skip on the caves and go to other destinations instead. We started off with Cadlao Lagoon then to Helicopter Island, both not part of regular Tour B. I actually loved Cadlao Lagoon because it has a wide shallow section perfect for snorkeling. Forget Big Lagoon, there you will only go around by boat and wonder at the towering cliff around you but you don't get to do anything else but that. Pa -wow wow lang but you will not sense the place other than with your eyes. At Cadlao Lagoon, the boat coal anchor on the shallow reef so we were able to snorkel for more than 30 minutes at times during sporadic rain. It was fun and although the corals here still don't match that of Coron, I got to appreciate El Nido's underwater scene because of the Cadlao Lagoon experience.
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Helicopter Island
We then set off and docked quickly at Helicopter Island for a short photo opt. I was here in the summer of 2013 and I could tell the very big difference during summer when the beach is a lot wider and the background view more clear.

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Helicopter Island on a rainy day -2015
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me in Helicopter Island in 2013


Entalula Island
Entalula Island has pockets of beaches. Small coves with fine white sand. The small beach we docket into is only a few meters long but I really like the sand and the private-beach-feel since it could only accommodate three boats at a time. The small cove we picked has this rock formation similar to that of James Bond Island in Phuket except that this one is the small version. It also felt a lot quieter here since the view from the beach are the mountains of the island from afar. Big sea but calm water since it is not facing China Sea. This was where we had lunch. They setup a table by the tree and shade provided the much needed relief from the hot sun. Of course I ate a lot again, seafood overload plus the beach setup always make me eat with gusto.
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Lunch

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Snake Island
Located in the Southern extreme of Bacuit Bay, Snake Island is a respite from the usual beach-next-to-towering-limestone-cliffs landscape that is El Nido. It is the only sandbar that I know of in El Nido. Even the main island where it is connected is more of the tree covered, the not so jagged island we know of in many areas of the Philippines. It might not be that dramatic, but as I said a welcome change of view. The place therefore gives El Nido island tour another perspective, another face. The smaller island of Vigan is small and not that high but hiking towards the highest peak of it gives a good view of the sandbar below


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During our visit, it was not low-tide enough for the sandbar to show and the water was knee-deep but its white sand is very visible from the summit of Vigan Island. Water in this area is still so the sandbar exist all-year long. The only concern you have is to time the tide to fully enjoy the sandbar completely afloat from the sea. You tour guides will know. Boats dock on the sandbar itself and the hike to the summit gives a different activity that is hiking. You can still view the other towering islands on the other side of the summit. El Nido is picture-perfect in all angles.


We didn't stay much for swimming but long enough to enjoy the climb up and ascend plus taking tons of pictures in between without feeling the rush.

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As I said earlier, we skipped the caves because according to our guide they were just a waste of time. Small caves not to wow for but only to be looked out from the boat. If you've had tour a or c for example this will be an ordinary view. We then hopped directly to Pinagbuyutan Island, our final stop for Tour B,

Along the way, we noticed Lagen Island Resort in the same way that Pangulasian Resort is visible on the way to Snake Island. These are the two other of the three (3) high-end resorts owned and managed by El Nido Resorts recently acquired by the Ayala Group. If I can add, we were also told of Guintungan Island otherwise called Turtle Island, one of the few islands in Bacuit Bay off limits to tours because it is the breeding ground of sea turtles and therefore a protected area very important to researchers.

Pinagbuyutan Island 
(Inabuyatan Is.)

It is probably one of the most recognizable landmarks of El Nido if not the most popular because of its prominent shape. It resembles that of a camel's hump. Either near or from afar, its towering and pleasant.I hope they give it a more easy-to-remember nickname ,say "Camel's Back Island" or something because I too had difficulty pronouncing and recalling Pinagbuyutan. The first time I saw pictures of El Nido when I was younger, this rock was the one that remained in my mind. I was looking at it from helicopter island back in 2013 and I knew then that I will get to see it up close on my return. So the "dream-come-true" clique realized finally, a grand finale to our island hopping tours and it didn't disappoint.

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And the weather was already cooperative that time of the day. Imagine it was raining when we started off with Cadlao Lagoon early in the day. Ipil beach at the Southern section of the island is love. The quitter, more peaceful side of El Nido and again, the place where you feel that El Nido is multi-faceted. Feel-good moments here I will remember for a long time. This was also where I had some of the nicest selfies during the entire trip. Indeed, what a Grand Finale for Tour B!

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Cheers to my favorite guide from Northern Hope.---Rickniel 
He is the funniest guide ever I tell you. No dull moments. haha
PS: he is the one seated, not the one walking behind.lols


Still Weary about that 5 1/2 hours van ride?
Forget about the 5.5 hours car ride from Puerto Princesa. I tell you, you will hardly notice that as the way to El Nido is already beautify that you will feast your eyes in the view. Once in El Nido, you will realize that all is worth it. Northern Hope also arrange van transfers to and from PPS.

The place is heaven-on-earth and if I said before "thank God for giving us Boracay", I say "thank you so much God for blessing the Philippines El Nido" and the heavenly island of Palawan which again was voted by readers of Conde Nast Travel Website as the Best Island in the World for 2015. This is the 2nd consecutive year that Palawan is on top of the list.

Best Islands in the World: Readers' Choice Awards 2015

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Pinagbuyutan Island as seen from Helicopter Island



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PS: If you are planning to go to El Nido, you will want your trip to be hassle free. In my case, I am always confident everything will go smoothly because of Northern Hope Tours. 

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