A Travellerspoint blog


Apulit Island via El Nido airport and road trip to Taytay to

View Nolan's Eleven Heaven meetups & Meet my TravBuddy friends - Rhea (rheagirl) & Myanmar 2014 on NT01's travel map.

large_1840343_14157500952218.jpgEdit as of July 2015: I've decided to open this blog to all registered TravBuddy members. Especially in the light of the April 2016 Philippines Meetup in Manila [Manila-travel-guide-885524] in Cebu where some participants would like to continue on to Palawan [Palawan-travel-guide-1294037] and El Nido [El-Nido-travel-guide-879955]. Details of the meetup here -http://www.travbuddy.com/meet-up/view.php?id=1503 and the discussion here -http://www.travbuddy.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=60673

Landing at El Nido is just part of the journey. In fact, not even half. There is a three hour van ride to Taytay [Taytay-travel-guide-892475] town, plus another hour ride on an outrigger to the island itself.large_1840343_14157500978568.jpg Which is why you should always choose the first flight out of Manila and the last flight in, otherwise you will spend only a full day at the resort.

Palawan is still a pristine province as many of the roads connecting the tourist towns in the north are under construction. Some portions are still old asphalt that need a lot of repair. So even a 100 km. trip could take three or more hours. Luckily not most of the passengers on the plane were going to Apulit but staying over at any of the three other high end resorts in El Nido - Pangulasian, Miniloc and Lagen. So only our van out of four vans used to pick up passengers from the airport went straight to Taytay town.

While the road may have tight turns at times, you could never really overspeed because of the rolling terrain. Some parts of the road were half concreted while the other side was paved and being prepared for more concrete to be poured.large_1840343_14157501008336.jpg Probably by 2015 the roads would have been complete already, thus cutting down travel time to 2 to 2.5 hours. And with the Ayala conglomerate through its resort division taking over management of the El Nido Resorts for more than three years now, it can only get better.

After a quick stopover for food in Taytay, we were ready to board the outrigger boat to Apulit Island. On our approach to the dock, it started raining and there were gusty winds. The resort was prepared - the boat itself had nice yellow raincoats and they had umbrellas waiting for us as soon as we got onto land.

Upon arrival at the reception, they served us welcome drinks and gave a briefing about the resort island. There were two general areas for accommodation - first were the water cottages, located on the southeast side, and the other was the loft water cottages on the southwest side.large_1840343_14157501038180.jpg There are 50 cottages in total - 30 water cottages (built on stilts) and the rest loft water cottages (built duplex style but with steps leading to the water). The loft water cottages are more spacious and suited to families. The dining area is located in between the areas for both cottage types. Further on the side near the water cottages is the spa area and the jump off point for the rappel up the rocky face cliff.

As this is an all inclusive resort, the total price for a 3 day/2 night stay (about 40,000 PHP or 850-900 USD depending on the prevailing exchange rate) per person covers almost everything including the airfare and transfers, accommodation and meals. Not to mention activities like island hopping, rappeling, snorkeling and non-motorized watersports (you obviously have to pay for the spa separately).

This is absolutely a nice place to stay if you have money to burn, it is quite relaxing although the biggest gripe I have is the travel time from El Nido airport to Taytay town plus the outrigger ride, since the old route which had the plane landing in Taytay airport was scrapped some time ago. If that option were still operational, we would have easily saved 2 hours each direction to and from the resort and airport.


Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

Landing in El Nido town

View Nolan's Eleven Heaven meetups & Meet my TravBuddy friends - Rhea (rheagirl) & Myanmar 2014 & El Nido Resorts, Apulit Island, Palawan on NT01's travel map.

large_1840343_14157500791428.jpgATR 42-500 of Island Transvoyager, Inc. (ITI)Apulit Island is on the eastern side of Palawan. Unlike El Nido [El-Nido-travel-guide-879955], which is on the northwestern side, going to Apulit meant a longer trip. This was due to the renovations that were happening at Taytay [Taytay-travel-guide-892475] Airport, which meant that we would be landing in El Nido town, a good 3 hour drive away. Normally, the planes were the smaller Dorniers (19 seater) that flew to Taytay, but since there was only one airport to fly into, the airline company (Island Transvoyager, Inc. or ITI) used its ATR 42-500 (50 seater). So all guests to the four El Nido resorts (Lagen, Miniloc, Pangulasian and Apulit) would be taking the same plane. Good thing the schedule allowed for a full three days, since the departure from Manila [Manila-travel-guide-885524] was in the morning and the return from El Nido was in the afternoon on the third day.


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An all-inclusive vacation at a great discount

View Nolan's Eleven Heaven meetups & Meet my TravBuddy friends - Rhea (rheagirl) & Myanmar 2014 & El Nido Resorts, Apulit Island, Palawan on NT01's travel map.

large_1840343_14157500713900.jpgIsland Aviation Dornier Do 228 (19 seater) which is used for Amanpulo ResortEvery August, I usually plan something for wifey's birthday. The problem with it happening in August is that the monsoon season in the Philippines is in full swing, so traveling domestically is a toss up between getting wet or getting a flight canceled if a major typhoon passes Metro Manila. In the past few years we have been greeted by rain many times, but so far lucky that flights were never canceled.

For this trip in August 2013, we were lucky one of our BFF neighbors had plans for celebrating it out of town. It so happened that his wife worked for the head office of the conglomerate which bought the ownership of the El Nido [El-Nido-travel-guide-879955] Resorts (all four of them), and often discounts are extended to their employees and family members. So there we go, we became unofficially "related" with our neighbors (in reality we see them even more than real relatives), and were able to avail of a hefty discount to experience one of the top resorts in the country.large_1840343_14157500734417.jpgATR-42-500 (50 seater)

As the resort is quite exclusive, it is by chartered plane that one needs to fly going there. Options to El Nido are via commercial flights to Puerto Princesa [Puerto-Princesa-travel-guide-1315700], then a long four hour journey to the town of El Nido over rough roads and a boat ride. Or of course, the all inclusive tour package we booked. Less hassle, but more expenses. Well, at least the expenses are already budgeted. No more surprises once at the resort except for the obvious ones like renting a speedboat, scuba gear, and so on. But the food was part of the deal and it would usually mean buffets.

After paying the tour price at the designated bank, all we needed to do was to wait for the day where we would be flying out and enjoying a tropical island paradise.


Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

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