The first time I ever set foot in El Nido, I was instantly allured by its laid-back, quiet beach town vibe. It was June in 2014, and there were significantly less people than I imagined there would be had I gone on a weekend in the summer. I spent an entire week there, and it felt simply like…home. I felt at home. I’d see the same faces of travelers everyday. Every morning I’d have coffee on my second floor balcony, meanwhile checking the clothes I hung to dry the night before. The air is so crisp there. The mornings are quite chilly. A bougainvillea tree blooms just a reach away from my room’s terrace, and I could see a little nest perching on its thin branches. I’d look around and the view is backdropped by towering karst which surrounds the town.
El Nido. Being in El Nido is like being in a dream. But better, because it is all real.
And ever since being in El Nido for the first time that trip two years ago, I’ve always longed to return. I looked forward so much to that. El Nido had secured such a big space in my wayfaring heart, which gave birth to the beginning of a wonderful relationship between me and enchanting Palawan.
And just three weeks ago, I made it. I finally made it back. With backpack and best friends in tow, I returned to El Nido ready to celebrate another year of life and love and adventure. And as the first time, my favorite little beach town welcomed me with arms so warm and open that I couldn’t help but throw all caution to the wind.
If you haven’t been to El Nido yet, let me tell you now that it will be one of the most gorgeous things you will ever see in your life. You will feel small and you will feel grand, oftentimes both at the same time. And you will wonder where you have been all your life, because most of us search our entire existence, yet paradise turns out to be just so close.
In two years a lot has changed. There are ten times more people now. Emerald fields of tall coconut trees I loved last time have been cut down. There are more signs of construction. And though these elements honestly upset me, I tried to stay focused on the positives, and there was still an abundance of that.
And so here now are 25 photos from my recent trip to El Nido, shared by my friends and myself. Whether these pictures transcend you, or urge you to book that plane ticket to Palawan, or simply move you with its beauty, I hope they at least do something. And I hope that with respect and genuine love for nature you come and see, because my goodness. What a beauty.
Witness amazing fiery sunsets like these.
Be one with nature at its grandest.
Pretend you’re a mermaid.
Be the boss of chill.
Have breakfast views like this.
And have the perfect cheers like this.
And. Just. Be.
And in the end, you’ll realize. Palawan heals.
“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.”
Related reading: 10 Quotes that Perfectly Explain Your Insatiable Love for the Ocean