Mornings are super low tide. One thing I regret not doing is something my friend said she loved doing with her daughter when she went to Miniloc: exploring and checking out all the creatures during low tide. Next time I’m in El Nido, I definitely want to do this with DiploBaby.
We saw one of the birds in their Diversity Checklist. If TD is not mistaken this is the Eastern Reef Egret walking in front of our room!
The highlight of breakfast was the super yummy & soft pandesal with butter & watermelon jam! Another jam to note that I’ve never had anywhere else is their banana jam (not pictured). My Spanish MIL was also happy to find Spanish Brand Pascual Yogurt (not pictured).
TWO-LEVEL BIG BANGKA
Ready for a day of island-hopping adventures! Here we are on the speedboat that helped us get onto the big 2-level bangka that brought us to the different attractions. The size of the boat is great because it allows our family – with our PWD, kid & seniors on the first level – to be separate from the group. They only allow a maximum of 20 people.
On the first level you can go to the tip of the boat. I stayed too long and forgot about the time so I got sunburned! I was also lulled by the cloudy weather into thinking that I didn’t have to be so conscious of my time under the sun.
You can see how excited we were!
The 2nd level of the banka has a table that a few people can sit on, otherwise they have to sit on the floor – Indian style or with their legs dangling over the sides.
We were very happy to be in the first level!
250 Million year old limestone cliffs are a wonder to behold!
Aqua shoes is a must on Snake Island because it’s rather rocky. And because there were 2 boats ahead of us, our bigger boat had to anchor at a deeper part so we had to have our life vests on. If I had known I could give Kuya my iPhone, I could have taken pictures of the island. TD brought his GoPro so he the took photos and videos.
Waiting for our turn to get off the boat & swim to Snake Island
We walked for a bit and took a few pics. Mami was brave and swam from the deep part! So proud of her!
Papi was floated to the island on a kayak like a king! You can see it in the Snake Island Video that TD made! He made everyone laugh out loud! =)
You can see the sand bar snaking behind us in this pic & why it’s aptly named!
The generations of men having a picture together!
Some of our companions went for a hike to see a beautiful view from a higher point in the island. We preferred to stay on the beach and float around a bit. DiploBaby was very excited to spot a lot of starfish. They were huge! Visibility wasn’t so good because of the weather so I don’t think we caught them on our GoPro.
VIDEO OF SNAKE ISLAND
In this video not only will you see snippets of our experience in Snake Island El Nido, Palawan but you can see how Kuya Zandy taught him how to Kayak after we had lunch in a private island!
I am so proud of my little man who wants to learn and try new things, despite being a nervous kid. Look at him paddling so well! I hope we can do this again!
Next stop was a small cave that is believed to be a Neolithic burial-place. Supposedly there are ancient skeletal remains attached to the rocks on one side.
According to experts, the people who used to live in the cave were from Borneo and traveled to Palawan thru the ancient bridge. There were potteries and even jewelries found which were traced back to the Sung Dynasty between 960 and 1279 in Mainland China.WAYPH.COM
We had to swim through deep water that had coral and huge seaweed. I’m not a fan of seaweed – they creep me out – but I put on a brave face so DiploBaby would not be scared.
This time I asked Kuya to bring my phone in his dry bag, so I was able to take some pics.
We wore our goggles so we could see as we swam to the beach.
The Miniloc Staff were prepared and put towels so that those who wanted to go in – they have to crawl on their knees – would not scratch their legs on the rocks. Yaya B peaked inside but did not feel like going in.
As a beach person, I’m not particularly happy going through a tiny hole to look at a dark cave. It’s not recommended for seniors/PWD with limited flexibility/motion. We were happy to take a pic in the entrance.
To get back on the boat with DiploBaby, one of the kuyas told us to just lie down & float so he could drag us to the boat. I think this was the easiest solution because I didn’t want to get scratched by the coral & the waves were rough because of the bad weather. In fact, Palawan was on RED ALERT.
Happy to be back on the boat and off to the next site!
No need to get off the boat. We all had a turn to have a photo in front of the cool cave, that’s fittingly called Cathedral because it had towering walls resembling a cathedral’s interior.
Some more adventurous people choose to scuba or snorkel in, but visibility is low because it’s a dark with faint lighting from the ceiling . Some people swim in to see the stunning stalactites.
Making new friends from different parts of the world!
LUNCH ON DIBULUAN ISLAND
Miniloc had packed lunch prepared for us in one of the islands that they manage.
The beach looks nice, but it immediately gets deep as you can see from the deep color of the water.
We were enjoying taking pics so we were the last to get off the boat. Which also meant we didn’t get to score any comfy beach beds.
The kuyas got us these beach beds which aren’t really great for lying down. So we just put our towels and things on it. Be careful not to get bitten by the ant and insects.
No beach umbrellas needed because the trees amply shaded the beach beds.
We had fun floating and swimming in the shallow part. We were not brave enough to go past where the sand dips into deeper waters. The sand is not so fine so again aqua shoes are a must.
I was fun spotting different shells and hermit crabs.
We found some really interesting shells: A huge clam & what DiploBaby called a cotton bud coral because it looked like a cotton bud. For conservation purposes guests are not allowed to take shells with them, but Kuya Zandy said we can play with it and take it to the resort as long as we left it there. We actually left them with the Jack fishes to play with when we swam with them the next day.
I scored the table that was nearest the water.
There were better beach beds near the dining hut, but I didn’t feel like moving all our stuff! I would have loved to try the swing, but there were people using them.
I was impressed with the lunch preparation because I expected it to be super basic. They prepared carbonara pasta (which was more like mac and cheese) and fried chicken tender for DiploBaby. It was really good!
For everyone else we had ampalaya salad (I just didn’t eat the bitter ampalaya but it was good) & bruschetta. Ampalaya is known as bitter melon or bitter gourd in English.
Then we had a generous bento box with stir fried vegetables, fish and meat. I loved the fresh meat a lot.
They served us cold water. If you want to pay for extra soft drinks, order first as they run out. I had a Pale Pilsen instead. Why not? I am on vacation!
After lunch DiploBaby did asked if he could learn to paddle a kayak with Kuya Zandy. This inspired our other companions to do the same.
DiploBaby was soooo excited to learn a new skill. He even asked if he could kayak some more when we got back to the resort. It’s in the second half of this video!
DiploBaby took a quick nap inside the boat, on the way to the next attraction.
Do not be misled by the clouds. I totally forgot to check the time that I was under the sun, because I was lulled by the super cloudy day. I enjoyed staying at the tip of the boat too much and got sunburned!
Here we are going back towards the resort which is just 5 minute away from the Small Lagoon.
Kuyas said we would go back to the resort for an hour so that they could load enough paddles for the kayaks. I also suspect that they were having a problem with the engine of the boat. They had to fix it first before we could go to the Small Lagoon.
DiploBaby looking grumpy from being awoken from his nap. LOL!
Thankfully nobody had reserved the pool and we spent the hour having a nice time swimming. The wind was strong and it rained a bit, but we didn’t care because we were already wet!
We took pictures to pass the time when we got back in the boat, because the kuyas were doing some repairs.
The Small Lagoon is super nearby. They had to drag the kayaks so we would have enough for everyone to enter the Small Lagoon.
We let the super fit people go ahead because we were going to ask help from the kuyas to go in. I’ve only tried kayaking once before and it was not a good experience so I preferred to go with one of the Kuyas so that I could also hold DiploBaby in front of me.
Our friends going into the entrance of the Small Lagoon.
TD paddling with Kuya Mark
Mami was super game and she wanted to experience paddling a kayak too! So proud of her!
My 82 year old Father-in-law was also game to paddle!
DiploBaby and I had a blast thanks to Kuya Zandy!
We explored a super tiny tunnel and I was so relieved that we were with Zandy or else we would have had difficulty going in and out of the tiny cave. Please forgive the blurred GoPro pics!
It’s hard to imagine that 250 Million years ago this lagoon was a cave!
TO FOLLOW SMALL LAGOON VIDEO
While waiting for our companions to come back, DiploBaby and I checked the 2nd level of the banka where most of the people were. It was such a dramatic way to go through water… it felt like you were flying!
But there were no seats on the 2nd level so for our group, we were really happy to be on the first level. Most of it is covered yes, but it’s better for us because we had a PWD, two Seniors and a kid.
We got back to the resort at about 5:30 and we swam for a bit and then it was already dinner time! First seating at 6pm as usual!
We walked around the resort with our Uniqlo cloth masks but we removed them when we are eating or swimming. We brought one for each day + extra. Then we had two N95 masks for the van + plane ride to and from El Nido plus some extra. Extra masks are a must just in case we sneeze or it gets dirty, and we need to change.
Some guests playing cards under the huge tree.
We slept pretty early, tired after a long day of activities and lulled by the salty air and the waves.
We planned to try swimming with the Jacks during the 10:30 feeding the next day. I was too terrified to do it the last time TD and I were in Miniloc 4 years ago, but this time I wanted DiploBaby to have the experience so we needed to be brave!
Day 3’s schedule was for the Big Lagoon and we also wanted to ask Kuya Zandy if he could teach DiploBaby how to use his snorkeling gear because he still didn’t know how to breath into it. We’ve been trying to teach him for a while now, but to no avail. An expert will surely know how to do it.
If you would like to book on the El Nido Resort travel bubble, you can contact them below. If you have any questions, feel free to comment or get in touch with me on my Instagram!
Miniloc • Apulit • Lagen • Pangulasian
Ten Knots Development Corporation
+63 917 553 8004 +63 917 584 1576
3rd Floor Alveo Corporate Center, 728 28th St., Bonifacio Global City, 1634 Taguig, Philippines