As a treat after breakfast we let DiploBaby have a Magnum from the gift shop. They ran out of the classic milk chocolate but this white chocolate almond one was SO YUMMY!
Though it was our last day and our flight was at 4pm, we still had time to go to the Secret Lagoon in the morning. We were told that we needed to have our check-in bags ready for pick up by 12nn, but because of the travel bubble we could keep our hand carries in our rooms until 1:15pm.
SNORKELING WITH THE JACKS
Before our 10am boat ride to see the secret lagoon, we had scheduled to meet up with Zandy at 9:30am so we could snorkel with the Jacks. This time we made sure it was in between feedings so there would only be a few and they won’t be aggressive.
I borrowed snorkeling gear for free, while TD used the full face mask and DiploBaby the free dive snorkel gear for kids.
DiploBaby is super scared of fishes in general so he was very wary of snorkeling with the Jacks. I’m really proud of him for even trying!
DiploBaby did not want to hold the floatation device and was in fact hanging on for dear life on Zandy’s back. Bless him for taking such good care of our son!
He took us to the deeper area and we were able to say hi to 2 or 3 Jacks. Because of this experience, DipoBaby is now a friend and not scared of the Jacks.
We also placed these 2 shells that DiploBaby was playing with near the Jack Fish Feeding area so that the Jacks could play with them!
It was beautiful floating around with the help of Zandy and seeing the sea creatures. See the video TD took & made of us using his GoPro!
After the experience, DiploBaby is no longer afraid of the huge Jacks!
It was over all too soon as we needed to leave for the Secret Lagoon.
DiploBaby kept on asking if we could do it again, and I was so sad to tell him that we were leaving after lunch. We were really bitin, and I want to go back to snorkel some more!
We met up in the docks with our life vests and swimming attire at 10am.
DiploBaby was nervous because of the waves. We were lucky that despite the RED ALERT due to strong rains, we did not really experience strong rains much during the day, but it was continuous at night. Which meant that we could do most of the tours except for Entalula because it was open ocean and rather choppy.
Back in 2 level banka! To sit comfortably for the people on top, they had to have their legs dangling over.
The entrance to the small lagoon is that tiny hole in the left most of this pic!
Papi asked for a picture with the limestone cliffs. This was where the boat was anchored and some of our braver companions opted to swim the deep from here to the Secret Lagoon. I was kayaked in with DiploBaby, but TD decided to swim it. He, unfortunately, got stung by some baby jellyfish in his arm. Thankfully I had my secret weapon: Amihan Healing Salve and it worked wonders! The other guests who swam did not encounter any jelly fish.
You can see the hole we went through to the left of my FIL in this picture. Sure footed aqua shoes are a must for the secret lagoon because we had to step on stones to get inside and the sand inside is not fine.
We enjoyed the Secret Lagoon a lot because it’s like a natural pool. We also got to chat with other guests in our travel bubble. It’s so refreshing after being isolated for 10 months.
DiploBaby liked using his life vest as a floater because he didn’t like stepping on the pebbly sand with his Crocs.
You can see the opening of the secret lagoon in this super wide angle shot! All photos in this trip were taken with my iPhone 11 Pro Max, unless otherwise specified.
After relaxing, floating around and chatting in the secret lagoon, it was time to go home.
Going back to the boat TD opted to go on a kayak with the kuyas. We all took turns, except for a few brave people who dared to swim against the current.
GOING BACK TO MINILOC
While I was making lambing DiploBaby…
my MIL was also doing the same to TD LOL!
We headed back to the room to quickly shower and finish packing up. We were all dressed and ready for the travel back home before going to lunch. The staff of Miniloc were waiting outside our room to take our check in luggage. We made sure to have locks for each bag.
LAST LUNCH: CRABS!
The last lunch was the best one. Crabs cooked in garlic. We were telling the Miniloc staff that it should have been the first because it was quite challenging to eat fast while shelliing the crabs. Many of us were literally still eating when it was time to go to the boat.
Made sure to go to the bathroom quickly before heading to the dock.
SAD GOODBYE TO MINILOC STAFF
It is the tradition for the staff to sing and wave to guests as we go off on the speedboats that take us to the bigger boat. But this time there was no singing – I am sure it’s safer that way and also it’s harder to sing with masks. Nevertheless we felt so sad to say good-bye to their amazing staff! I was a bit teary eyed in fact and I am not alone!
BOAT RIDE BACK TO EL NIDO TOWN
Because of the travel bubble, it’s the same exact guests who we came in with, who we took tours with in the boat. We have found some new friends!
It was again quite choppy and some nausea meds or Sea Bands would have been great to have.
The colorful structures in El Nido Town
I cannot even imagine living in such beauty!
As we near the floating dock, we again transferred to a speedboat. The bigger boats cannot take us nearer.
As we went near, I recognized our lovely activity coordinator Angel! I really loved gong on this travel bubble. Even the staff are in a bubble with us so we became familiar with each other.
That signature Filipino hospitality can be seen and felt with each of the Miniloc El Nido Resort staff!
As we got off, we removed and surrendered our life vest that have been with us for 4 days.
The floating dock is not as wobbly in the afternoon high tide as it was when we arrived in the morning low tide. DiploBaby was super relieved because he didn’t like it when we arrived.
Angel even helped those with trolley bags.
Back on semi dry land, the El Nido Town beach.
The coast guards once again had all our names and took our temperatures.
While we waited for the bus assigned to us, I took a pic of DiploBaby in front of a traditional fisherman’s bangka.
Zandy was also going home for a break so DiploBaby was able to take a picture with him!
Thank you so much Zandy for the unforgettable memories & amazing photos!
We changed from our cloth masks into our N95/surgical masks before getting into the air conditioned van.
VAN TO LIO AIRPORT
The van going to Lio Airport was a bit warm, but we had our paypays or fans to the rescue! I always have my gigantic NO BESO BESO fan with me when I leave the house.
Zandy ended up riding in the van with us, as he was off to a well deserved break with his family. He was across the plastic divider with the driver out front. So we were able to talk to him for a bit. We thought it was so cool that the staff were also in the travel bubble.
We arrived back in LIO Airport and TD has all our ID’s (passports) and E-tickets on his phone.
First we went through a disinfection booth. I don’t know quite how we were disinfected.
Then we present our IDs and E-tickets. For us it was easier to have only one person handle it for the group.
TD also scanned and filled up the passenger locator and health declaration form for all of us.
We then had to wait for our luggages in this area before we could head in to clear security. Their X-ray machine is broken so security is all manual. Be prepared to open and unlock all your bags, from the biggest to the smallest. My FIL had great difficulty opening his bag.
Not pictured is the process of checking in our luggage. It was very quick and easy. There are 2 booths. Here we were again each given a faceshield, surgical mask and small bottle of alcohol in a ziplock bag. Good thing my MIL had her Mary Poppins tote which expands so we could put all 6 of them in, since we already had our non-toxic sanitizers, shields and masks on.
We were then led to the waiting area where we stayed for about an hour+. It was air-conditioned but they kept a few doors open and social distancing + masks and faceshields are required.
They have a hot/cold water dispenser with paper cups (be warned that the hot and cold buttons are inverted) inside and outside there is a store that sells snacks and soft drinks.
We had our own flasks of water and I had organic cheddar clouds and low glycemic index Kind Bars for me and DiploBaby because I knew we would be hungry since it was merienda/afternoon snack time. Again we took our unrecyclable plastic trash with us for industrial eco-bricking in Manila.
We also made sure to use the open air toilet before it was time to board.
BOARDING AIR SWIFT PLANE
Because we had seniors with us, they called our group first to board. There are no lines, because they call each group individually. This also means that social distancing is practiced between groups.
The plane engine was very loud for DiploBaby while we waited to board.
I thought it was very kind of then to let my Mother and Father-in-law to enter the plane first so that they could do it at their own pace.
Inside the Airswift plane we were reminded again to avoid moving around the plane and avoid going to the toilet if possible. They do not recirculate the air in the plane and there are dividers between each seat. The flight attendants also sanitize the toilet in between each user.
ARRIVING IN MANILA
With all the boating & waiting in the wings of the plane, I was totally disheveled by the time we arrived in Manila. Or I must have been disheveled the whole way LOL! The sky was a beautiful pink and purple hue when we arrived in Manila at sunset.
I always travel with my wet/dry active whites. They are the most comfortable and machine washable so I don’t get too grossed out by them because they are easy to clean after the trip. Sneakers usually give me blisters so it was worth it for me to order these on their website and use ShippingCart to get them to Manila.
DiploBaby with his cute Japanese kids mask that we bought for the taal volcano eruption when we were in Taipei in January 2020. Boy what a crazy year it has been.
We are told to disembark 2 rows at a time so the small plane keeps it’s balance. This helps us also maintain social distancing.
We got on a nice clean bus where we are also encouraged to social distance.
ARRIVAL AT ASIAN AEROSPACE HANGAR
Going into the private hangar we are scanned to make sure everyone’s temperature is normal. And we are assigned different waiting areas to keep social distance.
The sign about staying in our waiting areas until we are told our luggage is ready for pick up makes sense now.
I like this waiting area better than the clinical one we were in on our departure.
Love these super modern locally made chairs! For our departure and arrival, I like to wear yoga pants with pockets because one pocket is for my phone and the other pocket is for my non-toxic sanitizer! The latter is so important to me because I avoid poisonous alcohol whenever I can. I am confident using Purilyte because I am always spraying DiploBaby’s hands and our skin absorbs up to 80% of what we apply so it’s important to me to have something that is non-toxic.
The apple of my eyes!
DiploBaby loved this waiting area too because he loved checking out the different model aircrafts! Here he is asking me which one is my favorite.
I picked the white airplane of course.
REUNITED WITH OUR LUGGAGE
We were then called in batches when our luggage was ready for pick up. We went through the hangar to the entrance/exit.
At the end we were reunited with our bags.
I am very impressed with how seamlessly El Nido Resorts and Air Swift coordinated this travel bubble. It really was a nice break for us and we felt safe during the whole trip – even with seniors, a child and TD who used to have cancer and people with asthma (me, my MIL and DiploBaby).
I felt also super reassured by the comment of Sec. Berna Romulo-Puyat, who is hard at work with the whole Department of Tourism & our struggling tourism industry, on my IG post below that El Nido “protocols are tops!”
So if you want to safely take a break from the longest lockdown in the world and you want to be out in healing nature, I can highly recommend the El Nido Travel Bubble! Miniloc is the most affordable and sulit (value for money). It was super worth it for us! And did wonders for our physical and mental health!
If you would like to book on the El Nido Resort travel bubble, you can contact them below. If you have any questions at all, feel free to comment or get in touch with me on my Instagram and I will try my best to answer them!
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