The last time we went to Miniloc El Nido we went via the old airport. The reason we felt safe to go on the Miniloc El Nido Travel Bubble was because we were flying from a private hangar and we knew from Sec. Berna Romulo Puyat that they follow the protocols that are set by our Department of Tourism.
WHAT WE REALLY LIKED: The rate for our 4 day/3 nights trip to Miniloc is inclusive of airfare, 3 full board meals, all water activities & tours, equipment and the very best guides! Except for scuba, soft & hard drinks, merienda and bar chow which is charged separately.
Our flight is at 7am, but they asked us to be at the Asian Aerospace Hangar by 5am on 1 January. We left the flat at 4:45 and arrived around 5:15am. We were the 2nd to the last group to arrive.
Our bags went through an X-ray machine and I offered to remove the water from our Kujaku Water Flasks (it keeps our water cold for 24hrs) but they told me it’s okay to take with us on the plane. Thank God!
They weighed our luggage – Air Swift let us have 10kg per person – and checked us in here. There were no other people aside from the staff so it felt safe. It’s air-conditioned but the doors were open.
Upon check-in, each person is given a ziplock bag with a surgical mask, face shield & alcohol.
SUSTAINABILITY TIP: I put all the items in one zip lock and asked that everyone have a ziplock in their bags to place any of our plastic waste during our trip, so we could take them back with us to Manila for eco-bricking here.
DiploBaby is wearing a MEO kid’s mask. It has the best fit and technology for reusable face masks and super breathable too with filters.
We were all very excited to see a private hangar for the very first time. There were private jets and helicopters parked.
The waiting area we were assigned – there are several – had chairs that were spaced apart and the door was kept open.
As you enter there is this sign. There are a lot of washrooms but there are convenient ones right at the entrance. The one for ladies is for one person only. Soap, paper towels and toilet paper are provided. Ignore the part about the bags in the sign below, that’s for arrivals.
As we waited the sky was lightening.
It was daylight when we were finally called to board the buses that were going to take us to the plane.
Social distancing is still expected in the bus so we weren’t so packed in like the usual buses.
Since we are one family, we opted to sit together.
This is the Air Swift plane. We board from the back.
We were surprised that the plane was full, but felt reassured that:
- They are not recirculating the air in the plane.
- There are dividers in between each seat.
- They discourage moving around the plane and using the bathroom, but if we needed to go, the flight attendant disinfects the bathroom in between each use.
After an hour we land at Lio Airport in El Nido.
Because the plane is small we had to deplane 2 rows at a time, so the plane doesn’t lose it’s balance. This is also great because people are practicing patience and social distancing instead of all hurrying and being super close to each other!
We were really impressed because when we arrived the different seating areas are labeled per family/group.
It was about 8am and they gave us chicken sandwiches for breakfast in biodegradable packaging. I thought it was very thoughtful of them to include this because we were definitely hungry after waking up so early.
Assigned seating also had reminders to still social distance. We used the toilet and scarfed down our food quickly. It’s open-air with large air conditioning units.
We were here for only 15mins. Then our group was called to go on our assigned van. Each family/group had one van each.
In the van there is a plastic divider between us and the driver.
It’s about a 15minute drive to El Nido Town Port.
I’m glad that DiploBaby was in his Crocs and I was in my Wet/Dry Leguanos Active Whites we were stepping in wet sand so I didn’t care if my shoes got wet. Make sure to wear footwear that you are okay getting wet/dirty.
On the beach the coast guard had our names and they noted down our temperatures. So organized!
Then we waited for a few minutes as the group ahead of us was getting on boats.
Here is where we first met Angel, the Miniloc Activity Coordinator. She asked us what time we would like to have lunch – early or late seating – and if we wanted to do any activities today. We wanted to be relaxed on our first day so no tours yet.
It was only 9:10 am at this point. We asked for early lunch seating at 11am, to do the fish feeding at 10:30 (there is usually fish feeding twice a day at 8:45 & 10:30am everyday) and to book the pool at 2pm.
They require us to book the pool so that there is no more than 8 people at a time in the pool. Angel was super organized and was so lovely to deal with!
Watch your step! The floating dock goes up and down with the waves so it’s important to wear shoes that wont slip. No heels!
As we walked further out the dock was more wavy. It’s important to keep your balance!
At the end they will give you a lifevest, which is your life vest for the whole trip. If by any chance it’s dirty or doesn’t fit well, you can always exchange it for a different one when you arrive in Miniloc.
First our group got on a speedboat to transfer to a bigger boat.
The kuyas were really good at holding us so we wouldn’t fall as we go from boat to boat and from dock to boat and vice versa. To be safe I had my Purilyte in the pocket of my yoga pants so I could sanitize our hands safely with a non-toxic sanitizer. I avoid alcohol unless someone is sick because alcohol is toxic and our skin absorbs what we put on it.
We were quiet on the ride to Miniloc, little did we know that we would become friends with these exact people because we were always doing our tours with them. I guess they were our travel bubble buddies! We go in, travel around and leave with the exact same people.
You can see that my Active Whites have become dirty. No worries! They are totally washable.
DiploBaby getting lulled by the droning of the boat.
What makes El Nido really different from all the places I’ve been to is the stunning limestone cliffed islands. It’s like being transported to a different world!
These Limestone formations are 250 Million years old! It’s crazy to think that it saw the coming and going of the dinosaurs.
As expected, DiploBaby was fast asleep. Whether we get on a plane, train or boat, it’s like magic!
After 30 minutes we saw the resort! So happy to be back in Miniloc! Of the 4 El Nido Resorts, Miniloc is the nearest and most accessible one. The others are even farther and take longer to get to.
I gently woke the booboo up so that he had time to clear his head.
Oh Miniloc how I’ve missed you! TD and I went about 4.5 years ago and it was a disaster. I vowed I would come back to redo the trip with DiploBaby and I’m so happy my dream finally came true!
Just like before, we got on the speedboat by group to get onto the Miniloc dock.
After the wavy travel & all the transfers, it’s sooooo good to be back on steady ground!
Wooohoo we are here! Tired, messy hair but super happy and excited! We couldn’t believe it’s only before 10am.
DiploBaby is intrigued by the corals. Even if these corals look dead, there is actually a lot of little creatures there. I wish we had tried to look in and walk around during low tide!
Behind me is the place where they coordinate, meet up and have all the equipment for the water activities and tours.
As we enter we all have to get temperature scanned.
This hut is also the meeting place for all the tours. This is also the place where we exchanged some of our ill-fitting or dirty/moldy lifevests.
Then we went off to freshen up a little in the rooms, so we could come back by 10:30 for the Jackfish feeding. Our luggage was not in our rooms yet, but I love that we didn’t have to think about them after we checked them in. They took care of everything!
UP NEXT: Our Family Sea Cottage!
We usually check Deal Grocer, Groupon and other booking websites for the best rates then we book directly to get them to match or even give a better rate. We also do this because my husband and I are PWD and as such get a PWD discount. Senior Citizens also get a discount.
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