El Nido, Philippines

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El Nido, Philippines

Island Exploring has Our Spirits Soaring

A fond memory from October 2011

We’d already been won over by the local people throughout our journey through the Philippines. Their relentless positive outlook and friendly character served as an example for others to live. The kids were some of the cutest we’d seen in all our travels, and our obsession with the beach had been driven to an all new extreme after finding ourselves relaxing in post card worthy settings. Still, nothing could prepare us for the natural beauty of Palawan. We found ourselves on yet another island teeming with unparalleled highlights once thought only to exist in our imaginations.El Nido, Philippines

With the idea of island hopping enhancing our excitement to travel north as quickly as possible, it wouldn’t take long for us to find our way to El Nido. It was a small, adorable town tucked in a small cove and the backdrop of towering cliffs covered in lush greenery captured our attention without hesitation. Truly, we had found a small slice of paradise after arriving on a local bus serving also as the local postal service. Goats and chickens rode strapped down on the roof of the bus while deliveries of rice, petrol and even replacement boat engines were stuffed in the rear. In a bus lacking air conditioning, the open windows provided the ability to hear clucking and bellowing from the passengers scraping their feet on the roof as we wound through various cliff basins, much to our amusement. It was easy to see, El Nido was our kind of town. Lacking twenty-four hour a day electricity while being provided with delectable food options mixed with the incredibly kind local people seemed to be the perfect balance of magic that made it so special.

Every person we made eye contact with while strolling along the paved streets lined with small shops, restaurants, and puttering motorbikes offered up another heart-warming smile. The quaint town, easily capable of inspiring a stay longer than previously expected, was explored by foot in a matter of hours, locating the perfect local bakery for our upcoming breakfasts. The scent of the fresh ocean saltwater filled our nostrils before we could ever reach the beach, a slight breeze offering up a comforting temperature after surviving the intense heat of El Nido town, Philippinesthe day. Every moment proved worthy of peeling my wet butt from every wooden chair I sat on, leaving the imprint of someone obviously not accustomed to the climate before the pushing the chair in to mask my slight embarrassment. Needless to say, I struggled with bearing the shame of leaving such a mark for our hospitable hosts to discover before it could evaporate.

Before our first day came to an end, we had seized the opportunity to begin our island hopping adventures the following morning. Normally, peeling my eyelids open before seven in the morning was borderline miraculous. However, when losing the power to our single standing fan in our room by six in the morning, the quickly growing pool of sweat surrounding the outline of my body forced me from my usual laziness. Even after becoming accustomed to the heat of Southeast Asia for nine month, it never ceased to amaze me how quickly I could drench any piece of fabric resting against my seemingly forever saturated skin. Each morning I would awake the to the sight of a perfectly drawn sweat outline of my body on the bottom sheet, causing Jessie to look at the outline with a bit of disgust and remind me what a sweaty pig I could be.

Still, nothing could prevent me from thoroughly enjoying each and every stop along our days of blissful island hopping. I remember laughing to myself upon thinking of how much I had worried over quitting my lucrative job in Los Angeles, wishing with all my might that our travels would be as amazing as I had hoped. I could only shake my head at my previously naïve way of thinking, realizing we had both made the greatest decision of our lives to chase our dreams as soon as the opportunity presented itself. If not for wanting to accomplish so much more in my life, I could have died a happy man surrounded by my favorite sights of pristine water and beaches worthy of media recognition.El Nido, Philippines

Each small serene island we stopped to enjoy throughout the day invoked a desire to pinch myself and ensure I wasn’t still dreaming. Gratefully, I wasn’t. I was merely standing and swimming in the presence of once thought impossible to find beauty. On numerous occasions I found myself gawking at a scene I nearly shed tears leaving behind. Turquoise and aqua blue water gave way to white sand beaches and palm trees providing impossible to replicate picturesque settings. Protruding rock formations carving through the water lined with bright green vegetation rendered all those in attendance speechless with awestruck appreciation. El Nido had forever captured some of my deepest love and gratitude for simply experiencing its unrivalled magnificence.


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