If life’s a beach, El Nido is full of it. About 17.5km up north from El Nido Town proper, passing through rough and dusty road to the town of Bucana is probably one of the most scenic beaches I’ve seen. Facing west together hand-in-hand are the Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beach. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen one and it’s definitely worth an hour’s tricycle ride to get away from the crowded island tours in Bacuit Bay.
Inland Tour E Side-trips
The popularity of the Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beach led to the creation of an additional tour in El Nido called Tour E (with tours A, B, C and D as the island tours) which brings people inland to the falls of Nagkalit-kalit, the optional hot springs and the Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beach as highlight. The Tour E standard cost is Php 700/person which includes lunch.
Return to Nagkalit-kalit Falls
For this trip though we didn’t take a tour but hired our own tricycle for Php 600/pax and we just brought our own lunch. I wanted to revisit Nagkalit-kalit Falls since the last time I went there, it was a dry season and water was barely flowing. Now it was a good thing we went early. Passing 8 streams, we finally reached the falls and there were only a couple of foreigners there. We had the falls to ourselves and the water was graciously flowing. When we left, one group after another crossed our trails and were also heading to the falls. I could just imagine the crowded pool of the falls.
The Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beach Wonder
We whisked past the Makinit Hot Spring and it still looked the same as before – muddy trail and undeveloped sulfuric spring. We excitedly tracked back a little to the easy-to-miss turn to Calitang. The road was unpaved with lot of muddy pot holes. For a moment we were lost in an unfamiliar territory but once we got to the beach, we can’t just help but sit down on the sand under the shade and admire this wonderful pristine stretch of Nacpan Beach.
For a time we were just chatting with a couple of couchsurfers from Shanghai we met while enjoying the scenery. There weren’t many tourist there aside from a group of 4 foreigners and a few local children from the fishing village nearby. My friend and I decided to walk to the hill where the beaches Nacpan and Calitang Beach meet. The sand was clean, soft and undisturbed, the only mark on the shore were the gentle waves on the sand and our footprints. It was a pleasure to walk on the beach barefoot.
Up on a Hill
We found a trail leading up to the top of the hill but it looks like it wasn’t often used. Weeds go high up to the waist, I used my tripod to brush some of them on the side and as precaution, I made sure I rustle and disturb the trail ahead in case there are snakes. We did a short hike on a side of a ravine with walls that seems to have recently land slided, we threaded carefully. When we got on the lower peak, the view revealed a breathtaking panorama of the twin beach, the bay and the farther islands. It was magnificent.
The waves at first sight may look daunting but once we got into the water it was really fun. The beach bed slopes gradually and the water shallow. the sand below was soft and easy to walk on. And once the waves come in, it was just fun to body surf along with it. But as evening settles in I noticed there were many sand mites in the area. When I got home I noticed several bites already. I should remember to bring oil or a repellant for those insects.
Happy and Sad
I’m always proud when I see places such as this Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beach. It’s just incredible to have something like this in the country but at the same time it’s saddening that at this time, most of the lands on this beach stretch are already owned by foreigners. It seems that locals are easily convinced to sell their property once money was already set on their tables. Sad fact is in a few years time, their money would be gone by misuse. Right now a lot of the beach section in Nacpan are fenced and barricaded. A swiss national owns the large vacation house by Nacpan beach. Maybe in a future time we’ll find out the Philippines is no longer owned by us. We are becoming 2nd class citizens in our own country.
- Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beach is in the town of Bucana, El Nido about 17.5km north from El Nido Town Proper
- Travel time is about 1 hour
- Some tour companies offer Tour E for P700/pax
- Tricycles can also be hired for Php 500-600/pax
- Motorbikes can also reach Nacpan, just make sure to turn left once you see the DEPED sign with the “Calitang School”
- There are jeeps heading to Calitang once a day at the market usually leaves by noon. Fare is about P50. The trip back would be early morning next day from Calitang. One has to stay overnight there.
- There are limited eateries in the area so bring enough food and drinks
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.