Distance won’t stop tourist from visiting these natural gems of the north in El Nido, Palawan. The Nacpan Calitang Twin Beach has grown in popularity that tourist would rent motorbikes, hire tricycles and join van tours just to reach this set of beach 17.5km up north from El Nido town. I can’t blame them, as I have been here several times and the beaches are always mesmerizing to see. Playful waves, soft golden sands, scenic hills and still unspoilt by mass development. Visitors frequent the beach daily, usually as day trips, but staying overnight at these beaches yields a much richer rural experience.
Why Stay Overnight?
It’s been more than three years since I first visited the Nacpan Calitang Twin Beach. The road condition from the turn, coming from the national road hasn’t change. Rough, dusty and unpaved. The isolation of Bucana Town has kept the place electricity-free, both an advantage and disadvantage. It has hampered development but still kept the place as pristine as possible.
Since Nacpan Calitang Twin Beach are easily connected, I decided to stay at Sitio Calitang Beach since it has an open view of the sunset and is a lot closer to the hills at the tail-end where the beaches are connected. Day-trip visitors here usually stay only until 5pm and often miss out on the sunset. I think aside from Marimegmeg Beach and Corong-corong, Calitang Beach is one of the best places to view the sunset in El Nido.
If one wants to see the rural beauty of El Nido, wake up early and see the beach widen more at low tide. Nacpan Beach has an unadulterated beauty in the morning that is so pure it puts me to shame to leave even a footprint on this long stretch of beach. There is little to no tourist at all at these times.
Getting to Nacpan Calitang Twin Beach
There are a few of ways to get to Bucana town, the expensive but easy way and the cheap and slightly longer way. Try to haggle for prices for a return trip the next day. Travel time from El Nido town to Sitio Calitang, Bucana is almost an hour without stops.
- Join El Nido Tour E. An inland tour which includes the Nacpan Calitang Twin Beach along with a side-trip to Nagkalit-kalit Falls or Bulalacao Falls. Tour cost is Php 1,200 per person.
- Hire a vehicle. Tricycles may be hired from Php 800–1000 for a group of up to 4 people. The rate includes return and waiting time at the beach. Vans can also be hired for a group of up to 10–12 people for Php 2000–2500. Motorbike rent for solo or couples are also possible from Php 500–800 per day. All area for day trips only.
- Public Transport. The cheapest way to Sitio Calitang is by public jeep at the El Nido transport terminal. Look for Valine Grace, the lone jeep plying the El Nido-Bucana route. The jeep leaves the terminal usually at noon (11:30am–12nn) but can be a little late during Wednesdays and Saturday’s market day (locally known as tabuan). Travel time takes longer (1.5–2hrs) as they drop passengers and goods along the way. Fare is Php 50 one way. Valine Grace leaves for El Nido at 7:30–8:00am. There are no jeepney service on Sundays.
Things to Know Before Staying Overnight
If one wants to stay overnight or more in Bucana here are some information that may help.
- There is no electricity in Bucana. Most establishments are generator-powered which usually runs from 6pm to 11pm.
- Spotty cellular network for both Smart and Globe at some areas. Some lodgings and restaurants have Wifi which is powered by their pocket Wifi but I still found the connection inconsistent.
- There are restaurants and eateries in the area which serves food from Php 100 and up. Plenty of sari-sari store as well.
- Bring insect repellant or petroleum jelly. In the evening there are plenty of sand mites in the area, particularly in Nacpan Beach. They can leave nasty bites. There are also mosquitoes though most lodgings have mosquito nets.
Accommodations at Calitang Beach on the next page…
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.