Cool easterly winds blew toward us at the desolate San Fernando beach in Sibaltan, El Nido like a comforting afternoon embrace to what relatively has been a humid summer day. Only a few resort guests from Qi Palawan were at the beach, mostly couples situated spaced apart on some lounge chairs or standing intently. Enjoying intimate moments together while staring into the blue horizon, waiting for the moonrise. And slowly, a wondrous globe pierced through the horizon, the moon looked bigger and closer to Earth in all its golden glow. The moment was inexplicably both fast and slow as we watched in wonder. We always talk about sunsets and sunrises, but moonrises and moonsets remains an underrated beauty. Much like secluded places, like this resort, Qi Palawan, found in the far-flung corner of Northeast El Nido, away from the tourist town proper, exclusivity and closeness to nature can be found.
Having my stint in El Nido officially done, I decided to explore more of Palawan before heading home. San Vicente, Palawan has been getting quite some attention lately so I decided to visit that area. I wanted to stay by the vicinity of the famed Long Beach but looking for an accommodation, I noticed that most of them are within poblacion (town) which is 3km away. JuRiSu Resort popped up from my search and found their location amidst the famous beach. It became my home for 3 days in San Vicente.
Modern tropical-inspired bungalows and villas widely spaced apart for the guest’s utmost privacy. A private beachfront garden with sand and bermuda grass patterns forming natural pathways where people can pleasantly walk barefoot. A small but scenic pool facing the beach where guest can lounge around and watch the changing hues until dusk. For a pace like El Nido town bustling with development, El Nido Mahogany Beach Resort is a breath of fresh air from the often cold and characterless lodgings in El Nido Town.
When in Sagada, I usually try to stay at lodgings just at the outskirts of town. I stayed several times within town before and while I like the convenience, it can be a little noisy at times. That’s why I enjoy places like Rock Inn or Ybami because of the pleasant natural ambiance and closer to nature environment. My last visit to Sagada though found me staying in town again but I was glad to find Kanip-aw Pines Lodge this time. It’s one of the lodgings that has that secluded feel even just a short walk from the main south road.
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.
The independent city of Puerto Princesa has developed quite well to cater to the booming tourist magnet that is Palawan. After a number of international publications have thrown high praises to the island’s many stunning natural wonders, Palawan has gotten a steady growth of tourist coming in. Major hotels now stand to cater to different segments. And one easy access just coming out of the Puerto Princesa International Airport is Fersal Hotel Puerto Princesa branch. It’s so close I just walked to the exit with my baggage and crossed the street to get there. How convenient.
Quirino, a land-locked province in Cagayan Valley is partly a mystery to me. I haven’t been in that area so I was excited to join a familiarization tour to “Discover the Undiscovered”. A fitting slogan really as there is little written about this province. Underrated perhaps? A flight to Cauayan, Isabela then a 1.5 hours road-trip took us to Cabarroguis, the capital of Quirino Province. There, the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Restaurant, was our home for three nights.