Hopping Island in Gorgeous EL NIDO

Selamat pagi EL NIDO!

Good morning EL NIDO!

Ini hari kedua di ‘surga’ yang disebut-sebut CNNgo sebagai “tujuan pulau dan pantai terbaik di Filipina”. Cihuy banget nih! Hari ini agenda gue ialah wisata ke beberapa pulau kecil sekaligus. Di El Nido ada 22 pulau, 3 diantaranya sudah dibeli sama resort-resort mewah sedangkan sisanya adalah pulau kosong yang bebas untuk dikunjungin. Paket yang dijual di El Nido untuk wisata pulau ada 4 jenis, yaitu Tur A, B, C atau D. Tiap jenis biasanya ngunjungin 4-5 tempat/pulau berbeda. Gue memilih Tur A, yang denger-denger paling populer di El Nido dengan harga Rp.160.000 per orang.

My second day in a place mentioned by CNNgo as the best beach and island destination in the Philippines. I booked an island hopping tour today. Yeay! There are 22 isles lying offshore, collectively known as the Bacuit Archipelago. Three of them are home to exclusive resorts, and most of the rest are uninhabited. Hopping from one island to the next is totally the right thing to do in El Nido. At least we could make those powdery beaches our own for a few hours. There are a handful of organized island hopping tours in El Nido code named “Tour A,” “B” “C”, and “D”. Each of these tours go around four to five spots in the islands. The tours are a whole day affair (picnic lunch included) and I read from everywhere that the best tours were A and C, so I booked “Tour A” for 700 Pesos (US$ 16) per person.

Waktu beli paket itu, kita disuruh untuk kumpul di satu restoran/hotel yang namanya “the Alternative” sebelum berangkat. Ini tempat cukup ngetop di El Nido karena lokasinya persis di pinggir pantai trus ada kayak ‘rumah pohon’ mini-nya di lantai 2. Kalau udah sore, orang-orang pada rebutan dapet spot di lantai 2, duduk-duduk sambil ngeliat matahari terbenam. Begitu sampai disitu, gue disambut gossip panaasss tentang beberapa cewek Korea yang nginep disitu dan dirampok semalemnya. Kamera, duit dan barang-barang mereka ilang semua. Waduh, rusak deh reputasi si hotel favorit. Si cewek-cewek Korea ini ternyata juga ikut di grup wisata pulau gue hari ini, jadi makin seru ceritanya sepanjang jalan. Kasian banget mereka. Selain itu juga, di hotel ini gue dapet “kejutan” lain yang nggak enak. Gue pikir harga paket yang udah dibayarkan itu sudah all in. Ternyata, pihak tur minta lagi duit ekstra Rp.50.000 perorang untuk nyewa alat dan pajak. Otomatis semua peserta protes. Bukan karena nilainya sih. Tapi lebih karena ‘kenapa nggak sekalian aja kasih harga Rp.210.000’ biar nggak ribet.

We were gathered in “the Alternative“, a famous home stay and restaurant with interesting little nooks with cushions that overlook the sea on the second floor. Sadly, our Korean friends we met on our trip were robbed here the night before. The thief took their money, cameras, and some other stuff while they were sleeping. So, no matter how famous this place is, it’s not recommended at all. Anyway, we were quite surprised that here, we were asked to pay more money. They said that the 700 Pesos each’ package was not an all-inclusive one. We had to add 100 Pesos for snorkeling gear and another 100 Pesos for environmental fees. Ah come on, just say 900 Pesos each from the beginning, instead of 700 Pesos. Two of our friends didn’t bring any extra money at all and refused to pay. It took a while to deal with that, and we were all a bit annoyed.

Gara-gara kudu bayar duit ekstra dan ada yang abis kerampokan, semua orang naik kapal dalam keadaan bt. Mukanya merengut semua (kecuali gue yang tetep senyam-senyum karena seneng aja bisa jalan-jalan..hehehehe) plus cuaca sempet mendung pula. Nggak meriah banget deh suasana keberangkatannya. Untung saja begitu sampai di lokasi pertama, pemandangannya indah banget. Selamat datang di “Small Lagoon” atau laguna kecil. Aduh kayak kolam renang buatan surga. Semua orang berubah moodnya dan mulai berenang bebas. Kita nyemplung ke air yang jernih parah dan berenang ke sebuah celah batu yang nembus ke laguna kecil-nya. Seru banget iniiii! Tantangannya cuma satu. Gue (dan salah satu cewek Korea yang kerampokan) bukan perenang yang baik. Bahkan bisa dibilang nggak bisa berenang. Jadi begitu harus berenang balik ke kapal, kita berdua paling lama dan nyusahin.

Our gloomy day starter soon changed into joy when we reached the first destination of the tour, the Small Lagoon. It was like a heaven made nature swimming pool to me. The boat docked near a small opening from a limestone cliff, where you would have to swim to get inside to see the actual small lagoon. It’s a nice, calm body of emerald, clear water, and there’s a small cave at the end of the lagoon with waters flowing through. LOVED it! It was quite challenging for me, since I am not a good swimmer. Well, okay, I can’t swim. 😀 Everyone on the boat had to wait for me swimming with my life vest on. It was a good sport tho.

Setelah itu perjalanan lanjut ke “Big Lagoon” atau Laguna Besar di Pulau Miniloc, 10 menit dari lokasi pertama. Warna airnya bener-bener bikin nafas berhenti sesaat. Transparan warnanya!! Sedihnya kita nggak boleh loncat ke air karena kapalnya gak bisa berlabuh disebabkan air surut. Yasudahlah…yang penting udah bisa sampai disini ya kan.

Afterwards, we went to the Big Lagoon at Miniloc Island, around 10 minutes away. The place was purely breathtaking. Cliché as it can be, but that just how it was. The water was transparent! The towering cliffs are lined up on both sides like sentinels and as we went deeper, it felt like we were transferred into another dimension. Every angle was beautiful. This place will mesmerize you. I guarantee. We only toured around the lagoon but it was already something very special to me personally. I had my moment enjoying every second of the view while our boat glided around the paradise “So, this is what people are talking about!”- I thought. I felt so lucky.

Beranjak dari Laguna Besar, kita pindah ke Pulau Shimizu. Sebuah pulau kecil yang jadi favorit gue di perjalanan ini. Pasirnya putih bersih, airnya jernih berwarna emerald kebiruan, dan ada pemandangan pegunungan yang bertumpuk-tumpuk di kejauhan. Nama Shimizu sendiri diambil dari seorang penyelam asal Jepang yang meninggal karena kehabisan oksigen waktu lagi menyelam di dekat situ. Di sekitar pulau banyak banget ikan warna warni yang ngajak main…hehehe….betah sudah! Dan disini juga pihak tur nyediain makan siang gratis berupa lauk makanan laut, sayuran, nasi, babi panggang, ayam panggang dan buah-buahan. Widih mantep banget!!! Habis main air, makan banyak, tidur diatas pasir sambil menikmati pemandangan di pulau kecil tak berpenghuni. SEMPURNA! Katanya sih kalau mau kita bisa aja balik ke sana untuk berkemah sendiri. Hmm.

From the Big Lagoon, we moved on to another small heavenly beach. I thought Big Lagoon was my fave until the boat docked here. Shimizu Island was a compact white-sand beach with emerald green waters surround the Island. It took me by surprise the first time I laid my eyes on its captivating beauty. It’s probably for me the most gorgeous surreal island in El Nido. The island itself is named after a Japanese scuba diver who died near the island because of insufficient oxygen in his tank. Here just a couple meters from the shore, colorful fishes were waiting for us. A perfect place to snorkel and also enjoy our picnic lunch… and our lunch was GOOD! Seafood, salad, rice, fruit, and grilled chicken and pork. Maybe we were hungry or maybe it was really good food. After the meal, we were relaxing by the beach and spending lots of time in the water with loads of fish. Then we left the island to our last destination, the Seven Commando Beach. I really hope to return to Shimizu Island again one day, maybe camp there or something. I really like that place!

elnido

Habis itu kita dibawa ke Pantai Seven Commando, sebuah pantai di pulau yang penuh pohon kelapa. Disini kegiatan bebas! Mau minum air kelapa muda boleh, loncat dari atas tebing (cliff jumping) boleh, main voli pantai boleh, snorkeling boleh, foto-foto sampai puas juga boleh. Seru abis. Pengennya berlama-lama, tapi ada awan gelap datang sore itu sehingga kita musti segera balik.

Seven Commando Beach was a playful place with coconut trees stood tall everywhere. We were snorkeling there, playing volleyball, jumping from its cliff to the water, enjoying our fresh young coconuts, taking crazy pictures, and so on. Good activities to end the tour. Really really fun! We wanted to see the sunset there but the clouds started to get very dark and it looked like a storm was coming. So we went back to town. Everyone coming to El Nido should really try ‘Tour A’. It was a satisfying tour for me!

Nggak rela balik ke hotel, gue nongkrong di Habibi Café deket pantai bareng teman-teman untuk minum teh panas, makan kue dan buah mangga segar potong (mangga Filipin tuh enak banget) sambil menyaksikan awan gelap tadi berubah menjadi hujan deras yang romantiiissss…hehehe… Ini El Nido keren banget deh… asli.

Back to town, our small group enjoyed some fresh mangoes and some drinks at Habibi Cafe while listening to the pouring rain and watching the sky colors started to fade. Oh I wished I could stay for another day or two, or maybe the whole week there. Slurping my hot tea, I thanked God for this unique trip to El Nido.

 

Every trip is self-awaken -olivelatuputty.com -@shiningliv

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