Palawan - El Nido

Right: El Nido, the "bird's nest"

El Nido, literally 'the bird's nest" refers to the edible domicile of the swiftlet, common to the area. The town sits in a sheltered bay with a port at one end. It's a very scenic location and life in the town, though geared towards tourism, is nonetheless very laid back. There is one pub in town, "The Shipwreck" but no girly bars as are characteristic of other locations in the Philippines.

El Nido

After a couple of days relaxing at Sabang we took a 8-9 hour boat trip along the coast to the Western end of the Island and the town of El Nido. The sea was choppy and we were all thoroughly soaked by the time we arrived, this going some way towards curing some of our party's aversions to flying. Naturally Eleen was covered from head to toe to avoid being horribly disfigured by a sun tan, which I understand is one of the worst things that can possibly happen to a Chinese girl.

Below Left: Miserable...Wet!   Right: El Nido, Palawan

BangkaEl Nido

We managed to secure the premium spot on the beach by renting the "Casa El Nido" and settled in nicely for a week long beer marathon. A number of "girly drinks" also went down the hatch and I discovered myself developing a taste for Margaritas. There is still no reliable intelligence about the particulars of the night we got into the "paralizers". During moments of sobriety we did manage to do some exploring and snorkeling around the coral reefs in the area. Paul went diving, undeterred by the broken collarbone of a month earlier.

Right: El Nido Post Office

After the hardships endured en route to El Nido the group consensus was to fly back to Manila rather than island hopping. The El Nido airport is basically rolled gravel and our plane was a propeller driven 20 seater. Back in Manila we got a timely reminder of how unstable the Philippines can be at any given moment. Abu Sayaf had decided to send a send a Valentine's Day message to President Gloria Macapargal Arroyo by setting off bombs in three cities (Davao, General Santos and Manila) killing 12.

El Nido post office

The following day we flew back to Taiwan. Colin was well medicated for the flight ahead and working his way through the Frank Sinatra songbook (with some interesting interpretation of the lyrics). He was told on a number of occasions to put a sock in it though I suspect he has little memory of the taxi ride to the airport.