GLIMPSE | Big Lagoon, El Nido, Palawan

“Memory cannot produce a picture that Imagination has not retouched; and her pictures, even the ones least touched by Imagination, are no mere photographs, but the world of an artist.” 

― Henry de Vere Stacpoole, The Blue Lagoon

Artcafe, El Nido, Palawan

When we were in the stunning town of El Nido last February, my cousin Mabel, local and resident of El Nido recommended Artcafe when asked where is the best place to spend our dinner around town.

Artcafe, located in the heart of the beautiful town is the best place to eat indeed... and party too! with local band playing lively music from reggae to rock, to alternative, to pop, anything actually, you just name it and the Sikap band will be happy to perform its best rendition for you while you dine in. 

The restaurant has a pleasing atmosphere; Filipino inspired interior with art paintings adorned its walls.  It is a bubbly place with tourists from all parts of the world coming in. Majority of the crowd were Caucasians, Trixie and I were the only Asian on that night but its not an issue – feels like I was in another country, lol!

I had pesto while Trixie chose tomato based pasta with prices ranging from Php 220 to 230. The food was great! If you are hungry from all-day island hoping you’ll be satisfied with Artcafe’s huge servings. They are using local produce as much as possible; in fact, they grow their own vegetables, salads, herbs and fruits on their own organic farm. They have everyday specials like seafood Paella, Pizza Panchetta and Chicken Casserole. Plus, pastries and cakes too!

A bottle of Australian red wine keeps us subtle until past midnight. We've met new friends and enjoyed the night. Don't leave El Nido without trying to dine here! Artcafe is located in Sirena St., 5313 El Nido Bacuit, Palawan, open from Mon - Sun: 6:30 pm - 11:00 pm.

Respect: Slippers and shoes are not allowed inside.

Las Cabanas Beach Resort, El Nido, Palawan

Destination: Las Cabanas Beach Resort, 
El Nido, Palawan

When in El Nido, and you are done island hoping A, B and C, Las Cabanas Beach Resort, located about 3 km south of El Nido town is a wonderful location to go to if you have some more time. Going here is one of the alternative inland tours in El Nido whenever weather and maritime services issue gale warnings. This is where Rome and his group headed after trekking to Nagkaalit-kalit Falls.

The beach resort doesn't have access directly from the main road. They were told that they need to hike for 5-10 minutes to the beach. Their group hesitated when they saw the muddy road leading to the beach but eventually decided to go through.  Magnificent silhouette of El Nido's signature limestone cliffs greeted them upon arrival. Trembling in cold, they stayed in the nearby beach bar to rest and ordered coffee. The view gave warm to Rome's heart. Las Cabanas occupy a great spot in El Nido showcasing glorious stretch of coastline and uninterrupted view of Bacuit Bay. "When not raining, this spot is the best for beach wedding", Rome thought.

Haven't tried to stay here yet but Rome's planning another trip sometime in August . This place is recommended if you are avoiding the crowds and bustle of El Nido and looking for a total relaxation, stay down town if you want to party.

Nagkalit-kalit Falls | Trekking Through El Nido's Lost Water World

Destination: Nagkaalit-kalit Falls
Barangay Pasadeña, El Nido, Palawan

In a shrinking world where the beautiful Municipality of El Nido receives hundreds if not thousands of visitors a day this summer, the Nagkaalit-kalit Falls remains less-visited and a semi-secret attraction in the UNESCO's managed resource protected town filled with hidden caves, limestone cliffs, colorful coral reefs, crystal clear sand beaches, blue lagoons and incredibly friendly locals. Seeing it won't earn you a plus star of "has been" but you really can claim to be a globetrotter extraordinaire.

The last time Rome and Trixie went here, all island tours were cancelled because of Tropical Storm Kajiki (Typhoon Basyang) hitting the municipality. With nothing to do, they decided to trek to the falls. Trekking to Nagkalit-kalit Falls is one of the alternative inland tours in El Nido whenever weather and maritime services issue gale warnings. 

Swizz tourist Daniel and his Filipina girlfriend Jazmine who were also trapped at Cliff Tower Apartelle joined them in an attempt to paint the gloomy day full of colors. Rome’s cousin and owner of the apartelle , Mabel, arranged for the trip at Php 350 per pax including a visit to an inland beach.

They left the apartel after lunch, bought snacks and water from the town proper and off they went to Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls via tricycle. It was raining non-stop on the drive from the apartel through the expanse of verdant jungle of managed resource protected area town. The road to Nagkalit-kalit Falls was bumpy and muddy 20 minutes tryke ride. One gust of wind and they were drenched in the spray. Still, it was fun accompanied by screams and laughers. Plus, they were treated to wonderful sceneries of tropical rain forest and farmlands as they passed through billowing clouds and mists almost covering the distant tropical forest. "El Nido has some jungle with untouched rainforests, vast mountain ranges and not just limestone-surrounded lagoons and long stretch of beaches", Rome said.

Warning: This little adventure is not for the faint-hearted:  the walks cover rocky and muddy (on rainy days) terrain, steep climb and crossing a total of 7 rivers and streams for thirty to forty-five minutes to reach the falls. You need to be physically and mentally prepared to climb carrying your belongings in a rucksack in trying circumstances. It can be tough, slippery and involve some scrambling, so prepare to get your hands dirty and your muscles stretched.

They pass through some rice fields, then winding jungle trails and the challenging slippery trail. At first, they hear a dull and distant rumble of Nagkalit-kalit Falls announcing itself before they see it. As they walked through the dense rain forest that surrounds and protects the falling water the rumble becomes an ever growing thunder....

More walks and there it is! A small and humble waterfalls that is about 10 meters high. Not as majestic and just a raindrop as the others he have seen. David tried to dive from a rock and swim through the cold water. They stayed for almost 30 minutes watching the cascading waters while eating their snacks and photo shooting. 

For Rome, their adventure to Nagkaalit-kalit Falls was refreshing enough but didn’t seem remarkable. The limestone-surrounded lagoons and long stretch of beach beauties in El Nido live up to their legend... and that's where I bring you on my next blog posts.

Note: The lack of rain during hot summer days and the effects of changing climate have been known to dry up the river that supplies water to the waterfall. Better check a local tour guide before signing in for a trek.