grub + travels + perspectives

El Nido Adventures: Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beaches

(Backtrack: First day at El Nido and the Tour B adventure)
(Backtrack: El Nido Adventure Part Two - Tour C)
(Backtrack: El Nido Adventures Part Three - Tour A)

As if the beautiful islands and lagoons weren't enough, we ended our El Nido trip the most splendid way possible: spending a day at Nacpan.

After our hearty lunch at Angel Wish, we were whisked off to the off beaten path leading to Barangay Bucana, where our accommodation, Where 2 Next, is located. Getting there took us about an hour, maybe an hour and 10 minutes tops. Our tricycle even got stuck in the mud because it's been raining the entire week in El Nido. I was really excited reaching the twin beaches because it's said to be breathtaking and still unspoiled.

We arrived at Where 2 Next and was greeted by one of the owners/manager, Vicky. Yes, this is the same Where 2 Next in Manila, but instead of a hostel, they provide camping grounds for their guests. The Nacpan branch, at the time of our visit, was still new. In fact, there's still some construction on going when we got there. We really didn't mind though. They only accept guests who made reservations via hostelworld.com, and I think that's how Ian found out about them. Vicky even told us we were the first Filipino guests of the camp! Camping during our last 2 days in El Nido? Perfect!

After our tents got set-up, we went ahead to explore Nacpan. It was almost 3:00 pm, and we wanted to cover everything: climb the hills, explore both beaches, take lots of photos, chill a little and have dinner.

On our way to the beach, we encountered this fork in the road. We're either to go straight or turn left. We decided to go with the latter, where we passed by the local public school and a residential area, then we ended up here first: Calitang Beach. The scenery was like straight out of a post card. It was picturesque and serene. Although this is the side of the beach locals reside, there was nothing on the shoreline but docked canoes.

The view from the top of the hill. 
I could just gasp and marvel at the beauty of this place when we reached the top of the grass-covered hill at the end of Calitang. There's an overused trail that you could follow, so it's safe to hike by yourselves.

Where the twin beaches are joined

The remoteness of Nacpan Beach is really a small effort to pay for what El Nido's got in store for you once again. It is every bit worth it. We were almost alone in this pristine beach, save for a few foreigners that left after a few minutes.

At first, we were contented with just laying on the sand, enjoying our collective solitude at such a magnificent place, with book on our hands and music in our ears. Then we all decided to take a dip. I think we spent 3 hours just enjoying the sea. At one point though, there's a local that approached us and told us not to roam too far from the shore because the waves can get really rough. We were informed about an accident that happened there that claimed the life of a tourist.

It's unbelievable that places like this still exist, untouched by development and big crowds. Imagine this five-kilometer cream-colored sand and calm waters, with tall coconut trees, a few nipa huts and fluffy, white clouds to complement. It's like a slice of heaven on earth.

(Just a reminder though: Don't forget to bring insect repellents when you visit this beach. It's a must. There are sand mites in the area and once you're bitten, it can get pretty nasty. I learned it the hard way. My arms and feet were covered in insect bites that were extremely itchy, which didn't go away for a month!)

Before heading back to our camp, we decided to have dinner at Mama Cita's Restaurant (now known as Prince Restaurant), which was highly recommended by Vicky.

We had ginataang tahong, sinigang na hipon, a clubhouse sandwich (for Charm because she was sick), 3 cups of rice and a 1.5 L-bottle of Coke all for PhP 500. I think that was one of the most satisfying meals I've ever had in my entire life. The food was superb and the locals were such a joy to talk to! And they have free Wi-Fi as well! All the seafood that we wanted and enjoying it while we see the sun set, for a dirt cheap price was the cherry on top of our El Nido cake. I couldn't have asked a better way to end our day.

After a quick shower, we stayed at the camp's common area to hang out more (social media party!) but the rain got stronger after a while, so we decided to go ahead and sleep in our tents. The next day, bright and early at 7:00 AM, we were picked up by our service so we could return to El Nido for our flight back to Manila from Puerto Princesa City. 

With Where 2 Next's owner/manager, Vicky!
And with that, our 5-day vacation to this tropical paradise came to a close. I definitely made the right decision of pushing through despite of some hurdles I had prior to the trip. I learned to snorkel, been to so many exquisite places that I just saw on photos, I bonded more with friends, became less afraid of the ocean (Hahaha!) and fell in love with life all over again. :) It's certainly at the top of my list of best vacations I ever had. I will definitely go back in the future!

More information and tips:
  • Viajes PH assisted us with and organized our 5-day trip. Thank you, Jolo! :)
  • Tricycle service to and from Nacpan were provided by Northern Hope Tours. It was included in our package.
  • We booked our accommodation ourselves. For reservations at Where 2 Next (they have Wi-Fi), you may book through hostelworld.com. Vicky asked us not to comprehensively blog about the place yet because the facilities were not yet finished. If I remember correctly, they will open this September 2015.
  • Please bring cash. I don't recall seeing any ATMs there. For emergency situations, there are pawnshops that offer money transfer services in El Nido town proper.
  • There's no electricity yet in Nacpan but they have solar panels for electricity needs.
  • Smart and Globe networks have strong signal there. As for Sun, nada.
  • If you could bring a dry bag to store all your gadgets, that would be perfect.
  • Bring a towel or malong.
(Photos by me, Honey Ramos, Charmilyn Mamaradlo and Ian Manzon.)