Wednesday, November 5, 2014

El Nido Island Hopping Tour A: First Stop at Small Lagoon

El Nido, Palawan is known for the numerous islands and islets which dot across its bay. These islands are characterized by huge rock formations, sharp limestone cliffs and stretches of white sands kissed by pristine emerald waters. The beautiful seascape has fascinated even Hollywood filmmakers and most recently, the action flick Bourne Legacy was partly filmed here. A hidden spot in one El Nido’s islands also inspired English author Alex Garland to write his bestselling novel The Beach. The book was later adopted into a film starring Leonardo Caprio.

Because there are several islands off El Nido’s shore, island hopping is divided into Tour A, B, C and D. After doing some research and asking a friend who has visited El Nido before, I learned that the best among these four island hopping packages is Tour A. So a week before our travel, I already reserved our booking for Tour A at Northern Hope Tours.

Tour A costs 1,200 pesos per person.  Included in this package are visits to three lagoons and two white sand beaches and buffet lunch. Life vests and snorkeling masks are provided while waterproof camera and kayak are available for rent.

Our tour started at 9 AM. There were 9 of us in the boat plus the 4 boatmen who also acted as our guide, cook and photographer.

We sailed across Bacuit Bay and I was instantly awed by the rock islands jutting out of the sea. The images I used to see only in magazines and travel blogs are now a reality and it enthrall me to no end. Despite the gloomy skies, the beautiful seascape strikingly stood out.  It made me believe that in terms of natural attractions, El Nido is one of, if not the most, blessed places in the Philippines.

After about 40 minutes of sailing through the calm sea, the guide told us that we are already approaching our first destination-the Small Lagoon.  My gaze fixed at a small patch of white sand beach flanked by sharp limestone karst and green vegetation. It was a scene straight out of the Survivor TV series.

As the boatmen slowly anchored our vessel, I thought we were already at the Small Lagoon since several tourist boats are also docked within the area. It turned out that we still need to wade and walk a few more meters to the small entrance of the lagoon. Sharp coral rocks abound in the crystal clear shallow waters so extra care must be taken when going to the lagoon’s entrance.

Small Lagoon can be accessed through a small gap in-between the rocks. One can either swim or kayak in going inside. To capture the view inside the Iagoon, I brought along the waterproof camera which I rented at Northern Hope.

Despite the presence of other tourists, the rugged beauty of Small Lagoon simply stuns. Its emerald waters are surrounded by sharp rock walls and the sight is truly captivating.

The water is cool and calm and has deep portions ideal for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.  The lagoon may be small but it is definitely big on natural attractions. With our life vests on, we enjoyed floating around while appreciating the view.

After lingering in the lagoon for about 40 minutes, we went back to our boat and moved on to our next destination.


  1. Hi Earl - "Small Lagoon can be accessed through a small gap in-between the rocks." I'm just worried about this part as my husband can't swim nor kayak. Is this going to be a problem for this tour?

    1. It's fairly easy to float going inside mam since you will be provided with life vest. You can also ask your guide for assistance. Just be extra careful of the sharp coral rocks along the way to the lagoon's entrance.


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