Last December my entire family (all 18 of us) went to the Philippines to celebrate Christmas and a family reunion. Immediately after the reunion we flew to El Nido, which we discovered a couple of years ago. It is a protected marine reserve in the province of Palawan, composed of 45 limestone islands and islets. El Nido got its name from the nests built by swiftlets and found in cliff crevices. These edible nests, nido in Spanish, are the main ingredient in the gourmet delicacy nido soup.
Because it is remote from most of the inhabited islands in the Philippines, it was hidden to the world until 1979 when a sea accident happened in Bacuit Bay. As the story goes, "a tuna line disabled a dive boat's propeller in the middle of the night forcing it to drop anchor in an inlet. The following morning, the divers woke unto an amazing scenery of sky scraping dark cliffs, thick green forest, white sand beach, sparkling water, and rising above it, a series of magnificently sculpted jade islands."
From Manila we took a private flight to the municipality of El Nido, then rode a boat to El Nido Miniloc Resort. The blue sea and familiar limestone islands were as breathtaking as I remembered. During the boat ride a whale swam past us only 20 feet from the boat. An auspicious start to our holiday.
Welcome song and drinks.
The kids went directly to the beach to kayak. I hope they will remember this time. Left to right: Winter, 4; Amelia, 3; Hoops, 7; and Hudson, 3.
Our first day adventure was a sunset cruise to the other side of the Miniloc Island. On the way there we spotted a few secluded beaches.
Hoops jumps in for a sunset swim sesh.
Clouds rolled in just as the sun was setting. It is the running joke between me and my sister Ricci. We have been to several scenic spots in the past year chasing sunsets. I think we are 1 for 8 on sunset photos.
Surrounded by limestone cliffs, Miniloc Resort sparkles in the early evening.
We left while it was still dark and paddled 20 minutes from Miniloc to the Big Lagoon.
This kayak hut marks the entrance to the Big Lagoon. That was as far we got that day. The tide was so low that it was impossible to kayak in. We will try again in six days.
It gets its name not from a reptile population, but from the snake shaped sandbar that appears at low tide.
This is the first of four posts from our Palawan trip.
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El Nido Miniloc
El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island
El Nido, Palawan 5313 Philippines
el: +63(2) 902 5985
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Dr. Ricci Sylla is an ObGyn by profession and avid, snap-happy photographer at all other times. She likes taking pictures mostly of food but since the recent population explosion in her family, cute nieces and nephews show up much more frequently in her Picasa files. She hearts cake, ice cream, macarons, cotton candy and fancy desserts.
Photos may not be used without permission.