Five Alcoholic Days in El Nido



This is typical Philippino transport. The boat was scheduled to leave at 9am and we arrived just before so there were only seats left outside. It was a really hot day and we sat in the harbour for 2 hours before the boat finally left. In this time we constructed our own sun-shelter using a life jacket, 2 sarongs and a blanket tied together and then strung from numerous nails and poles. About 20 minutes after the boat finally set sail the engine gave up and we had to go back to the harbour. Originally we were told we would have to go tomorrow but at the last minute they found a cargo boat that had agreed to take all the passengers. Once on-board we waited another hour to set sail. We spread life-jackets across the floor and lay in the sun reading. It was a long journey and we arrived just after the sun had set. Swapping to a smaller boat to get closer to shore and then piling into a minibus to take us the rest of the way, we got into the small town of El Nido around 8pm. Having not booked any accommodation we started the trawl through town, asking at all cheap looking hotels and guest-houses if they had any free rooms. At the far end of town we came across a really nice place that had one room free for the 3 of us at a really good price. Not having much choice, we decided to take it for the night. I got the double bed again, yes! It even had a hot shower. The boat journey had been long and we'd napped throughout the day so none of us were tired. Off we went in search of food and a bar. We had a really filling soup of noodles and chicken between the 3 of us that cost less than £2. For some reason there is a noise curfew from 10pm so the whole town shuts down. However a stroll along the beach revealed a busy bar that played live reggae music till midnight and then turned into a bit of a nightclub. We rolled home at 3.30am.

It was time to find another room, this time for four as one of the girls from Coron was coming to meet us today. I bumped into another girl I'd met in Manila and she told us about a hostel round the corner that still had beds free. When we got there though they only had 3 beds so the guy kindly took us around the town to help us find something. The whole town was booked up! After visiting around 10-12 hotels, eventually we found a room with 4 beds for £4.50 each - right on the beachfront! We moved our bags there and sat on the balcony overlooking the beach. Bliss.

The balcony ended up being a drinking hub and everyone congregated there before heading to the reggae bar to dance amongst a crowd of sweaty westerners. A large bottle of rum here costs £1.30 and there is an old American guy with a little alcohol stall right outside the hotel. It was hard to resist and every night my arm was twisted. Two of the nights we walked the 45 minutes to the other beach to a sunset bar to swim and see the sun go down over the glittering Philippino ocean. It was a fun few days and the four of us ended up a tight knit group that was hard to leave. On the last night we were together we walked to the market and bought a kilo of fresh king prawns (for £4.50) and vegetables and the Italian in the group cooked us all dinner. Some of the prawns were in a homemade tomato sauce with pasta and the rest marinated in lime, olive oil and balsamic before being cooked and served. A sad farewell the next morning as us two girls left for Puerto Princessa for a flight to Manila and then on to separate destinations.

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