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₱7K El Nido Backpacking Budget Guide

Promo tickets, travel hacks, and a street smart guide from El Nido locals

Due to its foreign tourism demand, El Nido, Palawan may be quite expensive. But did you know, you can fit a ₱7K budget or even lower for a weekend itinerary in El Nido. It will just be enough to see the amazing view of El Nido, just enough so you can decide when to come back.

You should check out #elnido yourself <3

Posted by Clueless Commuter on Monday, 25 September 2017

This itinerary can already include airfare, food, a place to sleep and a few El Nido tour highlights just to give you a glimpse of what El Nido looks like. After all, your first visit in El Nido will not be the last.

Your possible itinerary necessities

El Nido is a large patch of paradise. You’ll need a month to visit all the destinations a traveler can explore.

There’s a million ways on how to go through a ₱7K budget in El Nido. It will be just enough to visit El Nido, Palawan for the first time.

For your budget itinerary, let’s go through your necessities first.

Flight to Puerto Princesa – Two-way for ₱2000

To fit this budget, two words: Promo Tickets.

Cebu Pacific, AirAsia and even Philippine Airlines sell their tickets in promo cycles. You just have to subscribe to their alerts. With an all in ₱2K budget for going to and out of Puerto Princesa International Airport, it’s actually not a bad idea.

Posted by Clueless Commuter on Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Puerto Princesa is one of the more price friendly alternatives when it comes to reaching El Nido.

El Nido has its own airport, but it costs really pricey. You can read more on how to fly straight to El Nido, but since we’re on a budget trip, lets move on.

Vans from Puerto Princesa to El Nido – ₱450-₱550

Vans travel daily from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, Palawan.

As a backpacker, you can ride straight from a van shuttling from Puerto Princesa International Airport to El Nido Terminal. Vans around the airport’s parking lot offer trips to newly arrived flight passengers. Usually they would charge ₱400-₱500. Find a way to ask for discounts since you’ll still need some spare change for a tricycle ride when you arrive at the El Nido terminal.

Posted by Clueless Commuter on Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Use your negotiating skills to ask for a discount here. Otherwise, it’s the perfect time to develop one.

Lodging at Fan Rooms for 2 – ₱500/night

El Nido accommodations range from just enough to sleep for the night, to the very comfortable.

Food – ₱100/meal

Stay there for a full 4 days and 3 nights, and you’ll be spending 1200 all in. If you plan to eat out, I won’t stop you. I’ll blog about the food in El Nido on a different post.

 

Pick an El Nido Activity

As mentioned above, there’s a million ways to go through this, but lets break it down on how to go about to fit your 7K during this trip.

You can choose any of the activities here to fill in your itinerary. Take note, there’s just a few must try trips when it’s your first time visiting El Nido, Palawan.

Rent a Kayak – ₱500

Alright, so you’re feeling adventurous. Rent a kayak for a whole day and explore the shores of Cadlao Island.

You’ll need a friend here for maximum safety and efficiency. Rowing a two-manned kayak can be tiring for a solo traveler (which I have tried, and will not do it again).

Good morning Philippines! Beyond this beach is Cadlao Island with a few shores of its own. You can reach them by…

Posted by Clueless Commuter on Sunday, 6 May 2018

In Cadlao Island, you can reach the nearest pristine beach where there’s less crowd.

Ask for a discount when renting a kayak. Just across the main town of Bacuit Bay is the Cadlao Island.

As a friendly reminder, wake up and pay for a kayak early, by noon, all kayaks are most probably gone.

Contact for Mon-mon
for Kayat rentals at:
09234922927

Rent a Motorcycle – ₱400/day

It’s time to be confident in riding a motorcyle, It’s one of the most affordable ways to roam around El Nido town. Your alternative would be renting out a tricycle, which may cost more.

A lot of automatic motorcycles are available for rent around El Nido. By renting one, you can easily reach:

Lio Beach – Free

Lio Tourism Estates is an Ayala Land Inc. property. They have set up a high-end commercial strip from Bacuit Bay, El Nido’s main town. You may easily reach it by a motorcycle ride or a tricycle hire.

Posted by Clueless Commuter on Monday, 29 January 2018

Posted by Clueless Commuter on Monday, 29 January 2018

It’s positioned for higher end tourists and, if you’re familiar with Metro Manila, looks like a modern day Greenbelt in the heart of a jungle, beside the beach.

Dalimatan Beach – Free

Still a part of Ayala Land Inc., and a beach just a few steps from Lio Tourism Estates. Dalimatan Beach shares its shores to locals for FREE. It’s one of the best budget places for a quiet chill time on the beach. Also, it’s a great place to watch the sunset.

It’s not as pristine as the island shores in Bacuit Bay, but it’s enough to satisfy your vitamin-sea cravings.

FREE beach shores are all around El Nido, Palawan. These hidden gems are not crowded at all, has a long beach shore and…

Posted by Clueless Commuter on Tuesday, 19 June 2018

You’ll know its Dalimatan Beach when you see the root sculpture near the beach shore.

Visit the Bathaluman in Dalimatan Beach Resort just beside Lio Tourism Estate in El Nido, Palawan.

Posted by Clueless Commuter on Tuesday, 19 June 2018

You’ll need a GPS map to navigate going here.

Las Cabañas – Free

The sunsets here are amazing. It’s one of the few places where the sunset has an unobstructed view. It’s another 15 minute distance motorcycle ride going south from the main town of Bacuit. Tricycles also offer rides for ₱50/head. A few restaurants and bars are also located here.

Taraw Cliff – ₱400

Get a 360 degree view of the Bacuit Bay archipelago.

Posted by Jobe Jeane Lorenzo on Monday, 21 May 2018

Kuyawyaw Falls – ₱150/head + ₱200/tour guide + Environmental Fee

This is a 1 hour and 30 minutes motorcycle trip from Bacuit town proper to the town of Taytay. It’s got seven (7) waterfalls upstream but only three (3) accessible waterfalls to the visiting public. Each waterfall is more majestic and taller than the other ones closer to the entrance.

Being located in Taytay, Palawan, Kuyawyaw waterfalls is actually located near the border of the town of El Nido and Taytay. Taytay is the town south next to El Nido. Here, guests are also required to show their environmental tickets, and pay a per head entrance fee. Also, there’s a mandatory tour guide to accompany you to all three (3) falls.

The waters here were cold but really really beautiful. They are also way majestic than the Nagkalit-kalit falls, which is nearer to town.

The water falls here are just amazing.

Posted by Clueless Commuter on Friday, 22 September 2017

Nagkalit-kalit Falls – 250

It’s another 20 to 25 minute motorcycle ride from the main town of Bacuit. this waterfalls is on the way to Nacpan Beach, El Nido.

Nacpan – ₱1000

Nacpan is a 2 hour motorcycle trip from the main town of Bacuit. It’s one of the most pristine beaches you will find in El Nido. It’s got a long white sand shoreline with crystal blue waters. How about checking this video to see what’s in Nacpan.

Boat Tours in Bacuit Bay – ₱1200

Get ₱200 OFF on boat tours if you tell our partner boat tour in El Nido you got referred by Clueless Commuter. Boat tours travel from mainland El Nido to the Bacuit archipelago. As of writing, they have segmented it into different tours that you can try everyday.

Tour A – ₱1200 (Around 23 USD)

Tour B – ₱1300 (Around 25 USD)

Tour C – ₱1400 (Around  27 USD)

Tour D – ₱1200 (Around  23 USD)

Exchange rate at time of writing: (1 USD = ₱52).

Check out more in depth descriptions on the difference of these tours here.

El Nido to Puerto Princesa Airport – ₱450-₱550

Similar on how you came here in the first place, you’ll need to ride a 4-hour van trip going back to Puerto Princesa International Airport.

Vans offer a direct trip to the airport, you’ll just need to make sure the van you have boarded will be at the airport in time for your flight.

From Puerto Princesa Airport to Homebound

Provided that you have also took a promo ticket going back to your provincial or home destination, it’s time to board the plane and head back.

Home sweet home!

Posted by Clueless Commuter on Saturday, 2 September 2017

Did your 7K budget fit in? Let us know in the comments below!

Boat Tour Services in El Nido, Palawan

Hop on a boat tour when you visit El Nido, Palawan

Hello travelers in and to the Philippines! If you are planning to visit El Nido, Palawan, you’ll definitely need to find a boat tour operator during your stay.

There are other activities in El Nido, Palawan but boat tours is one of the most popular reasons why travelers visit this paradise.

Boat tours are El Nido, Palawan’s bread and butter when it comes to its local economy. This is since the lovely white sandy shores and snorkeling spots in El Nido is made up of separate islands within the area of Bacuit Bay.

What to expect from an El Nido boat tour?

If it’s your first time in El Nido, availing a boat tour service is the way to go. It’s the top activity in Bacuit Bay, El Nido. It’s also the only way for guests to visit the islands around the area.

Usually, a boat is shared depending on the boat’s passenger capacity. Local operators will fill their boats with tourists before starting the tour.

Boat tour inclusions differ. It depends widely on the operators prerogative. Although not all, there’s a few operators who include buffet lunch, towels, drinking water, and snorkeling gears.

With other tourists during your trip, it’s a perfect way to meet new friends while visiting El Nido.

How much is an El Nido boat tour?

El Nido boat tours may seem quite expensive due to the international tourist demand visiting El Nido, Palawan. But you can ask for a discount if you tell them Clueless Commuter referred you to our partner boat tour operator in El Nido.

El Nido has created standardized boat tour packages. Their tour packages are determined as follows:

Tour A – ₱1200 (Around 23 USD)

Tour B – ₱1300 (Around 25 USD)

Tour C – ₱1400 (Around  27 USD)

Tour D – ₱1200 (Around  23 USD)

Exchange rate at time of writing: (1 USD = ₱52).

Possible additional fees during boat tours

Environmental Fee200 – The local government collects a separate environmental fee from guests. This is valid for 10 days and can be shown every time you are asked to pay environmental fees.

Kayak Rentals (Tour A) ₱200 – There are also fees such as kayak rentals especially for Tour A. The Small Lagoon and Big Lagoon offers kayak rentals for an additional ₱200 for 2 (two) people per site destinationYou can choose not to rent a kayak and swim your way inside the lagoons. This option may be tiring as the lagoons are quite big to swim on your own.

What is the difference between El Nido packaged tours?

These tour packages are determined by the proximity of the islands included in the tour.

Tour A is the most popular packaged tour and, at times crowded. Its proximity area is near to the town’s jump off point. This tour also includes El Nido’s iconic Small Lagoon experience.

Tour B is the next proximity of islands visited around Bacuit Bay. This tour is made memorable by its caves and snorkeling sites.

Tour C is the furthest group of islands toured in El Nido, Palawan. Its pristine white sandy shores, quiet beaches and rock formations make it a favorite among the guests.

Tour D isn’t a popular boat trip in El Nido, Palawan, except maybe for Privately rented boat tours. One of the reasons for this is it’s a tour easily reachable by renting a Kayak from the main town. It goes around Cadlao island. It’s the huge mountain island just in front of the town.

I was able to compile Tour A, Tour B, and Tour C videos here.

What about Private Boat Tours?

A more expensive option is available by hiring boats on a Private set-up. With this set-up you have privacy during the tour. You pay a premium to avail this. This works well when you visit as a group especially when you want to maximize your time on tours.

Through Private Boat Tours, you also have the option to only include the best destinations in your itinerary. This works well if you have tried all the boat tours in the past.

Kayak your way through Tour D

Kayak rentals available by the shore cost around ₱500/day for a whole day.

By paddling a kayak, you may already reach some spots in the Tour D itinerary. This is since, the shores of Cadlao Island in front of the main town is reachable by two people through a kayak. This is also the reason why boat tour services for Tour D are offered less.

The main attraction in Tour D is the Ubugnon Cove. It’s a view of limestone cliffs with white sandy beaches surrounding a rock formation.

Be wary though, paddle back  to town early because you don’t want to be battered by the strong current going back to the main town.

Cadlao Island is the iconic mountain just in front of El Nido’s main town. Tourists can reach this by renting a kayak.

What are Combination Tours

A few boat operators have opened an option where tourists get to visit the most popular destinations under Tour A and Tour C.

Some tourists are only visiting for the weekend, so, to maximize their stay, boat operators have started offering this combination tour.

Whatever tour you decide to pick, your first time to visit El Nido will not be the last time.

My boat tour experience in El Nido

I have been to El Nido twice. My first visit lasted for a week in September 2017. My next visit was last January 2018, which lasted for almost a month.

During my stay, El Nido’s Clydenike and Guenkean Travel & Tours helped me go around Bacuit Bay. I was able to visit Tour A, Tour B, and Tour C through their boat tour service.

For Tour D, we only rented a Kayak from the shore and paddled our way to the mountain island of Cadlao just across the main town.

You can contact Clydenike and Guenkean Travel & Tours through:

Adora Ermino
+63 927 162 2059

FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/clydenike/

Website: http://creativemnl.org/clydenike

Not all boat tours in El Nido are created equal

Not all boat tours offer these freebies.

I have tried other boat tour services during one of my trip, but memorable boat trips differentiate the experience I had during my stay in El Nido.

So if you’re thinking of visiting El Nido, Palawan soon, better get yourself geared for a boat tour. Check out the preview videos below of what to expect during your trip.

 

Where to go in Palawan, Philippines

8 Places to drop by when you visit Palawan

This post is being updated from time to time. Our Facebook Page is regularly updated so check out Clueless Commuter’s Facebook as well.

Just this September 2017, I came back to Palawan, where I spent my elementary days in the hot sun. Back then, I was engrossed in going to school, playing by the beach, and getting taller every single day.

During my childhood, Palawan was already a paradise to be discovered.

Now that tourism has boomed in the Philippines, Palawan has become a sought after destination. It has also experienced tremendous economic growth– even claiming that it’s the No. 1 island in the world.

Palawan is a dear familiar place to me. It’s city, I walked when I was still in elementary. So after 13 long years, I was able to go back to my hometown and visit places I did not know existed. Here’s my humble list I hope you will enjoy.

1. El Nido, Palawan

Since this post is more on the places to go to when you visit Palawan, El Nido has to be on the list. It’s one of the top tourist destinations worldwide. I say, it should definitely be.

With El Nido, Palawan, no amount of photos can equate to experiencing it firsthand.

The tour provider I hopped into was gracious enough to extend their discounts to those who I will refer (:

Please feel free to use the promo discount below if you’ll ever visit El Nido.

 

El Nido DIY Tours Promo Discount

Tours A B C D Promo code discount in El Nido. DIY promos as low as 800.

2. Underground River

Underground River in Palawan

A rock formation depicting a banana blossom (puso ng saging) inside Underground Subtarranean River in Palawan.

The Underground Subtarranean River in Palawan has made it to UNESCO’s Top 7 Natural Wonders of Nature.

This has become one of the primary reasons why foreign tourists have started flocking to Palawan even before Filipinos have visited it themselves.

The trip inside is an adventure.You get to traverse the dark with surprising rock formations along the tourist’s 2km safe zone. The remaining  Your tour guides only have a lone LED lamp that they point at featured rock formations. Other than this, there was

The bats were hospital. They simply let the guests visit them, although flash photography has to be discouraged as a guest courtesy.

Tourists at Underground River.

Tourists gaze at rock formations while inside The Underground River in Palawan.

3. Iwahig Stargazing and Firefly Watching

It came as a surprise, but my elementary classmate’s mom brought us to Iwahig where we were able to stargaze and watch fireflies. If you are interested in visiting the place, I suggest you ask help from your travel provider since it’s a few miles from from the city, of which you can only enjoy at night.

Iwahig-firefly-watching

Aim for a romantic Iwahig Firefly getaway when you visit Palawan.

For a Manileño like me, I seldom get to see the night sky so bright and glimmering.

I even got to see the milky way! I thought they were clouds clouding the starry view, to my dismay, they weren’t moving. Sadly, my skills for capturing milky ways aren’t just there yet.

4. Baker’s Hill

What more can I say, Baker’s Hill is a local lover’s park within Puerto Princesa City. It’s a tricycle away from the city center. Locals would once in a while drop a visit. As my local friend mentioned, “There’s always something new being added here.”

 

Still, if you’re a tourist, you’ll definitely go there for their food, some photos, and a way to snag some pastries and goodies before your trip home.

5. Robinson’s Palawan

Due to Puerto Princesa being just a small city, Robinson’s strategic location will make you drop by before going to El Nido, Underground River, or San Vicente. Here’s where you can drop by when you forgot bringing your sunscreen, or a flipflop, or just some snacks along the way.

By this time, there’s now two mega shopping centers competing for the local market in Puerto Princesa. The other one, which is SM Puerto Princesa, has opened more recently.

6. Port Barton

Port Barton has become one of the buzz words in Palawan lately. I haven’t personally visited it, yet. But I heard it houses majestic views, island hopping tours (just like El Nido) and a laid back island life.

Its tourist population isn’t as renowned yet, so, it’s perfect for visitors who are still on the look out for an unpopulated Palawan destination.

7. San Vicente Long Beach

Like Port Barton, San Vicente long beach has become a recent buzzword in Palawan. Local developers have also started eyeing on this 8-mile long white sandy shore. At the moment, there’s almost no establishments here, only a deserted pristine shore of aquamarine shore.

 

8. Honda Bay Island Hopping

If you’re on a quick visit to Puerto Princesa City, add Honda Bay to your itinerary list. It’s the best choice you have if you’re short on time during your stay.

It’s a 15 minute tricycle ride from the airport. You get to spend the day on an island hopping trip on the islands in Puerto Princesa. White sandy beaches and marine life are in store. They have available packages that include lunch.

Tien Ma’s at Makati Avenue

Tien Ma’s: Great Taiwanese food at Makati Avenue.

Tien Ma’s serves the usual Chinese oriental cuisine we love and know with quality more than what you pay for. It’s good, and the Xiao Long Bao experience was something that made us come back.

The restaurant is located across Union Bank, beside Angel’s Pizza. Just around Next Door North Park’s vicinity.

Tien Ma's opens its branch along Makati Avenue.

Tien Ma’s opens its branch along Makati Avenue.

We gambled on trying Tien Ma’s for the first time. We were usually North Park and Next Door North Park regulars but their quality and service have dropped through our visits. And Tien Ma’s: It did not disappoint. It’s a place worth going back to again.

More than dimsum and dumplings, they offer a fair variety of savoury oriental choices. So far we haven’t tried any rice meals yet.

So what’s our favourite at Tien Ma’s?

Tien Ma's Xiao Long Bao

Tien Ma’s Xiao Long Bao explodes inside your mouth.

Tien Ma’s Xiao Long Bao

Order their Xiao Long Bao. This dumpling is infused with pork broth soup inside. You have to eat it while it’s hot, otherwise you’re missing out the experience of the soup exploding inside your mouth. Also, don’t let it sit long, otherwise the soup gets absorbed by the flour.

It’s hot, be careful, but the infusing bite is worth the experience.

Tien Ma’s Xiao Long Bao comes in three flavors:

Mixed Xiao Long Bao

With the Mixed variant, you can try all of Tien Ma’s Xiao Long Bao variants.

Original – 8 pcs.; Php200; The most value for your buck.

Cheese – 8 pcs; Php240; We haven’t tried it personally, but our friends loved it and said it tasted great. So, we’re definitely going back for the cheese Xiao Long Bao.

Black Mushroom – 8 pcs; Php240; We didn’t taste much difference between the original and this variant. The mushroom bits were too tiny to infuse as strongly as the broth.

Mixed – 3pcs Cheese; 3pcs Black Mushroom; 2pcs Original; Php240

Oriental Offerings

More than dumplings, their Taiwanese offerings also include rice bowls, rice toppings, and savoury oriental recipes.

Their Three Cup Chicken caught my attention, but we haven’t tried it yet. That’s next on my to try list.

We have to go back to try them all.

No service charge

Since their fairly new on the Makati Avenue strip, I’m not sure if their price and no service charge policy will stay for long. As we have mentioned, their current quality is really good. We hope that it retains since right now, their really fairly new.

They have other branches across Manila, but bringing it near our Makati vicinity opens a new pool of regular customers. Not to mention, Makati Avenue is a nightlife strip where foreigners frequent.

Tien Ma's Makati Avenue branch.

Tien Ma’s Makati Avenue branch.

Operating Hours

Makati Avenue Branch is open from 8AM-2AM. They seem like they’re picking up popularity as the place usually gets 70% full.

We’ll definitely be back. This one’s for sure.

Izakaya Hideyoshi: Japanese food in Makati Avenue

Their choices are very decent and a bang for the buck.

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If you’re craving for some Japanese food around Makati Avenue, check out Izakaya  Hideyoshi just across A-Venue Mall. It’s a good go-to place and I’d highly recommend around the Makati Avenue.

I’d say that Izakaya Hideyoshi is at a middle price range. There’s very few of them that rings a bell along the strip. More so, there’s fewer that offers quality Japanese for their price range around the vicinity.

8 pcs Gyoza at P180

For example, their gyoza set costs P180 as of my writing. They use flour on their mix. It’s not as juicy and scrumptious as Mendokoro‘s gyozas, still tasty. But maaaan? 8 pieces at P180? You have got to be kidding me.

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Katsudon at P280

We also ordered a Katsudon set. Their Katsudon costs Continue reading

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