EL NIDO: That six-hour ride from Puerto Princesa


Two hours into the arduous 6-hour trip and already my back ached from choosing the worst seat in the shuttle.

Two hours ago, I was taking photos of butterflies and Marilyn Monroe in plastic and now I’m stuck in a moving vehicle, beside a Kopiko-munching driver and SZ snoozing beside me.

I’ve always wanted to sit on the passenger side of a car, but never in the middle  – where back support is the worst, where the driver can always “accidentally” brush his hand against your leg, where the only option for a sleeping position is sitting upright (or on the shoulders of either kuya the driver or SZ.)

The leg space was so awkward that during the “rough road” moments, I would always unconsciously turn off the airconditioner with my knees. To this, SZ would spend the rest of the trip holding my uncontrollable knees to keep me from creating thermostat havoc.

We opted riding the bus for adventure, but this was not a simple “vacation” trip. We had to take pre-nup photos for my beloved high school friend APL and her beloved fiancé DRW. We knew taking the bus would kill our chance at shooting mid-afternoon so we had to take the best option: shuttle. We paid P600 for that.

With us were four foreigners: one American couple and one pair of Korean girl friends. I wasn’t in the mood to chitchat anyone. I guess there will always be a time when you’ll just lose it and just enjoy travelling without meeting any new people.

 There’s a pit stop at Fort Wally to eat.

There’s also a check point to make sure you don’t bring mangoes from the south into El Nido.


The last two hours of the trip will tell you you’re nearing El Nido already. The road wasn’t paved and after thirty minutes, I had to check if we’d already landed on the moon. I don’t mind roughing it. I just didn’t like my seat.

Finally, after almost 6 hours of involuntary dancing, I and the rest of the gang reached El Nido. The blue waters greeted us then the limestone rocks came into view. We were booked at a resort along the beach and the driver volunteered dropping us off there instead of stopping at the shuttle station.

The Korean girls clearly had no plans so they went with us and booked any available room our hotel had.

We arrived there at 3 P.M. just in time for my afternoon prayer. SZ rested and I had a Skype chat with my officemates. Vacation is never the same without thoughts of work. We planned our Office Bible Study time and I prepared.

Then I felt the twinge of exhaustion and slept on my makeshift bed myself. One hour later, the couple arrived.

And we never got to commence the shoot that afternoon.

But we had our Office Bible Study (Big Group).


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