After two years traveling around the world, I finally found the Paradise! And of course, it’s in The Philippines! Before I give you all the information and tips on how to travel to Pangulasian Island, there are two things you need to know: paradise is not easy to reach, but in El Nido it comes with an eco-luxury tag!
I spent 3 days in Pangulasian Island and it was enough to witness the beauty of Palawan and fall in love with El Nido region. The giant rock formations floating on the deep blue sea, limestone cliffs covered in lush green forest, and the pristine beaches are enchanting.
Pangulasian Island is getting famous among nature and beach lovers, but the truth is that the whole area is a new [and one of the best] travel destination in The Philippines. El Nido was discovered in 1979 after a boat accident during night time. The boat engine failed and the fisherman had to anchor in one of the islets of Bacuit Bay, in the following morning they were surprised by amazing scenery of El Nido. That’s how paradise was found, and now we are lucky enough to be able to travel there.
When our boat approached the island my thought was: I’m in Paradise! Pangulasian is a small islet blessed with white sand beach, crystal clear water and palm trees. Since 1998 it’s part of a managed resource protected area, what means that we can visit it, but we have to preserve and protect it.
Pangalusian is known as “Island of the sun”, from its 750 meters of white sand beach you can enjoy the sunrise and sunset, a privileged spot for those who want to see the best of Palawan. And it’s not only the location of the island that is superb, the marine sanctuary is right on your doorstep.
There is only one hotel in Pangulasian Island and it’s the best place to stay in Palawan, Philippines! El Nido Resorts Pangulasian Island goes beyond your expectations, they are not only responsible for your accommodation and food, the hotel team will look after all your activities, things to do in El Nido, transfers and much more. A luxury experience in paradise!
Unmissable things to do in El Nido and Pangulasian Island
Pangulasian Island is gorgeous, but it’s only a small fraction of paradise! I wish I could stay there forever, but the resort concierge convinced me to leave the private island and discover the other hidden gems in Bacuit Bay.
To explore the best of El Nido you need to be on a boat. Be prepared to sail the whole day and find hidden caves, secluded beaches, perfect snorkeling spots and watch an unforgettable sunset. Here is a list of the activities and things to do in El Nido, all of them tested and approved by moi!
» Lagoon Tour in El Nido
Early in the morning catch a traditional Filipino boat and visit the lagoons. The blue water trapped between the giant rocks look like a mirror reflecting the sky. The warm water is full of colored fishes and corals, the green forest around the lagoons remind me of the Jurassic Park movie.
» Kayaking in the small Lagoons
Some of the lagoons can’t be reached by boat, you will need to paddle your kayak and pass underneath the rocks to visit the small lagoons. I’m not a kayak expert, and in a few moments, I struggled to pass through the tiny rock gates, but totally worth it!
The Lagoon tour and the Kayak tour can be done on the same day, morning or afternoon. This is not the best place to swimming, so keep your mermaid moves to the next activity in El Nido.
» El Nido Island Hopping:
The boat will sail around the Bacuit Bay passing by small islands, caves, tiny beaches… One place more beautiful than the other! Prepare your camera and your swimming suit, the boat will stop by Snake Island for a cooling dip on the sandbar beach and a pleasant walk to the view point. It’s hard to say what I enjoyed the most: the wind on my face, the sun or the ice-tea served on board. The island hopping is a perfect example of a luxury activity in El Nido.
» Snorkeling & Diving in El Nido
El Nido is a protected area, and the marine life is outstanding. There are several spots for snorkeling or diving, depending on your experience the guide will lead you to a different beach or island. One thing you can be sure, the water is transparent and you will be amazed by the corals and fishes.
» Swimming with Sharks in Pangulasian
This was my second experience with black tip sharks. The first time I swam with them was in Langkawi, Malaysia. But there they were baby sharks, in El Nido they were big ones. At 6:30am I met my guide on the resort beach and on a small boat we went to a natural reef off Pangulasian island. He gave us some instructions [not to swim towards or after the sharks, not step in corals…] and we jumped in the water.
The corals were beautiful and many huge fishes hiding under the rocks. Our guide called us to see the first shark of the expedition, a big one. We stayed still, and suddenly more of them start to come and swimming in front of us. I was in ecstasy, amazed by their fast moves and all that untouched nature around me. The morning was perfect, when I left the water a rainbow appeared in the sky to surprise us.
» Try Local & Fresh Seafood at Entalula Island, Palawan
All the swimming, snorkelling and kayaking will make you hungry. One of the top things to do in Palawan is to try the local food. Forget about beef, chicken or pork, the real deal is the fresh seafood.
One of the best meals I have on the trip to El Nido Palawan was at Entalula Island. A palm fringed beach that is part of El Nido Resorts and where they have a beach bungalow restaurant. Delicious food served in a paradise beach, the tables are literally on the sand, and after lunch you can relax, swim or explore the islands by foot.
El Nido Resort has 4 hotels in Palawan, you can stay in Pangulasian Island and enjoy the amenities and restaurants of the other properties.While sailing around El Nido you can stop for lunch at the other resorts, rest and keep sailing.
» Sunset Cruise in El Nido
The days in paradise end in a special way! The sunsets in The Philippines are the most beautiful sunsets in the world. The natural spectacles we saw in Boracay and Bohol Island were heard to beat, but Palawan didn’t disappoint me. Even after a cloudy afternoon, the sun appeared on the horizon to wave us goodbye. Another amazing day in El Nido came to an end.
The sunset cruise is perfect for couples and honeymooners. Believe or not, I was alone there. I traveled to Palawan without Rob, and I had to enjoy the sunset and a glass of sparkling wine all by myself. Hard life! 🙂
» Candlelight dinner at Pangulasian Beach
If you want to keep the romantic mood on, ask the hotel concierge to organize a candlelight dinner by the beach.
» Sunbath in El Nido
The Pangulasian beach is perfect for sunbathing, you can stay endless hours sitting by the beach, listening to the birds and the hypnotic sound of the waves crashing on the sand. There are many beaches in El Nido, you can choose the perfect one and spend the whole day under the sun.
In front of your bungalow you will find two chairs, an umbrella, and a kayak. If you feel more adventurous ask the hotel staff to bring a stand up paddle board and go for a ride around the island.
» Enjoy a Relaxing Spa Session
I didn’t have time to enjoy a massage or a spa session, but two of my friends did an in-room spa session and love it! They booked a body scrub followed by an oil massage, all done inside the room, so they could relax, have a nice shower after it and go straight to bed. On the other morning, they were glowing of happiness, what made me regret of not joining the massage extravaganza.
Those are the activities and things to do in El Nido that I tried and recommend. You can also do rock climbing and sail your own Hobie Cat while staying at El Nido Resorts in Pangulasian Island. How awesome is that?!
My trip to El Nido was packed with fun, relaxation and memorable experiences. All the activities were organized and lead by the hotel staff, people from Palawan that know the region, who are passionate about their land and how to protect it.
El Nido Resorts Pangulasian Island » Eco-Luxury in The Philippines
The Pangulasian Island resort is luxurious, with lovely and helpful staff. The property is beautiful, a mix of Filipino design and modern decor. The resort environmental policies are outstanding. From ecologic bathroom amenities to the no plastic bottle rule, everything is organized to protect the nature and you feel good to follow the recommendations.
The 42 deluxe rooms are facing the beach, you can stay literally on the sand or choose one of the bungalows that are hanging on the cliff and have the best view ever. One thing is sure, your neighbours will be hornbill birds, monitor lizards, and monkeys. As the hotel manager told me, “we are the guest at Pangulasian Island. The real residents are the animals here, and we should respect and protect them”. Said that, we are not allowed to feed the monkeys, touch the lizards, or even take plants and shells from outside the island.
All the rooms have the same features, the only difference is the position on the island, and some of them have a private pool. I stayed at the bungalow number 14, right on the beach. From my front door I could smell the sea, watch the sunrise and relax. The room was huge, seriously, enormous… High ceiling, beach luxury decor, king size bed, sitting area and my own espresso machine. The bathroom was almost a second room, so big that I could have a party there… So bad that I was alone, that beautiful room screams for a romantic stay.
Tea, cookies and fruits were served daily. Every night, before bedtime, I was surprised with a sweet snack and letter from the hotel explaining our next day activities and how I should be prepared for it.
If you are travelling with friends or family you can rent the Kalaw Villa, it’s a complex with four bungalows, plus a private swimming pool and a dining/leisure area shared in the middle of the bungalows. Our group had a dinner at the Kalaw Villa and I can tell you the place is gorgeous.
Let’s talk about food! At Pangulasian Island you can be sure the food will be good. The luxury tag goes for the kitchen too, a mix of international cuisine and Filipino traditional dishes. A fusion of flavours that you can savory from the breakfast served in the main restaurant facing the beach, to the lovely snacks and dinner served by the pool. And don’t forget to visit the other El Nido Resorts properties and try their food specialties. I had lunch at the Miniloc and Lagen Island, both of them delicious.
How to get to Pangulasian Island, El Nido
Palawan is located on the west part of The Philippines and it’s not easy to reach, but trust me, all the flights and boat rides are worth it. There two ways to get to El Nido, one faster, and the other one a bit longer. You can choose the option that suits your schedule and pocket.
» Flying to El Nido + Boat to Pangulasian Island:
Frist of all you need to arrive in Manila. The Philippines’ capital is served by many international connections, so it won’t be a problem to reach this stunning country. Second part of the adventure is to fly from Manila to El Nido airport, a tiny tropical runaway that is served by AirSwift.
You can book your flight directly on AirSwift website. The flight departures from Manila Domestic Airport Terminal 4, at 6:30am, 11am and 2pm. It takes only 55 minutes to arrive in El Nido, be prepared to fly in a small aircraft with 50 seats. The luggage allowance can be 10kg or 20kg, depending on the type of ticket you purchase, plus 1 carry-on bag of 7 kg.
When you arrive in El Nido Airport (LIO) you will be greeted by the resort staff and will be asked to wait for the luggage clearance. In a few minutes a traditional Filipino Jeepney (a kind of a bus) will drive you to the pier so you can catch the private boat to Pangulasian Island. Super easy and fast.
The boat ride to El Nido Pangulasian Resort takes from 30 to 45 minutes depending on the weather. Here is the boat schedule:
- From El Nido Airport to Pangulasian Island: 8 am, 12:45pm and 3:45pm
- From Pangulasian Island to El Nido Airport: 6am, 2pm and 3 pm.
» Flying to Puerto Princesa + Road Trip to El Nido + Boat to Pangulasian Island
You can check the best flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa – Palawan at Skyscanner. Then you have to catch a bus or van to El Nido, about 6 hours journey. Outside of Puerto Princesa airport, you will find several companies offering the shuttle service, be prepared for a long road trip.
From El Nido you need to get a boat to Pangulasian Island, contact the El Nido Resorts to figure out the best time for your pickup.
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Have I convinced you to travel to Pangulasian Island in El Nido, Philippines? I hope so!! The island is a truly paradise and the eco-luxury resort is everything you need for the ultimate beach holiday. So don’t waste time, check your agenda, book a flight and room, Pangulasian Island and Palawan are waiting for you!!
PS: I huge thanks to TBEX and TPB Philippines for inviting me to paradise! As usual, doesn’t matter who pays the bill, you get my true opinion about the place and experience. Now I’m dying to go back to El Nido and Pangulasian Island, but next time I will take Rob with me!