The world's best beach (El Nido, Philippines)

On Wednesday 23rd November we arrived back in El Nido to our accommodation, Lualhati Garden Cottages. Our first afternoon/evening back we went to our favourite pizza place for dinner, this time ordering pasta instead which was equally as good. We had a wander round the town and asked at a tourist place about booking a minibus back to Puerto Princesa. We had to decide if we could get to Puerto Princesa and catch a flight back to Manila all in one day in order to catch our flight to Japan, or whether it was easier to stay one night in Puerto Princesa or Manila. We learnt that the minibuses leave every half an hour from El Nido to Puerto Princesa, take roughly 5 hours and they drop you off at the airport. So we knew that if we left El Nido early in the morning, we would have time to catch an evening flight to Manila before our flight to Osaka, Japan at midnight.

The next day we rented a moped from the rental shop next door to Lualhati and drove to Nacpan beach which is said to be the most beautiful beach in the world. The drive is a little tricky as most of it is a dirt track road with lots of large stones and big holes in the ground. If you're new to driving a ped, we would recommend getting a tricycle there, although we have no idea how much that would cost. The beach was lovely but we personally prefer Las Cabanas beach. The sand was uber soft at Nacpan, but the sea was pretty murky and it was quite busy. We actually didn't think that much of it that we forgot to take any pictures! There are only two places to eat on this beach, which is good because it means that it's nice and rural. However, when everyone on the beach gets hungry, these restaurants fill up quickly and it becomes very busy. Don't do what we did and wait until you are pretty hungry to go up and order. We waited over an hour, probably an hour and a half, for garlic crab, two lots of rice, fried chicken and chips. We wish we could tell you it was all worth it but sadly it was not. The fried chicken was dry and hardly any meat on it, one portion of rice didn't come out, and the crab just didn't live up to expectations of fresh juicy shellfish. AND it cost us nearly £10! Most meals in the Philippines cost us about £10 for both of us, and that normally only included one bottle of water and no other drinks. If you're familiar with South East Asia, you'll know that £10 for two people to eat is an absolute rip off. That evening we had a delicious dinner in a newly opened Greek restaurant called Cafe Athena. The food was so so tasty - one of the tastiest meals we had in the Philippines. (Sadly they are not known for their delicious cuisine like Thailand, Malaysia or Vietnam are). Because they messed up our order and forgot to give us our starter, they offered us complimentary homemade cookies and cream ice cream. It was absolutely delicious and topped off a very good meal. We also bumped into two Aussie girls that we had met in Boracay at MNL Boutique hostel which was nice.

The following day the weather was pretty bad, raining on and off all day. Which would have been fine if the wifi worked and we could watch Netflix or something in our room. But the wifi in the Philippines is poor at the best of times, and of course when it rains it is even worse. So we had a pretty lazy morning, then went for a walk along the main beach before going to an Italian called Mezzanine for lunch which was offering all you can eat pasta for about 120,000 pesos each. Naturally we ordered three pasta dishes each (we like to eat!) and stuffed ourselves as there wasn’t much else to do when it rained. That evening we tried another Greek restaurant the two Aussie girls recommended (unfortunately we can’t remember the name but it was right on the beach to the left of SAVA Beach Bar) which did equally good food but for 20,000-30,000 pesos less.

On our last full day in the Philippines the weather was much better so we spent it chilling on Las Cabanas beach where we again bumped into the two Aussie girls. It was nice to have one more day relaxing in the sun before we headed off to chilly Japan.

The next day we were up bright an early to get the 9:30am minibus to Puerto Princesa, to then get a flight at 4:30pm to Manila, to then get our flight to Osaka, Japan. Big travel days like this are never easy, and your body goes into automatic shutdown where everything feels like so much effort and you just can’t be bothered. The minibus journey was not great - very windy, hilly roads and one guy even got travel sick during the journey which made it even less pleasant. We were happy when we arrived at Puerto Princesa airport though as airports are the only place in the Philippines which has excellent wifi, so we spent the wait catching up with friends and family on Facebook and checking emails etc. Then we were off on our hour plane journey to Manila, to wait for a few hours before getting on our flight to Osaka.