When nature opens its horizons, let your hair down and set your spirit free. When in El Nido, bask in the sun and glide across the sea. When you’ve been bitten by the wanderlust bug, you just keep itching for more. And even when it’s over, you’ve always got one foot in reality and another foot out the door. Follow me to the Philippine paradise that is El Nido Miniloc Island.
It had been a rainy couple of days when we arrived in the Philippines, so it was a blessing to get sunshine long enough to enjoy our tropical holiday. Till that one fine day in April, El Nido for us had been but an misty-eyed dream, having had it on our bucket list for a while, but due to certain circumstances we had not been able to check it off. Finally, there we were at El Nido Resports in Palawan, our home for the next few days. Arriving at your destination doesn’t mean your journey has come to an end, it is the cognisance that your adventure has only just begun.
El Nido, a protected sanctuary in the province of Palawan, takes pride in its conservation of nature. With its towering marble cliffs crawling with green foliage, spectacular coral reefs and white sandy beaches, it is a magical paradise where escapism is one of the most natural things to do. Miniloc Island is glorified for its Small and Big Lagoons with waters clear as crystal, that you can watch the schools of fish meander along beneath you as if you’re floating across a gigantic nature-made aquarium.
It takes courage to do something for the first time, and with bated breath I clumsily boarded the kayak, nodded my head to acknowledge that “Yes, I’m sure, I’ll do this on my own”, sans a life jacket. And because I can’t really swim, that was a huge leap of faith. Taking it one stroke at a time, with an unexpected boost of adrenaline, and my heart beating like a big bass drum, I kayaked for 30 minutes through the small lagoon which can only be accessed by this means of transport due its narrow entrance.
Miniloc Island is also home to many secret caves that can be accessed by foot. If you don’t want to accidentally slip, you better watch your step and hold on tight while manoeuvring through this wonder of nature, but it’s a risk you’ll be willing to take. Batman’s clan creeped the hell out of me though!
From kayaking to exploring limestone caves, we went island hopping onboard the Zaragoza. We docked at the Snake Island, a long and winding stretch of sand, hence the name, that is waist deep (for me, that is) in water, with a bamboo floating sandbar where you can grab a drink or three.
Sunburnt but happy, taking a stroll around the island surrounded by lush gardens and clean tropical air was just what the doctor ordered. ☀️ Despite my aching muscles from the day’s water activities, granted my biggest form of exercise is hauling 5-6 bags of groceries in my hand, and getting royally tanned to the point that my skin looks rather roasted, I was still on a holiday high!
Take me back to mornings like this. Kayaking at sunrise beneath the water cottages, the ocean like glass, so pellucid you can see right through. Ahhh…bliss!
Ain’t it funny how holidays are meant to make you feel relaxed, but you have so much fun while you’re at it that you arrive home thoroughly exhausted? Oh the irony! The answer to that: always end a getaway with a rejuvenating massage.
If only we had the power to stop time or at the very least slow the motion, then we’d have the luxury to be in paradise for a little longer, and take an extra millisecond for every second just to linger.
I cannot erase the memory of this glorious afternoon from my head. I sat at the edge of the dock admiring the cotton candy clouds passing by, slow and steady like a pilgrimage. I took deep satisfying breaths, inhaling the salty sea breeze and feeling the light spray of water leave butterfly kisses on my skin. I will forever live that moment if only in the crevices of my mind.
I’m a reflection of the clouds and the clear blue sky. I’m lost in a utopia from whence I never want to be found. Goodbye to the beauty that thrives above and beyond the still waters. Farewell to the island that stole my heart and fed my soul. Till we meet again, thank you El Nido Resorts, you took my breath away!