El Nido Resorts’ Apulit Island is located approximately 45 minutes off the coast of Palawan in the Philippines. The first thing you’ll notice in the distance as you approach the island is the mountain rising up out of Taytay bay. It is covered in dense tropical flora and surrounded by crystal clear blue waters and slightly resembles a cat lounging. The island and surrounding waters are teeming with fish, sea creatures, and beautifully strange animals, such as the mouse deer. You should have no trouble spotting these due to El Nido’s extensive conservation efforts.
Getting To El Nido
Your first contact with El Nido is at the airport in Manila, Philippines in their private hanger. Once you make it through the check in process, you’re shown to the air-conditioned waiting area for tea, lunch, and snacks. As you walk around the room you’ll see name cards on the tables of each of the seating areas. It’s personal touches like this that will be part of your experience throughout your entire stay. If you’re visiting the Philippines during the summer months, keep in mind that this is their rainy season and there might be a fair amount rain at times. This may mean spending a little more time in the lounge munching on biscuits and coffee until the pilots give the all clear to board and fly over to Palawan Province, where the El Nido Resort is located. The flight from Manila is only about an hour, so you’ll just have time for a short nap before you land. Colorful, windowless vintage metal buses that have been repurposed and painted with sea themes zip over to the runway to retrieve newly arrived guests. The ride to the small open-air terminal is short, less than 5 minutes. Local dancers and musicians greet guests as they make their way from the buses to the lounge to await the next leg of the journey to their respective El Nido resorts. The next two legs of the journey to Apulit Island will allow you to see a bit of Palawan over land and then water. This may be a little cliche, but truly one of the best parts of getting to this destination is the journey.
Staying at El Nido
Your view from the balangay that takes you across Taytay Bay to Apulit Island is a special one. Seeing the mountain for the first time, as it resembles a cat that is sitting with its legs tucked underneath its body, is unique. Just like arriving at the airport, you’re greeted by the staff of the island with music and song, welcoming you to you resort. Each guest cabin is assigned a staff member that will help during the course of your stay to book excursions, massages, and answer any questions you may have. Fueled by a desire to have as little impact as possible on the island itself, each cabin has its own view of the bay and sits out over the water on wooden stilts. Local wood is used for the furniture, flooring, and ceilings providing a rich warm contrast to the crisp white bed linens and flowy sheer curtains that dance in the slightest breeze. All of the windows and the sliding glass doors leading to the balcony open up to let the breeze in.
El Nido resorts provide an all inclusive experience that is relaxing, adventurous, and fun. You can do everything or do nothing. Sailing a boat, repelling down the side of the cliffs that overlook the island, exploring the caves nearby the island, or spending some time on your own deserted island…there are so many ways to explore the surrounding area. All of this is done with a conscious effort to have the least impact on the environment and to help preserve the delicate ecosystems and protect the wildlife.
Enjoying the local food
Fresh seafood, fresh fruit, and vegetables are something that you’d expect to find at an island resort. What you wouldn’t necessarily expect is for some of that food to be grown by the resort. The commitment to sustainability shows in the quality and care of the food that’s prepared at the resort. Whether you’re eating in the main dining hall or at a beachside lunch escape, the food will be prepared to perfection.
Preserving the beauty
Some resorts throw around the term “eco-resort” as a marketing tool to attract visitors to their properties. It’s not a term that should only refer to the materials that are used build the spaces, but it should encompass the social, environmental, and economic aspects of sustainability. El Nido Resorts’ Apulit Island embodies this philosophy and not only provides an exceptionally relaxing experience for visitors, but it also provides an opportunity for its employees to earn fair wages while caring for the environment.