El Nido in a nutshell

Nov 17: Every day here gets better and better. Today we hired 2 motor tricycles to take us to Nacpan beach about 30 mins away. We had to drive on a windy dirt road with potholes and rickety log bridges to get there and my hand was completely cramped from holding the railing so tight. These tricycles are so sketchy, we bottomed out twice and the one that Paige and Bry were in got stuck in the mud and they had to get out and push it. It was scary and hysterical at the same time. Nacpan itself is absolutely breathtaking. Crystal blue water and fluffy white sand. Again, I can't believe how deserted these beaches are! We played in the waves for a few hours, ate a little lunch at a beach shack and then jumped back in the metal cages on wheels. Our drivers dropped us off at an inconspicuous hut on the side of the road and an adorable adolescent Filipino girl offered to guide us on our hike to the waterfall. We trekked through the jungle for about 25 minutes before coming to the waterfall. There were a few locals there but they quickly cleared out once we arrived. We jumped in and swam around, the water was cold and refreshing compared to the ocean. I could've relaxed there for hours but we wanted to see the sunset so we took off early. I went back to the rasta restaurant for some reggae and a veggie salad for dinner. It isn't very vegetarian friendly around here so my diet has been consisting mainly of rice or a raw veggie salad. Not very exciting but still delicious and I'm not complaining.

Nov 18: For our last day in El Nido we rented a chartered boat with 5 other people from the hostel and did our own island hopping tour. The first stop was Secret Beach and we had to swim through a small opening in a rock to reach it. The tide was so strong that you had to wait to be pulled out and then ride the wave through the opening before it sucked you back. The second island we hit had the best snorkeling we've done so far. Bright blue starfish, sea anemones, clown fish, etc. Rei and B saw a shark while I was laying on the beach and that made the rest of the day a little scarier, especially when the next island required a solid 15 minute swim through dark blue water to get to a raft. The raft was made of rickety old wood that you could feel bending beneath you. We all jumped back into the water one by one to start our swim back and one of the French girls decided she wanted a running start. Her foot broke through the wood but luckily her weight was already forward and she made it into the water. Had she been hurt I would've felt bad but it was absolutely hysterical. After hours of snorkeling, BBQing, and swimming, we made our way to the final island, completely deserted and the perfect spot for watching the sunset. I had so many moments today where I had to stop myself and look around. I'm getting so used to the scenery in Southeast Asia that I have to remind myself to pause and breathe in the beauty of my surroundings. I try to soak it all in because I know there will come a day when it's just a beautiful memory.

Up early tomorrow to head to Coron, an island famous for its wrecks. We're taking a 7 hour ferry to get there and I could not be dreading it more. I hope they sell some sort of horse tranquilizer on board or else I'm not sure how I'm gonna get through it without getting sick. Coron better be worth it! On the agenda: scuba diving, beach days, and bungee jumping (Mom- don't freak out)

Molly Rose