I loved my time in Palawan, and I stayed here and returned despite how difficult it was to get to El Nido. My time in the region was filled with new friends and funny stories, with crazy motorbike rides, and cargo ferries that freaked me the hell out.
I will miss many things about my time in Palawan’s El Nido.
And not just the views.
1. Mangos, as many times a day as possible.
2. The kids yelling balut (sounding more like “Bah-luuuuuuut!”) as the sun sets into the sea, and watching everyone run out to buy some.
3. The El Nido air siren at night.
4. Bartender Boyet’s delicious buko (coconut) shakes.
5. The children screaming and waving hello every time I leave the house.
6. Chloe, the neighbour’s dog, and her very specific howl when she gets upset about anything and everything.
7. RenRen, the assistant chef, asking me if I have “a sick”.
8. The insanity of the local disco – take away the ladyboys, prostitutes and 16 year old boys and you’d be left with….us tourists.
9. The reggae bands playing at Balay Tubay, the local (and only) live music bar.
11. The lovely Lanie’s swearing – the polite way: “jesusmaryjoseph!”
12. Fresh squid at a great price.
13. The head chef Inting’s spicy, delicious banana heart curry.
14. The Lobster Lady’s live, cheap lobsters.
15. Yummy Angel Burger’s egg & ham sandwiches – for under a dollar.
16. Finding all of the neighbour’s animals asleep under my bed. Not exaggerating, either.
17. Marber’s restaurant, specifically their grilled squid and french fries.
18. The view of the Bacuit Bay.
19. Eating meals with The Alternative staff.
20. Kei yelling “CHICHA!”
21. Looking out for the cargo ferry on Friday nights.
22. Never knowing just when it is going to rain, and then inevitably getting caught in the middle of the downpour, soaking wet.
23. Chocolate cookies from Midtown Bakery.
24. Pan de coco from Midtown Bakery.
25. Ok, ANYTHING from Midtown Bakery.
26. Marathon games of Uno as the rain pounded the water outside.
27. Cloud 9 bars!
28. Becky’s wonderful laugh.
29. Banana-Q: small plantains fried in sugar and coated in sesame seeds. Delicious and not nutritious.
30. Alexa’s ferocious hugs.
31. The dark outline of the eerie cliffs at night.
32. Lying in the wooden ‘nests’ at The Alternative and looking up at the stars.
33. The high pitched, distinctive “Sa’an Alexa?” (“Where’s Alexa”) from the neighbour’s little girl at 6am. She had a voice that could shatter glass.
34. Afternoon swims in the Bacuit Bay
35. Island hopping as part of my job.
36. Rice, lobster, crab and fish for breakfast – because it’s cheap.
37. Perlie’s luminous smile.
38. Waiting for the power to go on, only to have it go off again 2 hours later.
39. A different, beautiful sunset every single night.
40. The Alternative.