Mother Nature is simply full of surprise and mystery. We haven’t even discovered much of the Earth’s wonders. Thankfully I got to explore some of its beauty in El Nido. So sit back and let me share to you our awe-inspiring trip.
It was our second day in El Nido after our awesome Tour A island hopping experience. If you haven’t read it, you can check it out first so you know where we left off. This time we will be exploring some of the secrets of nature for the Tour C. It was summertime in the Philippines (month of May) so there were a lot of tourists visiting El Nido too.
Our first stop of the day was in an island with a shape of an aircraft. It’s called the Helicopter Island that has 2 mountain cliffs on both ends and a wide stretch of white sand beach in the middle. It also has a good snorkeling site.
There were already a lot of tourists snorkeling on the island but the first thing we noticed upon reaching the shore was a jellyfish like a size of a basketball. At first we just ignored it but eventually we were feeling a little itchy on our legs.
Too bad there were a few jellyfish scattered around so we only stayed for about 15 minutes and some of us didn’t even bother to step out of the boat. I only got to snorkel for a few minutes but still enjoyed the view.
Okay, now we really need to pick the excitement for our next stop, the Hidden Beach. The name itself gives an impression that we are about to discover something new. From afar, we saw several boats docked in front of a limestone wall when the boatman said “We’re here!”. But where’s the beach?
The beach is actually hidden behind those limestone walls. So after docking our boat, we have to swim and walk through a shallow channel to get around.
And tadaaaaah! Presenting the Hidden beach. It’s amazingly surrounded with towering rock formations and the water is so clear for everyone to enjoy. .
Of course, this place deserves a wacky jumpshot. We took some time to chill and have fun in the sun. Who would have thought that a white sand beach is sitting behind these razor-sharp limestone formations.
After more than 30 minutes, it was time to explore another beach so we headed back to our boat. We were told that we will be visiting another beach more hidden than this.
Again upon arriving the place, there were boats docked in front of a limestone wall. This time we know that a beach is hidden secretly somewhere behind.
The Secret beach is more challenging to explore as the water outside is deep and we really have to swim. Wearing of life jacket is very recommended. After swimming for a few meters, we saw a small hole just enough to go through.
And tadaaaaaah for the second time, I reveal to you the Secret beach. This one is truly fantastic in the sense that this small place is enclosed with high walls of nature crafted stones.
The water and air inside is perfect for a chill in the midst of a sunny day. The area was like a scene from a waterpark with lots of people having fun in a big swimming pool. I could only imagine how wonderful it would be to experience with just a few people.
It was a little struggle getting inside the secret beach so we took the chance to take a rest. The high walls gave enough shade on some parts of the white sand that is just perfect for a chill.
It was noon time already so we headed to our next destination for our lunch in a small area called Star beach. I forgot to ask how the name was derived but I just love the island paradise vibe. Our boatmen immediately prepared our lunch as we wandered around the place.
It was time for lunch and we were all excited to taste yet another seafood island feast. I gotta say that this is one to look forward to on every island hopping adventure in El Nido. You will surely feel fully recharged after this sumptuous dishes and would want to just lay down on the fine white sands while enjoying your food.
I can still remember clearly the magnificent view of the sea and the mountains that fine day. It was a sight to behold. After taking some rest for a few minutes, we were told that there is a “kantil” or underwater cliff just a few meters. That darker blue part of the sea behind our boat is the “kantil” part where the seabed drops down like a cliff into the deep blue. So we dare checked it out. 😀
The view of the marine ecosystem was totally mesmerizing as I saw the diversity of the corals and fishes while snorkeling my way until I reached the edge. It was really scary to look at the bottom and I felt like a monster sea creature would suddenly appear. Or something will suck and drag me down. 😀
But all these crazy imagination just makes me more pumped up as an adrenaline junkie. As the famous quote from Helen Keller says:
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing!
I just couldn’t miss to explore this kind of adventure. If only I have practiced myself to hold my breath longer, I could have dived deeper. Still, I am very satisfied with the underwater landscape that was laid before my eyes. 😉
And our last stop of the day was the Matinloc Shrine where you can have a little historical lesson with a bit of mystery. Matinloc is derived from the Cuyonin (one of El Nido’s local language) word ‘Matinlo’ which means beautiful (‘maganda’ in Filipino). Unfortunately the place is already abandoned but it is still one of the most sought-after destination for the Tour C package.
Stories say that the island was owned by an El Nido resident who married a German national. One day, the owner was told in a dream to build a dome-shaped structure with columns in a circular altar where the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be enshrined.
Notice the heart-shaped stone below the shrine? That is actually the shape of the Matinloc island from an aerial point of view. There is no exact date as to when and why this place was abandoned. They say that the couple got separated and became the reason the place was given up.
On the right side of the shrine is a limestone cliff which visitors can climb through the carved stairs. Once you reach the top, you will see a bird’s eye view of the island. If there’s one thing you must do here, that is to take a selfie on top of this viewing area.
But given it was a peak season, there were a lot of tourists taking photos on a limited space. So I improvised and found a great vantage point. 😀
Please do remember that you will be climbing on a limestone outcroppings with sharp edges. You need to be extra careful as accidents can happen anytime so climb at your own risk. You don’t wanna spoil your trip with a cut, a bruise or even worse.
Caution: I am standing on a restricted area. Don’t dare try this. 🙂
It was great day to explore the hidden beauty of Mother Nature. All we can say is we loved everything about the trip and hoped we could stay much longer in every island. Well what we could just bring are photos that preserved the moments.
What do you think of the wonders we have explored? Let me know in the comments below and spread good vibes! 😀
– Awesome El Nido: Island Hopping To The Next Level | Tour A
– Awesome El Nido: Exploring Secrets of Nature | Tour C
– Inside Puerto Princesa Underground River | New7Wonders of Nature