Travel Diaries: Palawan: Road Trip to Paradise

Mar 22, 2014

red maleta
Red Maleta goes to Palawan

We booked this trip way back in July 2013, eyeing March as an ideal month to kick start our summer in 2014. Kudos to Kareen Satorre for creating our six-day itinerary (with me disrupting the original plan, of course) in Puerto Princesa and El Nido.

This is the first time Kareen and I will be traveling together.

mactan cebu international airport
Palawan, here we come!

Originally, we want to start our Palawan trip in Puerto Princesa but logistically wise it is better to head to El Nido first to lessen our accommodation and transportation expenses.

puerto princesa airport
Touchdown: Puerto Princesa International Airport
Airport pick-up service

If I thought that the road to Baguio is quite depressing with barren fields that remind me of the movie Children of the Corn and that Facebook game Farmville, Palawan is slightly similar. In fact, they have more zigzag roads than Baguio with jungle strips on the roadsides (replacing the vast fields). Check out the distance we traveled from Puerto Princesa to El Nido below.

 Distance from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

You have two options to reach El Nido. You can take the bus or the van. If you have all the time in the world to explore Palawan, go for the bus. From San Jose Terminal, you can take RORO (Roll On Roll Off) Bus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. Airconditioned RORO bus costs ₱483 while a non-AC bus costs ₱250. Travel time is about 7 to 8 hours including two stops in a couple of towns and some short stops picking up and dropping off passengers. For the bus schedule, visit’s post here.

Since we want to be in El Nido by sunset, so we booked our van transportation with Lexus Shuttle service together with our accommodation in La Casa Teresa. The trip took only 6 hours travel time and costs us ₱1,400 round trip.

Lexus Shuttle service schedule

We were seated in the front seat, not exactly the best seats for long hours on the road. Our driver saw me nudging Kareen when we passed scenic views. He chuckled and told us that there’s much better view than what we’ve seen, promising us a beautiful sunset view.

We reached El Nido by dusk after six hours on the road. Before reaching the van terminal in El Nido, our driver was kind enough to stop the van and let us get off just to take good photos of this awesome sunset. It was so pretty that I immediately fell in love with the place.

El Nido
Breathtaking sunset welcomed us in El Nido

After a few minutes of picture-taking, our driver dropped us off in La Casa Teresa (which is just a minute away from where we stopped for the sunset). We hurriedly went to the veranda to get more sunset photos and enjoy the relaxing sea breeze.

El Nido
Our view from the veranda in La Casa Teresa

Travel Tips:

  • Public and Private Van Transfers and buses can only go up to El Nido Terminal. From the El Nido Terminal, you will have to ride a tricycle to get to the Town Proper of El Nido. The tricycle costs 50 Pesos/tricycle. A tricycle could fit up to 4 persons including their bags. Travel Time is approximately 5 minutes.
  • Be sure to carry enough cash for your El Nido trip because they do not have ATMs lying around. The nearest one is located in Puerto Princesa. You can pay through credit cards but only big establishments accept them.
  • There’s no electricity from 6 am to 2 pm. Most establishments run their own generator for their guests. Make sure to charge your batteries and your mobile phones while there’s electricity.
  • Optional: bring a flashlight to navigate the dark areas in the room (e.g. bathroom), unless you have night vision. Our room doesn’t get enough light during the daytime and we have to grope around for the things we need.
  • Our resort has WiFi, unfortunately, no electricity means no WiFi. If you are in El Nido for work, make sure that the place you are staying has WiFi access.
  • All visitors in El Nido are required to pay the 200 Pesos/person Eco-Tourism Development Fee (ETDF). This is good for up to 10 days of your stay. This will be paid to the Municipal Government Personnel by the beach before boarding your boat for your island hopping tour.
  • There’s no stable signal for Sun subscribers. Be sure you own a Smart or Globe number.
  • Do not buy from the locals selling pearls, unless you know it’s south sea pearls or saltwater ones. Freshwater pearl earrings can be bought cheaper in Puerto Princesa at ₱10 to ₱20.

The Girl with Red Maleta

Red Maleta

The Red Maleta story was born out of an idea to travel to new places, learn different cultures and understand the world better. Of course, bringing my red maleta along with me.

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