I woke up to a gloomy, gray morning. I dragged myself out of bed, went for breakfast, and dined with the Japanese (mom) and German (dad) couple and their kids.
After a cold shower, I decided to take a walk to the pier, the take-off point to all islands facing the West Philippine Sea, including Coron. I dropped by the Philippine Coast Guard station and read the announcements on their bulletin board – all boat trips were cancelled for the day. The coast guards have interesting responsibilities, including being blamed for the cancellation of island-hopping trips.
From the station, I walked to a restaurant that had just opened, ordered brewed coffee and mango crepes. The coffee was bitter, just like my frustration of not experiencing the beauty of the islands off the coast of El Nido. I drowned my emotions in the brew’s bitterness and wallowed in the sweetness of the crepes. The crepe wasn’t bad, and, surprisingly, the waitress spilt the secret enveloping the dessert. She said it was just mixed Milo and condensed milk that constitute the chocolate syrup! I couldn’t complain.
Sitting by the beach, I watched foreigners making most of their time kayaking or swimming in the shallow waters, and some local kids doing their acrobatics in the sea. About an hour later, I decided to take a walk towards the northern part of the cove. I passed by some fishermen trying to catch some fish. It was so amazing that they could fish in the shallow part of the waters (the sea was so clear that one can really literally swim or wade with the fishes). I also admired their sense of responsibility for throwing back to the sea the immature fishes and lionfishes caught in their nets.
I walked farther and further and came to a path that seemed less travelled by tourists. The view was different from a couple of kilometers behind. I saw a European-like (Mediterranean?) view that popped out of a TLC travel show. Again, I had to hold my jaw from dropping and my eyeballs from popping out. I felt like my feet were stuck where I was standing for hours just admiring the view. I think I melted.
A few meters away from where I stood was a man with a red umbrella sitting on a bamboo bench, eyes fixed on the horizon, not even moving an inch. I was wondering whether that young man was going through a heartbreak and the sea was his comfort or he was trying to ponder on his future. Was he so shattered that he wanted to eventually end his life by walking, until he drowns, into the sea? Was he waiting for the love of his life at their usual meeting place? Was he crying because he failed one subject in school, the reason why he couldn’t graduate? Ah, that scene was making my imagination roll.
If not for the rain, I would have stayed longer. Anyway, it was beyond lunch time and I was starving. I stopped by a carinderia and had some Filipino-style chicken curry and monggo. It was a cheap meal that I forgot how much I paid!
I planned to spend the afternoon in Marimegmeg beach, another favorite destination south of El Nido town known for sunset-viewing, but I ended near Corong-Corong beach. The area is dotted with small hotels and homestays and quite challenging to walk through during high tide. From there, I planned to walk by the beach until I reach Marimegmeg but there were spots along the beach that were rocky and under water as it was high tide. Rather than meet my end in a relatively empty spot in El Nido I decided to stay in that nameless beach between Marimegmeg and Corong-corong, and waited for the sunset.
I gate-crashed a small resort/hotel by the beach and invaded one of its rattan hammocks. I took my book and started to read. A couple of caretakers/hotel staff came, they just let me swing and sway in the hammock, ignored me, and went on their chores. There was a restaurant there where I ordered tuna sandwich and Gina mango nectar with ice. That whole afternoon, I lived life on a real holiday.
Dinner on my third night in El Nido, Palawan was in an Italian restaurant whose mango cheescake and creme brulee were heavenly, both in my best list.
I wasn’t able to go to the islands El Nido is famous for, but it showed me its beautiful other sides.
Meet my friend, Crablet
Sunset sans the splash of colors