We arrived in Puerto Princesa at noon and decided to hop on a 6-hour ride to El Nido at 6am the following morning so that we could have ample rest first and check out the city. This was my second time in Puerto Princesa (read about it here and here).
At the airport, there are lots of flyers/leaflets of hotels, hostels, and pension houses. You don’t even need to have a reservation because finding a place to stay at is very easy. But of course, the availability of these rooms depends on their popularity. If they are popular with the locals and tourists, book in advance.
Transportation is also readily available. Just be careful of drivers who take advantage of tourists and charge you double or triple the real fare. It pays to ask around among the locals about how much the usual fare is.
On our way to the hotel, the tricycle driver was trying to convince us to reserve and ride a van instead of the RORO bus. He said that it’ll take you about 9hrs to reach EL Nido via bus versus a 5hrs via van. We weren’t sure if we whould believe him so we just got his calling card (they all have business cards there!) and told him we’ll call when we’ve decided. We paid him P50 for the ride.
We wanted to eat at Ka Lui but they were still closed and we had to reserve a table in advance. Since we were scheduled to go on a Firefly watching activity that night, we forgot about Ka Lui and went to the Badjao Seafront restaurant instead. And it wasn’t a bad choice. Facing the sea, the ambiance was nice and the food was good. Loved the Adobong Kangkong.
After an afternoon nap, the tour guide picked us up for Firefly watching (P1000/pax). We were dropped off at the Baywalk where we waited for other tourists to arrive. We rode a boat and then just before we entered the area where the fireflies were, we were divided into two groups and were transferred to a smaller boat. It was the first time that I saw so many fireflies. Too bad we couldn’t take pictures because it was too dark (you’re not allowed to use flash). Back on the bigger boat and while we waited for the second group to get back, we had our dinner (included in the package).
At four in the morning we got up and got ready for our trip to El Nido. There were no multicabs that early so we had to ride a tricycle (P80) going to San Jose Bus terminal. Good thing we trusted our guts and went on with our original plan. For one, it took us only 5 and a half hours to reach El Nido via bus; two, it was a lot more spacious giving you better leg room; and three, it was almost P300 cheaper. The RORO bus wins.