Monday, February 10, 2014

El Nido, Palawan: Finding Quiet Time in Corong-Corong

El Nido Corong Corong at Night
Quiet time at Corong-Corong
El Nido Rizal Street Signpost Taraw Cliff maybe just some 230 meters tall (according to my buddy, Ironwulf) but it cuts an imposing presence in the whole of the El Nido poblacion.  During our short trip here, I had this impression that in between this limestone montrosity, there exists two faces of El Nido town -- cosmopolitan and laidback.

Walking through Calle Real at any time of the day or night, I keep bumping into what I call the United Nations crowd -- European backpackers, American sunbathers, Germans quaffing beer early in the day, even the Russian couple who owns Centro, the internet cafe serving really good coffee, open 24/7 with matching Russian pop ditties.  Not that it's uncomfortably noisy approaching that of Coron but fact is, the main commerce really happens at the heart of the poblacion.  

You can even tell electricity has come back at 2pm without a watch as the main thoroughfare becomes a bit noisier and shops become more alive with curious kibitzers and wandering customers. Walking back either through the main road to Corong-Corong (designated as Zone IV) which we called home for four days, it does feels like retreating to a quieter El Nido, especially when most tourists have gone on to the other islands and you're left with the locals or during the evenings, when most of the guests have gone back to their digs.  In Tagbanua, Corong means 'enclosed' and it does make sense to find peace and quiet here as the zone is enclosed by the cliff.
El Nido Corong Corong Night Palms
Another perspective showing Taraw Cliff
We almost always went home after the sun has set behind the karst-filled horizon save for a day of free time when I was stoked to take advantage of the free kayak service but instead had to mind the work that followed me all the way here to El Nido (ah, the pitfalls of technology).  Even during the early parts of the morning when bleary-eyed from working online until 2-3am, I would wake up and have breakfast facing the beach relishing the quiet, our part of town has been mercifully spared from noise save from the occasional yakking guests.  The enclosure also lends to a relatively calmer sea more suitable for a rather sublime session of kayaking (guests on the other side of the poblacion have been known to be 'rescued' for attempting to come to shore and instead just being continually swept by the waves farther out to sea).
Lagalog playing around with the neighborhood dogs • Thanks Anna for the snapshot
Working on the hammock by the beach and occasionally playing with the friendly neighborhood dogs (there's our resident Lab, Golden; the frisky and muscular black Lab mix, Elvis, among many others that patrol the beach), I can really hear my thoughts loud and clear.  The only sound I can hear are the distant waves, crowing rooster, or straying gecko.  One time after our photo safari, we went back to have dinner next door to Telesfora and found the place as pleasantly placid as when we left half a day earlier.
El Nido Corong Corong Golden Lab 5
Golden, Telesfora's resident Lab hanging out just outside the room
Funny that when I got to trade stories with my sister two weeks after, she told me she liked Palawan (she went to Puerto around the same time we were in El Nido) but she could never live there.  Maybe, it's a sign of getting old but I had an opposing view.  I love the quiet (though I've never been the one who like noisy places anyway).  If only opportunities for work were available in these parts, I can live here.  Seriously.

Info on getting to El Nido:  There are two bus lines that now ply the Puerto Princesa - El Nido route, Montenegro's RoRo and newcomer Cherry, alternating from 5am onwards, between aircon and non-aircon buses.  One way fares vary from P275 - P285 (roughly around US$8)for air-conditioned buses.  Travel time: 6-7 hours. • Vans also ply the route though I'm biased to taking the bus for long trips like these -- less claustrophobic, with more leg and shoulder space.

El Nido Marimegmeg SunsetRead my other posts on El Nido:
 Escaping to the islands, kayaking in a deserted lagoon, and sailing to a beautiful sunset

Barutuan Festival Smiling Taberna Girl with Bilao on Yellow Wall

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