Beach Trip: San Vicente & El Nido, Palawan!

Over the weekend, I visited a few beaches in Palawan, another province in the Philippines. We visited the municipality of San Vicente and El Nido. One of my Tita’s friends owns a hotel in Palawan, so we were able to get a discount! The hotel was situated right at the waterfront, so we had a view of the beautiful beach. San Vicente is one of the less touristy areas of Palawan. The nearest town to our hotel was a 20-minute tricycle ride away. One thing San Vicente is known for is having one of the longest stretching beaches. Their beach stretches out to almost 106 miles! One morning, I woke up early to go for a run on the beach. As I ran, I noticed the beach did not have hotels. Rather, they were mostly houses that belonged to the people living on the island. People had their wooden boats right out on their yards. I noticed a few people pushing their boats straight from their houses to the ocean! I was also instantly glad that I wore my running shoes, rather than just running barefoot. I noticed the sand was full of shells. The beach, other than the houses 20 feet apart, seemed to be untouched and pristine. 

The next day, we decided to take the 3-hour drive to El Nido, which is another municipality in Palawan. Our tour guide, Bess, so graciously planned out the whole experience in only a day’s notice. The whole thing couldn’t have gone more smoothly! We spent the afternoon island hopping. We saw a secret lagoon, an alligator rock formation, the beautiful coral, and even got to meet some of the locals! 

One of the biggest differences I noticed between the two municipalities was the level of tourist attractions present. In San Vicente, there were no huge restaurants or big hotels. Once we got to El Nido, we saw that the streets were lined with restaurants, stores, and other tourist attractions. Safety also seemed to be a bigger deal in El Nido. The boats and sea activity seemed to be heavily monitored by local police as compared to San Vicente. We were required to wear out life jackets in most places, as our tour company would get fined if we did not do so. I noticed the same in Boracay. In the touristy areas, there seemed to be more regulations in general. 

As I looked around, I wondered if, in a couple of years, San Vicente would also look like El Nido, in terms of tourism development. My Tita mentioned that she would choose the beach she was going to based on the vibe she was looking for. For partying, she’d choose Boracay; for rock formations, she’d choose Coron; for peace and quiet, she’d choose San Vicente. 

I loved being able to experience different beaches! Each of them was beautiful in a different way. It was a great final trip before leaving for the States.