El Nido has long been known to be a haven for beach-bound tourists. For many, it’s a top-class destination that’s better suited to celebrities and businessmen. But that’s not true! Despite being tucked away in a little corner of Palawan, El Nido can be — and should be — enjoyed by everyone. This little guide will tell you all you need to know about this bliss-filled place.
How to Get There
Palawan can be easily reached from Manila via any of the local airlines. The nearest airport to El Nido is at Puerto Princesa, a travel time of around an hour and 15 minutes from the nation’s capital.
Once in Puerto Princesa airport, you can ride a tricycle or a multicab to Robinson’s Mall. Here, there are shuttle vans you can charter for the trip to El Nido. These vans depart every hour from 5AM to 6PM. Bring a lot of patience, as the ride takes up to 5 hours. Alternatively, you can take the vans that wait from the airport’s arrival area, which will ferry you directly to your destination. The fares cost around Php 550-600.
Two days is certainly not enough to discover a new country, let alone even put a dent on its shiny surface. Having said that, attempting to see France from top to bottom in 48 hours will always be an unequal struggle for the first-time visitor.
Instead, with its reputed cultural heritage, great cuisine, good weather and numerous attractions, I would strongly suggest these villas in the south of France, like Toulouse in South West France, as an ideal getaway for that perfect weekend French holiday.
The Toulouse – Blagnac international airport is well connected with several airlines from different parts of Europe. The airport is conveniently situated a mere 10 km from Toulouse city center, making access quick and easy.
Day 1 – Morning
Toulouse lures the visitor to France like no other city primarily because of its rich culture.
As you step out of your hotel into Place du Capitole, the main square of this laid-back city, the splendor of the Capitole square itself will leave you mesmerized. Hidden behind the 18th century facade is the exquisite terracotta colored architecture, courtyards, and galleries packed to the hilt with ancient art.
Day 1 – Afternoon
Head to the main shopping street on Rue d’Alsace Lorraine, and discover a 14th century monastery full of murals and religious scripts. The principal museum of fine arts, Musee des Augustins, is situated nearby and is marveled for the fine Gothic exterior, while the interiors and the chapels house a large number of sculptures and paintings dating back to the 14th century.
Rome was the last stop of my 3-week trip to Europe.
I chose a hostel just 10 minutes away by foot from Roma Termini, so finding it was not a problem. I was surprised though that the neighborhood is filled with Filipino-run establishments. There’s even a Pinoy restaurant beside the building of our hostel.
Anyway, the hostel’s reception was manned by a guy who’s a dead ringer for Liev Schreiber. 😀 After going through the usual check-in procedure, we squeezed ourselves into a tiny old school elevator just a bit wider than a refrigerator. I don’t know how we managed to fit ourselves in plus my luggage and backpack, but that was the first and last time I used the lift. Never mind if my dorm was on the fourth floor of the building.
I arrived early evening, so there was not much for me to do anymore. I just strolled the area, and booked my Colosseum and Vatican Museum tickets online, so I don’t have to waste my time falling in line for hours.
After grabbing a simple breakfast of cappuccino and sfogliatella from the hostel’s kitchen, I was ready to conquer Rome! LOL
Getting to the Colosseum, or most of the popular tourist attractions in Rome, is pretty easy. The metro may not be the cleanest, most comfortable, and most efficient in Europe, but I appreciate they take out the guesswork of where to get off because the attractions’ names are written next to metro stops e.g. you can see Fontana di Trevi written next to the metro stop, Barberini.
Anyway, as expected, there’s already a throng of tourists outside the Colosseum even though it’s still early in the day. I’m glad I saved myself the hassle of lining up.