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July 19, 2017

LIO, EL NIDO: Family Staycation and Lio Beach Festival Guide!

July 19, 2017

LIO, EL NIDO: Family Staycation and Lio Beach Festival Guide!




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LIO is one of the best places to escape to with the family this 2017. A master-planned sustainable Ayala estate development just around the corner from El Nido town in Palawan, it is the perfect place to get access to the El Nido isles in Bacuit Bay.

Palawan enjoys comfortable weather all year round with occasional heavy rains on the islands. It's good to go anytime, but you may want to consider making the trip during the Lio Beach Festival, which happens on the Independence Day weekend nearest June 12.

Here's our guide to enjoying a family staycation and the beach festival experience at Lio...

LIO ECO-TOURISM ESTATE
Lio Beach, Bacuit Bay, El Nido Palawan
Website: www.lio.ph
Facebook: Lio El Nido
Instagram: @LioElNido

Check out Casa Kalaw low rates and availability from Booking and Agoda.

Read Blog Post: LIO El Nido, Palawan: A Hidden Eco-Tourism Paradise! @ElNidoTourism




MANILA TO EL NIDO DIRECT

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Airswift flies directly to El Nido daily from NAIA Terminal 4 to Lio Tourism Estate in 1 hour and 15 minutes.

 

Airswift

It feels like you're riding in a private jet with friends and their service is very friendly.

AIRSWIFT
Manila Domestic Airport Terminal 4, Andrews Ave, Pasay, 1300 Metro Manila
Telephone: +632 902-5900
Book your flights herehttp://air-swift.com/

 

CASA KALAW

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Casa Kalaw is the flagship Filipino-inspired two-story resort in Lio, named in honor of the Palawan Hornbill (featured in the painting).

 

CASA KALAW
Lio Tourism Estate, El Nido, Palawan
3rd Floor, Alveo Corporate Center 728 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Telephone: +632 902-5969
Mobile: +63917 659-7694
Email: reservations@casakalaw.com or fo@casakalaw.com
Website: http://www.casakalaw.com/

Check out Casa Kalaw low rates and availability from Booking and Agoda.

 

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It has a relaxing 4-ft warm pool in the middle with a 2-ft area for kids surrounded by young, developing trees. 

 

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We stayed at Kalaw Suites Room 216. It's spacious at 44 sqm, with a queen bed and an extra bed (upon request).

 

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The bathroom is quite spacious and can easily fit 4 boys using the toilet at the same time.

 

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The living room has a day bed, a sofa, and 42" cable TV. Our 4 boys decided to stay here.

 

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The parents stayed in an opposite Deluxe Veranda Room (214) with a Balcony.

 

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The bathroom is clean and simple with their own liquid soap and shampoo in cute little containers. There's just limited space for your toiletries.

 

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The safety deposit box is small--enough for your valuables but can't fit a laptop. There's enough cabinet space and a laundry basket to make it feel like your own home for the next few days.

 

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We stayed on the far left end of the resort with a veranda overlooking this pool view.  

 

Games

The kids had fun playing table football and billiards.

 

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The 60-seater Kalaw Cafe offers daily breakfast as early as 6:00 am and serves all-day Filipino dining.

 

Casa-Kalaw-Breakfast

We love their Filipino favorites like arroz caldo, sopa de ajo, longganisa, tapa, and their turon for dessert. 

(Note: There were just a lot of flies. Hopefully they can address this.)

 

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Casa Kalaw is conveniently located at the center of the beachfront development with easy access to the Shops at Lio.

 

CASA KALAW
Lio Tourism Estate, El Nido, Palawan
3rd Floor, Alveo Corporate Center 728 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Telephone: +632 902-5969
Mobile: +63917 659-7694
Email: reservations@casakalaw.com or fo@casakalaw.com
Website: http://www.casakalaw.com/

Check out Casa Kalaw low rates and availability from Booking and Agoda.

 

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Note: There's a lot of sand mites with a nasty bite so make sure to bring insect repellant. Don't forget to apply before you step on the beach.

 

ISLAND HOPPING WITH SKIPPER CHARTERS

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Skipper Charter's speed boat cruise is the fastest, most convenient, and relaxing way to explore the Islands of Bacuit Bay.

The charter boats can fit one family or barkada and you can cruise around for 4 hours in style.

 

SKIPPER CHARTERS
POPS District, Brgy., Corong-Corong, El Nido, Palawan
Boat Dock Site: Lakan, Corong-Corong Beach, El Nido, Palawan.
(We are accessible via the steps to Outpost Hostel. Facing the beach, walk to your right and you will see a poster of Skipper)
Email: info@skippercharters.ph
Mobile: +63917 833-6063
Facebook: @SkipperChartersPH
Website: http://www.skippercharters.ph/

 

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Skipper charter boats can easily navigate around the limestone cliffs and cruise inside the Big Lagoon with no issues.

 

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The boys loved swimming inside the small lagoon. The masks, life vests, and guides were all provided by Skipper Charters.

 

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You just have to bring your own kayak. Thank goodness that the kayak rentals outside the small lagoon were banned already.

 

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The most romantic island in El Nido is Entalula, with blinding white sand kept in pristine condition.

Since the private part of the island is owned by Ayala also, you can schedule a visit here when it is available. 

 

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We visited one of the most luxurious resort in Palawan, El Nido Lagen Resort.

 

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The resort is surrounded by limestone cliffs, perfectly secluded for honeymooners, and well-maintained for the tourists and its resident animals. 

 

 

 

WHERE TO EAT?

The food in El Nido is crazy expensive with ho-hum quality, but we discovered a few restaurants that stand out that we would like to recommend.

 

#1 El Nido Grill 

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El Nido Grill Menu: Grilled, Inihaw, Sinigang, Ginataan, Special Dish | Fresh Juices, Soda, Beers 

This is the #1 place to eat along the beachfront Shops at Lio.  

 

El-Nido-Grill

You can choose what's freshly available in the market and they cook it upon order based on how you like it.

 

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Barbecue Stick (P120) and Liempo (Medium for 1-2 persons P320)

The grilled meats are overpriced but the flavor is good. Order the medium sized ones for sharing.

 

El-Nido-Grill
Butter Garlic Shrimp (P390) / Sinigang na Hipon (Medium for 1-2 persons (P440)

Their butter garlic shrimps are the best. We also recommend trying their home-cooked sinigang. 

 

EL NIDO GRILL
Shops at Lio, Beachfront, Lio Tourism Estate, El Nido Palawan

(El Nido Grill Receipt - Budget about P250/head)

  

#2 Happiness

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This is hailed as the number one restaurant in El Nido because of its falafel, vegetarian, and Moroccan/Middle Eastern-inspired dishes. 

It's located along Serena St., in the center of town with a street bar facade, swing seats, and a second-floor with a view of the bay.

 

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Maza (P190). Homemade dip, small hummus with chirchi, olive oil, tahini, eggplant salad, madbuha, falafel, pickles, and 2 pita bread.

Order the small plates of hummus, salad, and tomato dips to start.

 

Falafel
Pita Falafel (P220)Hummus, tahini, chopped salad, and falafel balls. 

Their falafels are indeed the best with a good pita pocket and smooth flavorful hummus. Order the green chili for added spice. 

 

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Squeeze a Sabich (P220). Hummus, fried eggplant, boiled egg, spicy tomato salad, and tahini.

Even the boys enjoyed the relatively healthy vegetarian meal--everything was wiped out. 

 

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Happiness Salad (P270). Tomato, cucumber, red onion, garlic, chili, malungay, cabbage & chickpeas served with tahini and bread.

I wished we didn't order a separate salad because most of the dishes were served with a similar chopped salad already.

 

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Shakshuka (P320). Rich tomato sauce cooked with garlic and 2 poached egg. 

Don't forget to order this Moroccan breakfast specialty made of egg and tomatoes, perfect for dipping the pita in. So good!

 

HAPPINESS
Serena St. El Nido, Palawan
Operating Hours: 9.00 am to 11.45pm
Facebook: Happiness Beach Bar
Instagram: @happinesselnido

Happiness Beach Bar Receipt - (P250/head)

 

#3 Globy's  

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Globy's Menu: Appetizers, Salads, Sandwich, Soup, Desserts | Flamecakes, Pizzas & Pasta | Steak, Seafood, and Beverages | Local Mixed Drinks, Beer, Softdrinks | Fresh Fruit Shakes | Cocktails | Hot Beverages and Coffee | Wines 

There are days when you just want to wake up late, beat the last hour of breakfast, and lazily watch a movie in the room before going out for a late lunch.

Globy's is the best place to go for a late lunch/merienda in the afternoon and enjoy an international array of comfort food.

 

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Churrasco (P550). A traditional dish from Latin America combining grilled chicken, beef, and pork, marinated in savory barbecue sauce and grilled to perfection. Served with potatoes and our homemade salsa.

The boys love meat and we loved this platter of different skewered meats and barbecued steaks with fries and salsa.

 

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Margherita (P350). Mozzarela, tomato, oregano.

Sometimes you just want to enjoy a good pizza while hanging out along the beach. This fit the bill perfectly (plus, the other pizza place only opens at night).

 

GLOBY'S
Shops at Lio, Beachfront, Lio Tourism Estate, El Nido Palawan

Globy's Merienda Receipt - (Budget about P200/head)

 

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For dessert, you can enjoy homemade ice cream and crepes just beside Globy's. :)

 

Pair-a-dice

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Pair-a-dice Menu: Burger Bar, Salad and Vegetarian, AppetizersGrilled Burgers, Sandwiches, Grilled Paninis | Drinks Menu

Go to Pair-a-dice if you're looking for a decent place to enjoy your burgers with a bar vibe. Eating here with kids felt a bit awkward.

 

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The Blazin Asian (P390)

The burger combinations are very creative but overpriced and the patty was a bit tough. 

 

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The Manille Bar below Pair-a-Dice is the happening bar place in Lio. It's cool to hang out here because of the music at night.

 

PAIR-A-DICE BURGER BAR
2nd Floor, Shops at Lio, Beachfront, Lio Tourism Estate, El Nido Palawan

Check out Pair-a-dice Burger Bar Receipt (P400/head)

  

BEACH FRONT STORES

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Check out CabaƱa for their stylish beach sari-sari store. 

 

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They almost have anything that you need--from outfits, to native souvenirs, and eco-friendly fashion.

 

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We bought our snacks and Filipino liquor here for enjoyment while hanging out in our room.

 

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Check out the farmer's market on weekends.

 

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The best place to shop is Pio Pio where each piece is unique based on unique fabric and artisans around the Philippine archipelago.

Kalye Artisano (Artist Village) in Lio will be the home for the Flagship retail store of Pio Pio and different artist workshops (soon to open).

 

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We did not try Mayana Spa because the massage services were overpriced and the therapists looked uninspired. Let me know if you've tried it.

 

LIO BEACH FESTIVAL

Lio Fest Logo on Coast

Lio Beach Festival is like a family-friendly Malasimbo festival but located on the shores of El Nido, with a backdrop of lush forest and limestone cliffs.

Read More: LIO BEACH FESTIVAL: The Inaugural El Nido Music Festival! #FOMO

 

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There are fun kids' activities in the afternoon along the beach (just make sure you put insect repellant for the sand mites).

 

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The adults can enjoy the party boat cruising around El Nido in the afternoon.

 

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It's cool to introduce the kids to nice installation art like these glowing turtles at night.

 

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It's also fun walking to the Lio Beach festival venue because of the artistic displays lighting your way.

 

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Love Hohana & Yahlee's Dream Catcher installation entitled, "Talakinip Kapaykapay Tiig". It's Tagbanua which means "To dream, to swim, in the sea". 

 

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We felt safe going to the festival with the kids because of the security measures they took to ensure that it's a drug-free festival.

 

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There's a designated smoking area to make sure that the main dance area is smoke-free so that the kids can also enjoy it.

 

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The festival starts at 8.00 pm with the main acts playing on the main stage around 11.00 pm (like Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe).

 

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The Shops @ Lio have their own stall extensions at the festival serving drinks and snacks while you enjoy the music.

 

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It was raining for the first two days of the festival, but there was a big tent to keep the music and party going.

 

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The music fest was a good exposure for the boys, who were inspired to become DJs. :)

 

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Apartel and Ely Buendia were one of the highlights of the festival, who provided a colorful mix of ska alternative music with electrifying light displays.

 

Final Thoughts

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We fell in love with the Lio estate development and were happy to be part of the inaugural Lio Beach Festival!

We love the strategic location of Lio, with beach access to El Nido Islands via Skipper Charters. We also love that you can just easily go and enjoy the vibe of El Nido town from here. We recommend Casa Kalaw for your accommodations and it's best to reserve the Kalaw Suites if you plan on going with the family. 

Most of the food in the Shops at Lio are overpriced for the quality that you get. We recommend going to El Nido Grill, Globy's, and Pair-a-dice instead. Make sure to allot some time to go to El Nido town to eat at Happiness. If we could, we probably would have made the trip to Tambok's as well for our Ilonggo comfort food fix.

Don't ever forget to bring insect repellant for the sand mites. The best one used by locals in Palawan is Kwan Loong Oil.

Book your staycation for summer next year during the Lio Beach Festival around the weekend nearest June 12.

I'm excited for the opening of Kalye Artisano, Artist Village featuring Pio Pio, and the local artisans before the year ends.

See you at Lio!

 

LIO ECO-TOURISM ESTATE
Lio Beach, Bacuit Bay, El Nido Palawan
Website: www.lio.ph
Facebook: Lio El Nido
Instagram: @LioElNido

Check out Casa Kalaw low rates and availability from Booking and Agoda.

Read Blog Post: LIO El Nido, Palawan: A Hidden Eco-Tourism Paradise! @ElNidoTourism

Live an Awesome Life,

anton  signature

Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com  

Disclosure: We paid for our meals. Our stay was courtesy of Lio Estates. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. 

P.S. There are regular trips from Lio to El Nido Town from the hotel to the Airswift office in the town.

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It takes around 15 minutes to go to the town via the shuttle. You can walk around the town to explore it.

 

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You can hear Sunday Mass at St. Francis of Assisi El Nido town parish church at 6.30 am (Filipino), 8.30 am (Filipino), and 5.30 pm (English).

Here's a closer look at St. Francis of Assisi Mass and Services Schedules.

 

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We love hearing mass in provincial destinations. It gives you a connection to the culture and community around you.

 

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You can explore the El Nido town at night with a cool beach town vibe. It just looks a bit dirty, crowded, and with lots of tourist traps.




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