01/04/2017 Updated Blog Post: TAO Philippines: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at What Makes @TAOPhilippines Successful?
We explored the islands around Bacuit Bay, El Nido on the last day of the Tao Expedition…
Here's the Day 5 photo essay of our experience…
Tao Expedition Series:
The beach in El Nido is the best–very fine sand that gradually slopes to the deep water.
Started the day with a good morning walk to the other end of the cove with the dogs…
Romy, our expedition leader, showed us how to create animals from the leaves of the coconut.
He created a special coconut hat from scratch for the ladies in our expedition team.
Here's the Coconut Hat Souvenir for the Arts & Crafts activity at the Tao Village basecamp.
This was the best breakfast we had throughout the expedition…
…oatmeal with banana jam and honey, served in a coconut bowl with coconut juice.
Our first stop of the day was the Cadlao Lagoon at the back of the Tao Village base camp.
It's better to kayak because there are no corals to see if you swim.
There's a small beach area to rest and hang out before going back to your boat.
There's a secret opening in the rocks that you can pass through like little kids.
Once we got back to the boat, we saw native chickens on board for our lunch. :)
Helicopter Island Beach
Second stop for the day was beach bumming and playing frisbee on Helicopter Island.
We got to practice our jump shots into the water.
Merienda was Banana Pizza with tomato and coconut. Quite unique but I'm not a fan.
3rd stop: Kayaking around the Small Lagoon.
You can't see the lagoon from the outside because it's hidden by the limestone cliffs.
You have to pass through a small opening to get to the lagoon.
Inside, the beauty unfolds before you. It's better to explore it via kayak.
There's a small entrance at the far end of the lagoon.
I've been here a number of times already, but the charm of the place never fails to mesmerize me.
The water is so clear that you can see the limestone rocks below.
It also takes 30 minutes to explore the small lagoon. Better to go early while there's no crowd yet.
Tao Philippines Lunch
Our farewell Tao Expedition lunch!
Chicken Curry–first time we had chicken in this trip. 🙂
Sweet and sour fresh catch of the day…
…cucumber and tomato salad…
…and ginataang monggo!
All the guests were raving about the Filipino Food throughout our trip!
After lunch, we explored the Big Lagoon in Miniloc Island for our 4th stop, as we wound down our Tao Philippines expedition.
Don't even attempt to explore this without a kayak.
It's quite big and the surroundings are very serene and relaxing.
There's a secret passage that you can enter in between the limestone rocks.
It's like a mini-cave–an up close and personal encounter with the limestone rock formation.
The limestone cliffs are marvelous with clear turquoise waters!
You can see the sea urchins with their black spikes attached to the rocks under the water.
There's a sandy area at the entrance of the big lagoon where you can swim and enjoy the water.
We passed by Miniloc Island and I remembered my early adventures here with my wife Rache and our first son Aidan back in 2006.
[ElNido Palawan#1] El Nido–The Best Beach in the Philippines!
[ElNido Palawan#2] Shimizu Island, El Nido
[ElNido Palawan#3] Entalula Island, Your own private Boracay Island
I hope to go back and bring all the boys for another El Nido adventure. 🙂
Our final stop for the day was snorkeling in Pinagpuyutan Island.
We don't get tired of seeing the underwater beauty of the Palawan Isles.
For our final cocktail drink for the trip–Piña Colada–to celebrate the success of the expedition!
The Piña Colada recipe = 1 liter pineapple, 1 bottle Tanduay rum, 2 pcs coconut milk, 2 glasses water, and 10 pcs kalamansi.
We could see El Nido town from the distance, marking the end of our memorable trip.
The quaint El Nido town with limestone cliffs as the backdrop.
My vote for the best merienda for the trip is this Suman with Latik!
The recommended tip is P500-P1,500 for the entire trip, which is shared among the entire crew.
The El Nido Port is quite busy, and you usually have to pass through the other boats.
Thanks to the Tao Philippines Expedition Crew led by Romy for the awesome 5 days and 4 nights from Coron to El Nido!
Touchdown, El Nido Town, where tricycles are waiting to bring you to your lodging for P20 special trip.
Our Melting Pot or OMP is the highly recommended backpackers place at P500/night for a shared room, and P600/night for a private room. It was fully booked.
I stayed at Biolina's Guest House upon Romy's recommendation.
P1,000/night for twin sharing beds with air-condition…
…and a nice, decent shower and toilet with hot water. 🙂
I was able to freshen up and make it just in time for the 5.00pm English Sunday mass at the St. Francis Assisi Parish in El Nido down.
After dinner, we all agreed to have an 8.00pm reunion at Sea Slugs.
The food was a bit expensive and not that good in comparison to what we had on our expedition.
Thank you to my travel buddies Dallas and Miranda from Wisconsin, Adrian and Raqui from New York, Rich from the UK, and Alex from Germany for an awesome Tao Expedition experience!
Tao Expeditions has been described as ‘One of the most pioneering cultural eco-tourism projects in the Philippines’. It is a journey to the most remote region in Palawan to discover a tropical archipelago of hundreds of paradise islands, inaccessible to independent travelers through its remoteness and lack of tourist infrastructure.
Emergency Contact Numbers: +63 908 874 9075 or +63 998 411 3576
Facebook: Tao Philippines
Coron Tao Office: Don Pedro St. Coron town (in front of Sea Dive resort).
El Nido Tao Office: Serena St. El Nido town.
Tao Expedition Fee (2015 Season): P25,000 for regular 5 days/4 nights per person
50% Deposit due to secure booking : 12,500PHP
- The journey with us onboard.
- All meals, snacks, and refreshments.
- Your overnight accommodation at Tao base-camps or in the islands.
- Fees and environmental tax in islands and nature reserve.
- Equipment: Mask and Snorkel (no Fins).
- Local fishing gears (drop line and line trawling).
- Accommodation before or after the trip with us.
- Transportation to and from the meeting point.
- Alcoholic drinks.
- Fins for snorkeling.
- El Nido Tourism Development Tax (P200) in your stay in El Nido.
Click here to check the 'Open Group Expedition' schedule.
Must Read: IMPORTANT TRAVEL TIPS AND INFORMATION FOR ALL TAO TRAVELERS
Here's the map of the expedition: Tao Expedition Map
Related Blog Posts:
Tao Philippines Expedition Series (2014):
Apulit Island Resort Experience (2011):
Coron, Busuanga Experience (2008):
El Nido Palawan Adventure (2006):
Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: I paid for my Tao Philippines Expedition and I'm not connected in any way with Tao Philippines. I wrote this article with my own biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.
P.S. I woke up at 4.00am to catch the van for the 5-hour road trip to Puerto Princesa.
Biolina was able to arrange a 4.30am tricycle pickup for P20 to the van terminal.
The guest house also booked Fortwally that leaves 5.00am for Puerto Princesa at P500/head. The vans are not new, seat belts are not working, and the drivers drive fast.
(Tip: Make sure to ask them to reserve the front seat–even for an extra fee–for a more comfortable trip.)
We arrived at around 6.30am at Taytay for a breakfast/pasalubong stopover.
We had a gas stop at around 8.00am in Roxas, Palawan.
We arrived around 9.15 at the Sabang junction going to the Underground River.
I arrived at around 10.30am in Puerto Princesa Airport despite the city traffic. It would be safe to book a 12.00noon flight back to Manila.