After our, thankfully, uneventful bus ride to El Nido, we decided to get a trike to the El Nido Art Cafe to get recommendations on where to stay in town, since we hadn't prearranged anything. The cafe is basically the central 'go to' spot in town for all of your needs - clothes, snacks, tour bookings, boat and plane tickets, as well as a good meal/drink. They were helpful in providing us with a list of accommodation (including price range) so we decided the best method would be to start knocking on doors. We originally wanted a beach side cottage but upon realizing the 'non-beach' properties were literally 10 ft across the street we settled on a cute room at the El Nido Plaza Inn for only 500php per night, such a steal. Once we were settled in our room it was time to explore the town, get to the beach and find something to eat!
Being New Years eve we decided to splurge on a bottle of local rum, a whole 85php (~$2) and start our night early with some cocktails. Nico, from France, had no plans for the night so we invited him to venture into town with us and see what we could find. We had heard that the place to be was the Baywalk downtown, so after 'hitchhiking' our way out of the Navy compound we caught a tricycle and soon found ourselves among the locals.
Nico was telling us about an awesome seafood restaurant but upon arriving we told they were out of food so instead we had dinner at one of the street stalls and also indulged in one of their massive beer towers. After a while I was getting bored of sitting so I took a few laps around the area before meeting some local Pilipino boys, shy and friendly, just like the Koreans :) The five of us spent the rest of the evening together listening to the live bands, drinking and enjoying the NYE fireworks. Later in the night we decided to move on to a bar downtown for a few last drinks before calling it a night, and what a fun night it was.
Over 7,500 islands of pure bliss. I've been twice, both times arriving with a "what am I doing here" hesitation, but weeks later resisting my departure. Forget about being on time, or eating lots of vegetables, but welcome beautiful sunsets, gorgeous beaches, and welcoming, friendly locals.