Before we left for our end of year holidays people told me,
“Typhoons never reach Palawan because it’s too far west!”
“The end of December and early January are the driest and best times to visit Palawan!”
I can definitely dispel both of those sayings and say first hand that they are myths!
I had big dreams and big hopes for Palawan. It was to be my well deserved break in a tropical paradise where the sea was going to be my best friend. But alas, as some travel stories go, it was not meant to be. This time I was reminded of the number 1 harsh realization of traveling: you can’t control the weather. As we departed from Cebu (and swimming with whale sharks), Typhoon Jangmi (locally know as “Seniang”) begun to approach the central Visayas of the Philippines. I admit I held my breath when we arrived in Puerto Princesa, but thankfully beautiful sunshine and warmth greeted us at the airport. After some yummy Vegetarian food (Ima’s Vegetarian – a must visit), and a good nights sleep we headed off to El Nido. I was so excited. I had read all the blogs and websites saying that Alex Garland, the author of the famous novel ‘The Beach’, was actually inspired by El Nido and it’s ‘secret lagoon’. As one of my favourite books and movies, it made me more keen to visit this place that was growing in popularity, and fast. Five hours later, after a hair-raising van ride, we arrived in paradise…but it had already started raining. Jangmi had arrived. For the whole 3.5 days that we were there, the Coast Guard had forbidden all island hopping boats from going out. So what were we to do?! Explore, explore and explore! We bought ponchos and set out to walk along the coastline, exploring hidden coves and beaches. El Nido is still beautiful in the rain (as long as you get away from the main beach which had a lot of rubbish, particularly from New Year’s Eve). The limestone rocks and cliffs create a magical atmosphere, making us feel so small on the ground and always in awe of their beauty. As murphy’s law would have it, the skies cleared on the day we were to leave. We were willing to squeeze in a private island hopping tour, however the Coast Guard was still not letting boats go out. El Nido really didn’t want to show it’s best side to us, maybe he’s a bit shy. At least we’ve met him now, so hopefully next time he’ll be a bit more welcoming. There, I said it, those famous two words: next time…