One of my favorite resorts in the Philippines is found in El Nido, Palawan. Pangulasian Island, which is the newest resort from the El Nido Resorts group is not like any other luxury resorts in the area. Pangulasian Island is an eco-friendly resort; they believe in respecting their natural resources through responsible tourism.
The resort is set in front of a pristine 750-meter white beach with a backdrop of tropical forest. Before you step into the island, you will already notice the corals and marine life through the clear aqua blue waters. Just as you get to the island, you are greeted by the local staff who welcome you with a “harana” or serenade and a souvenir hand-woven necklace made from bamboo leaves.
You then get assisted to the Front Desk where they explain the importance of supporting the resort’s eco-friendly guidelines by minimizing the use of plastic, by not destroying or taking any natural resources out of the island, and by disposing off trash in proper areas. You will also notice the minimal use of environmentally dangerous plastic in the villas – no free plastic water bottle, snacks served in reusable jars, and carefully selected biodegradable plastic for your wet clothes.
Other initiatives by El Nido Resorts include purchasing local ingredients found in Palawan to reduce the distance of food being transported; informing guests of the rare fauna species that can be spotted in the island, and teaching guests about the importance of sustainability and making personal commitments to live an environmentally ethical life for the benefit of our future generations.
The resort offers villas made with contemporary Filipino architecture, so you feel relaxed and at the same time, still embrace the Philippine ambience. The island is also majestically located so you can witness both the sunrise and sunset.
Pangulasian Island offers several free activities – from kayaking, to wind surfing, to even borrowing free snorkeling gear if you want to go snorkeling with the adolescent black tip sharks. We were luckily able to spot turtles in two of the days we were residing in the island. Apparently it is not a rare sight because Turtle Island is just nearby.
When we were in Pangulasian this time around, we did some of the available activities which were very enjoyable:
1. Sunset Hike
Pangulasian Island has a nature trail which consists of 1,600 steps. The initial ascent is quite steep as you have to climb stairs close to the canopy villas and head up the hill. But after a few minutes of hyperventilating, the trail gets less steep and is a mild up and downhill walk. You reach the viewing deck in about 20-30 minutes, and you can just relax and enjoy a 360 view of the islands in El Nido.
The tours are assisted by an El Nido staff, so you get to freshen up at the viewing deck with ice cold towels.
2. Snorkel with Black Tip Sharks
Located in the far right of the shallow reefs are adolescent black tip sharks. This is not something you should fear as they are quite shy, and there has been no instances of the sharks attacking any of their visitors. You are free to snorkel anytime of the day, but the sharks tend to show up more consistently early in the morning.
They have assisted group tours at 7:15AM which you can attend for free.
3. Picnic in Entulala Island
Every time I visit any of the El Nido islands, I never fail to do the picnic in Entulala Island. Entulala Island boasts of pristine clear water and great rock formations, and it’s just so beautiful to relax under the coconut trees in the exclusive part of the island where you can enjoy picnic food – fresh fruits, cold cuts, bread and grilled fish and beef. Aside from the island being extremely picturesque, you can also do assisted rock climbing in the area.
4. Swim with Jackfish in Miniloc Island
I enjoy taking guests to swim with the half a meter long, angry and serious looking Jack Fish. I think I tested my luck a little too much on this trip and felt a Jack Fish nibble on my toe. There is Jack Fish feeding at 8:30AM and 10:30AM every day, so if you want to have the opportunity to swim with these scary looking gigantic carnivorous fish, come to Miniloc island and swim with them during the feeding sessions. I do admit, you need a little bit of guts for this one!
There are other special activities which can be done in the island such as diving, mangrove tour, coconut leaf making, etc., so hopefully I get to do all these activities on my next trip here.