Thursday, May 16, 2013

El Nido, Palawan: Day 3

Egrets Ahoy! 

At the crack of dawn, we were in National Geographic mode as we set out to spy on Eastern reef egrets. We passed through thick mangroves, as we came nearer and nearer to the cluster of trees where the white, long-necked, wading birds sat huddled.

At first, they looked like a pale grey mist that had settled on top of the trees. Then suddenly, one by one, they flew off -- noisy flecks of white against the light blue sky. The few that remained behind, waded near the shore and ducked their heads into the water, catching their breakfast.

Our companion, a frequent El Nido guest, said that the sight of the egrets on a descent was even more spectacular. We'll have to wait another day to witness that. Meanwhile, it was off to the bat cave.

Cave of Wonders 

Cudugnon Cave was a bit tricky getting into, one has to lie down and perform a small acrobatic twist, to enter its small opening. Inside, a tall hollow space is embraced by high stone walls. There, high up at the ceiling, crowded the cave's resident bats.

Photo courtesy of El Nido resort

Before long, we were taken to another cave, but this one, could only be entered by boat. The Cathedral Cave on Pinasil Island had us craning our necks as the boat floated underneath jagged arches of stalactites, that were tinged with sea green and purple. As its name suggested, we felt like were treading on some holy, sacred ground, and all we could really say was, "Wow."

Want to know a secret?

Will El Nido ever run out of surprises? Apparently not. On the last leg of our three-day getaway, we hied off to Matinloc Island. We were urged to put on snorkeling gear, because this last bit of activity involved a bit of swimming. Through a seemingly solid stone wall, we swam (or more accurately, we were carried by the waves) under a small crack, and into a small enclosure of limestone, a small shimmering pool, and a patch of cream sand.

Photo courtesy of El Nido resort
This was what they called, Secret Beach, and it was as private and pristine as they came. It was all ours -- this perfect little spot where the sun drew ribbons of golden light on the sand, visible beneath the clear water.
So we took it easy, snorkeling and swimming, before the afternoon flight back home.

Was there anything better than this? I'd spent three glorious days cradled by nature in El Nido. There was absolutely nothing more I could ask for. Except maybe, to say one more day.

Read: El Nido, Palawan: Day 1 
Read: El Nido, Palawan: Day 2 

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