By now, we all know that Mother Nature has wonders that defy imagination. In many cases, the word “beautiful” does not even cut close to the actual adjective that describes her wonders. The best photos and the most eloquent poems often don’t do justice to the magnificence of such places.
However, Mother Nature does not wait for anyone. Silently and unobtrusively, she strides forward. And with each stride, her wonders disappear little by little through erosion, earthquakes, flooding, man-made causes, and others. In time, these wonders may disappear off the face of the Earth.
That’s why while we’re still alive, we strive to keep on her heels. If that’s a bit too metaphorical, let’s say this in a simple way: we grab every opportunity to travel so we can experience her wonders before they (or we) disappear! That’s one of the reasons we wanted to tick off El Nido in our bucketlist.
After descending Taraw Peak, we ate a heavy but quick breakfast, changed into our rashguards and swimsuits, and headed towards El Nido’s beach to wait for our boat. The water was so inviting that I immediately dove in!
The fine-sand shore not only serves as a picturesque beachfront for restaurants and accommodation establishments but also for numerous dive shops that offer scuba diving adventures around the marine-rich underwater world of Bacuit Bay.
We boarded our boat 30 minutes past 8AM and headed to our first destination of Tour A. Unlike the morning before which was a bit cloudy, the weather this time was really sunny and nice! The colors of Bacuit Bay came to life.
Our first destination for the day was a mysterious, beautiful place called Small Lagoon. On our way, we were mesmerized at the sight of many of the islands’ imposing sea cliffs. Just check how small the boat is in the photo below.
After half an hour of cruising, we arrived and cast anchor in this extremely majestic lagoon surrounded by high, ragged limestone cliffs. Look at just how clear and clean the water is. It’s like liquid glass!
Is this Small Lagoon? No, it’s not. It’s simply the “parking area” for boats loaded with tourists who want to visit Small Lagoon.
Behind those wall of razor-sharp rocks is the enchanting Small Lagoon, one of the highlights of El Nido. Again, check out the clear water; the pure white sand below gives the water its characteristic light green color.
To get to the Small Lagoon, people need to swim through this small hole that Mother Nature carved in the rock wall.
Unfortunately, our trusty Nikon AW100 waterproof camera started to develop problems. The lens fogged heavily, but unlike in the past in which the haze dissipated in a few minutes, the fog didn’t disappear this time.
To make matters worse, Sweetie and I were the only ones who brought a waterproof camera (a foggy one, that is) inside the Small Lagoon. Sadly, we don’t have a clear photo of the place. Below is the clearest foggy photo we have of Small Lagoon.
But you know? This might be a way of telling you that you should go there to witness its beauty yourself. After all, in all our adventures, no photo of ours can compare with the real thing, place, or adventure.
Disappointed that our waterproof camera conked out on us (good thing though we brought a backup camera), we left Small Lagoon with heavy hearts. You have to understand how we felt; that camera, which was given by someone very dear and special to us, is the lifeblood of Adrenaline Romance.
However, the exquisiteness of Bacuit Bay caressed our spirits and soothed us as if Mother Nature said, “It’s going to be alright.”
Our next stop was another amazing natural formation the locals call Big Lagoon. To get to Big Lagoon, we slowly cruised down this canyon of limestone walls. Just like in Small Lagoon, the seabed is made of pure, white sand.
At the end of the canyon, the color of the water abruptly shifts from white-green to aquamarine to a deep hue of blue. We were now at the gate of Big Lagoon.
Simply wow! Just look at this incredible wonder of nature! Protected and hidden by high, ragged limestone cliffs filled with razor-sharp rocks, the majestic and extremely deep Big Lagoon resembles a lake in the middle of a secluded lagoon.
For the Duders, this was their first time to go on a true backpacking trip. And they were just delighted with the experience.
Lilian posed in front of the boat as we circled around the enchanting Big Lagoon. The lagoon is also dotted with cool rock outcroppings.
That’s the beautiful sea canyon where we came from. Water from Bacuit Bay feeds through Big Lagoon through this canyon. It’s wide enough to accommodate around three boats side by side.
After exiting Big Lagoon, we cruised towards our next destination, another place of secrets. On the way, we saw luxurious, exclusive resorts like these in some of the islands. These prestigious, ultra high-class resorts are reserved for the super rich and super powerful.
You want to know how exclusive? Well, these resorts actually choose their customers. Yes, they have the final say on who can book with them!
After awhile, our boat slowed down as we approached a gigantic sea cliff. Yes, you guessed it: there must be something going on in there, considering there were several boats parked in front of the cliff.
See that structure perched high up on the rock wall? That is a shelter for daredevil (licensed and authorized) locals who harvest the nests of swifts. These nests are then processed into the prized and super expensive bird’s nest soup.
It made us wonder: how do these daring locals manage to go up there?
Look at how clear the water is! We could even see individual rocks! No one could resist jumping into that clean, clear, cool water!
The sloping shoreline allowed our boat to dock near the beach. One by one, we disembarked from the boat and headed towards a small beach.
Well, it’s not really small. Opposite the imposing rock cliff we saw earlier was this long, idyllic stretch of beach.
“No, not that way. It’s this way,” Guide Gilbert called us. We thought the Secret Lagoon was somewhere beyond that long beach. Well, it wasn’t; it’s on the other side of that huge rock wall.
To access the Secret Lagoon, we need to crawl through a small hole.
Yes, that hole! It was fairly easy to crawl through there.
That’s the picture-perfect Secret Lagoon, a small pool of water surrounded by very high cliffs. Just like in Secret Beach, the air here is pretty cool; the high cliff traps the air that is cooled by the water in the lagoon.
Wow, it’s like being in your private natural pool!
Hey, where did the other boats go? Hehehe! Well, when we checked our watches, it was almost lunch time! Those boats must have left to take their passengers to the various lunch sites in Bacuit Bay.
We boarded the boat and prepared to head to our next destination where a sumptuous lunch will be served.
Along the way, we passed by Shimizu Beach, another destination included in Tour A. Look at that pure white sand! Look at that gorgeous cliff! Look at those swaying palms! Now, that’s a perfect beach!
According to Guide Gilbert, Shimizu Beach was named in honor of a late Japanese diver/explorer who discovered a gorgeous dive site there.
Our stomachs started to rumble! It’s time to go to Mother Nature’s lunchroom, a blissful place with a surprisingly menacing name.
Silently, Mother Nature waits for us,
To listen to the sweet murmurs of her brooks,
To play with the denizens of her sea,
To contemplate our existence on her cloud-capped mountains,
She beckons us to find the answers
And that is why we must joyfully heed her call