I was woken up by a gentle tapping at my door. Groggy eyed I opened it to see a lady standing there with a sweeping brush.
“Sir, your cottage is read.”
I cringed. I still hadn’t discussed long term pricing with the old lady yet. Never move in until the price is set.
But on this occasion I went with the flow as another girl appeared with my breakfast on a tray. Omlette, fresh mangoes, bread and Milo.
“The two girls looked at each other and giggles as they seem to do a lot of in the Philippines. “Man says no charge first day for breakfast.”
Again no complaints and with that I was escorted to a table overlooking a glorious looking clear sea water scene. Apparetnly the cottages overlooking the shore were 500 a night. I was to get the ones behind them for under 400 depending on how long I was to stay. It was good. I had a cooker as well meaning I could save on eating out. It seemed almost like something telling me El Nido was the place to stay for a while.
Never satisfied, I left for the town to find out a little about it.
A long walk later and the town was much as it was the day before. A long road, with a few turn offs. Restaurants serving foreigner foods, bars, tour shops and the odd sari sari store. I searched out for details on getting to various other places. Coron was one of them. A short boat trip away enroute to Manila. But, it didn’t grab me. It seemed a pain to get to. Prices seemed steep, and no one ever had the same answer.
I passed by some backstreet stores and stopped for lunch of squid adobo at a local canteen. 30 pesos, no bargaining needed. Nothing but rice either. But the lady was freindly and gave me plenty of local information about the going’s and comings of El Nido.
“Anything to do but diving here?” I asked in preperation for my biggest fear of living on a beach island. – Boredom –
“Island hopping,” she said taking out a bunch of old brouchures. “Maybe cliff climbing.”
“Yes the Swedish lady’s Art Botique has a guide to take you.”
I’d heard of the Art Botique, an expat touristy shop that had better information than the local tourist office. Time for a visit.
It was bigger than I thought. A two story building. Shop and travel guides below, books and restaurant upstairs. Food was pricey
though. But I knew where to come for a pizza, and WIFI. Though just catching a glimpse of the cost of WIFI maybe not.
I looked at some of the other prices: Cliff climbing 250, island hopping between 750 and 1500 per person. All tours had a minumum number of people needed to go. I was in the wrong place for my kind of traveling. But again it did seem like the type of place you’d come to escape things. It also had a large selection of second hand books that they traded.
I headed back out and down the main street. My mind pondering the obvious that was staring me in the face.
I was looking to find an island to see if I could live there. Both to prove to others that it was not for me, and in away, to close any little doubts I might have myself. I would keep an open mind though. Give it a good shot. Above all else, El Nido seemed like the perfect place to stay a while and write a book …
How to go cheap Island hoping!
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