What’s in a name?

Ever wonder how each tiny bit of land gets its name? With 45 islands and islets within Bacuit Bay, the early settlers of El Nido must have had a great time naming them all. As the stories behind these names get passed down from generation to generation, the original version gets altered somewhat, leaving behind something no less interesting than the original.

Most names come from the physical features of the places themselves. Lapus-lapus Beach on the mainland gained its name from the word “lapus” meaning “tagusan” or “pathway”, as the beach has a natural pathway leading to El Nido Town. Lagen Island started out as“Langen” – the island’s four peaks makes it look like an old wood burning stove. The “minilog” or “small river” on this island’s left side is responsible for Miniloc’s name.

On the other hand, some of the islands are named after the plants and animals found there. For instance, Pacanayas evolved from “Pakanayos”, which comes from “kanayos”, the local name for the great frigatebird (Fregata minor). Bamboo thickets gave Dibuluan its name – “bulo” is the local name for bamboo. El Nido’s settlers apparently couldn’t forget the “tungaw” (little insects living in the sand that inflict a nasty bite) they encountered on one particular island that they named the place after it. Guintungauan basically means “attacked by “tungaw”“. Believe me when I say that the “tungaw” are still there to this day and that their bites itch like hell.

A few names have more fanciful sources. Seven Commandos Beach is said to be named for the seven World War II commandos whose ship sank. Cadlao comes from “kadlaw” or “laugh” – the townspeople laugh if the island is visible because that means that the weather will be good. Pinasil originates from “pinasil-pisil”, or “broken into pieces”. According to legend, two giants used the islands as tops. When the two islands collided, they broke into pieces, resulting in Pinasil Island and the small string of islets near it.

Names evolve over time, as seen by the evolution of . After all, the Tagbanua people gave El Nido its original name: Bacuit. It was only when the Spanish came that they changed the name to its present “El Nido”, coming from “nido” or “nest”. I wonder what El Nido will be called in the future.

Map of El Nido

Paradise Less Traveled, part 3

El Nido Resorts also operates two beach clubs in Pangulasian and Entalula Islands. The beach clubs serve lunch and are usually the jump-off point for the afternoon activities. Pangulasian Island has the wider and longer beach, with snorkelling areas offshore. “Panga”, as it is more commonly known, also owns the best view of the sunset. The Entalula beach club is set in a cove with fine white sand. Rock climbing, under the supervision of qualified instructors, takes place on the sheer limestone cliffs surrounding the beach club. Don’t worry – there are different routes to suit different skill levels. Windsurfing, Hobie cat sailing, kayaking, snorkelling, badminton, and volleyball can be done at either beach club. Lazing the day away is also condoned, as the highly efficient and friendly staff members will gladly fix you a cold mango shake as you bask in the sun.

Pangulasian Beach Club Long Stretch Rock Climbing Entalula Beach Club

Speaking of staff, more than 80% of the staff come from El Nido Town and its surrounding barangays, making El Nido Resorts the single largest private employer in the area. While their friendliness and dedication are their greatest assests, El Nido Resorts staff are also trained to high standards, enabling them to serve guests to the best of their abilities.

Leaving the resort will probably the only difficult thing you’ll have to do during your entire stay, that and balancing your loaded dinner plate. El Nido by itself is something else, what more if you include beautiful rooms, spectacular service, and smiling faces into the mix? I don’t have the answer so you’ll just have to come here and experience it yourself πŸ™‚

Paradise Less Traveled, part 2

El Nido Resorts spans Miniloc and Lagen Islands, with Miniloc being the older property. Starting life as the humblest of dive camps in 1985, Miniloc Island Resort retains its rustic, paradise-in-the-middle-of-nowhere feel even after expanding into a 43-room property. With Water Cottages built on stilts, Seaview Rooms with an awe-inspiring view of the bay, Garden Rooms surrounded by tropical plants, Beachside Rooms built right on the beach, and Cliff Cottages nestled in the limestone cliffs, there’s something for everyone’s inner Robinson Crusoe. Snorkelling can be done right off the pier, landing the snorkeller right in the middle of schools of colorful reef fish. Based on a fish identification survey done by Drs. Gerry Allen and Mark Erdmann early this year, El Nido boasts of 694 confirmed species of fish, with 6 potential new species. In fact, the Miniloc house reef is one of the few places in the Indo-Pacific where you’re guaranteed to see several grown giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis), a fish prized by sport fishers for its fighting ability. For guests staying in Miniloc, the famous Big and Small Lagoons are just around the corner via kayak. Just be prepared for the serious paddling involved, as touring the Big Lagoon via kayak takes about an hour.

Heading Outside Exiting Continue reading “Paradise Less Traveled, part 2”

Paradise Less Traveled, part 1

Having managed to sleep through your first flight in a 19-seater plane, you look out your window and see dark blue water below you. Suddenly, you find yourself overlooking a tiny speck of green on the blue. Then you see more specks, growing larger and larger as you get closer and closer. Finally, you see a beach coming right at you. After your plane lands and the cloud of dust stirred by your arrival settles down, your pilot says the magic words you’ve been waiting to hear: “Welcome to El Nido, Palawan”.

Continue reading “Paradise Less Traveled, part 1”