On our 2nd day in El Nido (June 18, 2013), the tour operator told us the weather was improving and that Tour C was available. Horray! This tour’s main destination is Matinloc Island, roughly 4 kilometers away from El Nido mainland. This is the tour we were most excited about since it’s going to the Secret Beach, rumoured to be the inspiration behind Alex Garland’s The Beach.
First stop is the Hidden Beach, not Secret Beach, but Hidden Beach.
The beach itself was rather small, around 500 meters of white sand surrounded by limestones and forest. It was probably called Hidden Beach because there was a big chunk of limestone in front, maybe 100 meters from the shore, covering the beach from passing boats. The water was also calm in here.
On the left end of the beach, there was a tunnel leading to the other side of the limestones. You just have to be careful if you want to pass through because the waves on the other side could slam you to the limestones.
These are limestones I’m are talking about. They could seriously hurt. But we just had to go through it and see what’s on the other side! :D
Yup, we went to the other side, but I held on to the camera and to the rocks and to everything I could possibly hold on to, so I wasn’t able to take any pictures. The waves were a bit crazier in this part, but I saw lots of foreigners swimming around, shouting, drinking, and laughing, so I guess the area was not as dangerous as I thought.
Our tourguide told us that the entrance to the hidden beach was a good snorkeling spot. After telling us to watch for incoming/outgoing boats and to be mindful not to go beyond the limestones and into the stronger waves outside, he went back to his cooking and us to the snorkeling area.
One great thing about tour packages, they cook and prepare our lunch on the island!
Second destination is the Matinloc Shrine. This place was creepy! It was supposedly a rest house, but was abandoned around the 90’s when the husband and wife separated. The big house was abandoned, the windows broken, the doors open, the stairs full of sands, and the rooms have names of priests on them. Outside the house, there was a small shrine with weathered religious items.
This place was almost complete. There was a port where boats could easily dock. There was probably an electricity generator, because there were broken lamposts and an old freezer. The house has a veranda. When my small amount of courage gave me strength to go inside the big house, I saw a sofa, glass doors, tiled floors. I never dared to take any pictures! After about 5 minutes, I went out of the house, almost running down the dark and sandy stairs. @_@
The Secret Beach! From the port of the Matinloc Shrine, this view could be seen. Somewhere in those limestones, there is a small entrance leading to the Secret Beach. The boatmen said no tours dared to go to that part of the island on that day, and on that entire week, as the waves were so big and it was dangerous. The boat has to go near the limestones and the people have to swim to the small entrance to get inside the Secret Beach. Both were just impossible with the kind of weather and waves we had that day. Secret Beach will have to stay secret for now. :(
We didn’t find the Secret Beach, but we did find something!
Third destination is the Tapuitan Island. If you love snorkeling, this is the place to be!
Fishes of different sizes, kinds, colors. Corals too! Some corals were so big and wide, they’re just a foot or two from the water surface. You can’t possibly swim in a straight direction without hitting them. The sea floor is full of small corals as well. We had to wear fins this time so we would not easily get tired. Small jellyfish were making me itch all over, but I can’t stop swimming around. :)
I never got to explore the area completely, I ran out of energy. :3 Swimming and diving and chasing pretty fishes, one of the best snorkelling spots I’ve been to!
Last, Helicopter Island. By the time we got here, the waves were getting dangerous, plus a strong wind and rain.
While our tour guide were pacifying our scared tour-mates, we descended the boat and enjoyed the waves.
After some buko, we boarded the boat and was heading to our supposedly last island, the 7 Commandos Beach. But when the tourguide told us the waves were also crazy on that part, everybody agreed to just pass and head back to El Nido mainland instead. Enough adventure for the day. :)
Tour C was also called snorkeling tour, and they didn’t disappoint us. The islands were also paradise. Typhoons Emong and Fabian made the tour all the more exciting and unforgettable. :)