Niqui and I dropped Em off at the airport then looked for a van to El Nido. After much delay/negotiation/arguments we finally headed off in a packed van. We picked up random people along the way and dropped them off in fields, so that was interesting. We finally arrived in El Nido town around dinner time and grabbed a quick bite then looked for a trike to our resort Duli Beach.
As we set off the sun began to set, pretty soon it was pitch black and out of nowhere the road dropped off without warning for construction. We headed down a dirt road with no street lights. About 45 minutes later we began a slow trek up a steep incline before the trike began moving backwards, down the hill. Without hesitation, I jumped out, then Niqui got out and the trike driver went back down the hill…with our suitcases. I knew he was just going back down to get speed, but there was a part of me that wondered if he would just drive off. Thankfully, he didn’t. A few minutes later we arrived at a walking path, the trike driver apologized incessantly for not being able to drive farther, but he would likely break is trike in the dark.
I tried calling our resort, but I had no signal except to show me where we were on google maps – which I was sure to load before we arrived. So, either we walk in the dark, or we get back on the trike and look for a room in town. I had already notified the resort we were on our way when we left – we decided to walk. Thank god for flashlights on cell phones. Off we went through the dark in the middle of nowhere Philippines. We arrived at the beach and were “greeted” by barking dogs and a couple asking if we had lodging. “Yes, Duli Beach Resort.” They pointed towards the only lights we could see for miles. Dragging our suitcases through the sand, we made the last of the 1km trek to the resort where we received a warm welcome from the owners and a beer.
We fell asleep and woke up to the sound of the ocean. We were the only guests for the first two nights at our private beach resort. It was exactly what I had been searching for in all of my trips. I wanted to get away from the crowds and vendors constantly trying to sell me something, and boy did I. We swam in the warm ocean, ran on the empty beach, read books in peace, and played cards while it rained. It was the perfect get away.
On our third day, we did a private island hopping tour. After the failure that was the Underground River Tour, we figured a private one would best. There were three people working the boat and two of us. They took us to the lagoons when all the other tours were leaving and set us up with a huge lunch on a small, private beach. An amazing way to see the lagoons without the crowds of tourists.
Niqui was such a trooper on this crazy trip through the back country of the Philippines. I don’t know many women who would walk through the dark with me in search of a peaceful paradise, but she did. I won’t lie and say neither of us were scared, but the crazy trip on the dirt road was 100% worth it. I was hesitant to even post the name of the resort where we stayed because, honestly, I want to keep it a secret. They run on 100% solar power, they’re completely off the grid, the owners are welcoming and friendly, they help to save the baby turtles when they hatch, and they hire locals. I hope to go back.