Tue

07

Feb

2017

The Nest El Nido Resort - Family Bought This Land For Just $20!

The Nest El Nido Resort - Palawan, Philippines  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Facebook Share Twitter Share

About half way through my motorbike trip around Palawan Island, I stopped in El Nido, a stunning limestone cliff-studded island paradise. This was my first trip back since 4 years earlier, and I barely recognized the place. It’s amazing how much can change in 4 years. Entire neighborhoods have been built, along with countless new hotels and resorts.

Honestly, I felt a bit overwhelmed by all the changes. It seemed my little piece of paradise was gone forever. I navigated through swarms of people and tricycles crowding the narrow streets, slowly making my way to my new home for the next few nights–“The Nest El Nido”.

 

View of Cadlao Island through the restaurant  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
View of Cadlao Island through the restaurant

 
Here, with an absolutely stunning view looking out to iconic Cadlao Island, I was able to relax after a longggg ride in the sun. It was only then that my head cleared a bit, and the hotel manager informed me of something. He said that while the town has definitely grown, the crowds I experienced were probably just all the school kids getting out at the same time, temporarily choking up the streets. Whew!

 

There's Still Paradise To Be Found...

Garden view from my villa  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Garden view from my villa

“The Nest El Nido” is a family-owned and operated resort situated in Caalan, on my favorite and more remote side of town. This is the area I walked past each afternoon 4 years ago, when I would journey up the beach to photograph beautiful island sunsets.

This resort has a special place in my heart, and for several reasons. First of all, the design aesthetics are just my style. I love the tasteful blending of “modern” and “beachy”.  It’s truly a classy place, but with a nice, laid back feel to it. 

 

The garden landscape in the center of the resort is quite expansive, and beautifully designed. Gardening is a passion of the owner, and amazingly, she did all this landscaping herself! Yes, this resort is a real family affair - a homecoming and a labor of love, all wrapped up in one. You'll see...

The outside villa windows are basically perfect mirrors, which not only insures complete privacy for guests inside, but also reflects the stunning beauty of the garden and views of Cadlao Island across the sea! It gives the cozy property quite a colorful and spacious feel. Nice touch!

Mirror window on the villa  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Mirror windows (yes, this is from the OUTSIDE looking IN)

 

I mentioned that the resort is family owned and operated, but I did not mention that it is Filipino owned and operated–something that is unfortunately rare for high-end properties in the Philippines, and even more rare because the land this property is on has belonged to this family for over 6 decades! Seriously, I loved hearing this story…

In the 1950s, a Man Stumbled Upon Paradise

 

He was a WWII soldier stationed in Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan. After the war, stories of a wild and scenic paradise pulled him north. He kept going further and further, eventually reaching this fabled Shangri-La at the top of the island.

 

Fisherman dragging his net to shore - El Nido, Philippines © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Fisherman dragging his net to shore

 

Aside from a few Chinese fishermen, the village of El Nido was unknown to the world, just a spec on the edge of a remote Philippine island. Here, in this enchanting paradise, the man saw potential. He put down roots...eventually fell in love and married a local girl. They started a family.

 

He became the town postmaster, and one of the only residents earning any kind of decent salary. As you can imagine, there wasn't a lot to spend the money on in a sleepy seaside village, so he just started buying land. It was so cheap...the family thinks he purchased the land the resort is on for just $20! Think about how much it must be worth all these years later, being situated in the most sought-after part of the #1 island in the world!

 

Smart man, and it's incredible that the family held on to it all these years.

 

(Continued below)

 

Nathan Allen Bio via @idreamedofthis

 

When his daughter grew up, she got married and started a family in Alaska, of all places. After the kids were grown, they left the bitter cold to return home to the Philippines, and live her dream of having a resort in the paradise of her childhood. Pretty amazing to find original land owners in El Nido going all the way back 60+ years!

 

Returning to Their Roots, & Living The Dream

 

As mentioned, she handles all the gardening. The design and construction was carried out by her husband and her son Michael, who also does an excellent job managing the place, along with his lovely wife Christine. You can see the 3 of us posing for a picture below (along with much of the resort staff:) The family is incredibly humble and down-to-earth. They made me feel right at home.

 

(Click photos for more info)

 

I was there before the kitchen was even finished being built, and before they were offering lunch and dinner meals. However, I did get to do a taste-test, and was also able to experience a mouth-watering breakfast, including fruit that was locally grown across the water on beautiful Cadlao island! Did I mention I also ate some of the best bacon I have ever tasted in my life? Imagine the best bacon you’ve ever had, and that you're eating it here:

 

Breakfast beach view from restaurant © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
View of the beach from the resort restaurant

 

I experienced a massage on the upper level here as well. You can’t beat the relaxing sound of island waves crashing during a blissful massage. REAL waves, mind you. This is not an iPod playing:) I think they also plan on having yoga classes up there...all with an absolutely stunning view!

My villa felt warm and inviting. The little details made all the difference in the world…things like the fresh, aromatic smell of the soap, and even the soft, oversized bath towels! I never realized a towel could smell so good. Bedding feels luxurious and inviting as well.

 

(Click photos for more info)


Another thing I loved is the craftsmanship of all the furniture on the property–it’s all locally sourced, or made directly on the property!

 

Send load to friends and family in the Philippines!

topup load Philippines

Day & Night Views of Iconic Cadlao Island

 

These views are my favorite part about being in El Nido. The daytime shot was taken directly from the resort restaurant, I believe. The sunset shot was taken at a nice secluded spot about 10 minutes north up the beach. You just need to keep trekking along the beach until the sunset comes into view.

 

Contact Info, Reviews & Rates

 

Sorry if I can’t stop gushing about this place. I guess I left a little piece of myself there. I love everything about it–the story, the people who run it, and the neighborhood it’s situated in. I’m not the only one, apparently they are already booked solid for months out, and it's not even completely finished yet!

Yes, it goes without saying that you should book as far in advance as you can. Enjoy this little piece of paradise, and please send the family my best!

Check rates and read reviews HERE

 

- Nathan Allen

www.idreamedofthis.com

 

Thanks for reading, and feel free to share!

Facebook Share Twitter Share

Like my page to follow along with me:)  - Nathan


 

 Related blog: Goodbye, Gopro...I Finally Review the TG-4 Underwater Camera

TG-4 Underwater Camera Review via @idreamedofthis

 

Check out a live map of the cheapest flights all around you right now...pretty cool! - Nathan

 

 

 

 If You Like This, You Might Like...



 


More "I Dreamed Of This" Blog Posts HERE

 

Have something to add?  Please leave a comment! 

 

 

comments powered by Disqus

idreamedofthis.com facebook link

Nathan Allen has spent 3 years taking photos and documenting the Philippines.  A long-term traveler, he lives by the motto "spend less, see more".  Follow him HERE.

Contact

© 2017 - www.idreamedofthis.com 

All rights reserved. 

 

Please link and give credit for use of any portion of this website.