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Palawan, Philippines: Your guide to El Nido’s island-hopping Tour C

By Mariel Abanes 17 March 2021

Header image courtesy of Carla Cervantes (via Unsplash)

There’s no other way to immerse yourself in the beauty of El Nido, Palawan, than to hop on a boat and cruise your way through countless islands that feature natural limestone cliffs, cool and clear seascapes, and diverse and colourful marine life.

When you arrive in town and look for a sea adventure, you will be greeted with four options for travellers, with Tours A, B, C, and D on the list for you to choose from. It’s a kind of choose-your-adventure thing, as each one highlights a different route. Here, we delve into the wonders of the coveted Tour C quest.

For sun-worshippers who just cannot get enough of the beach life, this route will check everything your sea-loving self looks for. From Helicopter Island and Matinloc Island to Secret Beach and Hidden Beach, these attractions will top your best island experience in the country.

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Helicopter Island

Usually the first stop in Tour C, Helicopter Island is named as such because of the island’s rock formations that resemble a helicopter. Enjoy the view of high limestone cliffs while you soak under the sun and the clear blue waters. You can sunbathe in its white sand beach or go snorkelling for a glimpse of El Nido’s underwater world.

Matinloc Shrine

Situated in Matinloc Island, this breathtaking stop offers one of the best views in the whole of El Nido. Also known as the Shrine of Our Lady of Matinloc, it stars a pristine white chapel and some religious sculptures where you can whisper a silent prayer or simply spend time in serenity. Climb a few steps up to reach the lookout for a bird’s-eye perspective on the island’s surrounding wonder.

Secret Beach

In another part of Matinloc Island is a not-so-secret paradise—the Secret Beach. Enclosed within towering rock cliffs, tourists are only able to access this pocket of beauty by swimming through a small stone opening. Once there, the patch of fine sand and shallow waters within the natural cliff formations will serve as your own little private spot.

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Hidden Beach

This cove-like wonder is hidden within more limestone cliffs. It’s impossible to locate this place from afar, thus its moniker—however, being kept away does not keep it from being imbued with an allure that’s unlike any other.

Talisay Beach

Talisay Beach, the pride of Tapiutan Island, offers a natural exhibition of sea life. Get your gear on and spend your time snorkelling here—it is a fantastic area to find live coral and different underwater species. Once you have had your fill of the colours of the sea, the shore is open for you to lounge in.

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Mariel Abanes


Mariel Abanes is a writer/editor from Manila who constantly finds herself packing her bags and exploring places in and outside her country. Apart from juggling her day job and planning out her next itinerary, she spends time immersing in the indie music scene, finding the next great read, and hopping from one social or cultural gathering to the next.