The banka ride to El Nido 20/11/11


“Warning! Don’t travel to El Nido by Banka” is what I read in other travel blogs. I have to say it doesn’t really put me at ease, that people report that their banka sunk and the drunk captain yelled out: “Rescue yourselves!” Other’s wrote, they had a rough and very wet journey for over 10 hours.

It was the easiest and cheapest choice to go by banka and for me also the most logical one as taking the plane would mean huge detours and criss-crossing the country. Obviously it was the unsafest option but Logan got excited about the potential of adventure.

After breakfast Logan and I make our way down to the Sea Dive dock and I have a critical look at the old banka. A normal civilized person would think they are playing a joke on you. This little fisher boat is supposed to take us out to the open sea for 7-10 hours? Alright then, I just hope the thunder and lightning from last night is really over!

Surprisingly the banka ride is awesome! We are so lucky to have great weather and a very calm and flat ocean. We are going past beautiful islands, beaches, and lagoons. Logan and I are sitting on a plank on the outside of the banka, our feet dangling down in the water, and enjoy the stunning vistas and the lunch served by the boat crew. We even manage to fall asleep on the 30cm wooden plank.

Not so pretty is the toilet. It’s a tiny cube, no toilet seat, no toilet paper and to flush, you need to scoop water out of a bucket into the toilet. Well, I can live with that and Logan even managed not to use it at all. The men’s bladder is a mystery to me!

Seeing El Nido in the distance is a great feeling. Behind the little town is a massive limestone wall and it’s surrounded by dozens of islands. Opposed to Coron it has got a beautiful beach and looks quite colourful. Since we got no idea of where to stay, we walk into El Nido Boutique and Art Cafe, a modern and clean island-style cafe with wireless internet to order a banana-chocolate milkshake and let the outside world know, that we survived.

Walking down that same alleyway along the beach, we are being offered rooms for first 1400 Pesos and then 800 Pesos a night.
“Sir, Ma’am, looking for room?” “Yes! How much?” “500 a night Sir.” Great, that’s about 12 AUD for a double room right on the beach, including wireless internet. We are ridding ourselves of our bags and jump in the warm waters of El Nido. What a beautiful place. Walking along the beach, we are gazing at all the pretty bars and restaurants with their wooden island-style furniture and lights on.

Pina Colada!? Good idea! Little did I know an hour later Logan would order shots! We arrive back at our room at 1am, I’m sober but Logan.. Oh Oh.. In my imagination I can see the health woman detoxifying Logan tomorrow. Oh what fun!

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