Travel with us and Wally every month to a new country.
We launched a new series about travelling to give you the feeling of discovering new places, even if it is just virtually. Our Ambassador, Wally, shares his funny stories and adventures with us once a month. He has traveled around the world and lived in 7 different countries.
You can watch us LIVE on Instagram on every second Wednesday of the month at 4pm.
No worries if you have missed it, you can rewatch the full episode whenever you feel like escaping your city a little bit.
Recap of the previous episodes
In the first episode Wally took us to Wuhan where he was teaching English for 16 months. In the second episode he shared some memories with us from his summer vacation while he was living in China. He took 2 months to travel around Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.
In the first part of this third episode Wally was sharing his funny experience with us on the Sojoourn Instagram account when he woke up to something really weird and embarrassing in the middle of the night in a hostel. We also talked about how he became a diver instructor and spent his days by showing the marine life to tourists. If you missed it head over our IGTV and rewatch the episode. Read on to see how simple kindness can be found in the middle of nowhere in the mud, and how people you've never met come toward you and offer their help, without expecting anything in return. Maybe in the Philippines even the dogs are nicer.
An Amazing Adventure in El Nido
My girlfriend and I flew into Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan ready to be blown away by the beauty that we heard is superior to Boracay. We got into Puerto Princesa at 7pm and ended up meeting a Filipino girl named Joann who helped us get a tricycle for 8 pesos (0.10 EUR) to our hotel. Normally just getting a ride ourselves would cost us at least 50 pesos (1 EUR). She was so nice and hopped out and paid the driver so quickly that we didn’t even get a chance to insist.
The underground river tour in Sabang which is about 1.5-2 hours from Puerto Princesa was booked so we decided to take a bus to El Nido to do the infamous island hopping. Unfortunately, the hostel that we didn’t stop hearing about located in El Nido was booked so we took a gamble on a campsite/dorm hostel in El Nido that had 7 good reviews and that’s where our adventure began.
After the 6 hour bus ride from Puerto Princesa arrived, it was about 7pm and our hostel was located about an hour’s ride from town. Since neither of us had a card that works on Hostelworld, we didn’t book the hostel we were going to and just hoped it would be open. We were told that the roads were horrible by the locals at the bus station wanting to charge us ridiculous prices to get there. Every person we talked to asked us the same question, “You want to go there now?” This was a clear indicator for what we were in for.
The first 30 mins of the ride were smooth until we hit dirt road and it got bumpy. As you can imagine riding with our giant backpacks in this tiny tricycle is much easier for Filipinos than it is for Western sized people. Nonetheless I had a huge smile on my face all the way up the mountain. This is what I live for, riding along a bumpy road, in a less than reliable mode of transportation, dark at night, nobody around and the night sky was just illuminated with so many stars that I couldn’t take my eyes off it. We were on an adventure to find our hostel and I was loving it.
As we neared the last few kilometers, there were huge patches of mud where we needed flat road to be. Four different times we got stuck in deep mud and had to get down and dirty to push it out. These two adorable village kids who couldn’t have been more than eight years old helped us push it out all four times as they saw us passing down the road. I imagine in a place with a population of maybe 500 that it’s incredibly safe. Full of mud all over our hands, feet, and bags we neared Nacpan beach, the location of our hostel. Our driver asked around and finally found a couple boys who hopped on their bikes to take us there. We arrived after another mud delay thankful to all the locals who helped us so much so that we threw the driver an extra 200 pesos. Of course when we arrived, the hostel was empty and nobody was around. The boys that had helped us went to wake up the owner of the hostel and as he turned the corner it was, at last salvation. He later told us that nobody had booked the hostel so he took it as his day off which is why it was closed.
This part of El Nido shuts down at 7pm for the most part and after our journey we were starving. Chris, the owner as we had heard, was the nicest guy and took us to a restaurant on the beach that was actually closed. He woke up the owners to rustle us up some grub and we had some awesome burgers and mango shakes. It was all surreal how we made it here and now we were looking out at the beach as we ate our food and occasionally stared at the chickens roosting in the rafters above confused about why we were interrupting their slumber.
As we were eating a pack of five dogs strolled up to lay in the sand next to us. We said about fifty thank yous to the owners of the restaurant as we left and to our surprise the pack of friendly dogs followed us the whole mile back to the hostel and attempted to do so right into our dorm room. We thanked Chris and threw the mosquito nets over us and went off to sleep.
We quickly realized in the morning that there’s nothing to do in this part of El Nido. Aside from a beach and a couple restaurants, the island hopping that we were coveting wasn’t going to be an option as long as we stayed at this hostel on Nacpan beach. We decided to see the beach in the daylight anyways and since Chris was so nice and insistent on showing us around it was an easy choice to make. As we went over the hill on a different part of the beach, at the top was the friendly pack of dogs that had followed us back to the hostel the night before. They had left early in the morning and the quintessential leader of them let out a howl as if to say, “We missed you, where have you been?” They followed us all the way to the restaurant where we had again another wonderful breakfast. We later informed Chris that we had to leave because we wanted to do island hopping and interact with some other backpackers. He took it gracefully and helped us get a tricycle down.
I’ve never had such a hard time trying to get to a hostel before and although it wasn’t ideal it was the adventure I’d been searching for and it was pretty much found on accident. It’s easy to forget what you did lying around on the beach, relaxing, going out and partying every night for four days because it tends to blend itself together. But this will be as vivid in my memory five years into the future as it is right now. It’s not something money can buy or a tour can get you, it’s an experience that only we will have and that’s what made it amazing.
Join us on our next trip to Europe, Germany. Watch us LIVE on Wednesday, 10th of February at 4pm on Instagram and don’t forget to follow us.
Stay safe and see you soon,
The Sojoourn Team