El Nido: My Tips for a Cheaper Trip

I’ve been to El Nido last month (April 10 to 14 to be exact) and I spent nearly P10,000.00 during our stay there and that does not include airfare. I should have spent less because we traveled in a group of 13 but how come I spent that much? I was, instantly, impecunious after the trip. Uh-oh! Let me give you a breakdown of my expenses so you’ll have an idea.

Group Expense

Group Expense

As I mentioned above, there were 13 of us who traveled together. The more heads their are the cheaper it should get.

My Own Expenses

My Own Expenses

My dinner was quite expensive because we ate in a restaurant named Altrove! An Italian Restaurant which serves toothsome pizza and pasta dishes! The manager and bar tender (who are both foreigners) would serve you themselves, too! Don’t dare leave El Nido without eating in this restaurant!

Total Expenses

Total Expenses

I believe it’s my friends fault (LOL!). He said it’s better to go there without having a concrete plan since it’s more fun to do things not having to follow a schedule or somebody’s lead. And I AGREED! Yes, it’s fun! It was, indeed, fun! This in not a sarcastic comment. I really did enjoy our entire trip!

Friends, I don’t want the same thing to happen to you so I strongly recommend that you read on ’til the last word in this post–unless budget is not a big concern for you. By the way, this applies if your point of entry is Puerto Prinsesa.

Tip # 1: Bring your own Snorkeling Equipment and Water Shoes

Rental fee in Puerto Prinsesa is 150.00 per day for each equipment and P100.00 per day in El Nido. We did rent ours in Puerto Prinsesa because of their proper sanitation of these equipments.

Savings: P300.00 to P600.00

Tip # 2: Drop by the Grocery Store in Puerto Prinsesa

Why? Because goods in El Nido are expensive compared to Puerto Prinsesa and Manila prices. Buy a bottle of water (the biggest size you can spot), canned goods, instant noodles, chips, snacks, sodas, alcoholic beverages and other things you think would be necessary for the trip. I know that you would help people in El Nido prosper if you will buy from them. But our goal, too, is to lessen are expenses, baby! And don’t complain about the heavy baggage because of the stuff you bought. You’ll just be sitting for a maximum of eight hours on the bus or in the van.

An order of TAPSILOG (Beef Tapa, Fried Rice, Egg) costs P100.00. So I hope that already is enough as a warning! :p

Savings: P500.00 to P1000.00

Tip # 3: Haggle and Bag the Cheapest Rate

C’mon baby! It’s just like trying to convince the store lady to give the shirt to you for P100.00 instead of P200.00. The better you are in bargaining the more money you save especially if you’re traveling with a big group. You can save on your island hopping tours, accommodation, transportation (for van), and other activities. And don’t commit right away to a person just because he/she said “this is the cheapest”. We almost bit this bait in many occasions.

Savings: P2000.00 to P3000.00

Tip # 4: Research

Hello! With the advanced technology, researching is now as easy as drinking water! Research on where to eat where your appetite will be satisfied, the things you can do there and how long you should stay there. A maximum of three days is already enough to do all things you can in El Nido (two tours can be combined in one day). Make it four if you’re planning on diving.

Savings: P200.00 to P300.00

Tip # 5: Plan 

My friend’s advice of not having a plan was somehow misleading (Or maybe I took his words too literally). Haha. I’m not blaming him though. I could have planned our itinerary better. This tip is somehow related to tip # 4. When you research, you can plan, and when you plan you can save money.

In our case, we threw P2,000 to the garbage bin.We often changed our plans so by the time we decided to go back to Puerto Prinsesa ahead of what we have previously planned, we could no longer refund 100% of what we’ve paid for the fourth night we were supposed to stay there. Original plan was to stay there from April 10 to 14 but we left on the 12th. Is that clear? Tell me how I could say it better! LOL!

Savings: P200.00 to P300.00

Tip # 6: Bring Smaller Bills and Coins

Believe me! This will let you save few coins and bills. There are a lot of stores in El Nido but each does not have enough change. I was rejected thrice by different stores because I was paying a hundred peso bill for the P17.00 snack I want to buy. So sometimes, if you have no choice, you might just tell them to keep the change or borrow smaller bills from your generous companions.

I couldn’t forget how happy the store owner was when I paid her P55.00 worth of coins! 🙂

Savings: P50.00 to P100.00

Tip # 7: Use your Connections

I am not talking about internet connection. I am talking about “connection” with people. Ask your friends and relatives if they know anybody from Palawan or, if they’ve been there, ask where they have stayed or what their itinerary was.

My sister’s friend lives in Palawan and they own a restaurant where the bus or van stops for lunch or for a meal. As for us, we only paid P500.00 for a meal worth P1,500.00 because the owner knows me. 🙂 Also, we only have to pay P5,000.00 for the van instead of P7,000.00 because of the connection we have.

I also have this habit of keeping contacts of people I dealt business with so I can recommend them to other people or I can still get in touch with them in case I return.

Savings: P500.00 to P1,000.00

Your Savings

Your Savings

These are my seven tips for you! I’m sure it would help! You might say that my advices are exaggerated but this would really save you from getting broke after your trip. Please type in the comment box if you have any feedback! 🙂

‘Til next time! Adios!



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