El Nido, Palawan

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Municipality of El Nido
Ph locator palawan el nido.png
Region Western Visayas (Region VI)
Province Palawan
Mayor Edna Gacot-Lim
Barangays 18
Website www.elnidotourism.com
Physical characteristics
Total (2000) 27,029
El Nido's cliffs

El Nido is a fourth class municipality and marine reserve park in the province of Palawan, Philippines. It is about 420 kilometers southwest of Manila. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 27,029 people in 5,191 households. 85% of the population are living in the rural barangays, while only 15% of them are in the Poblacion (town proper).

The municipality covers the northernmost tip of mainland Palawan. It is composed of 45 islands and islets, each has its own unique geological formations. Like the rest of Palawan, it is part of the Eurasian Plate, a plate that is entirely separate from the Philippine Plate to which the rest of the Philippines belongs. The limestone cliffs here are similar to those that can be found in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and Guillin in China, as well as Krabi in Thailand, all of which are part of the Eurasian Plate.



El Nido has been inhabited by humans as early 2680 BC or even up to 22,000 years ago. This was confirmed by fossils and burial sites, dating back to the Neolithic|Late Neolithic Age, that can be found in many caves and excavation sites surrounding the municipality. Chinese traders had been regularly visiting the area of El Nido for its edible birds' nests during Sung Dynasty (960 BC|960-1279 BC). In fact, El Nido is specifically mentioned in Chinese records as far back 1225 BC. Caho Ju-Kua, a member of the Chinese Royal Family, Trade Commissioner and Superintendent of Customs of the Port of Chuan How wrote about the island, Pa-Lao-Yu or Land of Beautiful Harbors in his book Chu Fan Chai.

The town traces its roots from a small Tagbanua village called Talindak. Some time in the 16th century, waves of migrants from Cuyo Islands came here to settle. In the 1800s, the Spaniards arrived, and they moved to the part where present-day town proper and Barangay Mabini are located. The first Spanish families were Canovas, Vasquez, Rios and Rey. In 1890, the Spaniards renamed it "Bacuit." At the time, the center of the town was Cabigsing, then known as Inventario. Chinese families moved into the area about the same period, first settling in Langeblangeban. The first Chinese settlers were named Lim, Chin, Liao, Edsan, Ambao, Que-Ke, Lim Piao, Yu His, Pe Phan and Pe Khen. In 1954, the town was finally given its present name, El Nido, after the edible nests of swiftlets collocalia fuciphaga found in the crevices of its limestone cliffs. In 1983, major tourism started in El Nido when Ten Knots Development Corporation, a Filipino - Japanese joint venture company, opened a divers’ resort on Miniloc Island, and an airstrip (Lio airport) at Villa Libertad on the mainland.


Ethnic Groups

The original settlers of El Nido were the Tagbanuas and Cuyunons. Throughout the centuries, there has been a constant migration of Tagalogs, Visayans, Bicolanos, Ilocanos, Han Chinese|Chinese and Spaniards. There are also a small number of Germans and Koreans. Intermarriage between ethnic groups are not uncommon in El Nido.

The first town census of 1918 showed El Nido having a population of 1,789. In the period between 1980 and 1990, the population grew up to 18,832. Today, almost 27,000 people call El Nido their home.


The main language is Filipino, which is based on Tagalog. In addition, many people are very proficient in the English language, Visayan languages (Bisaya, Cebuano, Ilonggo, and Waray), and Bicolano. A small but significant percentage of the population speaks Cuyunon, the native dialect of the Cuyo Islands and most parts of Palawan.


El Nido is predominantly Roman Catholic. A small segment of the population belongs to other Christian denominations such as Baptist, Iglesia Ni Cristo, Seventh-day Adventist and other Protestant churches. Recently, there is a growing number of migrants, who are engaged in Islamic faith, from southern Palawan and parts of Mindanao.


El Nido has more than ten public elementary and secondary schools located in most of its barangays. El Nido Central School and El Nido National High School, which are both located at the Poblacion (town proper), have the largest facilities and number of students, among these schools. Recently, Palawan State University (PSU) opened its El Nido campus in New Ibajay, and it offers extramural programs and studies.


The main industries of El Nido are fishing, agriculture and tourism, being a popular diving location. Edible nest-gathering is also an economic activity, although it is relatively seasonal.



The fastest and most direct way to El Nido is from Manila. The flight takes one hour and fifteen minutes, and lands directly at Lio airport, which is located about 4 kilometers from Poblacion (town proper). There are only two airlines that fly to El Nido, namely Southeast Asian Airlines (SEA Air) and the El Nido Resorts-owned Islands Transvoyager Incorporated (ITI). FLIGHT TIME TABLE AND RESERVATIONS TO EL NIDO


The main roads of El Nido are organized around a set of radial and circumferential roads that radiate and circle in and around the town proper and its rural barangays. Its interconnected roads are connected to the major highway that leads Puerto Princesa City, Palawan's capital. BUS TIMES FOR EL NIDO

Seaports and piers

The main port in El Nido is located in Buena Suerte (Zone II), although a number of small and accessible wharfs are being used in other rural barangays. A number of ferry and other sea vessels owned by Atienza Shipping Lines and San Nicholas Shipping Lines have regular trips from Manila to El Nido town proper. FERRY TIMES FOR EL NIDO


There is no telephone lines that operate in El Nido. Resorts and other tourist facilities use satellite telephone systems, while majority of the population rely on cellular networks Smart Communications and Globe Telecom.

Public services

Poblacion (town proper) is part of the service areas of electric utility, Palawan Electric Cooperative. Other barangays use solar panels and electric generators. Water services are accessible in protected water tables and facilities. Ten percent of the population can avail of the Level II Water System by the municipal government, while majority of them are still dependent on deep wells and natural springs.


During the Spanish rule, El Nido town was part of the Province of Castilla, with Taytay as its capital. It remained part of the Municipaliy of Taytay until 1916 when it became an independent Municipality.

El Nido is politically subdivided into eighteen barangays. Four of which are situated in the Poblacion (town proper), and are also known by their respective zones.

  • Bagong Bayan
  • Buena Suerte (Zone II)
  • Barotuan
  • Bebeladan
  • Corong-corong (Zone IV)
  • Mabini (formerly Oton)
  • Manlag
  • Masagana (Zone III)
  • New Ibajay
  • Pasadeña
  • Maligaya (Zone IV)
  • San Fernando
  • Sibaltan
  • Teneguiban
  • Villa Libertad
  • Villa Paz
  • Bucana
  • Aberawan

Places of Interest

One of the many beautiful beaches of El Nido

Bacuit Bay

The bay is dotted with islands and islets, most of which are inhabited. Its clear blue waters are rich in marine life. It is home to dugongs, turtles, rays, species of fishes and coral reefs. There are over 30 dive sites ranging in depth from six to more than thirty meters.

El Nido Resorts

Miniloc Island

It is where the first resort in El Nido, which first started as a diving station for Japanese and European tourists, can be found. It is a great place for snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking. Its Big and Small Lagoons showcase a kaleidoscope of marine life in its orchid-lined limestone walls.

Lagen Island

The most luxurious exclusive resort in the area is situated in its cove, which is fringed by a lush forest and limestone walls. Its Leta-Leta Cave was an important burial site of the Neolithic|Late Neolithic Age, where a collection of stone and shell artifacts, and sophisticated pottery and nephrite adzes and axes were recovered. Other materials include stone ornaments and shell beads. It was excavated by Dr. Robert Fox in 1965.

Pangalusian Island

It has one of the widest stretch of powdery white beaches in El Nido, which is very ideal for sun bathing, sunset viewing, and other beach activities.

Cudognun Point

It is an important anthropological site, where jewelry and pottery dating back to the Sung Dynasty (960 BC|960-1279 BC) were yielded. The anthropologists believe that the cave dwellers were from Borneo, and travelled across the ancient land bridge that connected Palawan from Borneo.

Matinloc Island

Matinloc Island, the longest slim island in El Nido [1], has a secret beach that is inaccessible by boat and surrounded by steep rock walls. To reach it, divers must swim underwater through a narrow crevice in a rock wall. [2] According to local legend, this beach inspired Alex Garland's novel The Beach (novel)|The Beach. [3]


  • The famous Katrina Halili was raised in El Nido. Before joining the reality TV show, Starstruck, she represented El Nido in the Miss Palawan contest.
  • One of the episodes of The Amazing Race was shot in some parts of Bacuit Bay in El Nido.

External links



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