I was starting to enter a state of depression as I tried to zip up my life jacket forcefully. “My tummy is getting in the way,” I self-deprecated when I was asked what the matter was. It was the third life jacket I tried and I really needed one because I, embarrassing as it sounds, doesn’t know how to swim. Boo, bite me. (I should start taking lessons.)
But it’s difficult to be sad in El Nido.
The imposing limestone cliffs fringed with green vegetation are therapists in disguise. Their colors against the blue skies are visual music that has the ability to relax, hypnotize and blow all bad vibes away. Heck, even the sound of the boat’s engine has that ability, too. It’s funny because every time the sound of the engine stopped, we knew we were in for a treat.
Miniloc Island is right smack in the middle of Bacuit Bay, El Nido. The island’s jagged coastline is filled with pockets of white beaches and lagoons and caves, both shallow and deep. It is one of those islands you think only exist in the movies or your head.
Gliding Around the Big Lagoon
It was like the limestone cliffs parted as our boat glided through to the Big Lagoon. Miniloc Island is like a place straight from a fantasy movie. The towering cliffs are lined up on both sides like sentinels and as you go deeper, you feel like you are sailing into another dimension. Everywhere you look, you are blown away. Whether you try to see what’s beneath the crystal blue fluid blanket or look up to see the sun peeking behind the top of the cliffs, or look around to try to find your way around the limestone labyrinth, Miniloc Island will mesmerize you.
We didn’t get off the boat at the Big Lagoon, though.I guess we were all tired and hungry. We just sat there as our boat glided around the paradise. That’s not to say that we weren’t amazed by the Big Lagoon. Time itself can be such a buzzkill sometimes.
Kayaking Around the Small Lagoon
“The last time I was here, I swam,” I bragged as I prepped her life vest. My friend Isa was just about to kayak for the first time.
“No, not swam,” I corrected myself. “Floated.” I don’t swim. I can’t swim. I float, with-orange-life-vest-on kind of float. Aimlessly like a piece of driftwood kind of float. So yeah, I floated the last time I was here. This time, however, we were kayaking.
It was one thing I had looked forward to since the prospect of returning to El Nido dawned on me. I kayak whenever it is available. It is relatively easy. And in the gentle waters of Small Lagoon, it is unbelievably easy. This is why I adore lagoons. They’re just not as tiring as the sea or the freakin’ ocean. The waves are gentle and “friendly,” and they do not try to drag me farther against my will.
The Small Lagoon is accessible through a gap between two giant limestone rocks that appear to be about to kiss each other. Through this little space, one can swim or kayak into the lagoon. It is actually these cliffs, and the rocks and corals in the shallow part of the area that temper the waves, protecting the water in the lagoon from the all whatever violent events in the open sea.
Our group took our time exploring every nook and cranny of the lagoon. When we reached the small cave in one corner, we had to get off the kayak and swam. The water here was much, much colder. But it was just the refreshing change we needed.
As I hopped back onto our boat and take off the life jacket, I realized just how lucky I was to be there. And that not even my tummy or weight or whatever negativity could ruin a mood of someone who is surrounded by, hmmm, what is it? Ah, perfection.
How to get to Big and Small Lagoons: From El Nido Town Proper, the Big and Small Lagoons is just a boat ride away. It is part of the standard TOUR A, which will take you around Miniloc Island and surrounding sites. Tour A costs P700 or lower depending on the travel agency.
Updated: 19 August 2013