They were the first to speak. “Where are you from?” asked the gentleman.

“We’re from Manila,” Leo, one of my friends answered. “How about you?”

“We’re from Denmark,” said the lady.

They were Rene and Kate. He’s a surgeon, and she’s an anthropologist. They had been traveling around the Philippines for almost a month at the time. El Nido was their last stop, not counting Manila.

Payong-Payong Beach lies next to Miniloc Island Resort (a luxury resort by El Nido Resorts)
Rene and Kate from Denmark at the Secret Lagoon

“Are you a couple?” asked Leo.

“Yes, yes,” said Kate. “We’ve been together for three years.”

“Oh, getting married soon, I bet?” added Leo.

And then there was silence. Awkward silence.

It was a long, painful moment, and no one said anything. We just looked at one another. “Oh Leo,” said Ayn, another friend of mine. “Stop asking uncomfortable questions!”

At that point, our boatmen announced that our lunch was ready. Saved by the boatmen!

We had been sharing the boat with Kate and Rene, our new Danish friends, but it wasn’t until we were lazing at Payong-Payong beach, waiting for lunch, that we started a conversation. As our boatmen prepared lunch and after we introduced ourselves, we finally had time to talk about where we were.

Payong-Payong Beach is one of the many white sand beaches of Miniloc Island. Like most beaches in El Nido, it is also dotted with limestone cliffs, although not as tall as the others. Still, it was totally comforting to stay under their shade. On one side of the beach, the waves rolled more gently. On the other, they were stronger and more violent. Although we all went swimming at one point, most of our time was spent sitting on the sand, admiring the surroundings, and exchanging stories. It’s always nice to make new friends especially on a trip.

My friends playing skipping stones on the shallow side of the beach.
Other tourists enjoying their tropical island lunch.
The waves behind these two cliffs were really strong.
LUNCH! We had chicken, fish, veggies, and fruits!

Just like the day before, our lunch was composed mainly of grilled food, prepared at the beach. We had grilled fish, grilled chicken, ensaladang talong, cucumbers, tomatoes, and bananas. As expected, there was too much food for everyone but we somehow managed to devour everything.

We sat on one of the rocks on the other side of the beach and just let the strong waves play with our feet.

“You’re very lucky,” Kate said to us. “You have a beautiful country.”

Yes, we do.

Update (August 24, 2013): Rene and Kate have finally tied the knot! Congrats to them!

EL NIDO GUIDE


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Yoshke Dimen

Storyteller at Yoshke.com
Yoshke is a part-time digital marketing consultant, part-time travel blogger, and full-time dreamer. He has three passions in life: social media, travel, and --- wait for it --- world peace. Yoshke has won 3 PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS and received 9 nominations. Learn more about his personal journeys at Yoshke.com.
Yoshke Dimen

Comments

  1. how many minutes travel time of the banca from el nido to payong payong beach ? thanks for sharing this wonderful PICTURE PAYONG PAYONG BEACH more power more picture !!!!

  2. Synz says:

    I agree with Kate. We have a beautiful country and we should be proud of it. :) PS.. You really have great pictures. Keep it up! ^_^

  3. JRG says:

    LOL!!! Lesson number 1 for ALL pinoy is….
    ***F I L T E R*** when speaking to tourist even other Pinoy.

    • The Poor Traveler says:

      Great advice! Thanks for sharing! Will bear that in mind next time. :)

  4. bino gesto says:

    so excited!!!!! to get there….we are planning to go on the last week of april 2012….beautiful place and nice pics

  5. Matinloc says:

    Yes, we have a beautiful country, but tourists will stop coming here to visit if we continue our cultural bad habit of throwing our trash on the ground.

    While I was on one of the beaches I saw a boatman bury the plastic bags, plastic plates and plastic water bottles from our lunch. I asked him if he realized that during high tides the water will float all of that trash out into the ocean and onto a nice pristine beach. He just shrugged his shoulders.

    For over 25 years there has been an on going campaign to bring the problems of litter to the awareness of the people, but the masses continue to ignore the problem. How embarrassing to invite people to visit our country and then have them see our lack of concern for our environment.

    Basically, it is simply a lack of respect for the law. And that is why people throw trash on the ground, park their cars where ever they want to and disregard traffic laws.

    In El Nido they have a good plan to eliminate some of the traffic congestion. It is comprised of routing vehicles in one-way streets. I sat and watched the trike drivers move the “one-way” signs put out by the city because they think they know better and don’t want to follow the rules.

  6. Jason Bourne says:

    No doubt the Philippines is beautiful and everyone should work to keep it that way it still frustrates me that we do not set a better example for those visiting the Philippines.

    We still throw our trash on the ground and along our beaches. Recently, while walking down the beach in El Nido, I was amazed to see hundreds of cigarette butts, numerous plastic bottles and plenty of glass liquor bottles strewn across the sand.

    Children still buy candy at the store and throw the wrappers on the ground even though there is a trash bin without a feet meters of where they are standing.

    Why don’t people realize that tourists will stop coming if we continue to make the country look trashy. But we will still complain about the lack of jobs. What irony.

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