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We were in the mood to bask in the sun that morning. El Nido wasn’t.

It was sweet and sunny when we left our hotel. Despite the heavy rain the night before, we kept our optimism on the way to our destination. As I sat inside the van, I thought, “This is going to be a great day!”

All of a sudden, the vehicle stopped. It was bogged. The continuous raining the past days had turned the dirt road into chocolate marshmallows and now swallowed the tires of our van. We hopped out, removed our slippers, and walked several hundred meters barefoot to the beach. Still, nothing was going to spoil the day!

It's a dirty business crossing this road.
It’s a dirty business crossing this road.
The locals, even children, see the bright side!
The locals, even children, see the bright side!

“Keep calm and be positive,” I said to myself while I straddled the chocolate-flavored road. “As long as it doesn’t rain, this is going to be a great day!”

And just like that. Rain poured. Hard.

Swimming in the Rain at Nacpan Beach

We scrambled to put all our valuables and clothes inside a plastic bag as the villains hovering above us pissed rivers. But once done, we welcomed the downpour as a long lost friend, the kind you want to kick in the nuts and then hug after. It had been years since I last enjoyed walking in the rain, and it was a good day to relive some childhood memories or reenact cheap videoke clips. Like little kids who had seen the ocean for the first time, we dashed to the water and embraced the waves, our mischievous playmates for the day. We greeted adventures and misadventures with open arms. (Cue: Journey)

Where's Storm when you need her?
Where’s Storm when you need her?

The pristine charm of Nacpan Beach shone through the bleak atmosphere. Under normal, sunny circumstances, the sand is much whiter and the waves less powerful. Nacpan Beach forms one side of an almost triangular cape that sticks into the West Philippine Sea. It’s a long, long strip of pearly white sand that dips gently into the shoreline, fenced by a troupe of towering coconut trees that sway softly with the wind.

Except this time, they weren’t swaying with it; they were restlessly fighting it. As were we. We didn’t realize we had been wrestling the sea for hours. The waves turned from strong to violent, and the raindrops began to stab our backs. It was the signal we needed to retreat to a place with a roof. Lunch time!

The Southern tip of Nacpan-Calitang Beaches, forming a cape
The Southern tip of Nacpan-Calitang Beaches, forming a cape
The seemingly endless Nacpan Beach
The seemingly endless Nacpan Beach

Lunch at Kayla’s Cucina

Before we headed for the beach that morning, we ordered meals from a small canteen along the way. Hence, the food was ready to be served when we arrived for lunch break. Options are limited, but the popular dishes were grilled chicken and fish, vegetable salad, and shrimps. Lutong bahay, oh how I missed you! They tasted good. Typical. But good.

My friends and the other tourists we met during this trip
My friends and the other tourists we met during this trip
Lutong Bahay. Ordinarily yummy.
Lutong Bahay. Ordinarily yummy.

Hiking for a Good View

An hour and 20 pounds later, I found myself galloping back to the beach. Well, not really. I found myself unable to move in utter fullness and sloth, but then my friends dragged me back to the beach. The skies were much friendlier now. Brenna led the group to a grass-covered hill at the end of Nacpan where a steep overused trail was waiting for us. After a short climb, the top of the hill surprised us with wig-snatching winds and a glorious 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape!

Nacpan-Calitang Twin Beaches when it's bright and sunny. Photo by Brenna Bustamante
Nacpan-Calitang Twin Beaches when it’s bright and sunny. Photo shot by Brenna Bustamante on a separate trip.

The hill is where the beaches of Nacpan and Calitang meet. While Nacpan appeared to be almost endless, Calitang is much shorter. One end cradles a fishing village, and the other a row of multi-colored boats. The two beaches merge in a narrow powdery sandbar that snakes into a verdant hill that lies adjacent to it. The other side of the hill is rocky and more dangerous, as it faces the open sea.

The orgasmic vista made me grab my camera and take countless shots, but then I realized I had left it at the canteen. Boo! With a heavy heart and even heavier feet, I went down, walked back to retrieve my cam, and crawled back up to the hilltop to finally take photos. Alas, the sun was shy and hiding again! Well-played, sun. Well-played.

Nacpan Calitang under coudy skies
Nacpan Calitang under coudy skies
The hill on the southern tip of the cape
The hill on the southern tip of the cape

But guess what, I was serious when I said nothing could spoil that day. Not even the rain.

And it rained again.

You’ve got to be kidding me!

Posted: 2013 • 8 • 21

How to get to Nacpan-Calitang Twin Beaches: Located in Barangay Bucana north of El Nido town proper, the twin beaches are 45 minutes away by van, even longer by tricycle. It is not included in the usual island-hopping tours, but most travel agencies and tour operators offer trips to this stunner.


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Earl Tomenio

Didnt know about Nacpan’s twin beach when i went here last April. I will definitely go back there and check it out. :)


last time my husband and i went to san vicente palawan, the road was also soooo muddy. we experienced the same thing, walked in the mud and the guys even pulled (not push) the van. it was so challenging, but real fun! the place was superb! two thumbs up!

carol cabrera

i was there with my boyfriend last july..nd we we’re both fascinated how beautiful the sand nd how clear the water was..but we both ddnt know about the twin beaches..would definitely want to go back and spend overnight under the moon…one of the best beaches iv ever been.. see u again soon!


[…] Later on, I found that if we had only gotten our butts off our loungers and taken a stroll further down the beach, we would have discovered that Nacpan actually has a Siamese twin named Calitang beach. […]

Jessie Festa

Thanks for sharing this awesome travel of yours, one of a wonderful place to visit.

Duke Stewart

This is a cool post. I loved Nacpan Beach. Such a beautiful place! Not going back to Palawan but hoping to find similar places in other parts of the Philippines in the near future. Like your site, btw:)

Ali Moulay

Sand flies!Same as long beach in San Vicente.We wont go back there or to El Nido


The access road is now concrete, so getting there is less of an adventure (an adventure of the sort you don’t need). Strangely enough, there were also heavy showers the day I visited with my wife & son. Of course I climbed the hill at the end of the beaches, to take the photo that’s been captured a million times. Doesn’t make it any less awesome. Had a great seafood lunch in a simple beachfront karendaria. And a beer to wash it down. What more could you wish for; 2 golden while sand beaches for the price of one – and cold beers too!