El Nido imposes new island hopping rates

Spectacular view of the sky, sea, and steep rock faces layered with thick vertical gardens of vegetation on your way to the Big Lagoon in Miniloc Island, El Nido. (Photo by Lolit Whorlow)

El Nido is now imposing new island hopping rates for tours in Bacuit Bay, an official of the town said.

Rene Jay de la Calzada, the administrator of the municipality, said Thursday the new rates are part of Municipal Ordinance No. 010-2013 stated in Section 5.

They became effective after the 15-day required publication of the November 27, 2018, Municipal Council-approved policy.

This photo taken by photographer Lolit Whorlow shows when tour boats used to enter the Big Lagoon in Miniloc Island, El Nido.

He said the following are the new rates that the municipality will impose in Bacuit Bay island hopping tours:

* TOUR A – P1,200 per person and islands to be visited are Big lagoon, Simizu Island, Payong-payong, Secret Lagoon, and Seven Commandos:

* TOUR B – P1,300 per person for visits in Pangulasian Island, Cudognon Cave, Cathedral Cave, Snake Island and Pinagbuyutan Island;

* TOUR C – P1,400 per person for tours in Secret Beach, Hidden Beach, Matinloc Shrine, Tapiutan Island and Helicopter Island;

* TOUR D – P1,200 per person for tours in the Small Lagoon, Nat-nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, Pasandigan Cove, Paradise Beach, and Ipil Beach.

De la Calzada told Palawan News that the municipal government continues to receive appeals for consideration regarding the rates and early booking

“We will check ‘yong mga ilan ang nag-book ng maaga para ma-settle natin kung i-implement na rin ba agad ang new rates or hindi muna. Kahit nagbago, siguro maaapektuhan ang iba pero hindi naman kasi ganoon kalaki,” he pointed out.

The new rates include payments for the tour guides, food, and water. A tour that will not include food should be P200 less, he said.

Children 12 years old and below will be given 50 percent discount while the elderly will be given 20 percent.

Recently, El Nido engaged in a series of dry runs on tours in both lagoons to figure out the control and management of their carrying capacities. It determined that tours in the two highly-visited sites should be separated in tour packages.

The Big Lagoon will remain in Tour A while the Small lagoon was moved to Tour D, De la Calzada said, explaining the separation aims to address the overcrowding problem.

“Baka nga mas ma-enjoy nila kasi tatagal na sila sa bawat island then gusto din kasi natin maiwasan ang overcrowding,” he added.

In the Big Lagoon, only about 60 visitors and 30 kayaks are allowed to enter. The Small Lagoon, on the other hand, will allow the entry of 30 guests and 15 kayaks. Under this system, they are allowed to stay within the sites for an hour.

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