El Nido is located in the north-east of Palawan Island , which is in the westernmost part of the Philippines . The Philippines ‘ El Nido region is named among the world’s best travel destinations by National Geographic Traveler’s Magazine. The area called Bacuit Bay is also under protection as Marine Park.
Taytay is a small town located 220 kilometers northeast of Puerto Princesa. It is surrounded by El Nido to the north, San Vicente and Dumaran to the south, Taytay Bay and the Sulu Sea to the east, and the South China Sea to the west. While I was in El Nido, I thought I would go and visit this small town.
Taytay Travel Guide
Taytay is one of Palawan’s oldest municipalities and also the province’s first capital. The town of Taytay, known as ‘Estrella Del Norte’, which means ‘Star of the North’ in English, turned out to be smaller than I expected. However, it was founded in 1623, when the Philippines was a Spanish colony.
It is located about 4 hours from Puerto Princesa by minibus. Buses from Puerto Princesa stop at Taytay Bus Terminal on their way to El Nido. If you are planning to go to Apulit Island, you should go to Taytay pier. It takes 5 minutes to get from the bus terminal to the pier by tuktuk.
Taytay has a population of 75 according to the 2015 census. Its people, consisting of Palawans, Tagbanuas, and other cultural groups, live in harmony. The rainy season covers the period from June to October. The dry season, when the season is at its best, covers the months from November to May.
When I went in November, the weather was quite cloudy. The nearest airport is Lio El Nido Airport, which serves a limited number of flights in El Nido. Puerto Princesa Airport is approximately 4-5 hours away.
There are daily minibus services from both El Nido and Puerto Princesa to Taytay. Buses between El Nido and Taytay run almost every hour, from 06:00 to 18:00 every day.
The town of Taytay did not have an ATM in 2011 when I visited. There is a convenient ATM machine at BPI Bank now. Credit cards are generally not accepted in Taytay, except for hotels and resorts. You must have cash Philippine pesos in your pocket.
The most popular tourist destinations in Taytay are the Spanish fort Fort Santa Isabel and Apulite Island. There is a 300-year-old historical church and castle in the place called Fort Santa Isabel.
Before the Spanish Colonization, the Taytay Kingdom was ruled by a monarch. Surviving the war at Mactan, where Magellan was killed, the crews captured the Taytay king and queen. After getting the supplies they needed to reach the Maluku Islands, where the Portuguese are located, they released the king and queen.
The name Taytay is derived from the indigenous word ‘Talaytayan’ meaning several pieces of bamboo or wood brought together to form a bridge. It literally means ‘bridge’. During the period when America ruled the Philippines, Taytay ceased to be the capital of Palawan and declined in importance. With the establishment of the Municipality of El Nido in 1916, its administrative border shrank.
The surrounding islands are more popular than Taytay itself. Might be a good candidate to escape the crowds of EL Nido and spend a few days in the countryside. There are islands in the vicinity that are home to some very nice luxury resorts. Apulite Island is the most popular of them.
An early morning boat tour is organized to see the endangered Irradawy dolphin species, which is only seen in a few parts of the world such as Kalimantan or Taytay. The tour, which takes about 2 hours, starts at 5 am.
Fort Santa Isabel is a 17th-century Spanish fort. To protect it from attack by pirates, it was built as a wooden fence in 1667 and was built by Queen of Spain II. Isabela was named. With the efforts of Governor-General Fernando Manuel de Bustillo, the current castle was built in 1738.
Mortar prepared with egg white was used in the construction of this huge stone castle. The castle, which played an important role in the spread of Spanish colonialism and the growth of Christianity in the Philippines, is beautiful both outside and inside. The castle, which has survived to the present day, is visited as a museum. Entry fee is PHP 50.
Elephant Island is an island with a white sandy beach and excellent snorkeling spots. It also has a natural, secret lagoon hidden deep in the cliffs.
Isla Blanca is again an extraordinary island with white sands and a large coral reef. It has very good beaches surrounded by coconut trees.
Lake Manguao is the only freshwater lake in mainland Palawan that is home to more than a hundred different bird species. Also known as Lake Danao, the lake is perfect for bird watchers. You can take a boat or canoe tour to enjoy the scenery and maybe see some wildlife.
Tay Lelong’s Pension House, Pem’s Pension House & Restaurant, Casa Rosa Restaurant & Cottages, NoaNoa, or if you’re on a budget, Flower Island Resort and Apulit Island Resort are the accommodation options in Taytay town.
After the Taytay trip, I returned to the bus terminal and this time jumped on the tourist minibus (200P). I went back to El Nido with a comfortable air-conditioned journey and looked for a way to solve the money problem.
In Asian places where there is no ATM, big hotels or some businesses can give you cash in return for a commission. Many people I asked suggested I ask Art Cafe. While I was eating french fries and sipping my beer against the magnificent view from the balcony of the Art Cafe, I had 5000 Peso cash in my pocket, which I paid 400P commission.
I went back to my hotel and made the bargain that I couldn’t make yesterday, reducing the room rate from 800P to 500P. Eduardo, who met in Coron Island and came to El Nido together and stayed in the same room, said that he was very impressed by the El Nido boat tour he attended and that he saw many beautiful places. On the boat tour, he met the American John, whom he met in Lao. We went to dinner together. An English couple they met on a boat tour joined us.
El Nido is simply amazing! The waves hitting the wall of the Sands Inn hotel (800Peso), where I stayed almost on the beach, left even the upstairs balcony in water. We slept through the night to the sound of the waves hitting the walls of the hotel.