One of the most iconic images of any beach is during sunset but I cannot find a glimpse of the setting sun when I walked along Barangay Buena Sarte on our first afternoon in El Nido. As El Nido is a beautiful place, I thought there must be some good spots here for an astonishing view of the sunset so I hailed a tricycle along Rizal Street and asked the driver to take me somewhere where the sun sets beautifully.
The tricycle driver was Mang Jun, a local of El Nido with an average built and probably in his early 40’s. His dark skin showed years of working under the sun but his sincere smile made me comfortable with him.
He first brought me beside the road in Barangay Corong-corong, overlooking other islands. From there, I could already see the golden sun starting to set over the islands surrounding Bacuit Bay. It was beautiful but I still wanted to see the usual sunset by the beach.
Mang Jun must have read my mind for he told me that we will still go somewhere. I readily jumped to his tricycle and waited for us to arrive at our next destination. We stopped in front of Stunning Vista Resort, parallel to the road. The open gates allowed me to see the big fireball beyond the sea, the sand and the beautiful garden of the resort. We entered the premises and a petite-framed Filipina crew approached us. She’s a smiling lady wearing a sarong dress and a hibiscus (gumamela) was tucked behind her ear. Her Morena skin and sweet smile matched her outfit. I wondered if all the crews there have that distinct Filipina beauty as hers.
Mang Jun asked her if we could enter the premises just to take pictures of the sunset. Upon hearing her consent, I briefly said my thanks and walked to the beach area while making a mental note of how accommodating and friendly the crews of Stunning Vista are. While taking pictures, I noticed that there are diners in their beach restaurant, also watching the magnificent sunset. Stunning Vistas, I figured, is a perfect name for their resort.
After taking my shots, I returned to the tricycle where Mang Jun was waiting. I really admired how accommodating the crew’s disposition was when she smilingly bid farewell. I hopped on the trike, ready to go home when Mang Jun asked me if I still wanted to see other views of the sunset, but for a higher price. My fare from the town to Stunning Vistas was Php 20.00 one way but if I will agree to go to the next destination, the Las Cabanas Resort, it will be Php50.00 one way.
I thought PHp50.00 one way is fine if the view is better than that of Stunning Vistas so I agreed with his offer. With that, we traced the main road going to Puerto Princesa. It’s getting farther but my instincts told me I’m safe with Mang Jun. We stopped at another overlooking spot along the road, but this time, there is a tree house that according to him, the local government built for a better view of sunset.
By that time, I was worried that I might miss the “best sunset” in Las Cabanas so I just took a couple of shots from the tree and ran back down to the tricycle. We’ve stopped so many times now and I know that the sun does not wait for anyone to set.
Finally, we arrived at the jump-off point to Las Cabanas. According to Mang Jun, we have to walk down the now dark trail leading to the beach. Going to the beach, we met many tourists going back to the main road and Mang Jun and I thought that we already missed the sunset but still tramped to the beach.
Marigmeg beach welcomed us at the end of the trail. At first glance, it seemed that the sunset has passed so I just walked along the stretch of Marigmeg beach to ease my disappointment.
The soft, fine sand of Marigmeg easily distracted me while walking. I was watching the sand cling to my feet and disperse everywhere as I tread heavily on the sand when Mang Jung called my attention and told me to look at the sky.
That’s when I saw the “best sunset” that they were telling me. The sky bleeds purple, pink, blue and gold while the previously emerald waters mirror the colourful sky. I cannot see the sun that was hidden behind Depeldet Islet but the festival of colors everywhere I look was beyond astonishing! I tried to take a lot of pictures that time but I kept my camera after just a couple of shots. It’s not every day that I get to experience a moment that serene. Instead of wasting my time trying to capture the best angle of the sunset, I just sat on the beach and just took in everything until the last pinkish hue.
I then walked towards Mang Jun, who was patiently seated on a fallen coconut tree. We returned to the town and as I was walked along Calle Rizal, munching the monay bread I bought from the Midtown Bakery, I realized the El Nido is beautiful not only because of her insanely beautiful land and seascapes. Her beauty also lies on her kind and sweet people like Mang Jun, the resort crew, and all the other locals that I will meet on my next three days.