Among the island hopping tours in El Nido, Tours A & C are the most in demand. Tour A is also known as “lagoon tour”, while Tour C is the “shrine tour”. Tours B & D are interesting as well as they involve sandbar, caves, beaches, and lagoons.

There are some who do the “merged tour” wherein you’d get to visit a couple of tours in a day. This could work in some people especially if they really have a tight itinerary. But it wouldn’t be advisable if you’re planning to have a relaxed tour.


El Nido Island Hopping Tour Map


Previously, I shared with you our Tour A experience. An this time let me share you our Tour C.


El Nido Island Hopping TOUR C

We availed a tour package via Hadefe Travel & Tours since we were traveling with our mom and we didn’t want her to experience the DIY hassles. It’s an all-in tour package for El Nido & Puerto Princesa so it’s purely just a vacation.


1st Stop: Helicopter Island

Helicopter Island is one of tourists’ favorite as it resembles a helicopter when viewed from a distance. It has a beach with powdery golden sands and a great snorkeling site as well. It has massive limestone rocks covered with lush vegetation. Surrounded by clear turquoise water, it’s a vibrant beach paradise one wouldn’t want to miss.

The sea travel going to this part of the archipelago could be more rough. I could remember during our visit, the waves were a little bigger despite the pleasant weather.


Approaching Helicopter Island
Imagine how massive the rocks are
Golden sands. No need to wait for the golden hour
Mom posing for her cover photo hehe


We also tried snorkeling but the strong waves kept on taking us back to the shore. Quite not a good time for the activity. We enjoyed sight seeing though, who wouldn’t?

After like half an hour we headed to our next stop which is Secret Beach.


2nd Stop: Secret Beach

Secret Beach is another not-so-secret destination but is called such because of limestone walls sealing off the beach. The only way to get inside is through a small opening and you need to swim your way in and out. Strategy is needed in taking in tourists to prevent accidents as waves could get really strong. Our guide went first then waited for us in the opening. Once we’re near he then grabs us one by one and push us towards the opening so we won’t get smashed by the waves. Once you’re in, the water suddenly calms down.


Rewarding view inside
Touch down Secret Beach
My bro Mac and sis-in-law Caranne
See the opening?


The beach has ivory white sands backed by spiky limestone walls. The water inside the lagoon is shallow and extremely clear. But the seabed is full of rocks and dead corals so it’s advisable to wear proper water shoes.

We went out the same way we went in. I actually enjoyed swimming eventhough the waves were strong, but with life jacket of course. I’m not a trained swimmer. Though I can handle calm waters without life jacket.


3rd Stop: Talisay Beach

Our next stop was supposedly Star Beach but our guide took us to Talisay Beach instead. I can’t remember the reason, but I’m glad he took us here. It actually turned out to be my most favorite part of the tour.

Talisay Beach is a pristine white sand beach just on the other side of the ocean from Secret Beach. It’s probably one of the most tranquil beach I’ve seen. No wonder it’s my favorite.

Lots of fish literally just few steps from the shore and the water is so clear and calm. We finally had the chance to snorkel properly!


Me, dragging mom to the ocean
There are more fishes on other areas I wasn’t just able to capture as I’m stoked
The water was calm enough to handle without a life jacket. But can’t risk mom.
Lunch time!


Time to refuel, we had our seafood lunch together with other foreign tourists from Hadefe. Almost the same set meal as yesterday but with added bananas and another kind of fish that I couldn’t recognize.

I liked the sands here, super fine and white and clean! As much as I wanted to stay but we need to proceed to the tour. There are two more stunning destinations left, including the tour highlight which is Matinloc Shrine, our next stop.


4th Stop: Matinloc Shrine

This point of interest of El Nido Tour C, Matinloc Shrine is an abandoned religious architecture in Matinloc Island. Although it’s primarily about the “shrine”, but we honestly came here for the view deck.

The short trek to the view deck is easy peasy so don’t get too overwhelmed by the spiky limestone rocks you see. Once you reach the top, you’ll instantly realize why it’s the main highlight of the tour.


Matinloc Shrine’s view deck as seen from the boat docking area
We reached the view point
View from the top
An abandoned port just past the shrine
At the abandoned port


It was low tide so the corals are quite exposed. Not to mention that the surrounding water is overly crystal clear.

Take note though that there’s an entrance fee of 100 php per person, eventhough there’s no guided tour and the place is completely abandoned. The owner of Hadefe actually shared that they are boycotting the place because of that. But they still gave us a choice if we want to push through. And because it’s not everyday that we get a chance to witness such place, we decided to push through.


5th Stop: Cadlao Lagoon

Since Hidden Beach was closed due to Survivor shooting, our guide took us to Cadlao Lagoon instead. I was honestly a bit disappointed because I’ve heard many good things about Hidden Beach. But fortunately, our guide knows the best picks and there were no regrets in choosing Cadlao Lagoon.

Cadlao Lagoon is actually part of Tour D. Not only that it’s another wondrous site, it’s location is also good since it’s located in Cadlao Island which is the nearest island from our hotel. So it also means we can watch at least half of the sunset period from here!


Entering Cadlao Lagoon
Sunset swimming. There were no other tourists!
Lush vegetation covering the limestone walls
I just realized it’s also nice for the readers to see the author so I’m including this photo of mine 😉


Aqua green vibrant water, so refreshing to look at! I’ve never seen anything like it before as I usually see different shades of blue and emerald green water. And since it’s part of Tour D, it doesn’t receive as many visitors as other main attractions. Hence the tranquility of the place.

The lagoon itself is quite expansive so I could imagine it won’t get too crowded easily. We just savored the silence and beauty of the place while taking a swim and watching the sun slowly going down.



It’s been four years since we went here so some details are quite fuzzy. But I’d be sharing the complete details about our tour package and itinerary soon so watch out for it.


The world is currently in distress but it should not take away the peace that we have in God. After all, everything here is temporary, even this pandemic.


“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

~Philippians 4:7


“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you. And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the Lord who has compassion on you.

~Isaiah 54:10





More posts about Palawan:

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Dea Mariano

About Author

Hi, I'm Dea! A traveler who loves good food and an electronics engineer based in PH. I like creating itineraries and daydreaming about the places. As weird as it might sound, I find the planning part as enjoyable as the trip itself. I love sunsets, beaches, and staycation trips. And I'm a worshipper of God—the source of my everything! I once wandered aimlessly in life, until Jesus found me! Now, I just wander around wonderful places as I marvel at His creation ❤️

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I'd love to hear your thoughts! 😊


  1. Amazing recommendations Dea. Appreciate it.
    Also saw that little blurb about your faith. So good.
    How good is seeing creation this way!


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