El Nido, Palawan: All about the idyllic destination and what to expect when you visit in 2021

The crystal clear waters and powdery shores of El Nido invite you

By Paloma Urquijo Zobel

June 17, 2021

Today’s traveler is not only looking for beautiful destinations, but meaningful experiences, both of which can be had in El Nido.

Even before the pandemic, I was already starting to see a big shift in the mindset of my generation – a shift from collecting material items to collecting meaningful experiences. Companies like Airbnb quickly introduced platforms to not only help connect travelers with their destinations, but also deliver immersive experiences that helped create awareness and a connection to a sense of belonging. To some extent, this caused many locals and business owners in booming tourist destinations to turn in on themselves and re-evaluate what they were selling to visitors and how they could authentically promote their cultures. and their heritage.

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Jungle Bar at night

For almost four years, I have set myself a goal of doing just that: creating meaningful and authentic experiences that promote and preserve Filipino culture. While this is something that has been firmly entrenched in me by my mother from a young age, my trips to the Philippines over the past few years have only solidified my love for this country. We have such deep roots of great cultural significance which are unfortunately too often concealed and hidden from tourists. Filipinos think western culture is better and more attractive. While this may have made us more adaptable, accessible, and accessible to tourists, it has also prompted us to avoid promoting our own culture. It’s kind of the inspiration behind Kalye Artisano at Lio Beach, El Nido, Palawan.

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Kalye artisano
Tambok's restaurant
Tambok’s restaurant
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Children participating in an art workshop

Kalye Artisano is a cultural retail and hospitality hub that celebrates all things Filipino. It houses artists’ studios and stores, a gallery space, a Filipino bar, a restaurant and a bakery. It also organizes events to involve the local community in sharing experiences with tourists. In short, its mission is to create a sense of belonging by using the local culture and the local community as an anchor. Interestingly, as soon as small local businesses and artists received this platform and place, the whole community started to interact and, most importantly, to collaborate. Local restaurant and resort business owners in the area have started asking artists to help them design and decorate their establishments, helping them to experience and showcase local culture and to offer to their families. customers and visitors authentic experiences.

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Although Kalye Artisano is still in its infancy, he is fortunate to be part of a larger development that shares his vision and sets a precedent for the sustainable development of tourism. Lio Beach, part of the Ayala Land footprint in Palawan, which includes El Nido resorts, was planned as an integrated resort community with hotels and resorts, commercial establishments, residential communities, amenities and facilities for adventure and leisure travelers. The development of 325 hectares is guided by the principles of sustainability and inclusive growth, ensuring the least impact on the environment while benefiting the local community. As the whole world pulled to a halt, Lio Beach and El Nido Resorts got to work planning how to continue to provide safe and meaningful experiences and adopted the enhanced health and safety protocols in preparation for traveling to the new normal. .

Lio Beach and El Nido Resorts have successfully created a travel bubble system. Each resort can only operate at 50 percent capacity serving customers on scheduled AirSwift flights from a private hangar in Manila. Strict protocols are followed which include the mandatory requirement to pass an RT-PCR test 72 hours before travel and all establishments introduce low or no contact processes for check-in, payments as well as other activities requiring interaction with customers and staff.

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An electric jeepney driver in safety gear

While new protocols in place can add an extra layer of complexity to travel, it can also be an opportunity to have the most coveted and visited destinations all to ourselves. This is the opportunity to visit and experience the incredible gems that this country has to offer as Filipinos, because in a few months they might be full of international tourists again and might never be admired in such a peaceful state. . There is something for everyone in Palawan and it will always welcome you with open arms, as long as you respect its people and its surroundings. While Palawan’s beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters are always the main attraction, it also boasts some of the most amazing and interesting inland scenery and cultural experiences. Travel safe, support local, make sense and have fun!

This story originally appeared in the Tatler Traveler Philippines Vol. 18. Download it to your digital device via Zinio, Magzter and Pressreader.

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