Because one is not enough, we decided to join another tour package. Mostly say that Tours A and C are the best among all other tour packages and so we chose to join Tour C.
Island Hopping Tour C of Norther Hope is composed of Helicopter Island, Hidden Beach, Secret Beach, Star Beach and Matinloc Shrine.
This island was originally called Dilumacad Island but became famous as Helicopter Island because it resembles a shape of a helicopter when viewed from a distance. We spent almost an hour exploring this white sand beach, saying hi and hello to different fishes while snorkeling.
This is known as Hidden Beach because its entrance will not be easily noticed unless the boatman would really direct the boat to the entrance which is covertly located on the right side. This was not actually revealed to us by our guide until we got inside the beach. We entered the beach by swimming into a hole thinking it is the only way in. As we got inside, we were mesmerized by this white sand beach with crystal clear waters covered by beautifully formed limestone cliffs.
Lunch @ Talisay Beach
Before going to our next destination, we first stopped at Talisay Beach to enjoy the feast. Not just we had a feast for a lunch, we also had a great snorkeling time. Just a few meters from the shore, there is a deep hollow where you will really enjoy your fish watching. We even had the chance to meet Nemo and his family.
The only way to get inside is to swim inside a small hole which becomes hardly possible during high tide and bad weather. During low tide, however, you need to be very careful with the timing otherwise your head may hit the rocks. That is why it got its name Secret Beach. Some say that this beach inspired Alex Garland’s novel The Beach, which later made into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Although its quite difficult to get inside Secret Beach, but the whole experience is really memorable and fulfilling.
We actually did not step our feet at the shores of Star Beach. Our boat stopped meters away from the shores to experience the best of this beach. It was named Star Beach because it has plenty of star fish. And according to our guide, snorkeling is the best thing to do in Star Beach and yes he’s right. There are lots of fishes and star fish. We enjoyed watching the school of fish especially those little sparkling blue fishes, too sad we were not able to bring a waterproof camera to take a shot of all those wonders.
According to local tales, it was a foreigner who built the Matinloc Shrine. He had a dream that he was instructed to find a heart-shaped island and build a shrine in that island. So he spent many years to find the said heart-shaped island until he arrived in Matinloc. In another story, it was the missionaries who built the shrine until they turned over it to the locals and later went away. The locals used to regularly clean the place but unfortunately they did not have enough support to maintain the place and so it is now abandoned. Nonetheless, this heart-shaped island when viewed from above, remained mysteriously beautiful and picturesque especially the view from the top of the limestone cliff where you see the crystal clear blue waters below.
After the experience of Tours A and C, we realized that it will never be enough! We promised to really go back and finish all other tours. And when that time comes, I hope and I pray that El Nido will still be the same..clean, beautiful and paradise even if hundreds and thousands of tourists come everyday. I pray that people of El Nido will continue to take care and love this priceless treasure from God.