Sunday, October 20, 2013

El Nido Lagen

And I'm back. Yes, if you thought the Island Explorer has retired, well, I just forgot to write. But so far, since my last post, which was already a year delayed, I haven been traveling twice a month. Imagine all the backlog!

So, moving on, I will be revisiting some experiences that needed to be posted. Let's begin where I took off. Currently the number 1 island in the world according to Travel + Leisure, Palawan is still a vast and long treasure cove filled with underrated beauty featuring nature's best.

Palawan has everything I assume. From the sparkling islands of the North to the wild mountains of the South, and more and more islands in between. I am very ashamed to say that I have only touched the tip of Palawan's iceberg. I have only been to Puerto Princesa, Coron and El Nido. What a shame indeed.

But these are the basics, so let's check out another resort that have of course, made headlines for the past 20 years in the island. For years, it has been THE resort destination, but as more luxury resorts opened in the past few years, El Nido Lagen has already taken a backseat. Nevertheless, this resort is still an institution in eco-luxury.



El Nido popularized the over water cottages in the Philippines even before the Maldives. Up to now, these cottages in Lagen stand over the clear waters of the Lagen cove.


We arrived after an hour's travel from the El Nido airport. The other El Nido property, Miniloc, is closer to the airport for those who need to know. If Miniloc is more native in design, Lagen promises to be more upscale, hence the higher cost of accommodation. I've been to Lagen three times already, and even had an event here during my first time.


Lagen has a beach that is more of a patch of sand. Just like in other El Nido resorts, there are several activities that come with your stay, from the free use of kayaks, paddle boats, snorkeling gear and even island hopping. 


There's also one thing that separates Miniloc from Lagen: the pool. Lagen's old school pool (meaning not infinity) looks advanced for its time, since it does look infinity to me, well at least at a certain angle. The pool is huge and the surrounding coconut trees provide a relaxing shade to those who don't want to get wet on sea water.


The pool is the center of the resort. Behind it is the restaurant and function rooms. Spread out further at the back are the hillside rooms. Lagen also has a small massage room where you can have your spa treatments. 


I've always complained about the food in El Nido, and Lagen is not spared. Though I like that they have barbecues in their buffet, the food still doesn't fit five star. If you get their all in package, you will be stuck with uninspired dishes from a boring buffet line.


We stayed in a water cottage this time. The room as expected looked old already. I loved its airiness though. I could also sense an attack of mosquitoes which bothered me. Later in the night, I made sure all the windows and doors were closed, to prevent the onslaught of these unwanted creatures.  


Of course, the balcony was divine. Though still not at par with all the other over water villas I've stayed, Lagen's has that certain charm, that makes you doze off without warning. I could read a book all day on that day bed. I wish Lagen was this quiet all the time.


The view is still something unmatched. The calm waters down below and the majestic rocks above are just an inspiring scene. Kayak all you want around the bay and you will soon feel that the resort disappears with nature. And this is probably why El Nido Lagen is still at the top of its game. Nothing will beat its location.


 And when the sun sets, position yourself at the pool bar and watch the sun idly descend behind the iconic rock that is found in most Lagen shots - that rock in the center of the cove, that ultimately summarizes what Lagen is. It is a gem in the middle of nowhere.


And it still is. Even if it has been weathered by time, Lagen will still be a haven for those who seek a little peace of mind, nature and of course, comfort. But don't expect a lot of comfort. Nowadays, comfort and luxury has been elevated to a whole new level. Lagen may not measure up anymore, but a new El Nido resort does. And I am so excited to introduce that to you in my next post. It will be a post of resort porn. That said, stay tuned!


***

El Nido Lagen Resort
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
+63 2 751 1602

Ambience: 4
Rooms: 3.5
Service: 4
Facilities: 3
Dining: 3.5
Over-all Experience: 3.5
IE Score: 3.58 (Good)



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