El Nido Philippines

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Archival museum grade inkjet print, photographed, signed, and numbered by photographer Dylan Ozanich.

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Description

El Nido (officially the Municipality of El Nido) is a first class municipality[4] and managed resource protected area[5] in the province of Palawan in the Philippines. It is about 420 kilometres (260 mi) southwest of Manila,[6] and about 238 kilometres (148 mi) northeast of Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital.[5] According to CNNGo, it is the Best Beach and Island destination in the Philippines[7][8] for its “extraordinary natural splendor and ecosystem.”[9]

 

Situated in Bacuit Bay, El Nido, covering a land area of 465.1 square kilometres (179.6 sq mi)[5][10] in the northernmost tip of mainland Palawan, is bordered by the Linapacan Strait in the north, the Sulu Sea in the east, and the South China Sea in the west. It is composed of 45 islands and islets,[6] each has its own unique geological formations. The highest peak is at Cadlao Island, towering up to 640 metres (2,100 ft)[11] above sea level.

Together with Sulu Archipelago, Sabah, and South China Sea, El Nido, being part of Palawan, is located in the tectonically active and seismically active Sunda Plate,[12] a plate that is entirely separate from the Philippine Mobile Belt to which the rest of the Philippines belongs. The Permian to Paleogene rocks and limestone cliffs of El Nido are similar to those that can be found in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, Guilin in China, as well as Krabi in Thailand, all of which are part of the Sunda Plate.[12][13]

Barangays

El Nido is politically subdivided into eighteen barangays. Four of which are situated in the Población (town proper), and are also known by their respective zones.

  • Bagong Bayan
  • Buena Suerte (Zone II)
  • Barotuan
  • Bebeladan
  • Corong-corong (Zone IV)
  • Mabini (formerly Oton)
  • Manlag
  • Masagana (Zone III)
  • New Ibajay
  • Pasadeña
  • Maligaya (Zone I)
  • San Fernando
  • Sibaltan
  • Teneguiban
  • Villa Libertad
  • Villa Paz
  • Bucana
  • Aberawan

Población (Town proper)

Poblacion, El Nido

The Poblacion, consisting of barangays Buena Suerte, Corong-corong, Maligaya and Masagana, sits in a sheltered bay with a pier at one end along a crescent beach, and is flanked by the area’s famous limestone cliffs on the eastern section and hills on the western side. It is a small town center with tree-lined streets, and the lifestyle is laidback.

The Municipal Building, which houses the offices of the head of the municipality, the local legislature and several local government agencies, is located at the middle of the town square between Calle Real and Abdulla Street. It is interconnected with other buildings that house other government facilities such as the Rural Health Unit, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, El Nido Post Office, just to name a few.

History

El Nido has been inhabited by humans as early 2680 BC, or even up to 22,000 years ago.[14] This was confirmed by the fossils and burial sites, dating back to the Late Neolithic Age, that can be found in many caves and excavation sites surrounding the municipality, particularly the Ille Cave in New Ibajay. Chinese traders had been regularly visiting the area of El Nido for its edible birds’ nests during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE). In fact, El Nido is specifically mentioned in Chinese records as far back 1225 CE. Chau Ju-Kua, a member of the Chinese Royal Family, Trade Commissioner and Superintendent of Customs of the Port of Chuan How wrote about the island, Pa-Lao-Yu or Land of Beautiful Harbors in his book Chu Fan Chi.[6]

The town traces its roots from a small Tagbanwa village called Talindak. Some time in the 16th century, waves of migrants from Cuyo Islands came here to settle. In the 1800s, the Spaniards arrived, and they moved to the part where the present-day Población and Mabini are located.[6] The first Spanish families were the Canovas, Vázquez, Ríos and Rey. In 1890, the Spaniards renamed it as Bacuit. At the time, the center of the town was Cabigsing, then known as Inventario. Chinese families moved into the area about the same period, first settling in Langeblangeban. The first Chinese settlers were named Lim, Chin, Liao, Edsan, Ambao, Que-Ke, Lim Piao, Yu His, Pe Phan and Pe Khen.[6]

During the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, the town was under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Taytay, which was the capital of the former Province of Calamianes from 1818, and the Province of Castilla, the area of what is now known as northern Palawan, from 1858. It remained part of Taytay until 1916 when it formally became an independent municipality.[6] The new municipality was then known as Bacuit.

On June 17, 1954, Republic Act No. 1140[15] was approved changing the name of the town from Bacuit to its present name El Nido after the edible nests of swiftlets (collocalia fuciphaga), found in the crevices of its limestone cliffs. These nests, nido in Spanish, the main ingredient for the gourmet nido soup, are being sold at approximately US$ 3,000 per kilogram.[5]

In 1957, the following barrios were created:

  • Villa Paz comprising the sitios of New Igabas, Candolay, Malapaho, Mabeñgeten, Dewel, Nalbekan, and Lapia;
  • Bebeladan comprising the sitios of Mainlong, Bolabod, Balete, Culiong, Codongnon, Vigan, Pagawanen, Langeblangeban, Talulap, Bocboc, Miadiao, Avirawan, Pita, Deboluan, Balay-Bacaco, Kiminawit, Pamontonan, Simpian, Binabanan, Tegas, and Pinacpanacan;
  • Bagong-Bayan comprising the sitios of Manogtog, Cadleman, Pinagtual, Omao, Nami, Tebey, Bato, Tuñgay, Cataaban, and Lomocob;
  • Pasadeña comprising the sitios of Lamoro, Cagbatang, Bulalacao, Pinañganteñgan, Quinawañgan, Nagbaclao, Colantod, Loblob, and Badiang;
  • Sibaltan comprising the sitios of Turatod, Buluang, Santa Monica, Senodioc, Laolao, Caboñgan, Tapic, Panian, Guitan, Loro, and Nagcalasag;
  • Barotuan comprising the sitios of Taberna, Locaroc, Nagpan, Yocoton, Calitang, Wawa, Makinit, Canoling, Mabañgaon, and Mapeldeten;
  • San Fernando comprising the sitios of Panian, Madorianen, Dipnay, Maubog, Guenleng, Palabuayan, Parañgaycayan, San Pablo, and Olac-olacan; and,
  • Villa Libertad comprising the sitios of Calelenday, Taolili, Boloc, Inigtan, Mepague, Matolatolaon, Dao, Batbat, Madacotdacot, Nasigdan, Semenled, Bancalen, and Cagbanaba.[16] In the same year, the barrio of Oton was renamed to Mabini.[17]

Because El Nido was quite remote from most of the inhabited islands in the Philippines, its pristine beauty was hidden to the world until 1979 when a sea accident happened in Bacuit Bay. As the story goes, “a tuna line disabled a dive boat’s propeller in the middle of the night forcing it to drop anchor in an inlet. The following morning, the divers woke up to an amazing scenery of skyscraping dark cliffs, thick green forest, white sandbeach, sparkling water and, rising above it, a series of magnificently sculpted jade islands.”[6]

In 1983, a dive station was established in Miniloc Island by a group of divers who were on board the diveboat M/V Via Mare. In the same year, major tourism commenced in El Nido, when the Ten Knots Development Corporation, a Filipino-Japanese joint venture company, opened a divers’ resort on Miniloc Island, and an airstrip (Lio Airport) at Villa Libertad on the mainland. In 1992, the company set up a second resort on Pangulasian Island, and in 1998, the third and largest Ten Knots resort on Lagen Island. The opening of the third resort coincided with the destruction of the Pangulasian Resort by fire. During this period several other tourism establishments were developed, paving the way for tourism to become a thriving economic sector.[6]

El Nido is a showcase of the Philippines’ geological and biological diversity. In recognition of the importance of its unique ecosystem, the Philippine government made the entire area of El Nido first to a turtle sanctuary in 1984, then to a marine reserve park in 1991,[18] and finally in 1998, to that of a managed resource protected area.[19]

El Nido Philippines
El Nido Philippines
El Nido Philippines
El Nido Philippines
El Nido Philippines
El Nido Philippines

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