El Nido Palawan amazed all its guests from its islands and sunset. There is also Lio Beach that serves not only as relaxation, but more of inspiration.
A paradise in El Nido Palawan one must visit. A completion of one’s dream vacation. Lio Beach sparks guests with all the nature adventure that will calm the body and soul.
Hotel Covo Lio Estate Resorts, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
Lio Beach is a tourism estate development by Ten Knots Philippines, Inc, a subsidiary of AyalaLand . We arranged our accommodation beforehand. And there are choices from their resort hotels like Huni, Casa Kalaw, Hotel Covo, Balai Adlao, El Nido Cove, and Seda. Each one had their style and identity.
We chose Hotel Covo and booked a room to stay. The place is spacious enough, even for the maximum allotted of three persons.
Amenities include a separate toilet and bath and a cable TV. Two beds are available, and one is double in size and the other, quite smaller.
A very artistic and simple arrangement is embedded diagonally on the wall. There are colorful water tubes with a diameter as big as one’s palm. You can insert celfons and remote control to avoid it littered. Those decorated tubes had lots of uses, just like hanging your bags or entering your wallet, such a cute, genius idea.
Space is perfectly clean, from the room’s bedsheets to the curtains and the sink, up to the toilets and its shower.
And the long glass window, occupying a specific part of the wall on its full length. You can see the outside, a view of trees and the front part of the hotel.
It was just too calm to look from here, with the swaying of leaves and the breeze of the wind. That though you cannot feel it, it seems you do. You hear it, though, not a sound produced. Nature encounter starts from this window.
But, of course, we got to be heading outside. We walked towards the bridge. Everyone we asked was very polite to pinpoint us where the bridge is.
Tulay Suhai is the name of the bridge. Private cars that have accommodation inside Lio Beach pass through this bridge. Also, tricycles fetching guests from outside Lio Beach pass through Tulay Suhai. It is only a one-way passage. Security guards both post on each end and manage the passersby.
Seldom vehicles use this bridge so guests can have a chance to walk through it leisurely. One can appreciate the greenery, the old trees, the mangroves, and the bridge itself. It seems romantic. You can sit and take selfies with the inviting trees.
I find almost all trees inviting. They always welcome me for a touch or even a hug. Silent energy passed to you by this long-aged tree — a pearl of wisdom full enough to energize you and also uplift your spirit. So, when you see a tree, hug it, baby.
Look at their roots towering from the ground and the slim ones that offer comfort. The bridge is shaded by these trees, cooling you while walking through it.
At the end of the bridge is Kalye Artisano. It is a community where Philippine arts and crafts are featured. Guests can have a chance to buy and own them.
Artists made their products from whatever natural materials they found in their respective places.
Numerous wooden carvings are done by natives. But wait, there’s more. Kalye Artisano is not exclusive for Palawenos’ artists.
There is also craftsmanship made by Mangyans as the Ayala family supports Mangyan people from Mindoro. The Ayala brought their products to be featured here in Kalye Artisano.
Showcase on stores are accessories crafted from the bark of the trees and coconut husks. Artists cut artistically to make a captivating design. There are bags, hampers, shells, chimes, and lots of home decorations.
And the best of all is the carved woods, those carvings that you see hanging on the wall. It is the face of a god or anito, our favorite, intricately painted to boast its real beauty.
Kalye Artisano is not all about selling off their craftsmanship. There is an on-going construction for a dining place.
One with Nature
The place also gives you a chance for solitude yet. Still, you can feel the presence of others. There is a native house available for small gatherings and a big garden to stop by.
All of the corners of the place artistically molded to bring out its beauty. And at the same time, be one with nature.
Here in Artisano, every corner is flip naturally to make something beautiful. Art is just tweaking things to intensify the beauty inside. Once the beautiful blooms, it passes magic to its onlookers.
One can feel uplifted with the beauty or serenity that overwhelms one’s heart. Art is magic. And always a positive, inspiring one.
Even these coconut buds, it may be ordinary to some. But here in Kalye Artisano, it magnifies the beauty of a new life. It is artistically inching its way to the world, promising a healthy fruitful tree to bloom.
Look at these stones, arranged for a small-open venue meeting. With a nature-rich surrounding, any conference held here will surely come up with fresh and better ideas.
The buds making its way to open up to its fullest blossoming makes the whole scene complete.
Lio Beach Marker
Near outside Kalye Artisano is a marker of Lio Beach. It is at the intersection of the roads coming and going out to Lio Beach.
We went back using the same bridge, Tulay Suhai. The trees surrounding the sides of the bridge may be a part of a mangrove forest. Their aerial roots have characteristics of a mangrove tree.
It is fascinating to witness a continuity of life amidst the improvement of a community. Like here, a bridge connecting the two dried areas.
Saving the Mangrove
It had changed this area, but only for better intention. has more advantages. And it saved the trees as we noted the transformation from a single area to an improved facility.
Saving each tree is the priority. As you can see, Lio Beach management value each one.
Going back, we headed to the beach.
Lio Beach Resort
Here, you can get to have a complete view of the islands of Palawan, the shore, a wharf, and the sea.
Due to the expected typhoon for the next coming hours, the wind intensified each minute, making roaring waves and the sea rough. Ideally, this water on this side of El Nido Palawan is very calm. But it was not possible at the moment for swimming was prohibited, and near dusk.
Swings hang on trees in different areas. It had been quite a while.
Sitting and swinging give pleasure and relaxation. A pleasure that you are pleased you experienced a memory from your childhood again. A relaxation, because of being pleased.
As you swing with the powerful breeze, your mind would swing with the swing. Making all the things be left behind while enjoying the moment.
After strolling more, an excellent pizza newly bakes on a brick oven makes a light dinner. Light yet tasty.
Pizza Amore offers a thin, crispy, superb pizza from the first bite to the last. You’ll get mesmerized. The blend of cheese and the fresh leaves of basil is perfect.
Even not paired with a soda, the pizza’s flavor stands out — a happy meal for the end of the day.
But, that was not the end yet. For the darkness was so inviting, we walked a little more.
Christmas in Lio Beach at El Nido Palawan
Here, Christmas is much alive, as seen on their tall Christmas tree. This Christmas tree made from natural materials crafted to build a giant yuletide tree serves as the center of all the decorations.
Lanterns hang on an almost lovely location. It is a festive night.
Lucky to encounter these whole groups of jellyfish hanging around.
Restaurants are open until about 10pm.
A drug store nearby is open until 9 pm, equipped with snacks, ice cream, and other personal needs. You won’t be afraid to be hungry, and buying medicine are handy because of this drug store.
Its a real, beautiful, worry-free, and a full tummy night experience.
Breakfast Buffet in Hotel Covo
The morning started with a buffet breakfast. Breakfast is free. But, if you are a guest with no accommodation at Hotel Covo, you can also avail of a fee of P400.
Hotel Covo’s simple breakfast started with fruits of melon and papaya. Why not, right? Start with fresh ones, so crunchy and refreshing.
Next is the coffee. Make your own, black or with milk, less sugar, or none at all.
Sliced bread and pandesal are waiting for a reheat. The thick, sliced, tasty bread comes with slices of cheese. You can request an omelet on which type of cooking you would want it to be.
It surely is best to spread with butter, but none visible from the table. You can spread jam too.
Jam is grouped on the pancake section together with maple and chocolate syrup. So, now, you can have your toasted bread or your pancake.
If you choose to have a more substantial breakfast, by all means, there is a complete set of viands and garlic rice.
Displayed are eggplant frittata, fried Bangus, adobo, boiled eggs, and congee.
We found a plastic strip on our congee that immediately called the attention of the kitchen server. Yet, we were corrected that it was not a plastic strip but one of their ingredients, lemongrass. Oh, okay. All ends well.
We heartily finished plates of comfort foods. What a breakfast! Started simple and ends on a complete, fulfilled breakfast.
It was an excellent decision to make a morning walk on the shore. The waves intensify its roaring because of the strong typhoon.
Typhoon had already landfall on the east side of the country. Though El Nido is on the western part, it still felt the strength of the typhoon.
The usual calm water now had bigger waves splashing on its seashore. The wind was picking up its might, making your hair swing in all directions.
Swimming was prohibited. The danger of the blasting waves might hurt someone who intends to dip their feet on the water.
As the wave receded, one will see the fineness and smoothness of its sand. The golden color matches its smoothness. As the water made its another lap on its golden shore, it continually mesmerizes one’s observation.
This sand reminded me of the desert sand in Dubai wherein we did the Dune Bashing. Though, of course, they both real different.
Though the waves steadily to rise, the sky is still bright. You can have the swing, or get some pictures.
And, their Christmas tree is quite different in the morning without its lights.
El Nido Grill
We visited El Nido Grill for our lunch. We went indoors. The wind was a little disturbing to choose from taking lunch outdoors.
Oh, I always loved to eat overlooking the waters, just like in Jo’s Inato by the Sea in Negros Oriental. But, then, it was the safety that counts, so better get inside.
Immediately after sitting, we ordered for a fresh buko. Then we followed it with orders of Butter Garlic Shrimp P590, about $11.60, and Grilled Squid P400, about $8, and servings of rice.
Buko served with the husk makes it tropical. The served buko juice is quite tasteless. I expected it to be a little sweet and different from the city’s buko. But it turned out to be a bit disappointing.
But, yes, of course, freshness would never be questioned. Fresh buko will always deliver the highest freshness one would expect it to be.
Butter Garlic Shrimp is the best Butter Garlic Shrimp. The juiciness of the shrimp, it’s an ohlala! It was bursting with flavor, wow. It seems your feet started to have wings and fly.
But, first, have your feet anchored on the table. For the Grilled Squid needs tasting.
And, when you sliced a portion of the squid, and bring it to your mouth, started to chew it, you unintentionally closed your eyes. Munching every bit, savoring the softness of the squid, its juiciness sealed on each munch.
Both of these two were also one of our dishes when we visited the island of Negros Oriental. Garlicky shrimps and Grilled squid from Lantawan Native Restaurant in Dumaguete City. Same orders with different level of lusciousness.
Oh, that completes this lunch — what a great food experience.
Team Building in El Nido Palawan
While eating, we heard some commotions. Lately, we found out that a company had a team-building activity.
Lio Beach has team-building types of equipment provided for the companies who wish to have some challenges. The activities promote sportsmanship, unity, and strength.
Raindrops started to fall. The tiny bit of pieces of sand seems biting my legs carried by the strength of the wind. It made an ouch, so we decided to went back to our room.
The plan was to explore an eco-trail. The hike would take about 5 hours. It is about 15 minutes away from here if riding a tricycle, so it is quite far.
So, canceling the supposed hike gave us more time to sit in the room and observing from its window. If swimming became prohibited, it might also prevent us from pursuing hiking.
Typhoon in El Nido Palawan
This typhoon entered the country with a signal number 3 on its belt and troubling the eastern part of the country. This part of Palawan being on Signal No. 1, so expect heavy rains and strong wind.
Anyway, it was a hike easy to let go. It is considering staying on Lio’s cozy room still complete one’s vacation. The sweetness of their pillow allowed you to sleep deeply. It was not knowing that your body needs a pampering like that. It was a well-spent afternoon.
At dinner, we came upon the idea of buying ice cream on Mercury Drug Store. Aside from medicines, they had a convenience store.
1-liter ice cream made us doze off and convinced that it was already our full dinner, for it could fill you up.
Hotel Covo Breakfast Buffet
My first plate of breakfast made a good start-up. Slices of watermelon and papaya, don’t mind the coffee. It was not mine.
The next plate consisted of a fried fish stick, pork adobo, and assorted fried veggies. The absence of rice was not a choice, because the still emptied rice cooker remained empty.
So, I better start with these starters. Their jams create an enjoyable experience, trying to guess from what fruit it is made.
The reddish one seems a watermelon jam but turned to be a papaya jam instead. The other one was a pineapple jam — both good to spread on sliced bread or pancakes.
A perfect time for melon juice as a meal-ender. So fresh but not quite sure if it was a melon. But I was quite sure happy whatever fruit it was.
Lio Beach 4-Km Beachfront
The sky was clear, for the storm had already passed. The wave was quite tamer compared yesterday. But Signal No. 1 was not yet lifted. Maybe, it would take for just a few more hours.
The morning light invited us to a morning walk. And that was what we plan to do so.
Walking the whole 4-kilometre beachfront of Lio Beach would be lots of adventure. We started trekking the fine sand of Lio Beach. And two squirrels welcomed us. Wow, great finds.
Squirrels and Buko Tree
Squirrels made capturing too tricky for a shot. So, we just move so slowly so that we would not be bothering what they are doing. But, as soon as they sensed our presence, up, they crawl fast to the tall buko trees.
Buko trees in Lio Beach have the same carved in its trunks as on other towns in Taytay and Roxas here in Palawan. These carved steps served as steps for people who go up and down the trees.
The carving took place when the trunk is old enough to harvest the buko. Buko must be pick before it crashes to the ground. It may smash, and you cannot save its juice.
Here in Lio Beach, workers go up the trees every three weeks to gather the buko. They do not wait for it to mature. For when it is big enough or developed already, it might fall to guests causing hurt and damage.
It will be surely can be made as buco pie. Just like the creamy buko pie of Laguna.
Also, the squirrels tended to play and pick the buko. It is a real, dangerous thing. Better to pick it early, rather than an accident occur.
If you look at the sandy ground, numerous very small buko already fell, the size of a small tomato.
As we continued our leisure walk, I could not help but admire bent trees. The way it offers a seat, you cannot resist. A bench and shade, so much to give. A tree. I would never be tired of trees.
We reached Seda, the new Hotel in Lio Beach. Here, ghost crabs were almost all in the sand crawling. You only need to stop and stare. And stare harder. You can see it. Just keep opening your eyes looking for them.
I saw this kind of crab in Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Yes, that is one of the ghost crabs crawling around. Natives called them taguykoy.
A hasty feeling to find one, for it seems there are none. But there it goes, at least one.
Mangroves of El Nido Palawan
Meters away parallel to the sea are mangroves. There are lots of mangroves on Palawan.
A stream is also visible. Also, a bridge to cross. And I did it, crossing.
As many trees continued to reveal their beauty, this group of trees caught my attention. It describes how one’s life is, just like the life of a tree.
Each one entangled to someone in his whole life: a family, friend, or co-workers. Because that is what life meaning is. Being connected, involved with emotion, having someone to share your joys and conflicts. How great to see!
Security in Lio Beach
And, there is always a guard on each post. So, now, that we are trudging the beachfront and no living man standing except us. You are surely protected because guards are somewhere. Not visible, but just nearby.
They are not invisible. It just happens that, maybe, a guard’s post is quite hidden on tree trunks. So, we continued.
Being captivated with the beauty of small stones, corals, and shells, I picked some and asked the place, sea, and sand to allow me to own these little pieces of stuff. Taking care of them on my way back home.
So, I just carry it on my palm. I felt a little itch, and upon opening my palm, I saw that the small seashell had its something from inside wiggling that cause my itchiness.
I was horrified, and all of them fell on the ground. Seashells are alive! I was so scary.
Being swept on the shore, I thought they are not alive. I picked the small stones and some coral and a dried bark and said goodbye to the shellfish.
Manila to El Nido
The sky is clear enough to guide the plane to its destination. Oh, yes, Lio Beach has its airport.
Airswift carries the passenger straight from Manila. It would soon land any minute from now.
As for us, we came to Palawan from Puerto Princesa International Airport. Yes, Puerto Princesa, where the Unesco World Heritage Site – Puerto Princesa Underground River is. Another gem of Palawan, just like this place.
It took us 6 hours, via bus, to get to El Nido.
Yesterday, the airport stopped its operation due to the typhoon. Now, that the signal cleared, I wonder how busy all the airports are. Glad to catch the view of this plane, a clear sign that the typhoon had already passed.
El Nido Palawan Islands
As being busy looking at mangroves, ghost crabs, and sandy ground, the airplane gave me the chance to stare a different view on the islands of Palawan.
Look at that, the enchantment of these islands had come on me. Oh, each island had its magic. Though some are too far, you still felt the magnificence on it.
It may be a little hazy, but the whispering was clear, an invitation to visit them. Oh, we are leaving tomorrow. But there would be the next time. And, maybe, that plane will bring me back here in Lio Beach.
El Nido Cove
As we come nearer to the tip of the beachfront, the thought that it had a mountain blocking or dense trees were wrong. It curved slightly and would bring you to the view of El Nido Cove. It was still quite far — no intention of going now.
We started walking back. Being more carefree and trying to feel the water on our heels. Fascinating place, magical islands, inviting trees, a world you could stay more. A place you would wait to come back.
A red flag being still up means High Hazard, still no swimming. But, maybe, towards noon, it sure would be lifted.
Seaweeds swept by the current lay on the seashore. Workers of Lio Beach are busy grouping it and placed it on a dug hole. They are tidying up these seaweeds — putting them in a hole in the sand, nature to deep down on its same kind. Cleaning staff spent their whole morning tidying up the shore.
Back to Hotel Covo
We climbed back to our room and concluded our packing. We only have until noon for check out.
Going back to El Nido town and renting a tricycle to drive us to Corong Corong would be the next on our itinerary.
El Nido Shuttle
A waiting shed for shuttle service allowed guests to wait for their turns. When the sole shuttle arrived, it was full of tourists.
At 12:30 exact time, it started to leave Lio Beach. This shuttle fetched guests booked in Lio Beach from the town proper. But it also allows other tourists to ride so they can experience Lio Beach even though they have no accommodation scheduled on any rooms in their hotels.
Lio Beach is open for visitors. You can swim, stroll and eat. There are lots of restaurants offering their best food.
The shuttle had an almost hourly schedule. You can spend the whole day in Lio Beach and go back to town on your preferred time.
An option of riding a tricycle is also possible. That is if the shuttle got out of service.
Power Interruption in El Nido Palawan
As we are leaving, a gas tank truck parked nearby. It meant to fill power for generators. As I had observed, frequent brownouts happened all day long. But for the two nights stay, we never experienced even a second. Because Lio prioritized the maintenance of energy distribution, they see to it that guests had no outage experienced — lucky us for Lio.
Lio Beach: A Real Vacation
Lio Beach gave me an understanding that developing a place like this does not stop only into developing. The process is continuous. As the need for each guest is unique.
Lio tried to supply as much as it can give. Staying in Lio Beach had been a real vacation.
They always had readied alternatives for each need. Power supply. Choices of food. Even the typhoon that kept us in our room still not considered lost time. Spending indoors made my experience to rest and relax.
And, the whole vicinity is alive, roaring with the waves.
I would go back here. I still want to dip on the calm water and taste its saltiness completing the whole experience.