Some vacations are ruined by being unprepared. Just like a group of foreigners who arrived at the lodge where we were staying at El Nido, Palawan. They were young and looked very excited. Obviously, they had not made any reservations, because they were asking for the rates and they checked the room before deciding to take it. Then I heard the leader of the group telling the front office staff, “ What card do you accept?” Then the front office staff replied, “ I’m sorry, ma’am we only accept cash. Then she said,”Ok, we’ll just for an ATM machine first.” And she was surprised when told that there was no ATM in the Island.

I don’t know what happened next, because we were being fetched already for our Island Hopping Tour.

Travelling to any place needs a little research. That is why we have travel bloggers who are making reviews and telling about their personal experiences when travelling — use these blogs as references. At www.thehappytriptrip.com, I made a series of blog entries in my recent trip at El Nido, Palawan.Feel free to message the author for any questions.

Now, if you are planning to visit El Nido, Palawan let me share with you the 10 must bring things.

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1. Bring enough cash

Credit cards are not popular at El Nito; there’s no ATM too! I wrote about my travel Itinerary to El Nido along with my budget. Please click here. My budget would somehow give you an idea on how much to prepare.

2. Sunblock

Island Hopping is the number activity at El Nido. So sun block is a must. Of course, you should remind yourself of our airport policy regarding bring of liquid items. At Puerto Princesa, you can have a quick stop to buy sunblock. But just in case, bring ahead with your sun block in sachets, this would surely ensure your protection just in case you cannot get a sunblock in the place. I always made to bring along with me sachet sunblock, in cases where I got tickets with no check in baggage. On my last visit to Ilocos for example, I thought I can’t just buy anywhere some sunblock, but I was surprised that it’s not available that easy as I thought.

3. Camera

If you have an underwater camera bring it! I really envy people with underwater camera during my last visit to El Nido. Sea life was fantastic, various colored fishes are habituating the places.


I just rented this snorkel from the tour operator, and I’m glad that I was able  to bring my long sleeves rash guard which had protected by back and arms from the heat of the sun

4. Rash guard or swim wear

For those who wanted to have the beach and tan color, by all means wear your bikini or go topless (for men- of course). But rash guard in general is very useful to those who doesn’t like to get sun burn.

5. Medicines I have not seen big drug stores at El Nido. So make sure to bring your own medicines, especially if you are having some maintenance. My personal medical kit contains the following: loperamides (being new to the place, sometimes my stomach cannot tolerate the way others prepare the food); pain reliever (for headaches, etc.); Antibiotic ointment for some cuts and bruises; band aids; white flower (for me this is so versatile, and it served me in many ways). Of course, if you suffer from motion sickness, take with you some bonamine. You might want to bring along with you Hydrite granules or tablets too, just in case….

6. Aqua sock or rubber sandals

Enjoying El Nido’s beaches would be best if you are wearing an aqua sock or rubber sandals. Some stones, and broken corals are sharp to better to protect yourself. Of course, you should not step on the corals, that’s why you need to swim. Don’t worry if you are not a good swimmer, you can use the life vest provided by the tour operators during the Island Hopping trip. Snorkel ,but these are available for rent in the Island at Php 100


I like this scarf of mine, made of a very light materials but it served me in many ways….it hides my tummy too!

7. Multipurpose scarf or shawl

As a backpacker, I found a light fabric scarf to be very useful and handy. You can use it to cover your gadgets, cover ups for ladies and can even be used as a towel. Some tour operators provide their guests with towels but some were not. My scarves are usually made of light fabric which would dry up easily when washed.

8. Plastic casing for your phone (so that your gadget is protected during the Island hopping)

Plastic casing is always useful to me. In fact I did bring 2 waterproof plastic casing each time I travel, one for my cell phone and another for my wallet. If you don’t have a plastic casing, just buy a durable ziplock from the grocery store. And since we don’t have a waterproof camera. Each time we got out of our pumpboat we would leave of course our camera and just bring our cell phone with us to take some photos.

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Photo op at the opening of the small lagoon, El Nido, Palawan

9. Sunglasses, better bring a plastic one with 100% UVA/UVB protection

Several years ago, I was wearing my plastic sunglasses while enjoying the beach. I thought it was safe because its plastic. I forgot to wash it with fresh water afterwards , so days after the frame templates or the arms just fall off—the hinges got rusted and was ruined by the sea water. So if you will be wearing sunglasses that is not designed for the beach, better to soak it after wards in fresh water ,then wash thoroughly with fresh water to make sure that salt will not ruin the hinges of your loved gadget. Of course you need to check the UV protection of your glasses.

10. Choose jersey materials for your clothing

Others may not like to wear jersey materials because it smells differently compared to cotton shirts. But for backpackers I guess this material is very practical especially if you are travelling light. Of course when travelling you don’t want to bring your whole closet with you, so you just bring a couple of your wardrobe and whenever necessary, you can wash your clothing and hang it in the shower area. Jersey material dried up easily.

Moreover, when having an inland tour, we also sweat a lot. Jersey materials don’t absorb water so your sweat evaporates easily.



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Jojo Vito

i'm an entrepreneur, management consultant/trainer, educator, artist, blogger... for sponsorships or If you want your place/events to be featured, email me at jovito_intraspec@yahoo.com visit my other blogs: www.thehappytrip.com (travel & lifesyle) ; www.jojovito.com (handicrafts/designs)


  1. I miss El Nido and it’s definitely one the beautiful place in Philippines!

  2. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I won’t be at El Nido anytime soon but this is a very informative post. How about must brings for a Bicol expedition?

  4. hi!!! I love how you write very interesting article and i want to read more of your writings!

  5. maclaricezlao@gmail.com'
    Ma. Clarice Lao - Itumay

    I so agree with the plastic casing. I learned it the hard way when I drop my phone and it was beyond repair. 🙂

  6. You should really bring in the water equipments to enjoy the waters and camera for proper documentation.

  7. Great tips! I do plan on traveling to El Nido to dive soon! I’ll probably visit this again when I book me ticket.

  8. We really must do our research when we’re traveling in order to be prepared. We don’t know what we’ll encounter once we get to our destination.

  9. wow!! my wife used to visit palawan and i wasn’t able to join with her, too bad, such a nice place to visit,,hope i can overcome my fear of travelling places with my fam! 🙂

  10. I love Palawan but I’ve never been to El Nido!!! Wish to be back there one day <3

  11. Enough cash will always be on the list. Haha! This is a wonderful place! Thank you for sharing this experience.

  12. Preparation is really the key to a good travel experience. Thanks for sharing your must-brings in Palawan. I will keep that in mind when planning to visit.

  13. such a nice place to visit!! 🙂

  14. Very informative post! I hope to visit Palawan again especially El Nido and Coron. 🙂

  15. One of my dream destination.. Hope too see El Nido soon.

  16. I think in any isolated islands in the world, I wouldn’t even think there’s any kind of technology there. The place are for you to wind up with the organic nature our mother gives. I feel sorry for those foreigners.

  17. Thanks for sharing. Very helpful tips. Looking forward for more post 🙂 Have fun!

  18. It’s too bad they don’t have an ATM machine, but it would be better if they can direct them in a place they can withraw. Thanks for elaborating this, next time I will really research about the place.

    If every tourist will travel with ready cash, this will pose a risk. They should still have ATM machines. Maybe the same applies with camera, they will not love the salt. What do you think? This are very very pratical things and a must read.

  19. Hey! Thanks for the tips.Great advice and will take it on board. Cash, Sunscreen and coverups..Happy Trails!!

  20. jasonjventurillo.fgdi@gmail.com'
    Jason Venturillo

    Hi hello sir Jojo, your tips are truly helpful. Really going to a travel needs research about the place and things to bring. i would like to ask if it is safe to wear rash guard with light color (sky blue) or it should be black? I am on preparation for our upcoming tours in El Nido. Thank you and have a nice day.

  21. The color doesn’t matter..wear any color that you feel comfortable with 🙂

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