Two Birthdays

El Nido Municipal Hall

What a coincidence. Here I am in El Nido and I find this little town shares the same foundation day as Davao City. That's today, March 16. It's a twin celebration that I'm happy to write about. What's odd is how older El Nido is at 96 years compared to Davao's 75! While I do miss celebrating fiesta in Davao City, it's my enduring love for her that certainly will never cease - never mind the current mayor's abominable behavior last year that made her look like a hoodlum.

Davao City Hall

When I was in Davao City last week, I literally walked down memory lane as I trekked the sidewalks of San Pedro Street, the city's main old drag. In those days before malls invaded what used to be quiet parts of town, San Pedro Street was where everyone goes to see and be seen. The entire length was dotted with shops and businesses. And of course, that's where one finds the San Pedro Cathedral and the City Hall.

San Pedro Cathedral

Now things are different. The winds of change has brought DavaoeƱos into bigger things, bigger developments. I think that's pretty much the reality in many parts of the Philippines. There are two sides to this, both good and bad. How villages, towns, cities, or an entire country adapts to these changes can make or unmake it. Too much development is a question often tied up with another pressing question - the exploding population of the Philippines.

San Pedro Street

I say this in light of what I see in El Nido as well. It's the gateway to what is undoubtedly one of the world's best seascapes - the enchanting Bacuit achipelago. In 1979, a diving boat was stranded in an inlet one evening and divers awoke the next morning to find themselves surrounded by these towering limestone islands. The word spread and hardcore backpackers soon followed. Sleepy El Nido, formerly called Bacuit, soon got the attention of the world.

Need I say more?

Now El Nido is hardly sleepy anymore. Tourist arrivals are in the upswing. Hotels, hostels and guest houses are on the rise. Even the roads are improving a lot - the remaining rotten section between Taytay and El Nido is currently being paved. And just last month, a new bus service called RORO began offering a much better and more comfortable service that connects El Nido to Puerto Princesa in the south.

As I waded through a huge crowd of foreign tourists and locals celebrating the eve of the town's fiesta last night, I was hoping things will not change abruptly for El Nido.The allure of its glistening islands is there but once the luster of unchecked development sets in, that's a sad story I would not be happy to write about.

Happy fiesta Davao City and El Nido!


  1. Ah, these are two towns I haven't been to yet. I have been to Legan Resort in El Nido back in 1998, but that was so secluded and private that I feel like it doesn't count. It was very beautiful and stunning, though.

  2. wow! may official t-shirt talaga si dennis para sa araw ng dabaw! iba ka talaga, idol. :)

  3. The Davao in my memory is so different from reality! Is Brokenshire Memorial Hospital still around? Is Talomo Beach still a place frquented by beachgoers?

  4. enjoying your phil summer in this paradise locale. galing.

  5. i hail from Palawan and El Nido is still a dream for me. never found the "time" to visit it and to think I'm so close.

    see you in New York, God willing, bay.

  6. haha nice shirt! :) Enjoy El Nido Dennis, sana next time ma meet na tlga kita! :)

  7. it was great to finally meet you and had a long chat. have a safe trip back.

    finally you made it to el nido and pulag.

  8. grabe it's my great pleasure to finally meet you. your experiences are awesome. mas nainspire ako to do more physical trips. hope to do ice climbing too, ipon ipon muna at matinding preparation. hehe

    oh, and thanks sa book!

    see you in NY? ^_^

  9. I just stumbled on your blog today and Im loving it. Hope, I'll meet you someday. Keep up the good work!


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