Opening a bank account and atm cash withdrawal for foreigners

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After struggling with this issue for half a year, I finally found an excellent solution.

Background history

I’m a digital nomad, deriving my income from my various online jobs and businesses, a luxury which has enabled me to travel around the world for the past 15 years. The problem with this is big brother is growing and about a year ago the banks where I held accounts started asking me to prove that I still live in the country where my account is located. A few years before that my PayPal US account would no longer issue debit cards. One by one I was losing my cards. As a seasoned traveler, I like to have several cards and accounts for backup purposes, and different card types, because some smaller, remote villages might only have mastercard atms, while others only visa.

Now the number of my cards has whittled down to only one: my Bulgarian visa card. But it uses the latest technology with a little chip in the card which the old atm machines in Coron cannot read. I tried everything to resolve these issues but the only solution would be to fly back and show up at the banks in person. This was not an option, so I finally resorted to my good friends at Seadive Hotel in Coron, who would accept a direct paypal payment from me and either give me cash or write me a check. An expensive 10% commission option, but at least there was a way.

Opening a bank account

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So an obvious solution would be to open a local bank account, move my income stream to a local PayPal account (where I get all my income), connect the two and we’re done. Since Coron is the closest town with banks to my beautiful little island, I started first with BPI, since the Seadive had an account there and it seemed the most established.

After spending an unbelievable 30 minutes to exchange $300 in cash to Filipino pesos, the clerk filling in all sorts of forms, punching in details of my passport and who knows what in the computer, vigorously stamping many papers in the process, it was finally time to work on opening the account. He grabbed a purple pink little pad of sticky paper, pealed off one and proceeded to scribble down a small list of instructions of what I needed to get, smiling assuredly when I asked him, “That’s it?”

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Because it was low season and the regular ferries to my area were not operating, I was forced to hire private boats to go to Coron, three and a half hours away, to do occasional shopping and sort out these headaches. I therefore ran out and arranged for the copy of my passport and other requirements.

Long story short, I had to go back to my island and back to Coron many times, and each time I showed up with the needed documents, I would hear what I have been hearing my entire life whenever dealing with banks: “Oh yes, and we still need this and that.”

By the fifth visit I finally blew up and demanded to see the manager. The woman came over and I filled her ears with questions why doesn’t such an established bank have saved in its computer system a simple form they can just print out with all the requirements necessary to open an account at their bank, without resorting to these amateur gumby and inaccurate sticky papers that waste a lot of my time and money. To this she responded that, in the end, it is still up to the discretion of the bank, even if I fulfill all their requirements.

To that I could only respond by asking what discretion, the manager’s particular mood that day? She seemed quite taken aback by that comment, and my head was so boiling hot I was very close to adding that it might also be influenced by her menstruation cycle.

The final solution

I will not go into detail about a host of other Filipino bureaucratic idiosyncrasies I’ve come across during my stay in this lovely country. The locals know it themselves. But the final solution was to buy a Globe sim card and request a GCash mastercard from them.

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With the card you can:

  • buy things online or in shops like a regular credit card
  • download funds from your PayPal account, for ZERO charges, withdraw from atm for the next to nothing Filipino rates, about 100k a month once everything is verified

The small catch is, as usual, the PayPal account must be Filipino, but that is easily resolved by using another email address, if you already have a PayPal account elsewhere. If you do not have another email address, simply set up a free one at gmail or yahoo etc.

When setting up another PayPal account or transferring funds from one to another, make sure to first log out of one before logging in to another. Otherwise some alarm signals can go off and your account blocked. Then you have to phone in, which is always a traumatic nightmare, and answer all the security questions you may have easily forgotten.

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For extra paranoia, I would use a different password, to avoid any possible automatic red flags, and a different browser. You should use your real name and other truthful information, in case some day they ask you to verify yourself by sending in a picture of your passport etc. For your local address, make sure it is the same for both your Filipino PayPal account and your GCash account. It cannot be a postal address. Since I live on a paradise beach island with no streets or “addresses”, I just made one up. I don’t need paper bank statements, since I am a digital nomad.

Just go to an official Globe shop, bring your passport, and they’ll set you up. But hey, either it’s because it’s a banky sort of thing, or maybe I’m always plagued with these sorts of things, but I did run into problems, so I’ll go through those so at least you’ll have a heads up on what you might run into.

  • First of all, try to use the same email address for both accounts, and all other information, exactly.
  • There is some verification process on the Globe end that takes about three days. You can expedite that to immediately by going to your official Globe shop and ask them for that, or apparently there is an online option using your Facebook account.
  • In your PayPal account, verify your account by connecting it to the same GCash debit card (detailed instructions below). You will need at least 150p on your GCash account for the verification to work.
  • With your GCash card you will receive a little brochure of information. So little in fact it has hardly any useful information other than the weblink. Follow that, open an account and connect to your phone number (the one associated with your GCash card).
  • Download the GCash app to your phone. When trying to figure out why it was not working, one website stated that it needs to be at least Android 5. Follow the simple logic and connect to your Paypal account. Detailed instructions below.

Troubleshooting

Sometimes I think there are little devils in another dimension who meddle into my IT life and aggravate me in so many ways to hinder my spiritual advancement. So I will just list some points I had to struggle through, in case the above does not work for you.

After everything was verified according to the above, I tried to transfer USD funds from my PayPal account to GCash, but I received the error message:

“Oops! The payment cannot be processed because no payment source is available.”

Tinkering around, I then converted some USD funds to pesos in my PayPal account and tried transferring that. It worked! Unfortunately, only that one time (after that I always received the above message). One website said they had the same problem and resolved it by removing the USD account on PayPal and making the pesos account primary. Didn’t work for me, and my housemate said she regularly sends money from her USD balance to her GCash card without a problem.

Tinkering some more, if you click on Profile > Profile and Settings, then My Money, then Update for “My preapproved payments”, you will find a link to Preapproved Payment Plans, which will take you to the following window:

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In my case I found two for the same service, because I accidentally did it twice. I removed both, added a new one, but was still getting the same error message.

And the final solution? I tried and I tried and finally the next day it worked. Sometimes a little patience can do wonders!

Useful Links

Some useful pages I read when I was trying to troubleshoot the glitches.

Back to Table of Contents

Single One Day Boat Trips Tours Between Sibaltan (El Nido) or Coron and Linapacan

beach-hopping-tourCheck out our page for the latest info on the public ferries between these locations, but since they do not run every day and you might not have enough time during your limited travel schedule, we have private boat options.

Large or small boat?

The most comfortable option would be our larger boats, which can accommodate up to 20 people in good weather, 15 in harsher/bigger waves. It has bench space for 8 people and plenty of other space for comfortable sitting, or lying down, with tons of space for baggage. It also has a sun and rain shade, but if it looks like it might rain, or if it will be wavy and windy, for a more comfortable trip you are advised to bring an umbrella or some kind of rain gear (in very very wavy weather—usually around February—even snorkels to cover your eyes).

This costs 10,000p for a single day trip, plus 1,000p for each additional person above 1.

Budget travelers can take our smaller boat with a maximum capacity of 3 for

  • 5k for one person
  • 6k for two people
  • 7.5k for three people

There would be tight sitting room for three people and the boatman, with gear you will find it difficult to stretch your legs, but there is a small awning cover against the sun and rain.

Island hopping or not?

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The journey by the faster big boat can take roughly 3.5 hours, while 4.5 hours for the small boat. You can alleviate this journey with a bit of island hopping for frequent trips along the way, but that would require the boatman to come the night before so that you could leave first thing in the morning. This would cost an additional 1,000p for the smaller boat or 2,000p for the larger boat. You can meet the boatman the night before, he can show you some sites around town, and it would be nice if you would buy him a beer or two. They will be sleeping on the boat. This way you can stretch out the journey to seven hours or more.

If coming from or going to Coron, you can include in that the three most popular sites: Twin Lagoons, Kayangan Lake and Malcapuya Island, which would save you money from having to hire an additional local tour for those. You can check out the boat stops page for ideas where you could take breaks along the way.

Special prices from Sibaltan (El Nido)

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Sibaltan is a nice archeological village well worth visiting and located about one hour by van east of El Nido. Our boats do not go directly to El Nido because it is significantly farther, can be dangerous around the north peninsula, and all of the beautiful spots to visit are on the east side of the peninsula.

We happen to also have a couple of boats in Sibaltan (most of our boats are docked in Linapacan), so if you want a quick day trip to Linapacan, tour the area, and make it back the same day, that is possible.

* Note that prices may increase in October.

book-tour-now

Back to Suggested Travel Itinerary for the Palawan Area

Seeking Yoga Retreat Teacher

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Live on a beach paradise island, excellent snorkeling in the clearest waters in the world, very peaceful environment with a maximum of 30 guests, with 15 local fishermen families half spread out on each side of the island. The perfect meditative environment where to focus without distractions.

I myself have learned some Reiki, crystal healing and massage, but only a little bit of yoga, my healing page here.

The perfect environment where a teacher can develop a business. We can figure out some profit sharing plan, or volunteer work when customers are few.

Latest pictures of the place here.

Types of available accommodation here.

Benefits of Yoga

Our bodies are comprised of roughly 85% salt water, with electrical currents constantly traveling along the nerve highways (like wiring) that we are essentially walking energy beings. There are 7 energy focus points called chakras, the imbalance of which can lead to diseases and sickness. With proper eating, a healthy alkaline environment and energy balance, we need never get sick.

Yoga teaches how to position the body to balance its energy. It is an ancient science of health and well being by tuning the body for optimum energy flow.

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Experience AWESOME sunrises and sunsets in this peaceful paradise.

History of Yoga

The beginnings of Yoga were developed by the Indus-Sarasvati in Northern India over 5,000 years ago, although some argue that its beginning could be from as long ago as 10,000 years. The word yoga was first mentioned in the oldest sacred text, the Rig Veda, a collection of readings used by the Vedic priests. Yoga was slowly refined and developed by the Brahmans and Rishis (mystic seers) who documented their practices and beliefs in the Upanishads, a huge work containing over 200 scriptures. These scriptures basically described the internalisation of ritual sacrifice from the Vedas, preaching sacrifice of ego through self-knowledge, action (karma yoga) and wisdom (jnana yoga).

In this pre-classical stage of yoga, the practice was a combination of different ideas, beliefs and techniques that often conflicted and contradicted each other. The Classical period is defined by Patanjali’s Yoga-Sûtras, Patanjali often considered the father of yoga.

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More pics of sunsets, sunrises and fluffy clouds on our Facebook photo album for this,
where you will find lots of other albums with the latest pics of this place.

A few centuries after Patanjali, yoga masters designed a system of practices intended to rejuvenate the body and extend life. They rejected the teachings of the ancient Vedas and embraced the physical body as the means to achieve enlightenment. They developed Tantra Yoga, with radical techniques to cleanse the body and mind to break the knots that bind us to our physical existence. This exploration of these physical-spiritual connections and body-centered practices led to the creation of what we primarily think of yoga in the West: Hatha Yoga.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, yoga masters began to travel to the West, attracting attention and followers. This began at the 1893 Parliament of Religions in Chicago, when Swami Vivekananda wowed the attendees with his lectures on yoga and the universality of the world’s religions.

The importation of yoga to the West still continued at a trickle until Indra Devi opened her yoga studio in Hollywood in 1947. Since then, many more western and Indian teachers have become pioneers, popularising hatha yoga and gaining millions of followers. Hatha Yoga now has many different schools or styles, all emphasizing the many different aspects of the practice.

Types of Yogaseeking-yoga-retreat-teacher-Yoga

Hatha Yoga

Hatha in the ancient language of Sanskrit actually refers to any yoga which teaches about physical postures, making all yoga technically Hatha in one form or another. It is good for beginners because it advances slowly and you only need to hold the posture for a few breaths.

Vinyasa

As a beginner I tried Hatha when I lived in Thailand, but as a sportsy guy who likes movement, I think I would much prefer this form of yoga, as it combines movement and breath in a dance like way. No agonising, long held postures which would only bring discomfort or possibly even muscle cramps, but poses are short and the pace can be quick. Prepare yourself for a good, ergonomic workout combined with music beat to match. Endurance athletes are often drawn to this type of yoga because of the continuous movement.

Iyengar

Now we’ll get real nit-picky and focus on the detail, using yoga blocks, blankets and straps to help you maintain the postures longer.

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Excellent snorkeling (past the point in this pic) just offshore
in the clearest waters in the world.

Ashtanga

If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll love this form of yoga as it cycles through the same six series of specifically sequenced yoga poses, breathing through each pose to build an internal heat.

Bikram

Speaking of internal heat, why not add some by cycling through a specific series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises in a room heated to more than 40C with about 40% humidity. The 90 minute sequence is usually all the same, but remember to always hydrate yourself properly beforehand. It can get strenuous!

Hot Yoga

Similar to Bikram but not limited to the same 26 poses. With your muscles so heated and hydrated, you are able to hold certain poses longer, but it might be easier for you to overstretch, so be careful. Good for hardcore sweat lovers.

Kundalini

This video should give a good idea of what it’s like here.
More on our Google+ page.

A fascinating form of yoga whereby you combine repetitive exercises with intense breathing, while chanting, singing and meditating for the purpose of opening up the highway of energy between the chakras in the hopes of channeling it to break through your third eye, that chakra point hovering in front of your pineal gland.

This can make you a much more aware person and connect you better to the cosmos. But beware! This practice should be supervised properly because there have been stories whereby the force was so strong that it dislodged the person’s consciousness from its body, only to be replaced by demon(s). Read kundalini.se for interesting testimonies.

Good for people interested in spiritual advancement and a more meaningful use of yoga.

Yin Yoga

If you don’t mind poses, be prepared to hold them for minutes at a time. A meditative type of yoga focusing on the deeper connective tissues and fascia. Props will be used to help you relax in each pose instead of relying on your muscles. Good to restore the body’s youthful vitality. A good way to stretch and unwind, but those who are super flexible should be careful not to overdo the stretching.

Restorative

A mellow, slow-moving practice with longer holds focusing on deeper relaxation and restoration of the body. Good for those who are anxious and can’t seem to slow down, those suffering from insomnia or anxiety in general. Also good for athletes on recovery. Poses are held long but supported by various props to help you fully relax.

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Or join one of the many boat tours we organise to explore the broader area.

Alvin’s hut

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Patoyo is the island where we first started, but had to move when the Amihan trade winds came because it became too windy during the dry season.

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View of Alvin’s little community of five fishermen families
as you approach it from our previous camp.

A lovely little island to explore as it has lots of jungle trails, and Alvin would gladly act as guide for you for about 500p a day.

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The empty hut has a hammock on its patio with an entrance area and two rooms inside. Unfortunately no fancy mattress yet, but it does have mosquito nets and I imagine he would charge around 200p/pax for the authentic rural experience. His wife would be happy to cook meals for you.

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Alvin is actually our main boatman for the local scene, as his smaller boat is ideal for it. He can take you on local boat tours, or even as far as Coron or near El Nido for a modest price.

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Celebrating his birthday with him after more than a year of cooperation.

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The sunset during his birthday party. In general very beautiful sunsets here.

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The hut of his neighbour.

Back to Accommodation Page

Negative Review Complaint about Smart Communications Incorporated (mobile phone operator)

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My complaint letter to Smart:

I have been using your prepaid service for almost three years. I have one sim card for calling/texting (0929 500 6447) and another one for internet. Because I live on a remote island and do not want to pay for an expensive boat trip every time I want to topup my load credit, when occasionally in some larger town, such as Coron, I top up my load credit by several thousand pesos.

I had more than 3,000p in load credit on the sim I use for calling, and I use that to transfer occasional credit to my internet sim, usually 200p at a time, because that seems to be the daily limit.

Last time I was in Coron I received an automated text message on my calling number instructing me that I need to top it up with additional load, otherwise it will expire. This is the first time in about two years that I received such a message. Since I was in Coron I topped it up 20p and everything seemed fine, but I received another message that the duration of validity will be 30 days and that the card will expire at that time. I figured I would receive another warning message about this so I did not worry about it.

Approximately one month later it was time to transfer credit to my internet sim again, but it kept failing. I checked the balance and it stated ZERO!!!! I thought perhaps this was because the card expired, even though I did not receive any warning message this time, and that it should be resolved once topped up again. I had to hire a boat to go to the nearest town, topped it up 100p, but when I checked the balance it showed only 100p!!! What happened to my 3000p?

So I dialed Smart Help at *888 and spent half an hour explaining the situation, over and over again. Not only did it take the customarily long time to weave my way through your convoluted automated menu before I reached a real human being, but the conversation was drawn out and slow as I had to explain myself over and over again. He put me on hold several time, telling me not to hang up and that he will get back to me in a few minutes, but like happened the last time I had to phone Smart Help, after an excruciating half an hour of painful nonprogress, they silently hung up on me.

Why would you take all my load credit when you expire my sim card? Why would you even expire it when I have so much credit on it and use it regularly? Why was I not warned again when the second expiry date of only 30 days was approaching? Why was the second expiry date so short when I had already been using the card for some two years without needing to top it up a little every month? As a programmer it seems blatantly obvious to me that this is all intentional. For some reason I cannot even call your helpline using my smartphone, although I am able to call other numbers. I had to borrow someone else’s phone to call you and I will not spend all day to wriggle my way to another operator who will only hang up on me in half an hour. The first operator fully understood the problem and had the opportunity to call me right back, but did not.

All it would take is a lawsuit to open up your code and show that this is planned on purpose to cheat people, and then a class action suit to force you to return all that you have stolen over the years. But since there wont be records of who is who for all the prepaid accounts, I’m sure the courts will find some useful charity for you to give the funds to instead.

I will no longer use that sim card because for a longer time already I was not able to telephone from it, nor use it for internet while traveling, although texting was fine for some reason. If you do not respond appropriately to this email I will post this message throughout the net, for it makes me sick that big corporations like yourself use such cheap and petty means to cheat your customers out of their money.

[after a week and posting this complaint to their facebook page, contact form and several email addresses, it is not surprising that they have not responded at all]

Linapacan Island Hopping Day Tour

Whether you are staying in our beautiful little nature camp and looking for something to do during the day, or you have come to this area by ferry and wish to experience some island hopping without the longer multi-day tours between El Nido and Coron, there is lots to discover in this area.

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The most famous is the millions year old Seniora caves, not far from the local town of San Miguel. You can pick up the tour guide responsible for the caves and who lives on a lonesome beach with his family, a Japanese Filipino remnant from WW2. Donations to him are voluntary, but he will give you some history of the area, and explain please do not rest your hands on the natural sculptures (stalagmites) because the salt from it will eat away at the beautiful design.

Speaking of WW2, for avid divers, just offshore is located one of the two shipwrecks in the area.

A local tour will generally include snorkeling off some of the 52, mostly deserted paradise beach islands found in the Linapacan area, world famous for its crystal clear waters.

There is also the old Spanish fortress, currently under refurbishing and located nearby to the cliff diving island.

In addition to the two turtles frequenting our own beach, there is the island of Inapupan, which locals are now calling Turtle Island, because of the ample amount of these beautiful creatures frequenting there.

The tours include lunch, such as at one of our boatman’s house on Patoyo Island:

patoyo

When beach dining at the boatman’s house, you can also arrange for him to show you around his island. Lots of trails, nice snorkeling on various beaches, and you can even check out Henkey’s village.

Prices are generally 700p/pax, 1500p minimum, and include lunch.

Contact me to book one of these.
Back to Suggested Travel Itinerary for the Palawan Area

Suggestion letter to president Duterte

[Forward note: my frustrations when dealing with the locals has reached a point where I could not resist from writing this letter to the president. One may invest heavily into faster internet or infrastructure, for faster transport, but if the people continue to move slower than snails, it can be a wasted investment.]

Dear Mr. President Duterte, 

I have been following you closely and would like to compliment you on a
lot of your decisions. I am a businessman and for me I see as very good
your desire to speed up the internet and invest into infrastructure. 
In any case, I have one small suggestion which I think could have a
great positive effect in your country. 

I've been here for two years now and must say that it can be incredibly
frustrating the pace things can take to get done here. If someone wants
to make a phone and needs a keyboard, the person making the keyboard
waits for the person making the keys, and the person to make the keys
waits for the person who makes the numbers, and you can see by this
chain that if each person took forever to do their small part, it would
take forever times forever before the phone is made, probably well after
it has already become obsolete technology. I believe this may be one of
the biggest reasons your country is poor. Look at Singapore. They do not
have fish practically jumping out of the water into their mouths for
free. They have no resources like this country is rich in, yet it is one
of the wealthiest countries in the world. Their only resource is their
hands, and quick and honest work. They do not constantly try to increase
their price every time you go to their store. 

And I believe the reason people are so incredibly slow here is precisely
because your country is so full of resources and fish jumping out of the
water. It is paradise here and people have naturally developed the
mentality: "There is always tomorrow". I organise boat tours, one of my
businesses, and it is often a struggle to explain to the boatmen that
these tourists have paid a lot of money to fly all the way out here to
enjoy this beautiful paradise for a short while, and pay to stay in
expensive hotels etc., so when they show up on time to start their boat
tour at 8am and stand around waiting for at least an hour for the
boatman to eventually lazily show up, you can understand that they can
get upset, because their limited vacation time is being eaten away by
someone who is used to it and gets to live here all the time. 

Therefore, my suggestion is the following. As president of a country
where such a high percentage of people support you and agree with you, I
believe it can have a great effect just to explain something like this
to your people: "Do not think there is always tomorrow to do a job,
because tomorrow will come and again you might say 'there is always
tomorrow'. And one tomorrow leads to the next and soon enough weeks,
months or even more time may have passed by before you finally did that
one little job, which you had to do anyway. So postponing it does not
make it go away, and if everyone delays their little job, it can
practically bring the country down to a grinding halt. But no, if we
change our way of thinking and do a job not only today but NOW, you will
see how much faster as a nation we can accomplish anything."

And not only say this a few times as your plea to the nation, saying
that you (as do I) have great faith in this nation's abilities, but to
get some ads on tv or something to get this message across. People can
still live in their paradise and everything can be the same, except
things would get done much faster. I believe you have the same thoughts
as I do that the Philippines is poised to enter the world scene with a
good bang. I am convinced it is an up and coming tourist hotspot. I
lived in Thailand for two years and this country absolutely kicks butt
compared to Thailand. People just need to learn to hustle a little bit
and not be so absolutely lazy and slow about everything. It is just a
small adjustment in people's mentality. They do not need to sweat and go
crazy, simply go through the motions and get it done now and not later. 

Thank you for your time and keep up the good work Mr. President, Karel

Las Cabanas Beach Resort Room Prices

LAS CABANAS BEACH RESORT – INFO

  • LAS CABANAS BEACH RESORT IS IN A SECLUDED AREA AND CATERS TO THOSE SEEKING A QUIET AND SCENIC ENVIRONMENT. EL NIDO TOWN IS LOCATED ABOUT 3KM NORTH OF LAS CABANAS.
  • ONLY FAN ROOMS ARE AVAILABLE. THERE IS NO AIR CON, NO TV AND NO RUNNING HOT WATER (HOT WATER IN A CONTAINER IS AVAILABLE ON DEMAND).

        FULL TIME POWER IS PROVIDED BY GENERATOR SO THERE ARE

        NO POWER FAILURES AT LAS CABANAS.  HAIR DRYERS ARE NOT

        ALLOWED.

  • FREE WIFI IN THE BEACH BAR
  • WE DO NOT ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS. MANY LOCAL BUSINESSES DO NOT ACCEPT THEM.  THERE IS A MONEY CHANGER IN EL NIDO OFFERING A REASONABLE EXCHANGE RATE ON FOREIGN CURRENCY.  EL NIDO HAS NO INTERNATIONAL BANK AND ONLY ONE ATM WHICH OCCASIONALLY RUNS OUT OF CASH. CASH IS STILL KING HERE.

         FOR GUESTS ARRIVING FROM CORON BUSUANGA, PLEASE BE

         AWARE THAT THE BOAT GETS GROUNDED BY THE COAST GUARD

         WHEN THE SEA CONDITIONS ARE TOO ROUGH.  WE CANNOT

         ENTERTAIN REQUESTS FOR REFUNDS IF THIS HAPPENS. 

 

ROOM RATE INCL BREAKFAST & GOVERNMENT TAXES:

BEACHFRONT COTTAGE                   Dec 1 – May 31         June 1 – Nov 30

Two Persons                                                    P6500                          P5500               

 

DOUBLE BEACHFRONT ROOM

Two Persons                                                    P5500                          P4500

Three Persons                                                  P7500                          P6500

Four Persons                                                    P9000                          P8000

 

KING BEACHFRONT ROOM

Two Persons                                                    P6500                           P5500

 

TWO BEDROOM HOUSE  

Two Persons                                                    P5500                            P4500

Three Persons                                                  P7000                           P6000

Four Persons                                                   P8000                            P7000         

 

Prepayment by bank transfer is required at least 21 days prior to arrival.

 

Alternately you may book thru agoda.com using your credit card. 

BEACHFRONT COTTAGE:

There are two single detached beachfront cottages.  Maximum occupancy is two persons as the room has one standard double bed only.

DOUBLE BEACHFRONT ROOM:

The two ground floor rooms of the fourplex building and the two rooms of the duplex building have one standard double bed and can fit an additional double bed.  Maximum occupancy is four persons.

KING BEACHFRONT ROOM:

The two 2nd floor rooms of the fourplex building have one king sized double bed.  Maximum occupancy is two persons.

TWO BEDROOM GARDEN VIEW HOUSE:

A small two bedroom house located about 40m from the beach.  Each bedroom has a standard double bed.  Maximum occupancy is four persons.

 

Mosquito nets are available for the beds.
All rooms have a safety box big enough to fit most laptops.
Check out time is 11:00am.  Check in time is 1:30 pm.
The beach restaurant/bar serves western as well as Asian food including vegetarian dishes.  The house specialty is curry.
The total land area of Las Cabanas Beach Resort is about one hectare with approximately 90m of beachfront.

 

SERVICES/ACTIVITIES:

-Free use of Wi-Fi

-Laundry per kilogram                                  P150

-Massage Service per hour                            P700

-Rental of Kayak (4 hours)                           P600

-Rental of Kayak (8 hours)                           P1,000

-Rental of Mask & Snorkel per day              P250

-Rental of Fins per day                                  P250

 

PRIVATE ISLAND TOUR &  HOPPING:

-Package tour for 1-3 persons

Tour A, B or D                                    P5,500 in total

Tour C                                                 P7,000 in total

-Package tour for 4 or more persons

Tour A, B or D                                    P1,800/person

Tour C                                                 P2,000/person

*Above rates include lunch, mask/snorkel, lifejackets and

water but NOT the P200 per person government permit which is valid for 10 days.

*Fins are available for rent at 250.00 each per day.

 

PRIVATE TOURS CAN BE BOOKED 24 HOURS PRIOR TO INTENDED DEPARTURE.

 

GUIDED TRIPS:

One to Two persons :            P2,500 in total (includes transportation and tour guide)

  • Waterfalls
  • Cliff Overlooking El Nido
  • Ocean Bottom Fishing

DIVING

All dive shops are located in El Nido town. Guests deal directly with the dive center for details and payments.

GETTING AROUND LOCALLY:

Las Cabanas Beach Resort is located about 3km south of El Nido town and is about 10-15 minutes walking distance from the road side.

When going from El Nido town to Las Cabanas, take a tricycle costing P150 from town to the road side stop just above the stairs located across from the Bayview Hotel. Take the stairs leading down to the beach. Las Cabanas is located at the other end of the beach.

For those going from Las Cabanas to El Nido town, there are public tricycles parked by the road side from morning to evening waiting to shuttle passengers to El Nido.

TRAVELLING FROM PUERTO PRINCESA TO LAS CABANAS:

Our staff can assist our guests in booking the public or private van.

There are a number of daily air con shuttle vans and buses traveling between Puerto Princesa and El Nido.  The drive takes approx 5 hours by van and approx 7 hours by bus.  The bus has more leg room with more comfortable seats but it stops frequently on the way to pick up and drop off passengers.  It’s possible to book an extra seat on the public van for more room.

Shuttle Van (air con): Eulen Joy, Fortwally, Nature Island and Lexus are four of the van companies shuttling between Puerto Princesa and El Nido.  Pre booking is advised.  Cost is approximately P600 per person one way.  Eulen Joy van departs Puerto at 9am, 10:30am, 1pm and 6pm. Fortwally vans depart Puerto at 7am, 11am, 1:30pm and 6:30pm.  Lexus departs from Puerto Princesa San Jose Terminal (about 20 minutes tricycle ride from the airport) at 5:30am, 7am, 8am, 9:30am, 11:30am, 2:30pm, 5:30pm.

Bus (air con): Rorobus and Cherry Bus both have air con buses departing El Nido and Puerto Princesa at 6am, 10pm, 2pm, 6pm and 10pm.  Cost is about P500 per person one way.  .  Both bus companies are located at the San Jose Terminal (20-30 minutes tricycle ride from the airport with the tricycle costing a max of P250).  The bus can be cold at night so some extra clothes might be needed.

Private Van: The cost of a private van is about P8,000 one way for 2-4 persons (the price may increase for larger groups).

TRAVELLING FROM MANILA OR CEBU TO EL NIDO:

Air Swift is the only airline operating flights between Manila or Cebu and El Nido.  The flight from Manila to El Nido takes about about one hour.  The flight from Cebu to El Nido takes one hour and 40 minutes.

The El Nido airport is located about 7 km north of El Nido town.  Las Cabanas is about 3km south of El Nido town.  A tricycle from the airport to Las Cabanas road side stop costs P450 and takes around 30 minutes. Get the driver to stop at the roadside stop across from the Bayview Hotel.  From there it’s a 10-15 minute walk to Las Cabanas.

Our staff can assist you with your luggage on arrival by the road side.

 

AIR TRAVEL FROM MANILA TO PUERTO PRINCESA:

Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines and Zest Air operate flights between Manila and Puerto Princesa.  El Nido is about 5 hours drive from Puerto.

TRAVEL BETWEEN BUSUANGA (CORON) & EL NIDO:

AIR: Asian Spirit operates flights between Manila and Coron in Busuanga but not between Coron and El Nido.

BOAT: The slow boat takes 7 or more hours, depending on weather.  Montenegro Lines have a faster boat taking about 4 hours. When traveling to El Nido from Coron, just get one of many tricycles waiting at the pier to take you to the road side stop across from the Bayview Hotel (see section on getting around locally).

TRAVEL BETWEEN PORT BARTON & EL NIDO:

There are several jeepneys shuttling between Port Barton and San Jose, a small village located on the main road between Puerto and El Nido.  In San Jose, travelers can transfer to public transport (van or bus).  Port Barton hotels can assist travelers with this transfer.  The road between Port Barton and San Jose is quite rough.  Travel by boat from Port Barton to El Nido can be arranged through the local Port Barton hotels (only recommended for fine weather with no wind).

SABANG TRAVEL TIPS:

The guided boat trip through the Underground River takes about 45 minutes.

An official permit has to be secured in Puerto Princesa prior to visiting the Underground River. The permit can be obtained at the Underground River booking office located beside the Badjao Inn which is about 1 km from the airport (opens at 8am, get there early to avoid long line ups).

There is a daily quota for visitors to the Underground River and once filled, no further permits are issued for that day.  During peak season, the daily quotas may be reached weeks beforehand.  Even the two high end resorts in Sabang, the Daluyon and the Sheridan, do not necessarily have access to additional permits. 

There are numerous vans shuttling between Puerto Princesa and Sabang..

 

PUBLIC VAN FROM PUERTO PRINCESA TO SABANG ROUND TRIP:  There are a number of shuttle van operators having a booth at the Puerto Princesa airport OR your hotel can help you book this option.

PRIVATE VAN FROM PUERTO PRINCESA TO SABANG ROUND TRIP:  Normally the round trip costs P3500.  You can book at the airport or through your hotel.  You can also contact Eulen Joy just outside the airport gates.

PUBLIC VAN FROM SABANG TO EL NIDO:  Take the public van from Sabang to a village called Salvacion.  Its located on the main road between Puerto Princesa and El Nido.   Salvacion has a waiting shade where you can take the next available public van going to El Nido. The van from Sabang to Salvacion takes about 1 hour.  The van from Salvacion to El Nido takes about 4 hours.

BOAT BETWEEN SABANG AND EL NIDO:  In Sabang, a boat can be chartered from Sabang to El Nido (this boat trip can take up to 8 hours, depending on the boat and the weather).  The El Nido Boutique and Arts Café can arrange charter boats from El Nido to Sabang in good weather.

Las Cabanas is in a secluded area so visitors should bring a flashlight for walking outdoors in late evenings.

HAVE A GREAT JOURNEY!!

DAN & BHING

LAS CABANAS BEACH RESORT

Rural Coron off the beaten path track

Like El Nido, Coron has begun to feel the expansion pains as the Palawan area increasingly becomes a popular tourist destination. The people are great and the night life good, but amidst the hustle bustle and constant flow of tricycles, it can become somewhat unsettling.

I like to walk and I spent one Sunday exploring the entire town, looking for rural and off the beaten path places to manage guests for them, since such places are often completely computer illiterate and subsequently you will not find them on the internet, except here. My venture to manage such places was too much work so I will just post their contact details here. Between the Coron page and this one, you should have a good overview of the kind of places I like, which are chill and generally off the beaten path.

Roger’s Manor

As explained on the Coron page, right in the center but just off enough to have a quiet feeling. They don’t even have a sign so feel free to walk into this gate:

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Kitchen available for cooking:

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I stayed there with some friends, we each paid 550p for the above room, but I slept on the roof terrace as shown in pic below. Nice breeze. The room is more expensive if you want to use the air-conditioner. My friends left after one night and I stayed two more nights with this room for myself at 550p.

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View on the top, click to enlarge:

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For your copy/paste pleasure: 09171180714, 09155906359.

Genevieve

Very close to Roger’s Manor, also in the center, but a bit off for more quiet. 650p for 2 people in fan room and 950 for 2 people in aircon room. Directions how to get there are on the Coron page and her numbers are
0977 850 7959, 0915 459 2990.

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Rural Coron

If you’d like to get away from the center and to real peace and quiet, you can go past the main pier away from the center and stay with the fishing community.

Entrance to a little off road just past the pier. Won’t go hungry around here!

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Cutting coconut trunks for construction material.

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Using every space possible to dry fish.

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Kids love to say hi and pose for westerners in these rural areas.

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And I found a place which has three fan rooms and can rent for good price:

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0928 980 6786

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They might allow you to use their kitchen:

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Shower is from the usual bucket, forget about hot water, but better for your skin anyway.

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