An Unforgettable Direct Flight to El Nido

Our cute wooden boarding pass
There are three ways to go to El Nido, Palawan: 1) direct flight Manila-El Nido via Interisland Transvoyager Inc. (ITI); 2) One hour flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa and a six-hour long and winding land trip via bus or van to El Nido town; and 3) One hour flight from Manila to Busuanga, and a four-hour ferry ride from Coron to El Nido.

I was able to try both numbers 1 and 2. Last year, we took the Puerto Princesa route and endured the six-hour long and winding ride to El Nido. The journey was generally fine with the comfortable Lexus shuttle van which my friend Charisse of La TiaraTours had arranged for us. On my second time in El Nido, we took the direct ITI flight which obviously is the most convenient, albeit expensive mode of transportation to Northern Palawan. It might rip off your pockets, but the direct flight will definitely save you time and give you an awe-inspiring impression of the destination. Let me tell you why.

The lounge at A. Soriano hangar
It starts from the little airport at the A. Soriano hangar, where two luxury resort companies share the pre-departure area: Amanpulo and El Nido Resorts. Yes, you don't have to go through long lines  at any of the infamous NAIA terminals 1 to 3. And a porter welcomes you as soon as you step foot on the hangar's door. Your luggage will be scanned and the zippers will be sealed with a special sticker that's marked "checked". This sticker will also ensure that no one will ever open your luggage except you, as the sticker is not easy to peel off!

Our sealed luggage
While waiting for your check-in time (if you happen to come early), you can indulge in yummy muffins and danish at the lounge. There's also free flowing coffee, juice, iced tea and water for all the guests to enjoy. I heart the danish. Trust me, it's to die for.

A small plane at the hangar

Ok, don't fret at the sight of this small plane. This isn't the one that flies to El Nido, as ITI replaced their aircrafts with ATRs just recently. No more 19-seater planes. So it just feels like you are bound to Boracay or Naga.

Our plane: an ATR

At check-in, you will be given a baggage claim stub and a cute wooden boarding pass. I know you would want to keep it as a souvenir, but you could only do so if you pay the fine of Php 750 and keep it as if it was lost! Haha! Be warned though that the next time you'll see your baggage after checkin is at your room at the resort already. So get everything that you need from your check-in baggage!

Is that Two Season Coron, Banana and Malcapuya Islands?

Boarding is swift and organized, and taking off is smooth and not scary at all. Another thing I like about this direct flight is the picturesque views you'll be able to see while onboard. We passed above Busuanga and saw these islands. I guess the one at the photo above is Two Seasons Coron as it resembles the same shape as depicted in their maps and brochures.

Islands and islets above Busuanga

And we passed above San Vicente, Palawan's long beach, too! It's as if we were on an aerial ocular of Palawan. How cool is that!

See you in September, Long Beach!

The flight took us less than an hour to Lio Airport in El Nido. We were welcomed by a group of locals singing harmoniously in their native tongues.

Lovely singers welcomed us
At the airport, a representative approached us and gave us a short intro about the resort where we were about to stay for three days. Refreshments were served again. And with that I meant local rice cakes, and bottomless iced tea, coffee, and water. After a few minutes, the representative assigned to us directed us to an air-conditioned jeepney that would lead us to the wharf where our deluxe boat was waiting. 

Walkway to paradise
On our flight back to Manila, I especially requested for a seat at the Alpha row to make sure I'd have the best views while taking off. (Note: From Manila, get a Delta seat away from the plane's wings to get the best views of Palawan). And as expected, I was able to capture the beauty of El Nido from above the skies!

Cliffs embraced by the calm sea

My only mistake is that I forgot to take a video while taking off. I know it's prohibited but who could resist such an awe-inspiring view! I even spotted some white coves and pocket beaches.

I wonder which beach is this?

Can;t get enough of the cliffs!

The exclusive wharf at Lio Airport
And as the islands got smaller and smaller, I couldn't help but think - the direct flight is definitely worth every penny. The scenic views are priceless. Indeed, El Nido is heaven on earth!


  1. wow, nice! we're sked to go but next year pa. lovely and informative post. thanks, sis :)

  2. this is really an easy and nice alternative way in getting to el nido. also, one could get a nice view of the islands from the plane :)

  3. really like all your travel blog. very informative. Did you happened by any chance able to check out Pangalusian island in El nido. I would really like to do my wedding there but I have never been there.

  4. Hi marla,

    Thank you for supporting Travelogues! Yes, i have been to Pangalusian and in fact I am drafting my post about it so stay tuned. =)


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