PALAWAN | Riding the Waves at El Nido’s Nacpan Beach | Lakad Pilipinas

El Nido Nacpan Beach Waves

After dropping our bags, freshening up, and finishing a cup of coffee at the Northern Hope Inn in El Nido Town, our van transfer going to the Twin Beach of Nacpan and Calitang promptly arrived (you can actually rent a tricycle going there if you’re just three in the group, it’s cheaper by a thousand pesos). We requested for the tour right after our arrival to maximize our stay in El Nido.

El Nido Nacpan Beach
NACPAN BEACH IS MOSTLY FREQUENTED BY FOREIGN TOURISTS

The road to Nacpan was still as bumpy as the first two times I’ve visited it years back—granted, it’s only the latter part of the route which remains unpaved up to this day. Our driver told us that a concrete road is actually being constructed as of the moment, and indeed, we saw workers finishing up parts of the narrow dirt track.

El Nido Nacpan Beach Hill
THE NACPAN-CALITANG HILL, WHEN IT WAS STILL OPEN FOR VISITORS

It was almost sundown when we arrived at Nacpan Beach. It’s famous for its long stretch of white sand beach bordered by coconut trees, a twin beach at its southern end called Calitang Beach, and a small hill overlooking the two. It used to be that tourists can actually go up the hill but it’s now off-limits due to an alleged shooting incident involving a security guard of the company who bought it and—wait, you can actually buy a hill?!

El Nido Nacpan Beach Resort
RESORT ACCOMMODATIONS HAVE NOW POPPED UP IN NACPAN BEACH

El Nido Nacpan Beach Resort
TOURISTS HAVING A SELFIE

Most people consider Nacpan Beach as one of the more pristine areas of El Nido, but from what I saw, I can definitely say that it’s not anymore. From what was once a secret beach, barren of any human structures but a lone house and a few shacks, one of its areas is now replete with makeshift cogon huts with eateries catering to tourists. A few resorts and accommodations have also popped up on both sides of the the Nacpan and Calitang Beach.

El Nido Nacpan Beach Palawan
AFTERNOON VISIT TO NACPAN BEACH, HOPING FOR A GRAND SUNSET

Still, it’s much less crowded than the easily accessible Bacuit and Maramegmeg Beach, but there’s much more people—mostly foreigners—than I remember. Still, we took everything in stride and laid our beach blanket near the shoreline. The good thing about these developments was that we can now order food and drinks without taking the long walk towards the sari-sari stores inland.

El Nido Nacpan Beach Palawan Dogs
STRAY DOGS PLAYING ACROSS NACPAN’S BEACH

With bottles of beer in hand and a few plates of chicken adobo, we watched as tourists frolicked against the massive waves that Nacpan is known for. Local dogs were playfully running across the sand as we drank. And against the backdrop of Bolog and Bury Islands, the sun was trying its darnedest to break free from a thick blanket of clouds.

El Nido Nacpan Beach Palawan Lifeguard Rescue
A RESCUE IN PROGRESS

A sudden commotion ensued without warning. Two locals started running towards the water, torpedo buoys ala Baywatch in hand. Apparently someone was drowning on the far reaches of the beach.

Memories of my last visit to Nacpan with my family came rushing in.

El Nido Nacpan Beach Palawan
VISITED NACPAN WITH MY FAMILY IN 2013

It was a bright and sunny March day in 2013, we came to Nacpan right after having breakfast at one of the eateries in El Nido using a van we rented. There were hardly any people on the beach, it was just us, a few locals, and a couple of foreigners basking under the midday heat.

El Nido Nacpan Beach Palawan
THE ALMOST SEEMINGLY ENDLESS NACPAN BEACH WITHOUT TOURISTS

The waves were quite strong and swimming was practically impossible. We all left our life vest and torpedo buoy at the van, thinking it would be more of a nuisance, we just wanted to waddle on the shore and ride the incoming waves; the water was quite shallow anyways.

It was fun at first, our whole group meeting the waves head on, riding it as it crashed to the shore. Shrieks and laughter abound.

El Nido Nacpan Beach Palawan
PLAYING WITH THE HUGE WAVES

We rode one particular wave, no different from any of the previous ones, and suddenly as it recessed, we can’t feel the ground beneath our feet anymore. We were thrown outward into the sea, dispersed from each other. I felt a sudden dread in my stomach. I tried swimming back to the shore but I can’t seem to make any headway. Another try and I almost made it, my feet touching the sand below for a few moment, before getting washed back into the sea.

El Nido Nacpan Beach Palawan
IT’S HARD TO SWIM IN NACPAN

I saw my companions struggling to keep afloat. A few of us can swim, but most can’t. I heard one family friend yelling for help. Apparently, one of us was already down under, unable to keep afloat. Two of my family dove down and dragged him from beneath the water, fetching him back ashore in a strenuous attempt to save him.

Another of us tried to get back on shore by swimming, but like me, failed. Trying not to panic, he simply laid still, his back on the water to stay afloat, letting the waves carry him to wherever it intended. He was soon rescued by my brother-in-law.

El Nido Nacpan Beach Palawan
MY MOM POINTING TO ME, MY FATHER, AND BROTHER, AS WE STRUGGLED AGAINST THE WAVES

I have since ceased my attempt at swimming back to shore, knowing full well that I’d get leg cramps if I continue to. I treaded on a relaxed pace, letting the waves pull me farther and farther from the shore, hoping that some sort of rescue would eventually come.

On my right side, I can see my father struggling on the water. I was totally helpless, knowing that if I tried to rescue him, we would both drown. It was the worst feeling ever. The dread wrenching my stomach tightened further.

It was a good thing my brother was there. A good swimmer, he dived down whenever my father would submerge, pulling him up with him. He did this a number of times, depleting his own energy as well.

El Nido Nacpan Beach Palawan Rescue Drowning
FINALLY, WE WERE RESCUED BY LOCALS WHO BORROWED A CANOE

I was starting to lose hope when a canoe from the lone house on the beach arrived to rescue us. Being quite small, it was only able to pull my father and brother aboard, leaving me alone on the sea; a dot slowly growing smaller and smaller, as my cousins from the shore told me later.

El Nido Nacpan Beach Palawan
NACPAN BEACH, FIVE YEARS AGO

After what seemed like an eternity, it finally came back for me. I had no energy to go on board. I simply held on and let it pull me back to the safety of the shore.

We were quite lucky no one drowned and died, but it was a very close call. We were dragged by what they call a rip current, going directly back to the shore is nearly impossible when you get caught up in one. What we should have done instead was swim a few meters parallel to the beach, then from there, swim back to the shore to avoid the tide from pulling us back into the sea.

El Nido Nacpan Beach Palawan Drowning Rescue
A DROWNED WOMAN, RESCUED BY LOCALS

My reverie was broken as the two local guys who came rushing to water earlier dragged a weakened swimmer onto the shore. It was a lady of foreign origins. We were told that even the best of swimmers drown here, a fair warning to everyone about the strength of Nacpan’s waves.

El Nido Nacpan Beach Palawan Skimboarding
RIDING THE WAVES AT NACPAN

The rest of the afternoon passed without incident. A few people were still out on the sea, riding the waves, drinking beer, and a few, testing the waters. The dogs, tired of their games, were now lazily lounging right beside us. The sun started to dip down the horizon, and as the afternoon faded into twilight, we started to pack our things too.

I plan to make better memories of El Nido tomorrow when we explore Linapacan Islands.

 

Nacpan Beach Location Map

Nacpan – Calitang Twin Beach
Address: Sitio Calitang, Brgy. Bucana, El Nido, Palawan
Entrance Fee: Free
GPS Coordinates Map: 11.317504, 119.425691

Northern Hope Tours roundtrip transfer from El Nido Town:
(0939) 902-2216 | (0927) 735-3221 | (0942) 375-2441
Tricycle – PHP1,500.00 | Good for 3 persons
Air-Conditioned Van – PHP3,000.00 | Good for 12 persons

 






Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

4 comments:

  1. how can i flaunt my beautiful body?! the local government of Palawan should take a good look at their proposal to ban the wearing of swimsuits. tsk tsk tsk

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    1. Hi Edmond, yes I also don't get why Palawan's planning to ban swimsuits on the beach! That's just stupid!

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  2. Same thing happened me only two months ago whilst swimming alone. Stuck in a rip and getting pulled out ! I must have miraculously swam out of the rip without even knowing as I shouted for help.. swallowing water and wave wave wave swallowing me another swimmer came to my rescue .. my stomach still turns 2 months on

    5 minutes after I got out . An elderly man was pulled unconscious from the same area .. life guards eventually made it out and resuscitated him and were then on high alert.. warning people not to swim!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Frank, lucky you somebody came along! I guess the best thing to do is to really not swim alone in Nacpan

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