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El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island
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Reviewed 15 March 2014

The experience was over the top.

From riding the pumpboat to the room service, everything was taken cared of in a 5-star way. The staffs were friendly and very hospitable, that kind of Filipino hospitality that you are looking for. Some of them were conversant of the Cebuano dialect which made me even feel more at home. The food was great and unlimited. I love seafood so much and their buffet did not fail me. Also, having breakfast in Miniloc and lunch in Lagen was something unique to me. I did not know it was allowed but that certainly made me feel special. Too bad there was no pool in Miniloc, so when we had our lunch in Lagen, i never missed the chance of swimming in the pool. I was hoping i could have dinner in Pangulasian but they told me that Pangulasian is an exclusive-for-guests resort only. Instead, we passed by this beautiful island during our island hopping for us to get a glimpse of this exclusive resort.

Kayaking from one island to another was a memorable experience on its own. I did not know that sharks (harmless they said) were infesting the blue waters. Had i known, i might think twice of kayaking from island to island. But nevertheless, it was super fun! Snorkeling with one of the staffs was fantastic! He seems to know what he's talking about from different species of fishes to turtles and corals. Too bad that we weren't able to find a turtle during our snorkeling activity.

To top the whole experience, swimming with more than a meter long Jack Fishes was the part that i loved most. It was a bit scary when you look at them using your snorkels (goggles). I almost screamed when i saw them just below and beside me, but given a few minutes, i was able to conquer my fear and just swam with them, almost touching them. Their razor sharp teeth is very much obvious and they just chase whatever food you throw at them. I'm glad they did not bite that person who jumped in the middle of the swimming school, scared if they might mistake him for food.

Overall the experience was over the top. Thanks to the staff that welcomed us with the warmest greetings of Mabuhay! I certainly would want to go back to this piece of gem in Palawan.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank CebuanoPopoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2014

From the flight to the transfers & to the hotel we were well taken care of. 5 star service all the way. When we got to Miniloc Island it was all that I have pictured it to be but when we got to the room it was a different story. The outside doesn't match what's inside. We were given the Cliff room because all the other rooms are booked when we made our purchase. The stairs were too steep & the view they were boasting about was nothing spectacular. I was expecting a 5 star room & it looked like a 2 star room to me. The bed was nice but everything else was not especially the bathroom. It looked like it was made in the 1980's. Please! Update it ASAP. The water was weak & there were no places to put your toiletries when showering. There's no TV in this room.

Buffet was great. Island hopping was also good. When you stay at Miniloc you get free island hopping & it was great because you don't have to worry about paying extra. The people were so nice & welcoming.

Room Tip: Don't get the cliff room it's too far.
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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3  Thank KayC18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2014

I loved my stay at Miniloc island and taking advantage of ALL the El Nido islands' activities. It definitely ranks right up there with the Maldives as far as relaxation and beauty go. It's mostly unspoiled (the reefs!), pristine with a focus on the environment and supporting local farmers, and it has an amazing staff. Food was pretty good. Best mangoes I ever ate. But... it's a little inconvenient.

Want to sleep late, lie around on the dozens of lounge chairs or stroll for an hour along the long, white-sand beach -- or perhaps walk through the beautiful forests within the 250-million-year old limestone cliffs, as well as go kayaking and snorkeling, etc? Sorry, Miniloc is not that resort, but it makes up for it by offering outings to its sister islands where all together, you CAN do ALL of those things.

I'll explain: Forget about sleeping late and peace and quiet in the a.m. if you have certain rooms. We had a newer Deluxe Seaview Room, which was wonderful, and in my opinion, better than the over-water cottages because you don't need loud air-conditioning. But one entire day, one of the boats was running its engine in the "lagoon" in front of our room and pumping fuel to the resort. And every morning, the boats will wake you up at 5 or 5:30 as they make their runs to town for supplies or to take guests on the sunrise tour. At 6, the employees start arriving.

There are only a handful of lounge chairs, and it wasn't easy getting one as they would often get commandeered by groups of people. It was nice when they were available though. Your long stroll along the beach will take about 30 seconds as there really is no beach except to launch the kayaks. On Miniloc, your walk through the rainforest is only possible if you can cut through the jungle and climb the cliffs on your own. I wanted all those things, along with kayaking, snorkeling, etc. on one island, so at first I was really disappointed. Then I decided to get over myself and enjoy the beauty of Bacuit Bay. Believe me, you can't do that from ONE island. The small limestone cliff islands of Bacuit Bay will remind you of Vietnam's Ha Long Bay -- each one offering its own charms and attractions. For rock climbing and swimming, go island hopping to Entalula; for a short rainforest hike that ends at a deserted beach, go to Lagen, which also has a pool and many lounge chairs. Miniloc has tours for snorkeling, picnicking, diving, cave viewing - pretty much everything, but you've got to book it the day before.

MUST DO: Kayak of Small Lagoon and Big Lagoon. If you don't feel up to kayaking from Miniloc resort, have the banca boys and guide take you out to the mouth, where there are kayaks waiting for you.

In the end I wanted to stay longer. Although I loved it and recommend it, I'm not sure I would do this again simply because I have been to pretty much all the islands and enjoyed the activities, and I'm also a walker, stroller and trekker. I prefer being able to take a walk on the beach at a minute's notice rather than having to book the night before and take a boat at a certain time for 20-30 minutes before feeling the sand between my toes.

Room Tip: Deluxe Seaview Rooms are beautiful and modern but beware the once-a-week hotel refueling boat motor runs all day nearby. Tiny closets. No electricity when you leave, so watch your step coming back at night -- no outdoor night light
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank spendley3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 February 2014

Our stay at Miniloc Island was the most relaxing & worry-free four days I've ever had in my entire life.

Those are strong words considering my wife and I have travelled to many countries over the last 8 years, at resorts, on cruises, and on land tours. But it's true. From the time you arrive at the place for your charter flight to the time you get back, you have nothing to worry about. I honestly don't have one negative things to say about our time in El Nido.

If you want a noisy party atmosphere with thousands of people and hundreds of places to go, this isn't your spot. If you want a quiet, serene, beautiful place where you can be at peace and get away from the world, THIS IS THE PLACE for you.

ARRIVAL
You will take a charter flight from Manila via ITI (Island Transvoyager Inc). With our package, the charter flight was included in the price of our stay. One thing to note, ITI's terminal is not located at the main airport in Manila. You'll need to take a taxi from either the airport or from your hotel. ITI's terminal is only a few minutes from Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and it will cost you about 800 pesos (just under $20 US).

Once you arrive at the terminal (I'd recommend being there about an hour before your flight), you'll put your bags through a security scan. No need to be there 2-3 hours in advance, it's a small terminal only used for the charter flight so you'll be in and out of security in under a couple minutes. From there, you'll be directed to check in for your flight and given your boarding passes. One thing to note, they weigh your bags & carry-on items and there is a weight limit. I forget what it is, but because it's a small plane it's not very much. Odds are you'll have to pay extra for your baggage, but no worries you can pay with pesos or a credit card, and it's not a huge charge. We came with two big pieces of luggage and only paid about $15 US. I don't say all this to concern you as it's a very minor thing, I only want to make sure you're aware of this.

Now the fun starts. You are then directed to a small lounge area, where there are tables set up for the flight passengers. Your names will be on a placard at one of the tables. You can enjoy complimentary coffee, tea, juices, water, and pastries set up at a small buffet area. A very nice way for us to start the morning as we had a 7 AM flight. Once the time comes, you board your charter flight. It's about an hour flight, and there's only about 20 people on the plane, which is very comfortable.

Once you land at the El Nido airstrip, don't be discouraged. Looks can be deceiving. It's a small airstrip in the middle of nowhere, and you take a short walk to the reception area (don't worry about your luggage, it's taken care of, just bring your carry-on items). You may be thinking "where am I? I hope this isn't the resort". It's NOT. Don't worry. You pass some local entertainers who welcome you with festive singing and dancing. From there, you get to a small building where you can enjoy some cookies, water, and juice while waiting for your bus. We met one of the staff from the resort, Joel, who made sure he asked our names and never forgot them the rest of our time on El Nido. After a short rest, you board your bus - actually it's a Philippine jeepney (fun to ride in) for a short ride to the boat dock.

After a short boat ride, you arrive at the resort. You will NOT believe the beauty of this place. With some resorts, the pictures on the website is much better than what you get in person. In the case of Miniloc, what you see is what you get. The water is so blue it will blind you, and it's SO clear. The rock formations are incredible, we've never seen anything like them. You're taken to the restaurant area for a welcome drink, a song from the staff, and a short talk about the resort and its amenities. We arrived during breakfast, so we enjoyed a great meal after the orientation. It's not a very big place so you'll get used to it right away, but it's spacious enough so that you won't feel packed in like sardines with the other guests. It's a private island, VERY secluded and far from civilization.

THE RESORT:
It's so quiet and beautiful here. It can only accommodate about 100 or so guests, so you won't have to compete with thousands of tourists. Also, it's on a secluded private island, so no need to worry about pesky locals patrolling the beach trying to sell you things. It's basically you, a few guests, gorgeous rock formations, a relaxing beach, and beautiful blue water. There are some covered palapas for you to rest on by the beach if you like.

STAFF:
These are the most friendly, helpful people at a vacation spot I've even seen. They speak perfect English and exel at customer service. They'll do anything in their power to ensure you enjoy your stay. If you need something, just ask any of them. A couple examples:
1) My wife had a craving for rice at dinner one night. There was none at the buffet. We asked a waiter, and they had the cook make a cup of rice just for her. They even asked her how many cups she wanted.
2) My wife lost her favourite pair of sandals on one of the neighbouring islands the resort owns. We asked one of the staff by the dock if they could possibly retrieve it for us. Later that day, when we arrived from another excursion, the staff member came running up to my wife with the sandals. Not only did they get them the same day, they remembered who we were and we didn't even have to follow up to get them back.
3) When I went to check out and settle the bill, there was a small problem with their credit card machine. I had to wait a few minutes for them to fix it. It wasn't a big deal for me, but they were genuinely apologetic and brought me a fresh fruit drink to enjoy while they were working on it. The way it turned out, it was almost fun waiting those few extra minutes.

AMENITIES:
Gift shop - it's small and a bit pricey, but there are some cool items in here such as some branded El Nido shirts, sandals, & some other things. Everything can get charged to your room.

WiFi - it's free, and FAST! It works almost everywhere on the island and was so reliable. I was very impressed. It was like being at home with our own WiFi.

Restaurant - all meals are included, and served buffet style. The food was good. I wouldn't say five star, and the selection wasn't the biggest, but everything was fresh, delicious, and in abundance. There was enough variety for us so that we weren't bored during our stay.

Water activities - you can borrow a kayak, snorkel gear, and lifejackets for free. You can even kayak around the island. You can also get in the water daily when they feed their fish. The fish are HUGE and come right up to you, great for picture taking! This is right by the dock, very close to the beach, and it happens every morning.

Other activities - this is what makes the resort so special. They own several islands in El Nido. At no charge, you can arrange for breakfasts, picnic lunches, & BBQ's on one of the other islands. You can also take a 45 minute hike through a jungle on another island, explore caves, take a sunset cruise (bring your camera!), or even take a private kayak excusion with a staff member. It can all be arranged through the tours desk near the dock. The staff are always happy to help and even encourage you to arrange tours. There were enough choices to keep us entertained for our four days, and if we stayed longer it still would have been great to do a few again. Because they're all included in the price of your stay, feel free to enjoy them all.

ROOMS:
There are different room types here. We stayed in a raised hut room right over the water, including a small balcony. The room was clean, had air conditioning, and was very comfortable. It was incredible seeing the sun rise every morning over the water from our balcony.

LOCATION:
This is the best part of the resort. It's like heaven here. You'll forget that you're on Earth, you really will. It's so quiet, so beautiful. There's no place like it. If you like beaches, nature, and blue water, you need to come here.

DEPARTURE:
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. Things are done in reverse from arrival. You board a boat for a short ride to the boat dock, then take a jeepney back to the El Nido airstrip. You enjoy some refreshments and snacks while having your baggage inspected by security, then get your boarding passes. You then take a charter flight back to Manila. One tip - we asked the staff at the ITI terminal to call us a taxi, only to find out that they had already called one for us! So be sure to ask when you arrive from El Nido so it saves you the trouble and time waiting.

Overall, this was four days of paradise. It will cost you more than many resorts, but if you are in need of some R&R in paradise, you need to come here once. We plan on returning.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank MonkeyAndBaboon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2014

This was the best holiday I have ever been on. From start to finish it was just perfect. The journey from Manilla to El Nido was easy and hassle free (despite a small delay in Manilla) We were greeted at Miniloc island with a song and a dance performed by what seemed like all the staff at the resort! Great first impression! Breakfast, lunch and dinner was included and the buffet style spread was more than we could have asked for and offered a vast selection of top quality food. Both soft drinks and alcoholic beverages were at an extra cost but reasonably priced. We travelled to different beach resorts each day and went on the sunset cruise on the last night which I would highly recommend (preferably without the happy hour beers before hand!) I would recommend taking a canoe out before breakfast and paddling through the big lagoon at low tide - it's absolutely stunning! Snorkelling at the small lagoon was also incredible. On our last night we had a private dinner on a secluded beach with a private waiter, Rodney, who was fab! The whole holiday was then topped off with a proposal from my boyfriend...a dream destination for a dream come true! I am counting down the days until we can return!

Room Tip: Definitely go for a water cottage Wouldn't stay anywhere else! Ask for number 1 or 2.
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank EmWong87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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