Ocean Ports of Call

El Nido - Philippines Highlights:
Limestone Cliffs, 50 beaches, Protected Ecosystem
El Nido is a municipality and protected area in the province of Palawan in the Philippines. It is about 420km southwest of Manila. The municipal area covers a land area of 465 sqkm on the northernmost tip of mainland Palawan, is bordered by the Linapacan Strait in the north, the Sulu Sea in the east, and the South China Sea in the west. It is composed of 45 islands and islets each has its own unique geological formations similar to those that can be found in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. The highest peak is at Cadlao Island, towering up to 640m above sea level.

The town proper or Población sits in a sheltered bay with a pier at one end along a crescent beach, and is flanked by the area's famous limestone cliffs to the east and hills on the western side. It is a small town centre with tree-lined streets, and the lifestyle is laidback. The El Nido area is protected for its unique flora and fauna, and pristine geologic formations including the limestone cliffs (home of the swiftlets), 50 white sand beaches, 5 types of forest, 3 major marine habitats, 16 endemic and 10 threatened species of birds, 6 species of marine mammals endemic to Palawan, 4 species of endangered marine turtles, 100 species of corals and 813 species of fish.

El Nido was certainly inhabited by humans as early 2680 BC, and even up to 22,000 years ago as evidenced by the fossils and burial sites in the area dating back to the Late Neolithic Age. Chinese traders had been regularly visiting the area of El Nido for its edible birds' nests during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 BC). The town traces its roots from a small Tagbanua village called Talindak. Some time in the 16th century, waves of migrants from Cuyo Islands came here to settle. In the 1800s, the Spaniards arrived, and they moved to the part where the present-day town is located.

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