Hailed as the best Island in the world, Palawan is home to some of the most magnificent beaches in the Philippines. That’s why it’s only fitting that we must do our best to preserve the natural wonders of this amazing Island.
Lio Tourism Estate in El Nido Palawan is an ongoing eco-friendly project by Ayala Land.
This 325-hectare land area is being developed to spearhead the first eco-friendly community on the island.
Designed to be an ecologically sustainable tourism destination, Lio is now home to two new world-class estates built for different types of tourists.
One of the newest additions is Hotel Covo, a hip and modern-looking estate built for backpacking millennias.
Hotel Covo is a small and straightforward estate that has all the modern amenities that you’ll ever need within arm’s reach.
Carefully designed to generate the lowest impact on nature, Hotel Covo is built with an open roof design to maximize the use of natural light.
The estate merges modern aesthetics and nature effortlessly, so you get both comfort and relaxation every time you enter the building.
Rooms are compact and are elegantly designed with all the modern amenities.
Each room even has their own unique Palawan inspired headboard, all beautifully curated to give you that homey feeling.
One nice touch is the protruding pipes on the wall, which can be used as storage for pocket items. They also serve as wall speakers that amplify the sound coming from your phone.
The rooms in Covo only serve the bare essentials so as not to create disposable trash.
Balai Adlao is a 3-star boutique resort envisioned to be a relaxing holiday accommodation for young couples who want a quick, intimate, get away from the city.
Architect Conrad Onglao decorated the rooms to feel like a welcoming Filipino home filled with modern, earth-toned interiors and touches of native weave and fabrics.
You’ll probably spend most of the day on the beach, exploring Bacuit Bay’s iconic natural attractions by boat, mountain biking or hiking through the nearby pandan beach forest and other land-based attractions of the Lio Tourism Estate.
At the end of the day, we loved the well-appointed rooms where we can comfortably sit back, read a good book and recharge.
The Best-of-the-Philippines design theme is seen throughout the guest rooms with locally-made furniture adapted from the perspectives of Onglao. In the rooms, the most captivating pieces are the wooden carvings from the workshop of Ricky Baylosis over the headboard. Made of local and repurposed wood, the carved replicas of various leaves are made by Calatagan, Batangas artisans.
It’s spacious at 20 sqm, with a queen size bed and a lot of room for the luggage.
The safety deposit box is small–enough for your pocket-size valuables.
There’s also a private balcony where you can dry your wet clothes.
You can see the nightscape of Northern Palawan on the second-floor al fresco deck.
The bathroom is small, but can fit two people using the toilet and bath all together. There are free toothbrush and toiletries upon request. (Like Covo, they only serve the bare essentials so as not to create disposable trash.)
The bathroom is clean and simple with their own liquid soap and shampoo in cute little containers.
The glass-paneled breakfast café is an air-conditioned restaurant that can comfortably seat 50 persons. The cafe serves a few international and local specialties. (The breakfast offering in Balai Adlao and Covo’s buffet are almost the same.).
I love the view of the beach and the touch of sunlight in the morning.
In addition to offering breakfast, the restaurant also highlights design ingenuity through various sets of fishermen’s baskets transformed into striking overhead lighting fixtures.
For the Pinoy selection, try the “lamayo” that’s very famous in Palawan. Best paired with garlic rice.
The danggit is freshly marinated in vinegar, pepper, and garlic. It’s pretty much bigger in size compared to the ones you get in Cebu. You can find this mostly at every breakfast buffet table of every estate.
For something hot, try the lomi, which is also good.
They also serve infused water and yummy fresh watermelon juice.
For the international selection, they have waffles, fresh salad, and an egg station.
El Nido Grill
A trip to the beach wouldn’t be complete without sampling the local seafood of the island.
The owner, James Aquino, serves basic Pinoy favorites from grilled squid, liempo, mussels, shrimp sinigang, and crabs soaked in coconut sauce, just to name a few of their bestsellers.
Butter Garlic Shrimp (P390) | Sinigang na Hipon (Medium for 1-2 persons (P440)
For the seafood, we liked the garlic shrimp and sinigang soup.
Their smoky, juicy grilled liempo is the bestseller. The pork BBW was just OK. The meat dishes were a bit pricey.
Manille Beach Bar
Imagine a bar where you can spend the afternoon bathing on the sands, drinking their signature cocktails, and having a front-row seat to El Nido’s glowing sunset–that’s what Manille Beach Bar is.
The bar is known for showcasing their distillery’s bestselling products by creating signature cocktails with a local twist.
Manille Basil Smash (P250)
Mojito fans would love their refreshing Manille Basil Smash, a drink mixed with their own Liqueur de Calamansi.
Martini Flights (P400). Yuzu Good To Me, Aloe- Haaa!, Lio Sunset, and Old is Gold.
If you want a bit of flair to your drinks, order the Martini Flights where you’ll catch couple Larry and Sharleen show off their cocktail mixing skills with a few acrobatic tricks.
It features four signature cocktails. We liked the Yuzu Good To Me for that citrusy and slightly sweet drink made with El Hombre Silver tequila, and the Lio Sunset’s sweet mango nectar.
Sizzling Pork Sisig (P300) | Sizzling Gambas (P380)
They also serve good food and bar chow here. We liked the pork sisig and gambas.
If you want a laid-back escape from the buzzing El Nido Town, Lio Estate is perfect for providing that privacy and convenience you’re looking for.
There are regular trips from Lio to El Nido Town. It takes around 15 minutes to go to the town via shuttle. We love how you can just easily go and enjoy the vibe of El Nido Town from here. Cheers!
Live an Awesome Life,
NICO & ABI of Team Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: Our Lio stay was courtesy of Lio Tourism Estate. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.
P.S. Check out Kalye Artisano, an artists’ village that will serve as a platform for various forms of visual and performing arts, and showcase crafts and creations from local Philippine artists.
P.P.S. Lio Beach Festival is happening on March 16, 2018 to kick-off the Summer 2018 season!