It’s my 2nd time at Qi Palawan. My first time is way back 2014. This was where Apple and I had our honeymoon. It was a place that we would never forget. A place where we can hear the wind.
There are very few places like this on Earth. At least that’s what I think. I haven’t been to a lot of places honestly so I hold this place in a special place in my heart. Not only because it’s where I spent my honeymoon with my wife. But also because it is arguably the only place that made me feel like I was in paradise.
Entering the resort, you are greeted by a well tended garden that coves around you. I arrived around 1:30am in the morning but I had my torchlight on to see the surroundings and to light the path for my family.
We came from a 6 hour ride from Puerto Princesa to Qi Palawan. Yes I’m aware that there’s AirSwift for flights direct to El Nido so I won’t have to go through the gruelling land trip but I used up my Mabuhay Miles for this trip to try and cut costs. So I had to book PAL.
6 Hour Land Trip
I used a private transport with a guy named Neil. He was VERY GOOD with his driving and I have to give this special mention because I was travelling with 2 kids and with 2 helpers that gets motion sickness at times. We had literally no problems with Neil’s driving. I kept myself awake for 95% of the trip talking with him to keep him awake and alert so I noticed the road and how he overtakes other trucks and vans. The other 5% that I missed was because he had a companion we picked up as we neared Qi Palawan. That guy rode with us to the resort to help keep Neil awake.
When we arrived at the resort, we bunked in the villa and immediately started our sleep routine – putting ourselves and our kids to sleep in a matter of minutes.
Qi Palawan is quite unique in that the villas are very simple. They are merely big tropical huts with split-type air-conditioning units, cozy restrooms (without bidet), comfy beds and television to kill time when you have no activities.
I was fortunate enough to be able to book the beachfront villa (it’s quite difficult to book your desired dates as the resort is very privy with only a handful of villas) with a party of 6 people. That’s me, my wife, my 2 kids and 2 babysitters/helpers.
This trip is also to celebrate my 5th anniversary with my wife. So I communicated early on with Ananda and Peter (the managers of the resort) to ask them for ’something special’. I had no idea what could be arranged and I also had no idea on the limitations of the resort but they delighted us with wonderful roses on the beddings and a bottle of white wine.
My wife is a simple woman and she was already very happy about this trip – more so when she saw this arrangement.
One thing I noticed is that there were tons of foreigners staying at the place. Backtracking to 2014 I remember that there was only 1 other couple that stayed with us at the resort. This time around, there were people coming and going almost everyday and an overwhelming majority of them were foreigners.
That’s actually a good thing. It means that this small, remote resort is getting more and more known especially with people from abroad.
Food and Drinks
The food and the drinks were very different from the last time I was here. I mostly ordered the chicken with basil rice meal. Otherwise I went with the chicken breast sandwich and since I was feeling extra adventurous, I went with the Tenderloin burger for my last dinner. Surprisingly, the Tenderloin burger was the best value-for-money dish for me in the menu as it came with blue cheese and fried egg. It was very good.
My wife went mostly with the chicken curry which was also good. Actually a lot of food on the menu was good except for the beef salpicao – and only because I’m used to the one that’s cooked with garlic and olive oil. The one in Qi Palawan was cooked more like beef steak with onion rings and watery brown sauce that tasted a bit too sweet for me.
Breakfast was different. Qi Palawan used to have a limited menu but now the variety was plenty. It’s a buffet with a mix-and-match soul to it. I mostly ordered the fruit platter to being with, coupled with coffee. For my main meal, I had beef tapa, a healthy heap of scrambled eggs, crispy bacon strips and garlic rice.
To warp my breakfast up, I order crepe with Nutella as the filling. They do have coconut water at times to go with it. But sometimes they run out – which is funny because there’s coconut trees all over the place.
What I love about the management of Qi Palawan is they are so gracious to my kids. You see, my kids don’t usually finish their breakfast so whatever is left over is put back in the refrigerator and is allowed to be consumed for lunch and dinner later on. I do order lunch and dinner for me, my wife and the helpers but the fact that my kids could eat what they had left over for breakfast (and it was a LOT) helped cut some costs for me. I’m very thankful for that as it was definitely grace.
Dinner is a very romantic event as it is always through dim candlelight and some low-wattage lighting. The air is cool enough for the ceiling fans to be more than enough for us to enjoy the night air and consider the dinners a wonderful experience.
Before my dinners, I tried the dry martini and the negroni – both very strong cocktails. Just to alter my state briefly before I have my dinner. Both were satisfactory in my opinion. If you want to play it safe, just order double shot of Jack Daniels on the rocks.
I went scuba diving on my second day. This was after 7 years since my last dive. I am an advanced diver – thanks to my first SEO client making sure that I am a certified scuba diver before I did any work for them (they ran a scuba diving company).
The entire dive was an almost surreal experience for me. Very refreshing. I love scuba diving as it is a portal to another world very different from the land where we live and breathe. I wasn’t able to see a lot though. Mostly fishes and corals. I did see nudibranchs, a small eel and two small stingrays.
The first dive was fantastic. The second one was okay. I had a sinus attack which must have come from the pressure of diving. My body was obviously shocked as it has been a very long while since I last dove. I consumed more air for a shorter span of time than I was planning to.
Thankfully I finished the entire dive track and we all ascended together as a group. I was amazed that the scuba diving was relatively cheap – 2 dives with a delicious grilled lunch by the beach for 3,500 per head. This includes all the gear – tank, air, boots, finds, BCD, masks, wet-suits and even the speedboat rent!
I wasn’t able to bring my license or my dive log but they looked up my name in the PADI website and was able to pull it. I also had a fun group during the entire dive so that added to the experience.
Snorkeling and Island Hopping
I went snorkeling with my family on the last full day. That was very fun. Although the kids were quite scared and were crying when we entered the open water from the boat, everything got better from then on.
We went to two beautiful snorkeling spots and the island where we had lunch (PCAL island) is the same where I had lunch after the first dive. That island is also a snorkeling destination – which makes up 3 snorkeling destinations when you think about it. The kids had tons of fun just playing near the beach shoreline. I had tons of fun exploring the reefs and numerous aquatic creatures nearby.
When you’re bored in the resort, you may borrow some board games the have in store, or spend some time playing billiards with friends – otherwise you can always bring your own deck of cards.
The last resort to kill time is to rent USBs to watch movies – which I did for my kids. Otherwise this is the very last thing you’d want to do in a resort like this. Sometimes you just have to simply disconnect and relax.
No power outage so that’s a very big plus for me as Palawan is known for its on-and-off power supply.
Mobile Signal and Wifi
Signal is not so good. It depends on where you are. Wifi is jungle wifi – not too bad for a remote place but nothing too great either. You can do emails so that’s something to be very happy about already.
The pool has no tech – no filters whatsoever. I guess people might be using the pool to clean off the sand? I’m not sure. I did not use it though as there are tons of swimming pools already in Metro Manila that I’m happy about anyway.
Most of the hammocks have fire ants from time to time so my advice is to first check before you use it as falling asleep on the wrong hammock might give you a stinging surprise.
There was one occassion where my son’s slipper had bites and our biscuits in a zip bag went missing. Then we realized there were squirrels in the trees and they were the culprit behind it. It’s no big deal but I just thought you should know about it if you plan to stay there. Avoid leaving food right outside your villa.
I hope this honest, experiential review gave you some amazing insight on your potential stay over at Qi Palawan. I do enjoy staying there and I do highly recommend it.