If you are seeking a place in El Nido that is serene but also has modern facilities; where you can spend time bird watching, hiking, island-hopping, and then come back to a “luxurious” resting place, come to Lagen Island. Lagen Island is newly renovated so everything is in great condition and the food is delicious too.
I chose Lagen Island because the place is gorgeous. It is located between a lush forest and a calm lagoon where you can enjoy many activities when the weather doesn’t allow you to go island hopping or even just go on a sunrise/sunset cruise, which is free.
The island is privately owned by El Nido Resorts Group, you can not dine outside, so it’s quite expensive. Besides, there is no complimentary mineral water. We had to boil our drinking water with the electric kettle available in every room or refill our bottles at water stations.
There are free facilities like the Kids Activity Center, the gym, the library, a beach for kayaking and snorkeling, and a swimming pool. You have to pay extra for spa. There are also other activities like learning to play water sports from a tutor, birdwatching, exploring the mangroves, going on sunrise and sunset cruises, and also learning how to make fish with palm leaves.
The waves were too dangerous for both sunset and sunrise cruise while we were there. We took advantage of almost all free activities available. After breakfast, I started birdwatching. There were many to be seen in the morning! I found this beautiful Stork-billed Kingfisher as soon as I started walking out of my room.
The guide lent us binoculars so we could see the birds clearly.
Besides birds, I also spotted many long-tailed Macaque and Palawan squirrels.
Varanus palawanensis (water monitor lizard) or bayawak reaching lengths of up to two meters, can be found walking fearlessly in Lagen Island. They can swim long distance and hold their breath for up to 30 minutes.
To get to Lagen Island, you can fly from Manila to El Nido, followed by a boat ride to Lagen Island. The boat ride is free courtesy of Lagen Island. We travelled by van from The Resort Bayview Hotel to El Nido Resorts Jetty Lounge near Lio Airport. There were compliment snacks and drinks at the lounge. Meanwhile, the security checked our suitcases. Remember how many luggages you have because one of ours was transported to another resort and we didn’t get it until that evening.
I like Lagen Island especially for the hospitality of the staff. Before we leave the lounge, several women sang a welcome song to us. Upon arrival at the island, they welcomed us by putting on us a fish necklace made of palm leaf. Then every night we were there, a staff would come knock at our door and gave us personalised good night wishes written on a fresh leaf, two milk candies (local delicacies), and handouts of local stories or scientific facts about local sea creatures. Such a sweet gesture. And they sang to us again when we were leaving the island. Besides, during our stay, it seemed like all the staff recognized us. eventhough they didn’t know our names but there was a sign of recognition in their eyes every time we crossed path.