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El Nido, Palawan

Coordinates: 11°11′44″N 119°24′27″E / 11.19556°N 119.4075°E / 11.19556; 119.4075
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El Nido
Municipality of El Nido
View of El Nido
View of El Nido
Flag of El Nido
Official seal of El Nido
Map of Palawan with El Nido highlighted
Map of Palawan with El Nido highlighted
El Nido is located in Philippines
El Nido
El Nido
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 11°11′44″N 119°24′27″E / 11.19556°N 119.4075°E / 11.19556; 119.4075
District 1st district
RenamedJune 17, 1954
Barangays18 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Bayan
 • MayorEdna G. Lim
 • Vice MayorLuningning L. Batoy
 • RepresentativeFranz Josef George E. Alvarez
 • Municipal Council
 • Electorate33,692 voters (2022)
 • Total923.26 km2 (356.47 sq mi)
35 m (115 ft)
Highest elevation
596 m (1,955 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 (2020 census)[3]
 • Total50,494
 • Density55/km2 (140/sq mi)
 • Households
 • Income class1st municipal income class
 • Poverty incidence
% (2021)[4]
 • Revenue₱ 444.3 million (2020)
 • Assets₱ 1,413 million (2020)
 • Expenditure₱ 322.3 million (2020)
 • Liabilities₱ 417 million (2020)
Service provider
 • ElectricityPalawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)48
Native languagesPalawano

El Nido, officially the Municipality of El Nido (Cuyonon: Banwa i'ang El Nido, Tagalog: Bayan ng El Nido), is a 1st class municipality in the province of Palawan, Philippines. According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 50,494 people.[3]

It is about 420 kilometres (260 mi) south-west of Manila,[5] and 269 kilometres (167 mi) north-east of Puerto Princesa, capital of Palawan.[6] A managed resource protected area,[6] it is known for its white-sand beaches, coral reefs, and limestone cliffs, as well as for being the gateway to the Bacuit archipelago.


El Nido, also known as Bacuit, has been inhabited by humans since at least 2680 BC, possibly as early as 22,000 years ago.[7] This was confirmed by fossils and burial sites dating back to the Late Neolithic Age that can be found in many caves and excavation sites surrounding the municipality, particularly in Dewil Valley's Ille Cave in New Ibajay. Chinese traders regularly visited the area of Palawan for its edible birds' nests during the Song dynasty (960–1279). The island was mentioned in Chinese records of 1225. Chau Ju-Kua, a trade commissioner of the port of Chuan, wrote about the island, Pa-Lao-Yu or Land of Beautiful Harbors, in his book Chu Fan Chi.[5]

The town traces its roots from a small Tagbanwa village called Talindak. Sometime in the 16th century, waves of migrants from Cuyo Islands settled in the area. In the 1800s, the Spaniards arrived, and they moved to the area where the present-day Población and Mabini are located.[5] The first Spanish families were the Canovas, Vázquez, Ríos, and Rey. In 1890, the Spaniards renamed it Bacuit. At the time, the center of the town was Cabigsing, then known as Inventario. Chinese families moved into the area about the same period, first settling in Langeblangeban. The first Chinese settlers were named Lim, Chin, Liao, Edsan, Ambao, Que-Ke, Lim Piao, Yu His, Pe Phan, and Pe Khen.[5]

During the Spanish colonial era, the town was under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Taytay, which was the capital of the former Province of Calamianes from 1818, and the Province of Castilla, the area of what is now known as northern Palawan, from 1858. It remained part of Taytay until 1916, when it formally became an independent municipality.[5] The new municipality was then known as Bacuit.

On June 17, 1954, Republic Act No. 1140[8] was approved, changing the name of the town from Bacuit to its present name, El Nido, after the edible nests of swiftlets (collocalia fuciphaga) found in the crevices of its limestone cliffs. These nests, nido in Spanish, the main ingredient for the gourmet nido soup, are being sold at approximately US$ 3,000 per kilogram.[6]

In 1957, the following barrios were created:

  • Villa Paz comprising the sitios of New Igabas, Candolay, Malapaho, Mabeñgeten, Dewel, Nalbekan, and Lapia;
  • Bebeladan comprising the sitios of Mainlong, Bolabod, Balete, Culiong, Codongnon, Vigan, Pagawanen, Langeblangeban, Talulap, Bocboc, Miadiao, Avirawan, Pita, Deboluan, Balay-Bacaco, Kiminawit, Pamontonan, Simpian, Binabanan, Tegas, and Pinacpanacan;
  • Bagong-Bayan comprising the sitios of Manogtog, Cadleman, Pinagtual, Omao, Nami, Tebey, Bato, Tuñgay, Cataaban, and Lomocob;
  • Pasadeña comprising the sitios of Lamoro, Cagbatang, Bulalacao, Pinañganteñgan, Quinawañgan, Nagbaclao, Colantod, Loblob, and Badiang;
  • Sibaltan comprising the sitios of Turatod, Buluang, Santa Monica, Senodioc, Laolao, Caboñgan, Tapic, Panian, Guitan, Loro, and Nagcalasag;
  • Barotuan comprising the sitios of Taberna, Locaroc, Nagpan, Yocoton, Calitang, Wawa, Makinit, Canoling, Mabañgaon, and Mapeldeten;
  • San Fernando comprising the sitios of Panian, Madorianen, Dipnay, Maubog, Guenleng, Palabuayan, Parañgaycayan, San Pablo, and Olac-olacan; and,
  • Villa Libertad comprising the sitios of Calelenday, Taolili, Boloc, Inigtan, Mepague, Matolatolaon, Dao, Batbat, Madacotdacot, Nasigdan, Semenled, Bancalen, and Cagbanaba.[9] In the same year, the barrio of Oton was renamed to Mabini.[10]


Aerial view of Bucana, in the northern part of El Nido

El Nido is situated in Bacuit Bay and covers a land area of 465.1 square kilometres (179.6 sq mi).[6][11] It is in the northernmost tip of mainland Palawan and is bordered by the Linapacan Strait to the north, the Sulu Sea to the east, and the South China Sea to the west. El Nido includes 45 islands and islets,[5] each with their own unique geological formations. The highest peak is at Cadlao Island, towering up to 640 metres (2,100 ft) above sea level.[12]

Together with Sulu Archipelago, Sabah, and the South China Sea, El Nido, being part of Palawan, is located in the tectonically active and seismically active Sunda Plate,[13] a plate that is entirely separate from the Philippine Mobile Belt to which the rest of the Philippines belongs. The Permian to Paleogene rocks and limestone cliffs of El Nido are similar to those that can be found in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, Guilin in China, as well as Krabi in Thailand, all of which are part of the Sunda Plate.[13][14]


El Nido is politically subdivided into eighteen barangays. Each barangay consists of puroks and some have sitios.

Four of these barangays are situated in the Población (town proper) and are also known by their respective zones.

  • Bagong Bayan
  • Buena Suerte (Zone II)
  • Barotuan
  • Bebeladan
  • Corong-corong (Zone IV)
  • Mabini (formerly Oton)
  • Manlag
  • Masagana (Zone III)
  • New Ibajay
  • Pasadeña
  • Maligaya (Zone I)
  • San Fernando
  • Sibaltan
  • Teneguiban
  • Villa Libertad
  • Villa Paz
  • Bucana
  • Aberawan


Climate data for El Nido, Palawan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 27
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 22
Average rainfall mm (inches) 6
Average rainy days 2 1 3 4 17 25 26 24 20 19 9 4 154
Source: World Weather Online (modelled/calculated data, not measured locally)[15]

The climate in El Nido is distinguished by two seasons: dry, from December to May, and wet, from June to November. April and May are typically the driest, while the heaviest rainfall occurs around August. The northeast wind blows from December to March, occasionally interchanging with the north wind from December to February. The southwest wind is felt from June to October while the east wind, the mildest of all winds, blows during April and May.[16]

The average temperature ranges from a low of 22 °C (72 °F) to a high of 33 °C (91 °F). The coolest temperatures are usually experienced during January, while the hottest temperatures are felt in April and May.[16]


Population census of El Nido
YearPop.±% p.a.
1918 1,789—    
1939 2,280+1.16%
1948 2,306+0.13%
1960 4,075+4.86%
1970 7,358+6.08%
1975 8,749+3.53%
1980 11,657+5.91%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1990 18,832+4.91%
1995 21,948+2.91%
2000 27,029+4.57%
2007 30,249+1.56%
2010 36,191+6.74%
2015 41,606+2.69%
2020 50,494+3.88%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[17][18][19][20]
Calle Real in El Nido

In the 2020 census, the population of El Nido was 50,494 people,[3] with a density of 55 inhabitants per square kilometre or 140 inhabitants per square mile.

The first town census of 1918 showed El Nido having a population of 1,789. In the period between 1980 and 1990, the population grew to 18,832.[5][21] Based on the 2000 census, the annual growth rate is 3.58%.[22] This is higher than the average annual population growth rate for the whole country for the periods 1990 to 2000 and 2000 to 2007, which were only 2.34% and 2.04% respectively.[23]

According to the 2007 census, El Nido has a population of 30,249 people in 6,311 households in its eighteen barangays. Eighty-five percent of the population are living in the rural barangays, while only fifteen percent of them are in the Población area.[24]

Ethnic groups[edit]

The original settlers of El Nido were the Tagbanwas and Cuyunons. Throughout the centuries, there has been a constant migration of Tagalogs, Hiligaynon, Bicolanos, Ilocanos, Chinese and Spaniards. There are also a small number of Japanese and Koreans. Intermarriage between ethnic and linguistic groups is not uncommon in El Nido.


The main language is Filipino (Tagalog). In addition, many people are very proficient in English, Hiligaynon, other Visayan languages, and Bicolano. A small but significant percentage of the population speaks or comprehends Cuyonon, the native language of the Cuyo Islands and most parts of Palawan.


Fishing boats in El Nido

Poverty incidence of El Nido


Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32]

The main industries of El Nido are fishing, agriculture and tourism, being a popular diving location. Edible nest-gathering[33] is also an economic activity, although it is seasonal. Coconut, palay, cashew, banana, and mango are its major products.[11]

As a tourist destination, El Nido has been included in Condé Nast Traveler's list of "20 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World,"[34] and CNNgo has called it the best beach and island destination in the Philippines[35][36] for its "extraordinary natural splendor and ecosystem."[37]


Municipal Hall

El Nido is governed by a mayor and a vice mayor, who are elected to three-year terms. The mayor is the executive head and leads the municipality's departments to execute the municipal ordinances and improve public services. The vice mayor heads the legislative council consisting of eight councilors, more commonly known as Sangguniang Bayan members. The municipal council is in charge of creating the municipality's policies in the form of ordinances and resolutions.


The municipality seal shows a silhouette of the territory of El Nido inside an armor-shaped picture. The famous marble and limestone cliffs represent the nesting ground of the swiftlets. Behind it is the oil rig, representing the areas within its administrative boundaries that are found to be rich in oil and natural gas such as the Malampaya Sound, which is 50 kilometers[38] within its borders, and the Cadlao Oilfield in Bacuit Bay area.[39] At the bottom of the picture is the rice field, with the carabao head superimposed at the center, and on the other side, the sea, with the fish and the squid in situated the middle, representing farming and fishing, the two main industries of its people.

Protected area status[edit]

A lagoon in El Nido
Corong Corong Beach


In 1984, the then Ministry of Natural Resources issued Administrative Order No. 518, establishing a 360 square kilometres (140 sq mi) maritime area in El Nido as a turtle sanctuary. In 1991, the rest of Bacuit Bay, including its island and islets, was proclaimed by the Philippine government as a marine reserve. A year later, by Administrative Order No. 14 Series of 1992 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, this area was expanded even further. In 1998, its status was elevated to that of a protected area, including the terrestrial ecosystem of El Nido and portions of Taytay.[40]

Extent and scope[edit]

The El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area is the largest marine sanctuary in the Philippines.[41] Its protected area status accords the areas of El Nido and portions of its neighboring town of Taytay[40] a place among the eight priority sites[12][42] in the country in need of conservation. The protected area covers a total of 903.21 square kilometers,[43] of which 40% are terrestrial and 60% marine.[44]

The provincial government has mobilized its citizenry to actively participate in various environmental conservation and protection programs, such as the "Bantay Gubat" for forest protection, and the "Bantay Dagat" for marine life preservation.[38] Patrolling within the protected areas, especially in the marine zones is regularly conducted with the help of the World Wildlife Fund - Philippines that allocates funds to support said activity. Another logistic support is by the concerned municipal governments. The Palawan Council for Sustainable Management (PCSD) provides legal assistance during the litigation of cases filed by the Protected Area Office (PAO).[43]

As a protected area, the Philippine government spends approximately US$ 180,000 annually to protect and manage its natural resources.[12][44] Tourists are encouraged to pay US$ 0.50 per day as a conservation fee for the duration of their visit to the Municipal Tourism Office or the Office of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), which are housed in the Municipal Building in Calle Real.[44] This was embodied in the PAMB Resolution No. 08 series 2000 from the National Integrated Protected Area Program (NIPAP) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).[38]

El Nido, one of the country's most diverse ecosystems, is protected for its unique flora, fauna, and pristine geologic formations. These include:




Island Transvoyager's Dornier 228 aircraft at Lio Airport

El Nido Airport, also known as Lio Airport, is the primary and sole airport serving the town of El Nido.[46]


The main roads of El Nido are organized around a set of radial and circumferential roads that radiate and circle in and around the town proper and its rural barangays. Its interconnected roads are connected to the major highway that leads to Puerto Princesa, Palawan's capital. Daily buses and jeepneys depart at San Jose Terminal in Puerto Princesa for El Nido. Tricycles are used for short-distance trips around the town proper.

The 60 kilometres (37 mi) national road between Taytay and El Nido was rehabilitated, and this has helped boost tourism and business activity in the area.[47]

Seaports and piers[edit]

The main port in El Nido, which is under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), is located in Buena Suerte (Zone II), although several small and accessible wharves, such as the San Fernando pier, are being used in other rural barangays. Several ferries and other sea vessels owned by Atienza Shipping Lines and San Nicholas Shipping Lines have regular trips from Manila to El Nido.


The Población area is part of the service areas of electric utility, Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO), a division of the National Power Corporation operating with 0.423 megawatts of electricity.[48] Other barangays use solar panels and electric generators. The island resorts generate their own electricity. Water services are accessible in protected water tables and facilities. Ten percent of the population can avail of the 'Level II Water System', or communal faucet,[48] by the municipal government, while the majority of them are still dependent on deep wells and natural springs. Internet services are available in a few establishments with wireless broadband access.[49]


El Nido has more than ten public elementary and secondary schools located in most of its barangays. El Nido Central School and El Nido National High School, which are both located at the Poblacion, have the largest facilities and number of students, among these schools. Recently, the Palawan State University opened its El Nido campus in New Ibajay, offering extramural programs and studies. Some of the lower-grade schools are located in Calitang, such as Calitang Elementary School, Pasadeña Elementary School, Barutoan Elementary School, Bucana Elementary School, and Lamoro Elementary School.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Municipality of El Nido | (DILG)
  2. ^ "2015 Census of Population, Report No. 3 – Population, Land Area, and Population Density" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. Quezon City, Philippines. August 2016. ISSN 0117-1453. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 25, 2021. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Census of Population (2020). "Mimaropa". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  4. ^ "PSA Releases the 2021 City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates". Philippine Statistics Authority. April 2, 2024. Retrieved April 28, 2024.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "El Nido Tourism". Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d Destination: El Nido. Accessed 24, 2008.
  7. ^ History of Palawan Archived January 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Campersponit website. Accessed January 26, 2009.
  8. ^ "Republic Act no. 1140". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Retrieved on October 20, 2010.
  9. ^ "An Act Creating Certain Barrios in the Municipality of El Nido, Province of Palawan". LawPH.com. Archived from the original on July 11, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
  10. ^ "An Act Changing the Name of Barrio Oton, Municipality of El Nido, Province of Palawan, to Mabini". LawPH.com. Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Official Website of the Province of Palawan. Accessed August 28, 2008. Archived August 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b c Palawan Council for Sustainable Development: Protected Areas. Accessed September 5, 2008.
  13. ^ a b On Shaky Ground Archived December 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ North Palawan Block, Philippines--Its Relation to Asian Mainland and Role in Evolution of South China Sea. Accessed March 29, 2010.
  15. ^ "El Nido, Philippines: Average Temperatures and Rainfall". World Weather Online. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  16. ^ a b Philippine Country. Accessed August 25, 2008.
  17. ^ Census of Population (2015). "Region IV-B (Mimaropa)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  18. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region IV-B (Mimaropa)" (PDF). Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. National Statistics Office. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  19. ^ Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Region IV-B (Mimaropa)". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. National Statistics Office.{{cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ "Province of". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  21. ^ El Nido: Info. Accessed August 24, 2008.
  22. ^ 2000 Census of Population and Housing: Palawan. Accessed August 27, 2008. Archived August 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Population Census 2007 Press Release. Accessed August 27, 2008 Archived August 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Municipality of El Nido". Philippine National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved on October 20, 2010.
  25. ^ "Poverty incidence (PI):". Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  26. ^ "Estimation of Local Poverty in the Philippines" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. November 29, 2005.
  27. ^ "2003 City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. March 23, 2009.
  28. ^ "City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates; 2006 and 2009" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. August 3, 2012.
  29. ^ "2012 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. May 31, 2016.
  30. ^ "Municipal and City Level Small Area Poverty Estimates; 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. July 10, 2019.
  31. ^ "PSA Releases the 2018 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates". Philippine Statistics Authority. December 15, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  32. ^ "PSA Releases the 2021 City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates". Philippine Statistics Authority. April 2, 2024. Retrieved April 28, 2024.
  33. ^ Guardians of the bird nests. Accessed September 5, 2008.
  34. ^ "The 25 Best Island Beaches in the World: 2020 Readers' Choice Awards". February 24, 2015.
  35. ^ The Philippines' best beaches and islands Archived November 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. CNN Go website. Accessed May 15, 2012.
  36. ^ El Nido named Best Philippine Beach. ABS-CBN website. Accessed May 15, 2012.
  37. ^ Destination of the Month: El Nido, Palawan Archived August 4, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Wow Philippines UK website. Accessed May 15, 2012.
  38. ^ a b c "The Pearl Of The Philippines Is El Nido. Facts and useful information. How to get to El Nido". perispalawantraveljournal.blogspot.com. Retrieved August 26, 2008.[title missing]
  39. ^ Oil exploration firm sells stake in Cadlao oilfield Accessed September 5, 2008.
  40. ^ a b UNESCO:El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Area. August 26, 2008.
  41. ^ Palawan Tourism Council Archived May 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ El Nido Tourism Protected Area Archived October 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed March 29, 2010.
  43. ^ a b Palawan Council for Sustainable Development: El Nido - Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area. Accessed 26, 2008
  44. ^ a b c El Nido as a Protected Area. Accessed August 24, 2008.
  45. ^ The ceramic corals of El Nido. Accessed September 10, 2008. Archived May 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  46. ^ El Nido: Transportation
  47. ^ Official Website of the Province of Palawan: Infrastructure. Accessed September 10, 2008. Archived August 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  48. ^ a b Official Website of the Province of Palawan: Public utilities. Accessed August 28, 2008. Archived August 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  49. ^ El Nido FAQs Archived March 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed March 29, 2010.

External links[edit]