Sept. 14, 2016
When traveling with a child, 5-6 hours of land travel is a pretty intimidating thought. Unfortunately, as of this writing, unless you have money to spare for a costlier direct flight from Manila to El Nido via AirSWIFT, there is no escaping the 5-6 hour travel time from Puerto Princesa to El Nido via the much cheaper van transfer.
I was very concerned about how uncomfortable we would be, not to mention how bored Zuri was going to be, if we were to stay 5-6 hours in a crowded van. I was also not willing to take the the more spacious but 8-hour-long Puerto Princesa – El Nido bus ride. With this thought, I was very keen on finding the best available land transfer from Puerto Princesa to El Nido that would, if not totally eliminate, at least lessen our inconvenience.
I read a lot of good reviews about Daytripper, a small start-up company that provides never-before-seen luxurious transfer from Puerto Princesa to El Nido and vice versa. They offer transfer via the Executive Coach at PHP 950/head or the Executive Van at PHP 850/head. I really, really wanted to book Daytripper but they only provide a limited number of trips and their trip schedule did not jive with our flight schedule. 🙁
With several bad reviews on the net about the different van transfer companies in Palawan, we opted to not book in advance and just see which vans are available when we get to Puerto Princesa Airport. We figured, this way, we would be able to see the van first and choose our seats before paying. Anyway, based on my readings online, vans to El Nido are readily available at the Puerto Princesa Airport during the day.
We arrived at the Puerto Princesa Airport at around 12:00 noon. While Rupert was retrieving our luggage, Zuri and I looked for a van to El Nido. I exited from the Arrivals area of the airport. Right after exiting, on the left side, I saw two travel agencies. The first one I inquired from had no available van at the time. The second travel agency I inquired from was El Mundo Travel and Tours.
I asked the El Mundo staff if they have an available van that’s already about to leave because I did not want to wait too long. I also asked for the row right behind the driver’s seat. I was very particular about getting this row because this is the most spacious part of the van. The staff called someone on her cellphone to relay my questions. I figured that the van she was offering was not theirs and that it would be coming from a partner van transfer company. I asked the El Mundo staff what company would be providing the van. She told me it was Eulen Joy Express.
I’ve read about Eulen Joy, and though some of their customers have expressed their disappointments online, I did not come across any horrifying reviews. So I pressed on. I paid PHP 500/seat for three seats.
And then I realized I was not sure whether the row behind the driver sits 3 or 4 people. I asked the El Mundo staff about this. She called Eulen Joy again. Apparently, each row sits four. The van actuaIly has three seats only on the row right behind the driver but they add a makeshift seat beside the third seat to make four seats. I offered to pay for the fourth seat so no one else would sit beside us and to give us as much space as possible. All in all, I paid PHP 2,000 to get the row right behind the driver exclusively to ourselves.
Our Experience With Eulen Joy Van Express
Because it was just me, my husband Rupert and our 5-year-old daughter Zuri occupying the whole row with four seats right behind the driver’s seat, we had a very comfortable ride. Zuri was able to lie down and sleep most of the way. She did not get a chance to get bored (because she was asleep) and she was also able to replenish her energy.
There was no problem with the air-conditioning. We were seated right in front of the control panels so we were able to adjust the air-conditioning to our liking.
Travel Time and Stop Overs
I inquired from El Mundo Travel and Tours about the van transfer at around 12:00 noon. By 12:20 pm, the van left with 9 passengers on board.
The van stopped at a gasoline station to refuel. Then it also stopped somewhere to pick up two more passengers. However, the two additional passengers were not at the meeting point yet when we arrived. We waited for 30 minutes till the two passengers arrived.
By 3:00 pm, we reached our late-lunch stop over: an over-looking restaurant in Roxas. We were given 20 minutes to eat and use the restroom. The restaurant had a great view of the mountains! It was actually a nice, big carinderia where people order food turo-turo style. We had inihaw na liempo (grilled pork), 3 sticks of pork barbecue, sisig, lato (seaweeds), 3 cups of rice, 1 banana, a bottle of Minute-maid and a bottle of water for a total of PHP 310.
By 6:00 pm, we arrived at the Eulen Joy Terminal at El Nido Town. There were many tricycles right in front of the terminal. We took a tricycle to Ipil Suites. The tricycle ride took about five minutes. We paid the tricycle driver PHP 50.
Aside from our carry-on bags, we brought a 22 inches x 13 inches x 9 inches luggage and it fit perfectly at the back of the van.
I watched the driver and the speedometer closely during the ride. I read some concerns online about van drivers driving too fast. Our driver, Kuya Rene, drove between 60-80 kph on bends and 80-100 kph on straight roads. There was a point during our trip when it rained a little and Kuya Rene slowed down to be safe.
El Nido To Puerto Princesa Van Transfer
For our trip from El Nido back to Puerto Princesa, we contacted Eulen Joy directly. We asked for the seats right behind the driver again. At first, the Eulen Joy staff said the trip costs PHP600/seat. We informed the staff that we got the seats at PHP 500 each when we travelled from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, so the staff agreed to give us the same rate.
We left El Nido at 10:30 in the morning. Just like before, the driver would stop every now and then to pick up more passengers on the road. At around 1:30 pm, we stopped for lunch at a big and clean eatery with a nice view. We ordered chicken barbecue, adobong pusit (squid), lato (seaweed) and beef steak. By 4:30 pm, we arrived safely at the Puerto Princesa Airport.
Eulen Joy Contact Numbers from their website:
For trip schedule and other information, visit the Eulen Joy website: www.eulenjoyexpress.com
Thanks for reading! 🙂
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