El Nido, Palawan: Paradise Momentarily Disturbed

On our second day in El Nido, Palawan something happened that got me thinking whether I should write it here or not. I realized that I need to take the bad ones along the good ones, knowing the ripe fruits far outweighs the rotten ones. This is one of those events you hope will never happen again, a short burst of terror that disrupted paradise. Momentarily.

Jason Bourne in El Nido

Me and my friend Pam has just finished our "Tour A" island hopping together with the new friends we met the night before. On our way back to El Nido Plaza Inn, I stopped by a store to buy a pair of slippers. It was then that we heard a loud thud. We shrugged it as lightning striking the top of towering limestone cliff covering this scenic town. Unknown to us that time, it was in fact an explosion that happened in front of Entaula Resort, which is located just across the place we're staying.

When we realized it was something serious, we walked slowly towards our place and started seeing people pointing at a particular spot. We then saw a few people running towards us and away from the site of the explosion. A little panic took over the place and soon a tricycle passed by with a bloodied passenger (who later turns out to be a staff at Entaula resort). She was hit by fragments caused by the bomb while she was throwing trash at the garbage bin where the explosive device was planted.

It was a scary scene that momentarily disrupted the peaceful and paradise setting of El Nido. As we walked further, we saw a Western couple consoling each other with the man assuring his girlfriend that it was an isolated incident. It was indeed one, which unfortunately further reminded us that things beyond our control can happen everywhere, even in a place like El Nido.

While we were about a hundred and plus meters away from where it happened, we learned that my friend Josiah was near the site of the explosion when it occurred. Before our "Tour A" concluded a few minutes earlier, I remember texting Josiah to meet us at El Nido Plaza Inn. When the explosion happened, he was on his way to meet us. Fortunately, no other persons were hurt aside from the lone injured woman (who turns out alright after), from the blast.

Ria Jose

It was my first time to witness such a terrible event and we were worried about its implications, whether it would escalate or not and the overall perception about the place. We later realized that everyone who were in El Nido that day knows better, as they understand it as something that could happen everywhere and does not mirror the real "peace and order" situation in Palawan. Aside from the infamous "Dos Palmas" incident few years ago, Palawan has been very peaceful. As one of our next door neighbors at the inn would say afterwards "I'm from Israel this is nothing".

It may be a 'politically incorrect' way of assessing things, but it is still a reliable measurement of how bad things sometimes happens in every part of the world. This time though, El Nido wasn't spared. Whatever disruptions it did to the peace of the place, it quickly dissolved by the time we went out of our place to have dinner. Although tourists and locals talked about the incident, nobody felt scared. 

As Pam, myself and Josiah were walking back to our inn, we were kidding each other that we should walk on the center of the road to avoid parked motorcycles and trash bins. Although we were joking, deep inside we felt sick about what happened. Before I slept that night, I recited a brief prayer asking the heavens for peace to reign over the town of El Nido.

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