Emile - "If I could I would build my own island just to be there alone"
El Nido is famous for its famous island hopping tours. Luckily, a friend back home recommended us Emile, who took us on his boat and helped us get away from the crowds.
1. What is your name, where do you come from and what do you do for living?
My name is Emile and I’m originally from Bohol. I came to El Nido twenty years ago. I came like a survivor, alone, with no friends and no idea what I would do. But I was bored of Bohol, here in El Nido it's much better.
Back in Bohol I was a boat captain, when I first arrived in El Nido I started working in a big resort, and only later I got my own boat and became a tour guide and dive master. In high season I take tourists on a day tour every day for 7 days a week, in rainy season I just relax.
This boat we are on now is only 3 months old, it’s brand new!
2. What advice would you give to someone like us that just arrived here?
Just come talk to me. I can take people on day tours in my boat, I take people to all the good places around el Nido, I deliver a very good service and a delicious seafood lunch. I usually help people plan the rest of their trip in the Philippines as well.
3. What would you say is your favourite food?
Seafood, all sorts – shrimp, crab, fish, squid, etc. I eat seafood every day, I love it. And then I like mango and watermelon, banana not so much! People usually say the seafood on my boat is the best, I know how to cook it, I was a chef a long time ago, when I was at the resort, now I just like to cook for me and my friends.
4. What's your favourite place here?
Actually everywhere here in El Nido is like paradise. But I think my favourite places are Binalong Bay, Balinau Beach and the Secret Beach. I used to like the small and big lagoon but right now there are too many people, it’s not the same anymore.
5. What would be the perfect Sunday afternoon plan?
I usually work, but if I don’t I like to relax at home and just be alone. I like less people, to enjoy my own time. If I could I would build my own island just to be there alone. What I do now is I have my secret place in a small island around here and sometimes I go there and stay for 1 or 2 nights by myself. I’ve tried to bring a woman with me but so far I haven’t found my wife.
6. What makes you happy?
My job is what makes me happy. I enjoy it everyday, to see the nature, the beach, the fish swimming. The only thing missing is a girlfriend! But I’m not looking for one; it’s going to depend on the person, I need to really get to know the girl first.
7. What do you think is the biggest challenge in your town?
El Nido has improved a lot. I think the biggest problem now is that there are too many people in El Nido, too many tourists. Nowadays, you have all these defined tours. Back when I started, there were no tours. The captain would just decide which islands to go to that day and you could go to empty islands.
The problem with all the tours is that they degrade the nature slowly with all the garbage, pollution, people. It’s killing the coral, mainly because a lot of people collect shells and because the sunscreens kill the corals with all the chemicals. The snorkelling twenty years ago was much better, you would see huge fish, the garden corals were perfect. I would still work everyday but the groups were much smaller like 2, 3 maybe 4 people only.
8. What would you like to ask our next host?
I know that Coron is also becoming very popular amongst tourists so I’m curious to know, how has tourism affected your city?
Tips & Recommendations
Go Island hopping with Emile. He will take you to the best spots and run away from the crowds. Plus the lunch he cooks is delicious and you'll get the boat all for yourself. (Emile's phone number +6309206005975)
Go diving. You might see giant turtles and whale-sharks, if you're lucky! If not, you will still enjoy a great dive for sure.
Enjoy a night out in El Nido, you will always find a bar with live music by the beach.