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El Nido Islands Philppines, Palawan Philippines
El Nido History
El Nido has been inhabited by humans as early 2680 BC, or even up to 22,000 years ago. This was confirmed by the 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 the Ille Cave in New Ibajay. Chinese traders had been regularly visiting the area of El Nido for its edible birds' nests during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 BC). In fact, El Nido is specifically mentioned in Chinese records as far back 1225 BC. Caho Ju-Kua, a member of the Chinese Royal Family, Trade Commissioner and Superintendent of Customs of the Port of Chuan How wrote about the island, Pa-Lao-Yu or Land of Beautiful Harbors in his book Chu Fan Chai.
The town traces its roots from a small Tagbanua village called Talindak. Some time in the 16th century, waves of migrants from Cuyo Islands came here to settle. In the 1800s, the Spaniards arrived, and they moved to the part where the present-day Población and Mabini are located. The first Spanish families were the Canovas, Vázquez, Ríos and Rey. In 1890, the Spaniards renamed it as 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.
During the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, the town was under the jurisdiction of the Municipaliy 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.
In 1954, the town was finally given 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.
Because El Nido was quite remote from most of the inhabited islands in the Philippines, its pristine beauty was hidden to the world until 1979 when a sea accident happened in Bacuit Bay. As the story goes, "a tuna line disabled a dive boat's propeller in the middle of the night forcing it to drop anchor in an inlet. The following morning, the divers woke up to an amazing scenery of skyscraping dark cliffs, thick green forest, white sandbeach, sparkling water and, rising above it, a series of magnificently sculpted jade islands."
In 1983, a dive station was established in Miniloc Island by a group of divers who were on board the diveboat M/V Via Mare. In the same year, major tourism commenced in El Nido, when the Ten Knots Development Corporation, a Filipino-Japanese joint venture company, opened a divers' resort on Miniloc Island, and an airstrip (Lio Airport) at Villa Libertad on the mainland. In 1992, the company set up a second resort on Pangulasian Island, and in 1998, the third and largest Ten Knots resort on Lagen Island. The opening of the third resort coincided with the destruction of the Pangulasian Resort by fire. During this period several other tourism establishments were developed, paving the way for tourism to become a thriving economic sector.
El Nido is a showcase of the Philippines' geological and biological diversity. In recognition of the importance of its unique ecosystem, the Philippine government made the entire area of El Nido first to a turtle sanctuary in 1984, then to a marine reserve park in 1991, and finally in 1998, to that of a managed resource protected area.