New Ibajay, El Nido |
Imposing limestone cliffs sit on a valley of rice fields on the east coast of El Nido. When the sun rises from the horizon, the limestones and rice fields glow vivid as if with a pale fire. The best spot to see this view is from the top of the cliff where Ille Cave is located. Each of the limestone cliffs houses a cave, which tunnel to each other like an underground network.
Of the five caves in this valley, only Ille is open to the public. Ancient burial sites, tiger bones, indigenous pottery, and shell-based jewelry have been excavated from here. But the most fascinating artifact is the 9,000-year-old cremation burial of a middle-aged woman. It’s later found out that this is the most intricate and oldest cremation burial in Southeast Asia. You can learn more from the museum next to the cave.
Interestingly, you can also trace the figures of Permian Era fossils embedded on the walls of Ille Cave. Clams, giant shells, and big fish, including a shark with sharp teeth, can be spotted with a good eye. There’s a campsite outside the cave where you can stay if you wish to catch the sunrise the following day. If you have more time to spare, go on a firefly watching tour through the mangrove forest in Dewil River.
Across the sea, a huge wall of limestone sits on Imorigue Island, similarly housing a cave rich in secrets. Though the cave is too steep and risky for a visit, the surrounding water is filled with incredible coral formations and various marine life, great for snorkeling. Overall, New Ibajay is a unique destination for people who can rough the roads and trails to get some unforgettable experiences!
7 Things To Do
7. Grab your binoculars and go birdwatching! New Ibajay is a secluded nesting site to migrating and endemic birds in Palawan.
6. Go on a guided boat tour through a mangrove forest and see hundreds of fireflies!
5. Head out to Imorigue Island and go snorkeling. The surrounding waters is home to healthy reefs and abundant fish!
4. Spot the clams and big fish embedded on the walls of Ille Cave. These fossils go all way back to the Permian Era.
3. Learn about Southeast Asia’s most intricate and oldest cremation burial at Ille Cave Museum. The artifact is 9,000 years old!
2. Climb the limestone cliff where Ille Cave is found and take in the views of the limestone-studded valley.
1. Camp the night away and watch the sunrise from the top of the cliff! As the sun comes up, the rice fields and limestones glow with a golden light! Unforgettable.
New Ibajay may be hard to reach, but its unique experiences are definitely worth it!
On the Map
How To Get There
The easiest way to get to New Ibajay is by motorcycle or private van, which can take some two hours. There’s a 45-minute shortcut from the Town Proper, but it’s a bumpy ride all the way. If you want to commute, a jeepney from El Nido Transport Terminal goes to New Ibajay at 11:00 am and returns to the town proper at 6:00 am the following day. Fare is P50 and travel time is around two hours.
Tours & Adventures
Hotels & Resorts
There currently are no accommodations in New Ibajay, unless you bring your own tent and set it up at the campsite next to Ille Cave Museum. Otherwise, we recommend that you book your stay in Sibaltan instead, which is just 15 minutes away by motorbike.