What’s that weird smelling plant? How did you do the landscaping on the limestone cliffs? Where can I find that bird that’s always singing?
If you’ve found yourself asking these questions while at El Nido, I suggest you try out our Nature Walk. It’s an activity that many guests aren’t aware of. The Nature Walk is an hour-long tour with an Environmental Officer, wherein we discuss the flora and fauna of the island.
We’ll take you on a leisurely stroll across the island, and explain along the way what makes our little part of Palawan so special. You’ll get to taste, smell, and feel the plants that you didn’t know you could before. We point out which plants are valued for their healing properties and which ones are poisonous. We’re also likely to encounter some birds and terrestrials along the way.
In my experience of nature walks, kids always have tons of fun being able to have an interactive experience of their surroundings and see it in a brand new light. It’s also a great way to wind down from a day full of intense activities. Did I mention that it’s totally free and can be scheduled at your convenience?
The Nature Walk is the Environment Team’s way of spreading our knowledge and the wonders of the wildlife. It further reinforces why we do all that we do to protect it. On your next visit, I encourage you to hang out with one of our Environmental Officers during a nature walk and learn a thing or two (or twenty) during your stay. We won’t bite, I promise!
Finally, here are answers to the questions at the start: The smell is probably from the fruit of the bright red Kalumpang, or the Wild Almond Tree (Sterculia foetida). We don’t do any of the landscaping on cliffs; birds, winds, and tides deposit seeds in the rocks. The singing bird is most likely the White-vented Shama (Copsychus niger), which you can find perched on trees, or on the ground foraging for food.
Gaby Coseteng is an intern for the environment department. She is a rising sophomore at Stanford University and is still undeclared. Gaby is passionate about nature conservation and climate change, and hopes to pursue a career in a related field. She enjoys kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling, especially since El Nido is so beautiful. Gaby is also a big fan of animals, but if she had to choose just one, her spirit animal would be a fur seal because they love to lay out in the sun and eat lots of fish. She’s really happy to be back in the Philippines for the summer and to have the opportunity to learn more about the local environmental situation.