Our El Nido home for the better part of three weeks, Telesfora Beach Cottages on Corong Corong Beach was our favorite accommodations in the Philippines. Telesfora has great location, facilities, and staff, but most of all there’s a warm friendly family atmosphere that made us feel welcome right from the start.
Telesfora is directly on Corong Corong Beach just south of El Nido proper and was the perfect location for us. First, the views are jaw dropping. Karst cliffs abound, and the sunsets here are the best we’ve seen on our trip so far (yes, better than Boracay).
The sand slopes out very slowly so it’s great for kids, though not the best if you mainly want to swim. You can certainly swim, but you will have to walk out a ways (watch for sea urchins). The water is smooth and calm.
Our twins spent hours running across the Corong Corong sand flats at low tide, searching for critters and floating leaf “boats” across the “rivers” formed by the tide. There were also lots of other kids playing on the beach, making it easy for Aurora and Jasper to make friends.
There are several other resorts along Corong Corong Beach, which we liked because it gave us some options for food. We’ll write more about where to eat on Corong Corong and in El Nido in a future post but some of our favorites on Corong Corong were La Plage and the kitchen at Telesfora itself.
Telesfora is about a 2-3 minute walk from the main road where you can find many sari sari stores for snacks and drinks (and one larger convenience store about 5-10 minutes walk away), as well as pick up motor trikes to bring you to El Nido proper or other area attractions. It’s a short trike ride to El Nido proper, and we went back and forth several times for meals and other errands in town. It usually cost us 50 pesos ($1) to go each way between Telesfora and El Nido proper by trike.
Telesfora also has a van that they occasionally drive between Puerto Princesa and their resort. Definitely inquire about it if you are planning a visit. While the timing of their trips north and south didn’t work out for us, we saw the van and it’s clean and looks comfortable. We had some rough experiences with other van operators in the Philippines so we would have loved to get transport operated directly by our resort, especially now that we know how great the staff is at Telesfora.
Compared to the beach in El Nido proper we much preferred Corong Corong. The El Nido beach had trash strewn about as well as much rougher surf while we were in town. There was a lot of boat traffic in and out of the beach in El Nido.
Telesfora’s accommodations consist of two stand alone bungalows facing the ocean as well as two larger buildings with several rooms each that are behind the bungalows. All of the rooms have small outdoor seating areas with table and chairs. You can still get ocean views peeking through from some of the outdoor areas in the back.
The newer of the two buildings at Telesfra is filled with large family rooms that can accommodate up to five on two double beds and a twin bunk. We stayed in one of these rooms for about half of our visit and it was very nice. We loved having some room to spread out, and to date (we’re now 4 months in) it’s the only place that Kat and I haven’t had to share a bed with toddlers!
The other benefit (for us) of the family rooms is they attract families. We enjoyed having other families around so the kids could have playmates, we could share stories with other parents, and we just generally find families respectful guests to share a place with.
There’s a cafe area where breakfast is served in the mornings. There’s also free coffee and tea all day and a bar where you can order up cold beers and cocktails.
While Telesfora doesn’t have a restaurant exactly, there is a kitchen and the staff can cook for you. This is huge! It’s not advertised and we only found out about this halfway through our stay and then took advantage of the service about 4 more times.
We learned because we saw several other families eating dinner in the “breakfast” area night after night, so we asked where they got all the food. You just let the Telesfora staff know in the morning what you would like for dinner (you can choose your meat, veggie, style of preparation, etc.) and they go to the market, buy the ingredients, and have it all prepared at the time you request. Home cooking while traveling!
We enjoyed piles of spectacular green-tipped mussels, classic chicken adobo, and fresh fish and crabs. On our last night they made us a huge feast of seafood plus vegetables, rice, and fruit. It was one of our best meals in the Philippines.
The cost can vary a little depending on what you order but it was typically about 500 pesos ($11) for all four of us. This is a bargain. You can also buy food yourself and they will prepare it, though we found the total cost higher this way because we definitely overpaid at the market.
Another unique perk at Telesfora is the free kayaks. Most places on Corong Corong or in El Nido charge you for use of their kayaks (about 500 pesos for the day).
Telesfora has a few kayaks that they allow guests to use free of charge as much as you like. They supply you with paddles and life jackets too. When we were there we kayaked just about every good weather day that we didn’t do island hopping tours. Occasionally one of the boats would be broken, but if we asked they would fix it quickly so we could use it again.
Like most El Nido resorts, Telesfora can help you arrange tours and other activities. The main activity is El Nido island hopping tours and Telesfora actually operates several boats of their own to provide tours. We liked taking the tours directly from Telesfora because they left right from the beach at the resort, the staff was super friendly, and we felt like the tours were relaxed and slow paced.
While we were at Telesfora they usually ran one or two tours every day unless prevented by the weather. The specific tour was determined by which one guests wanted but it was typically Tour A or Tour B. If you would like to go on a different tour than they are offering during your stay they will set you up with one of their partners who is running that tour, and provide transportation to wherever it leaves from if necessary (it may simply be further down Corong Corong beach or perhaps in El Nido town).
The staff at Telesfora is amazing. It’s a family business and we were treated like members of the family. Everyone took great interest in the kids and making sure they were happy and having fun. Aurora and Jasper loved running down to the front desk every morning to deliver our breakfast order and Mau and Joan, the front desk staff, were great sports in trying to decipher the message.
The owner, Chat, checked in on us frequently to make sure our stay was going well and made sure we had what we needed. She advocated strongly for us to get the front seat like we reserved for our ride back to Puerto Princesa when the typically overbooked van company tried to move us to the back.
The staff at Telesfora is a huge strength and a big part of the reason we enjoyed our stay so much. We were at Telesfora during the Christmas and New Years holidays, and it was great having a place that felt like home with welcoming people during that time.
The staff at Telesfora keep the place meticulously maintained. The rooms are really clean with good linens. The gardens are well kept and we frequently saw folks pruning, watering, painting, sweeping, raking, fixing boats, etc.
We paid 1,500 pesos a night ($33) for a standard triple room including breakfast right around the Christmas and New Years holidays. We booked ahead via email (check their Facebook page for contact info; they’re also on Agoda) and our rate was based on our relatively long stay. Telesfora upgraded us at no charge to the larger and newer family room about halfway through our stay.
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