El Nido (officially the Municipality of El Nido) is a first class municipality and managed resource protected area in the province of Palawan in the Philippines. It is about 420 kilometers (260 mi) southwest of Manila, and about 238 kilometers (148 mi) northeast of Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital. According to CNNGo, it is the Best Beach and Island destination in the Philippines for its "extraordinary natural splendor and ecosystem. Situated in Bacuit Bay, El Nido, covering a land area of 465.1 square kilometers (179.6 sq mi in the northernmost tip of mainland Palawan, is bordered by the Linapacan Strait in the north, the Sulu Sea in the east, and the South China Sea in the west. It is composed of 45 islands and islets, each has its own unique geological formations. The highest peak is at Cadlao Island, towering up to 640 metres (2,100 ft) above sea level.. This interplay of somber darkness and ethereal light provide the dramatic backdrop for several luxury resorts and dozens of moderately priced diver lodges on the islands. The black marble and limestone cliffs contain large caves with whimsical names like Cathedral Cave and Disco Cave because of their formation. Though they look like barren sheets of inhospitable rock, the cliffs actually spawn the swift, or balinsasayaw, which produces the delectable bird's nest for soups. And in some of the rock faces, yucca and talisay trees as well as wild flowering begonias do thrive in the crevices. The town of El Nido in itself exudes a quaint charm with well-tended homes and clean streets. Many of the islands have hidden lagoons sheltered by limestone crags. Schools of fish swarm in the coral reefs, many of which are visible to the naked eye. When in season, divers often encounter the rare sea cow, or dugong.
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. During the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, the town was under the jurisdiction of the Municipality 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. The new municipality was then known as Bacuit.
On June 17, 1954, Republic Act No. 1140 was approved changing the name of the town from Bacuit to 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.