“It’s okay if you believe in stones. I respect you. Just don’t throw them at me.” – Tourist from Israel.
Bucketlist checked! Coron in the province of Palawan, Philippines was one of my dream destination ever since. Although, I have to admit that I don’t usually gets amazed by the underwater view of corals. And I am not a fan of water activities like snorkeling and the likes. I am maybe afraid of water because of the fishes and water animals that I may encounter. Maybe I am fond of watching too much suspense movies with sharks encounter and seeing news where people die because of sea urchins and stings from jellyfishes.
But Coron is different. It made me change my view with water and sea. That it can be explored safely while enjoying the enchanting view of the underwater world. I can describe it in one word – “wow!” ( with deepest conviction, LOL). Let me share with you how I’ve spent my few days vacation in this paradise.
HOW TO GET THERE
By air, fly all the way to Busuanga International Airport which is the nearest aiport in Coron. Upon arrival, you can ride a van for 150php going to Coron proper. The van will take you directly at the doorstep of the guest house or hotel where you will stay. Travel time is about an hour.
WHERE TO STAY
I did my last minute booking when I was already in Coron. Using the website agoda, I’ve searched for low rates and discounted rooms. Being a solo backpacker, again, is more expensive than travelling in group.
I saw a dormitory type room in Seahorse Guest House/Hotel which seem to look nice and clean in photos. I tried searching for the hotel contact number in facebook and luckily I found one. I phoned the front desk and asked for the price of the exact same room I saw in Agoda and told me it’s 750php for walk in guests. So I decided to just booked it online for 543php per night. Free everyday breakfast is already included in the rate.
HOW TO TOUR AROUND
You have never been to Coron if you did not try the island hopping activities that many travel agencies offers. This is actually the main attraction of the place, sightseeing the breathtaking view of island’s rock formations and exploring the beauty of underwater corals and fishes. It is more expensive to rent a private boat and choose the island where you want to go. They have rates that depends on how many are you in the group.
I would suggest going to Coron DIY and just walk around the place. You’ll travel agencies and offices here and there offering island hopping and city tours and look for a joiner tour especially if you are solo or only in small groups.
As usual during my travels, it’s raining in Coron 😒. The weather is not good. One staff of a travel agency that I have talked to told me that when there are only few reservations on small travel and tours on a certain day, they pass the reservations to a bigger agencies like the Calamian Islands Travel and Tours. This is the most famous travel agency according to locals because they offer a good and highly satisfactory service to guests. I was able to find tour packages that has a lower rate but I opted to purchase the package of Calamian Island Travel and Tours.
Kindly see below tour packages from Calamian Islands Travel and Tours.
Coron Islands Tour (1600php) – Kayangan Lake, Siete Pecados, Beach 91 (with buffet lunch), Twin Lagoon, Malwawey Reefs, Skeleton Wreck, Cyc Beach
Island Escapade Tour (1700php) – Malcapuya Island, Banana Island, Bulog Dos
Reefs and Wreck Tour (1400php) – Pass Island, Lusong Gunboat, Lusong Coral Garden
Calauit Safari Tour (2500php) – Calauit Safari, North Cay Island, Malbato Church, Pamalican Island/Maltatayoc Island
Glittering Fireflies Night Tour (950php) – Mangrove Forest Park, Floating Restaurant for Seafood Buffet Dinner
Coron Town Tour (700php) – Town Plaza, Souvenir Shops, Mount Tapyas, Lualhati Park, San Agustin Church, Cashew Harvest Store, Maquinit Hotspring.
In my case, I just availed the Coron Islands Tour. In as much as I want to go to Malcapuya Island and avail the Island Escapade Tour, it was not permitted during my first two day stay because of the weather. It was permitted on the third day but was unable to go to the port or have a reservation the day before so I still wasn’t able to get into the island.
I would also recommend taking the Coron Town Tour DIY (do-it-yourself). All destinations for the town tour are just near each other especially if you will have your stay near the port or in my case, Seahorse Guest House. The only destinations in the town tour that are far from the center are the cashew harvest store where you can ride a tricycle for 10php per way and the Maquinit Hotspring with a rough road on the way. It will take you about 45minutes tricycle drive going to Maquinit and you have to pay an entrance fee on below image.
I met two tourists from Israel and told us stories about the battle between the Jewish people and Muslims living in the Israel. I was deeply touched just how they love and embrace the religion that they believe into. But he said something that really made an impact to me. I quote “It’s okay if you believe in stones. I respect that. Just don’t throw them at me”. I don’t really want to elaborate more but maybe you also got what he tried to point out. The world is too big. There are too many countries to mention all. People have different beliefs. But respect is something that we should never forget.
Anyway, going back to backpacking Coron, note that during rainy season, most of the island tour packages are not permitted because they are far from the town of Coron and port with the exception of Coron Islands Tour since most of the islands included in this tour like the Kayangan Lake are just near the main island of Coron.
WHERE TO EAT
Buzz Express – situated about 10minutes walking distance from Seahorse Guest House. You will surely enjoy what this restaurant has to offer. I have my newly found friends in Coron with me when we tried Buzz Express for the first time. We ordered 2 types of pizza paired with a bucket of beer. Oishi! We also spent our last night with a free smoothie from them. We have also tried their fish and chips combo and tuna with rice. It’s a must try!
KT’s Sinugba Restaurant – about 3 mimutes walk from Seahorse Guesthouse (I told you, everything is walking distance in Seahorse because it is in the center of the town.). I was truly delighted with their pork sisig recipe. Sisig originally came from my hometown Pampanga. This is maybe the reason why we have really sensitive taste buds when it comes to sisig. Their shrimp recipe also tasted great. I just forgot how they call it.
During my first night, I’ve tried Big Momma’s Restaurant just near the KT’s Sinugba. I remember the same resto that I’ve tried in Boracay.
The only comment that I usually get is almost everything in Coron is worthy. It’s just that the food is a little expensive. Well, probably they have a point. I’ve noticed that the food orders even in small restos or eatery, price ranges from 100-300php.
Sample Itinerary with expenses for backpacking Coron, Palawan:
If you have never been to Coron, you’re missing a big part of your travel life. Book your trip now and enjoy this paradise in the western part of the Philippines. I will definitely go back.
– Echo (www.byahecho.com)