Coron , Palawan : A taste of paradise


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Asia » Philippines
April 10th 2009
Published: April 10th 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

CORON is a small town located at the northern tip of PALAWAN. It serves as a gateway to the Calamianes Group of Islands where one could find well-preserved islands and islets with white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, rich marine life, and limestone cliffs.

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How to Get there from Manila:

By Air:
Travel time : approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

Airlines : Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, South East Asian Airlines (seair), Zestair

These airlines have daily flights from Manila - Coron - Manila. They depart Manila and land at the Busuanga Airport. It is recommended to book at least 10 days before departure, as the planes have a limited seating capacity. All arrivals and departure flights are scheduled in the morning.


By Water:

Travel time: approximately 12 hours each way.
Departure area: Coron town Pier

Ferries:

• WG&A Super ferry - sails from Pier 15 of the Manila South Harbor (behind Manila Hotel) to Coron, Busuanga on Friday nights and returns on Monday mornings.

• Negros Navigation - sails from Manila North Harbor every Thursday afternoon and returns every Sunday morning.


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Coron is really a magnificent place. I am glad that my first trip this year was the place where I wanted to visit since I was a kid, Palawan!

In this trip, we chose to travel by air because we luckily got a reasonably cheap econolight airfare from Philippine airlines. We got a 2-way ticket for only p1,592/person! We booked for a 3-day tour but after the tour, we realized that 3 days is not enough for a Coron trip. We arrived at Coron town at lunch time that made our first day a half day tour, 2nd day was a whole day tour and our 3rd day was our departure that led us to just a 1 ½ day tour.

I therefore suggest that a minimum of 4 days should be provided if one should choose to go there by air for a more satirsfying vacation.

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First Day: Arrival, Airport transfer, and A Brilliant Place to stay in Coron!

AIRPORT TRANSFER:

Upon our arrival at Busuanga airport, we needed a ride to Coron town. Airport transfer was not much a problem because as soon as we got out of the airport, van drivers immediately offered us a ride. Our trip from Busuanga airport to Coron town took 45minutes for p150/person.

We luckily got a good driver named Roland Lim. We took the chance to further enhance what we know about Coron by asking him some questions like if he knows a cheap but clean restaurant to eat, how much would be the cost for a boat rental and the places that we must check. We also made an arrangement with him for our airport transfer back to the airport on our last day.








Where to stay

There are many places to stay in Coron. Choosing would not only depend on your budget but to your preference as well.

Before the trip, looking for a place for us to stay was not difficult but choosing a place where we’ll be staying was quite a challenge. Thank God, surfing the net and reading blogs was a great help.


*Seadive resort was one of our options since it is near Coron Public market, they do have air conditioned rooms and restaurant. They say that is the most famous resort in town for they do offer scuba diving.
website: http://www.seadiveresort.com/home.html

*Coron Village lodge was suggested by a foreign friend. They offer tour packages that include airport transfer, room accommodations, meals and snacks, boat, entrance fees during island hops and guides. They also offer free flowing coffee. website: http:/coronvillagelodge.com/

*Crystal Lodge also came to our minds while searching the net. The lodge is a series of huts on stilts located along the seashore. It is not air conditioned but the place is breezy all the time. Because of its location, mangroves also grow in the area and the magnificent view of the ocean and the nearby islands is free.
website: http://www.divecal.com/CrystalFS.htm


Almost all lodges in Coron do have tour packages and if you would not want to avail those packages, they are willing to assist you in looking for a boat for your island hopping.

Aside from the lodges in Coron town, you might also want to check out some of the islands. Yes, there are islands in Coron where you could stay overnight. That became our target when Lester suggested Banana Island as the group’s possible home for the 1st night.

After days of blog reading and I, bombarding Kuya Henny and ate Violeta Gallego (the owners of the island) about what to expect and how to get there, and since they are very cooperative with our plans, we decided give Banana island a try for our. They also offered their residential home in Coron town for our 2nd night for a very reasonable price that solved our problem with accommodations.


Where we stayed: 1st night at Banana Island


To get to Banana Island, one must travel around 2 hours via

boat. The travel from Coron town to the island would seem long but it is worth it!! Banana Island could give Boracay a run for its money. The island is rustic that would surely give the visitors a simple but genuine taste of relaxation. The powdery white sand and small coral reefs around the island are almost pristine that you would wish the island was yours.

BOAT RENTAL
Boat rentals could be pre-arranged or you might want to check out the stores or travel agencies in town proper that offer boat tours when you’re already there. Lodges along town also offer package tours (all in, just like Coron Lodge or just arrange an island tour for you).

In our case, when we contacted the owners of Banana island. They offered us their boat that could occupy 9 of us. The boat that we rented for 2 days cost p4500 + 3 galons of gasoline for our Coron loop island hopping for the 2nd day (p150/galon).


We tried to ask some stores that offer island hopping while waiting for our boat to arrive and it came out that our boat rental was cheaper by p500-p700. Their reason of a high price is that Banana Island is far from town and the bangkeros would need to sleep as well in the island.

ROOMS
Currently, they have 2 Cabanas, 1 Nipa Hut with 2 rooms, a small sari-sari store, a dining hut and a 2-story hut where you could stay for a breezier place and picturesque view. The rooms are equipped with twin size foams and each rooms have bathrooms.







Banana Island accommodation

-Day tour entrance fee: p200/person

Overnight stay (including entrance fee)
-Non-peak season P600-800/person (depending on the number of occupants)
-Peak season P1000/person

FOOD

When we were still communicating with the island owners before our trip, they offered to prepare meals for us for P100/meal/person while we are in the island and packed lunch for our island hopping so that we'll not worry about it anymore (not bad at all). As budget travelers, we asked them if we could buy food at Coron Public market beofre going to the island and just ask them to cook those food for us. They pleasantly agreed with our idea and we just paid P100-P150/meal for the food preparation.

Speaking of Coron public market,sea foods are always available in their market but when there's a bad weather or when it is full moon, the tendency is that few fishes could be caught and sold in the market. When the waves are high, the fishermen could be late for the delivery of sea foods in the afternoon just like what had happened to us during our trip. We went there at around 1pm and there are almost no fish to sell but after 30 minutes, 2 boats came to deliver sea foods. We bought squids, crabs and a whole tuna weighing 3 kilos! The tuna costs p80/kilo! Great deal right!?!

The best time in buying sea foods is in the morning for more sea foods are delivered at the market.

Buying pork would not be a problem as well for they are available all day same as the vegetable stalls. Vegies are not that scarce in Coron public market. Vegies, for lets say Pakbet (tomatoes, eggplant, okra etc.) and even for chop suey (chayote, cauliflower, beans, etc.) are available.

Availability of WATER

Water is also available but prior booking is needed for they still need to fetch fresh water from another place and for them to prepare the island for you. Each bathroom in the island has 2 faucets; one for flowing salt water and one for the fresh water.

Electricity: The island do have electricity current coming from their generator and solar panels. The electricity is only turned on in the evening and could be available during daytime upon request.

Other amenities include a kayak that could be rented for p150/hour but they could give it for just a hundred box/hour depending on its availability. They do also have a videoke machine but I am not that sure if the
low tide at banana island palawanlow tide at banana island palawanlow tide at banana island palawan

corals near the seashore could be seen during low tides in this rustic island.
songs are updated. Due to lack of time we were not able to try those. We were

not even able to explore the place that much and the nearby islands. (Sigh..we really should have planned a 4-day trip hehe) If you could not live without a television, they could provide one for you and it is equipped with dream cable. There are about 3-4 hammocks in the island. You could see one under the 2 storey kubo and the others in between the coconut trees.

You could also be accompanied by two official resident dogs of the island: Whitie and Blackie! They’re really cool and pleasant. They would run with you while you jog along the shoreline and could even play with you!



Pangagawil (Fishing using 8 pcs of Hook and Line)

Manang Violeta told us that she loves fishing. She said that one could accompany her using her small bangka and she could teach in how to use the 8 pcs kawil and nylon (8pcs hook and line). She's a self confessed mangangawil addict. Someday I would want to learn pangangawil and catch a big yummy fish for a satisfying meal!

*There are also islands near Banana island that could be visited like Malcapuya island. Visiting those islands and also Culion island (an hour ride from he island) could also be considered as an addition to one’s Itinerary.





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Second Day: Good Morning Sunshine at

Banana island , Coron Loop Island Hopping, and Relaxed in a Saltwater Hot Spring


We woke up at around 0530 to jog and wait for the sunrise. As soon as t

he sunrise melted darkness, we where overjoyed to see corals in the seashore (it was low-tide) and was even surprised to see 2 clownfish (nemo and merlin!?!?) swimming in the shallow water. We took some picture and had our breakfast. We packed our things and got ready to say goodbye to Banana Island. At around 0930, we left Banana island for a whole day of Island Hopping at Coron Loop!


Coron Loop consists of lakes and lagoons buffeted by towering limestone formations. The places here are perfect for snorkeling. From Banana island, travel through boat would take 1 hour and 30minutes but when you are in Coron town, it would take around 20-30 minutes.

These places compose Coron Loop:

*Banul Beach The place was so beautiful! It was where we ate our lunchBanul beach is a small strip of fine white sand sitting at the foot of towering limestone cliff. The palce was very picturesque with its flower trees and small cottages. entrance fee: P100

*Kayangan lake said to be the Philippines’ cleanest and clearest lake,this freshwater lagoon is amidst sheer limestone cliffs. A perfect scenery can be seen after a walk up a mountain trail. entrance fee: p200

*Twin Lagoon The twin lagoon nestled in a cathedral of huge limestone formation. To swim to the place, you need to pass through a narrow opening on the side of the mountain. Water can be both clear and slightly brackish depending on the temperatiure. The place is charming!

*Barracuda Lake We haven’t been here but they sat that you have to do a short climb up and down the treacherous and sharp lime stone rock to access the lake. entrance fee: P75

*CYC Beach (Coron Youth Club Beach) We were not able to check this place due to lack of time but according to what I have read in the internet, it has white sand and shallow waters that is ideal for swimming, There are no corals in this beach since its bottom is pure white sand.

*Beach 69 We were not able to check the place but they say that it is a nice place but not as good as Banul beach. The beach is free if you come from Kayangan lake. The place seems to be unmaintained.

*Siete Pecaods The place was named after seven islets that surround this abundant coral reef. Snorkeling in the area would make you feel that you are really in a different world! Different corals and colorful fishes where everywhere! It was our last island hopping destination and I am glad that even the last one did not also disappoint me. entrance fee: P100



Dive Sites:
There are many dive sites in Coron. Seadive resort offers diving gear rentals and tours for this. There are many wrecks from World War 2 litter the sea of Coron like Akitsushima, Irako,Morazon maru, Olympia maru, Kogyo Maru, and several more); depths range from 9m to 45 m. The Cathedral Cave is also a dive spot-- steep drop off to 30m, cave on 7m; about 20m long tunnel with large underwater cave.

Other places to Visit:


Calauit Island
a 3,700-hectare wild life sanctuary that is home to both endemic animals and african wildlife.

Culion Island
was once known as "The island of the living dead" or "Leprosy Village" for
history tells that in the early 1900's it was enforced for all lepers in the coutry to be exiled in the place for them to be treated and cured. Travel time through boat from Coron town would take an hour. Travel from Banana island to Culion would also take an hour.


Where we stayed: 2nd Night at Ate Violeta's residence at Coron Town

To get there, a 5-minute ride via tricycle is needed if you’re at the Coron Public Market. Located near Coron Pier, their 2 storey house has a veranda overlooking the pier and part of Coron loop. They let us occupy the 2nd floor and gave us the biggest room. We found out that it’s the room of Manang Violeta and Manong Henner. The room has a bathroom and is air conditioned. The upper floor has two more rooms that could be occupied for a cheaper rate for the reason that they are fan rooms.

We just fixed our things, wash a bit, had a delicious buger and went to our last destination for the day, Maquinit Hot Springs.

To get to Maquinit Hot Springs, we rented a tricycle for p300 (roundtrip and this includes the 1-2 hour waiting time for the driver). The trip tppk 15-20mins through a rough road. The place is different from the usual hot springs that I have been to because it produces 40 degree Celsius salt water instead of hot freshwater.

After soaking in a hot saltwater spring, we ate our dinner (we asked one of the sons of Manang Violeta to prepare food for us) and prepared our things for our early check out the next day. Do you still remember Manong Roland Lim, the driver for our airport transfer? He texted us confirming our scheduled fetch and we told him about our last itinerary, Mount Tapyas.

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Third and Last Day: A Climb At Mount Tapyas

Mt. Tapyas

We planned to climb Mt. Tapyas as early as 0530. Manong Rolando Lim volunteered to fetch us at around 0500 for tricycles might not be available at that time. One must climb 723 steps (based on our counting) to reach the top of Mt. Tapyas. As we reached the summit, a 50 foot metal cross and breath taking view of Coron town, Coron island and Calamianes group of islands awaits you. The best time to climb Mt. Tapyas is either during sunset or sunrise.

After the assault at Mt. Tapyas, we went back to town to eat breakfast and bought pasalubongs and souvenirs. Since it was early morning, some of us got the chance to buy fresh fish at their public market. At around 0800 off we go to Busuanga airport with great memories of Coron.

Now, all of us wants to come back to Coron not only because we would want to check the other places that we haven’t had the chance to go but because we already consider Coron Palawan as one of our homes. It is the place where I can really say that I have tasted paradise even for 1 ½ day! :


Banana island accomodations:
Shella Gallego (currently managing the island and the owner's daughter) 09064668582

Teogebes "Hener" Gallego 0919 666 7258

Violeta Gallego 0921 474 1602

Bangkero (just incase banana island's boat is not available)
Mike 09302495171

Airport Transfer:

Roland Lim 0907 306 1844









































Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 24


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14th April 2009

good review. I hope I could visit the place someday!
30th May 2009

nice article
hi. i can't see the pictures posted here. how can i see them? your site is big help since we're planning to stay at banana island this june. i already contacted violeta but she's giving me package rate for the whole tour. do you know any boatman that we can rent for island hopping? thanks.
1st June 2009

VERY HELPFUL
I find your blog very HELPFUL... my husband and i went to coron this year and we enjoyed it a lot we stayed in Village lodge and had them fix everything for us.. as in everything... and now our barkada bought plane tickets to Coron this july and we have been looking for a helpful blog..... we might copy your itinerary... THANKS BIG TIME
19th June 2009

thank you
Hi everyone. Im so sorry I was not able to check my blog that often but you could check some of our pics at mong1.multiply.com (my multiply account). I do apologize as well for due to lack of time when we went there, we were not able to really check out the town proper and was not able to get contacts of boatmen and other travel and tour establishments in coron. I hope you guys could help out once you've been there hehe..It would be a big help to those who are planning check out coron.
30th November 2009

do check as well (same blog)http://richardsumait.blogspot.com/2009_03_01_archive.html

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