Coron · Palawan

Coron 2016

The Philippines is undeniably one of the best places to visit in the world. We have great sceneries, great beaches; you name it, Philippines has it.

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Source: http://faq.ph/

This 2016, Leslie and I decided we visit Coron, Palawan. Palawan has been named as the ‘best island in the world‘ which enticed us more go to this place. We scheduled our visit on June 2016 to avoid the usual summer crowd.

You can choose a variety of airlines if you want to visit Coron. We’ve decided to try out SkyJet. I was able to secure a promo ticket during one of their seat sales. Yay!

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Our trip took around 40 minutes. It was a sunny day so the trip was peaceful.

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When we do vacations, Leslie and I usually go with packaged tours. This way, we won’t experience any hassle in regards to booking accommodation and activities. For our Coron trip, we chose Coron Ecolodge. We checked for reviews before we decided to go with them. The reviews were good based on what we saw on TripAdvisor. We got the 5D4N all in tour package with them.

They’ve arranged our pickup from the airport to the hotel. While at the van, I was looking outside and enjoying the scenic views. The fields were green and there were cattle. It made me realize that sometimes, we need to take a break from our work and just enjoy the countryside for once.

It took us almost an hour to reach our destination. The hotel is situated on the city proper. This would give us an easy access to establishments, the port, and their public market.

It’s almost lunch time when we arrived at our hotel. We went around their city proper to find a good place to eat. We’ve decided to eat at Big Mama’s Pinoy Hot Pot & Grill. The food was good.

After our lunch, we went back to our hotel to finish the unpacking. Our first activity was the Coron Town Tour. We chose to ride a tricycle for our first tour. Since this is Palawan, pollution is not that rampant so it would be good to breathe in fresh air.

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The first highlight of our trip was our trek to Mt. Tapyas View Deck. To reach the summit, you need to go through 721 steps. It could be tiring but the great views will make it worth it.

After some picture taking, we trekked down and went to our next destinations. We passed by St. Augustin Church and L. Escarda’s Coron Harvest. Coron Harvest is known for their cashew nuts.

Our last destination for the day was Maquinit Hot Spring. It was passed 5PM already when we reached the place. It was a great way to end our first day in Coron. The hot water was relaxing.

Our second day focused on the beautiful sites of Coron Island. We would be able to see and experience the beauty of the place on which Coron was known for. Since we didn’t choose an exclusive boat for our island hopping, we were joiners on another group’s boat.

It’s good that they were friendly during our trip. They were employed at PSG Global Solutions located in Makati and went to Coron to unwind.

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Our first destination was Kayangan Lake. This is one of Coron’s primary attraction. The lake itself is not directly accessible once you’ve reached the docking area. You need to do a 10-minute climb to reach the lake. Halfway through your hike, you can take pictures in the iconic view of Coron. Once you’ve reached the lake, you will be welcomed by crystal-clear waters and great rock formations.

Our next destination was the Twin Peaks Reef. In this area, we did some snorkeling.

It was almost lunchtime when we finished our snorkeling. It was getting hot and we were getting hungry. We were taken to Banol Beach for our lunch. Upon reaching the island, you’ll see cottages, limestone cliffs, and sandy white beach. The place is reminiscent to the white sands of Boracay and the rock formations of Caramoan.

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Source: http://www.ilink.ph/

Some of the food were prepared early by our boatmen but the grilled ones were prepared while we were having our activities. I must say, the food was very good! They prepared more than enough and the food was delicious! The best part, the seafood entree!

After enjoying our lunch, we went back to the beach to swim. We also took some pictures of this majestic place.

Our next destination was the CYC Beach. CYC stands for Coron Youth Club. From what I’ve gathered from our tour guide, youth groups of Coron use the island for their camping and other activities. We just passed by the island and took some photos.

We then proceeded to Balinsasayaw Floating House. The floating house is one of the amenities of Balinsasayaw Resort. The resort is situated on its own island. You can check them out if you want to have a private stay at Coron. Close to the floating house is a good snorkeling site. When snorkeling, be sure to be close to your group. The water current during our snorkeling session was strong.

We were supposed to go to our last destination for the day but since our boatmates are going back to Manila the day after, our guide suggested that we visit a shipwreck close to our location. I must say, the side trip was worth it. It was my first time to see a sunken ship. Corals were already growing on its facade. It was magnificent and at the same time, kind of creepy. The only visible part was the front of the ship. Our guide said that the ship was broken in half during the world war. The back side of the ship was submerged further on the deeper part of the ocean.

Our last destination for the day was the Twin Lagoon. The place is an iconic Coron destination because of its unique structure. The first lagoon is where the salt water is. This is where the docking area for the boats is located. The second lagoon is not directly accessible once you’ve reached the place. If it’s a low tide, you can pass by a hole beneath the rock formations. If the water is high, you can use the ladder. The second lagoon’s water is kind of unique. It’s a mix of hot and cold water. The hot water is coming from the sea. The cold water is freshwater. It’s relaxing to float and feel the alternating temperatures. Also, inside the lagoon was great rock formations.

The experience was a great way to end our island hopping tour. We were able to see tourist attractions and meet new people. We went back to Coron island while eating some snacks.

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After a tiring day, we had our dinner at Calle Real Bistro. The restaurant is owned by Ecolodge. The food serving was big and delicious.

It’s already our third day in Coron and it seems like Coron has still a lot to offer. This is very true for our next destinations. Our first destination for the day was Calauit Safari Park. Leslie and I joined a group from Balinsasayaw Resort. They were a family that hails from Pampanga. We picked them up at their resort on our way to the park. The trip is around 2 – 3 hours, depending on the waves, so they advised us to just take our breakfast during the boat ride. The park is a wildlife sanctuary located in Calauit Island. It’s like a piece of Africa in Palawan. We learned that the park was a project of the former President Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s. We had the chance to see exotic animals from Africa like giraffes and zebras. There were also animals that can only be found in the Philippines like the Calamian deer. The vast area covers not only a habitat for the animals but also for plants. Even though it rained, our very helpful and courteous tour guide made our trip full of activities and adventure.

We spent most of our morning on the tour so we’ve decided to eat our lunch at the park. They have benches where we can lay out the food and eat together. It was again a sumptuous meal.

After our lunch, we went to our next destination, Black Island. The name of the island was derived in the rock formations situated on the island. From afar, the black limestones give the impression that the island was black. We weren’t able to dock because it was low tide. Our guide informed us that boats who dock on a low tide tend to stay overnight while waiting for the water to rise again. Since we still have some destinations to visit, we just took some pictures of the island.

Our next destination was the Sangat Coral Garden. The corals in the area are very beautiful. The colors are bright and the structures are well intact. Truly a magnificent view!

Our next destination was supposed to be the Lusong Gunboat Wreck. But the weather became so bad that we had to abandon the plan and move forward with our trip back home. It was quite scary because we can’t see the usual islands that we passed by when we went to Calauit. It was zero visibility in some area and the waves are getting higher. On top of this, our boat also has a mechanical problem and the boat that should have rescued us didn’t arrive. We still pushed through with the trip back and thankfully we arrived safely.

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We went back to our hotel and had dinner at Calle Real Bistro. We had the usual meat dishes but we ordered dessert. The mango crepe was good and delicious!

It’s our fourth day on the island. The day after, we’ll be back to Manila and back to our reality. This didn’t stop us in enjoying the remaining days that we have left with Coron. We started our day with our complimentary breakfast.

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Our first destination was Malcapuya Island. It took us an hour to reach the place. It was sunny so we enjoyed our stay on the place. The island has white sand and cool palm trees.

We had our lunch on the island. We had the usual set of food but this arrangement was quite good that I needed to take a photo of it.

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Before we went to our next destination, we made sure that we took some of those cool hole-in-the-sand pictures that we usually see on travel pages.

Our next stop was Banana Island. The island is not named that way because of the abundance of banana. Actually, from our guide, there are no bananas growing on the island. The island was named after the shape of a banana leaf. The highlight of this tour was the giant clams. We kept ourselves afloat most of the time because we were afraid of the clams. Our guide told us stories of his past guests where their vacation became bloody. Put clams and blood together then you get the story.

Then officially, our last destination for the day. They say, “save the best for last”, and Coron did save it for us. Our last stop was Bulog Dos Island. It was a small island with white sand and rock formations. There was a sand bar that is truly beautiful. Across the island was the Two Seasons Coron Island Resort and Spa.

After spending some time with the place, we went back to the city. We would like to end our Coron adventure with a good dinner. Trattoria Altrov’é was our choice based on good reviews it got. One of the cool things that I like about the place is the no footwear policy. All guests, including the staff, are barefooted inside the restaurant. I enjoyed their carbonara and the pizza. Servings are big and good for sharing.

After a great dinner, we went back to our hotel to do some last minute packing. In the morning, we took some pictures before we went to the airport.

Truly Coron is one of a kind. This is our first time to visit Palawan and we were mesmerized by its beauty and grandeur. This is one of a kind experience that will definitely be one of our best travels!

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