everythINg 0n an Island
Favorite thing: Sangat! they're on low peak these days I guess. They have this Lambingan Villa that can fit 10 people because it is reaaaaaaaaaaaally spacious PLus it has its own private beach... check their site : sangat.com.ph
Fondest memory: I will always dream of Kayangan Lake aka Infinity pool and SAngat Island..!
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Water Sports
Favorite thing: There are seven beautiful and enchanting lakes sorrounded by craggy limestone cliffs. One of them is Barracuda Lake. Once upon a time there were barracudas trapped in this freshwater, hence the name.
Diving BArracuda Lake is an experience out of the ordinary. Our divemaster called our dive there Sci-fi dive. There you will experiece thermocline and helicline. Colors change fast from black to blue to green. And if you want instant manicure, the cleaner shrimps found there would be happy to give you one, for free!
- Family Travel
- Diving and Snorkeling
Money Changing/ ATM
Favorite thing: For Foreigners traveling to Coron, be sure you already change your foreign Currency into pesos. It is because I talked to a French guy and an Argentinian couple I shared a boat with on an Island hopping activity that the exchange rate is better in Manila or from the airport because you will lose about 15% when you convert your Currency. But if it happened that you forgot to change your currency, I saw a money changing station beside a dive shop at Bangkwang area along the national highway a few meters walk from Coron Bistro and I read that Swagman Travel office and a pawnshop are converting foreign currency to pesos and also some resort are also doing this but limited only to US Dollar. You need a local currency because most of the resort and restaurants etc. can only accept cash.
Other option is to withdraw some cash from ATMs or Cashpoints in Coron but remember that a fee will be deducted for every transaction you will make especially to those who are holding foreign cards. The limit on each withdrawal and the allowable money to be withdrawn per day can also be a problem.
There are 3 banks in Coron with cashpoints. The Landbank is the farthest in Coron proper located along the national highway going to Maquinit Hotspring after Coron Village lodge. The Bank of the Philippine Islands (Oldest bank in the Philippines) is strategically located at the heart of the town along the National highway before the St. Augustine Church and the last one is Allied bank situated at the end of Burgos Street.
Favorite thing: A chain of mountain ranges cut down the length of Palawan. The highest peak rises to 2,000m at Mount Matalingahan (not in the picture), creating the perfect backdrop to the crystal clear waters.
When entering the Busuanga & Coron area, the view is fantastic! So much mountains left and right. Even the way from one divesite to another will never be long and boring because you will be seeing these mountains and cliffstones.
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Sailing and Boating
Walking is good for the heart... and the eyes.
Favorite thing: Whenever able, walk from one point to another instead of riding a motorized vehicle. You'll have a better feel of the place and you'll get to enjoy the slow pace of life around you. There are also lots of interesting stuff to see -- local people, different types of houses, churches, sari-sari stores, souvenir shops, etc. Plus, you'll probably need the exercise after all the eating you're bound to do.
Fondest memory: =)
Favorite thing: If you are too lazy to do some research from the internet, you can visit the Coron Tourism office located near the Public Market. There is a newly constructed fountain before the office. You can ask information about the place and what are the attractions you need to see, They will also give some suggestions which are very helpful.
Join a group in Island Hopping
Favorite thing: For those who are traveling in small groups or alone like me. You can join other small group and share for the boat rental. This way, you can save money for another round of island hopping tour. You can coordinate with the receptionist of the resort or lodge where you are staying or look for one by yourself.
The following are the set of attractions you can have in a particular tour and the corresponding fees.
Coron Island Tour
Boat – 1500 pesos
1.Siete Picados – 100
2. kayangan lake – 200
3. Barracuda Lake – 100
4. Twin Lagoon – 100
5. Banol Beach – 100
6. Atuayan Beach – 100
7. Skeleton Ship Wreck – 100
8. CYC Beach
9. Beach 91.
Malcapuya Loop Tour
Boat – 30
1.Malcapuya Island – 100
2.Banana Island/ Bulog Uno – 200
3.Chiron Island (not included usually but you can talk with your captain)
4.Malaroyroy – free
5.Bulog Dos – 200
Coral Garden tour
Boat – 3000
1.Coral garden – 150
2.Lusong Shipwreck – 100
3. Kalumbuyan (optional)
4. Black island(optional)
Culion Island tour
Boat – 2,500
Additional 1,000 pesos if you want to go to Ditaytayan island. It is a 1 hour travel from Culion Island.
Calauit Island – This is the right place for animal lovers but it is expensive if you are coming from Coron Town. The boatman said the Boat rental is 7, 500 but you will able to see more island and attractions along the way like Lusong shipwreck, Kalumbuyan island, Black island etc. If you are on a tight budget, he suggested rent a van and travel to north of Busuanga Island, the area where the airport is located and from there charter a boat to Calauit Island. You won’t spend 7500.
You can Contact Jong at +639084499523
Bring enough cash
Favorite thing: Though a few establishments are already accepting credit cards, it is still wiser to bring enough cash. The Land Bank of the Philippines is the only bank in the town of Coron. It has one ATM terminal.
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Budget Travel
Going to Coron
Favorite thing: Our Coron Trip was planned October last year and because of Ondoy, it was cancelled couple of times. But that didn’t stop us from pushing through our plans. February, this year, we finally made it!! And it was worth the wait.
Initially, I’m a bit scared of going, since it’s the year of election etc. nevertheless, we still went for it. J
At our arrival to Busuanga airport, a lot of vans will offer rides on going to Coron, it will cost you 150 each for about 30mins drive. You can text Kuya Pogi, he drives a van, (I just met him at Busuanga airport), and he can assist you in finding a good place to stay in Coron. He also gave his number in case you want to ask for Coron-Busuanga transfers, 09286391014
We didn’t have reservations on hotel, by the way, our only contact when were in Manila was Kuya Jong, (number: 09084499523) a local resident (he is a Barangay councilor – I’m not sure of the exact English translation, but he is a local officer), and he owns a boat!! He will help you with all you need. Aside from being a councilor, boatman, he also was our tour guide (he knows all the stories about coron), and the best cook ever!!! I miss the crab and sugpo that he used to cook for us..And of course, I will not forget about the pork inihaw (they don’t have liempo normally) but he is the best!!
Sugpo – Cooked in Sprite
Crab - Cooked in Sprite
Squid - Inihaw and Calamares (this is one of the best!)
Pork - Inihaw
Chicken - Inihaw
Fish - (tilapia and a traditional fish that they normally grill)
Ensalada -Eggplant and itlog na pula with onions, tomatoes, etc.
I texted him and asked his opinion about our trip, where to stay, etc. he will provide you with the info you need.
So by the time we arrived in Coron, we searched where to stay, we found Coron Village lodge, it was very comfy and a bit pricey. What I can suggest, is to have a fan room instead (if you are not that picky), seadive offers a fan room, as far as I remembered, it costs 800 per night. In Coron Village Lodge, it cost us about 1200 per night, since we took a triple sharing room.
During our first day, we arrived and checked in at Coron Village Lodge around 1pm, we eat there (food was ok!), took a nap. Around 4pm in the afternoon, we decided to go for a walk in the town, we met Kuya Jong and he suggested an itinerary based on the duration of our stay, he is kind enough to adjust on your schedule, and some of the bangkeros/tourist guide that we contacted was changing our itinerary. But he’s different, what I told him was where we want to go and what time/date we should be back to Coron for our trip back to Manila. He can suggest places to go and beaches to stay. We went to the market to buy our food for the coming days, since we plan to have a double overnight!!!! Yeah! J After the market, we went uphill to Mt. Tapyas, (kuya Jong didn’t joined since he can’t make it on top!) the climb was hard but when you reach the top, it was worth it, you can see the view of the island. And the splendid Cross, during sunset. Great view. After a very tiring climb, Kuya Jong was very nice to ask us, if he can pick us up after our way down, he will make sure that you are okay and fine. We decided to meet him in Village Lodge since its nearby Mt. Tapyas. He told us its best to go to Maquinit Hot spring during the night after the climb, and its true, our muscles are aching and Maquinit Hot Spring will provide relaxing muscle rest. (Kuya Jong will look for a tricycle driver that will wait for you until you’re done) It closes at 10pm by the way.
It was late when we arrived at our hotel and we are looking for a place to eat, it was late and some lights are off (Generator provides electricity for the whole town, so they open the air condition in the evening only, but its not that hot – February). We ate at kawayanan grill, it’s a tongue twister for me. It’s still open, food was okay too.
By morning, we are excited to go for our island tour. What we agreed with kuya Jong was to have a double overnight, 1st – Malcapuya, 2nd – North Cay (im not sure of the spelling).
1st stop – Siete Pecados – is a snorkeling spot. Don’t forget to bring bread for the fish!! 100 pesos entrance fee
2nd stop - Kayangan Lake - Make sure that you go here, and of course, kuya jong will suggest to go to this. . It has been told many times over as the cleanest fresh water lake in the country. The view from top was breathtaking! 200 pesos entrance fee
3rd stop – Banol Beach – we ate lunch here, white sand. 100 pesos entrance fee
4th stop – Twin Lagoon - There is an underwater tunnel to across from one lagoon to another. If low tide, you can use a small boat to cross it, by the time we arrived there, it was high tide, and we have to swim under, even if not a swimmer, kuya jong is there to guide you pass it. If you prefer not to swim, you can there is another way to get to the other side. The cliffs separate the two lagoons. You can see the waters combine. 50 per head.
Challenging part – going to Banana Island and Malcapuya. By the month we arrived there, the waves are high (Amihan), here is the test for us and kuya jong, he also has his brother, kuya dong, to accompany him. I must admit that at one time, it scared me, I thought that our boat will sink, but kuya jong is an expert when it comes to this. All he needs is your cooperation and be calm, you can trust him, hes a good bangkero!! I have no doubt about it, I saw it myself during our whole trip.
5th stop – Malaroyroy Island - this is owned by Violeta, same owner of Banana Island. White sand, you can go for a swim if you want, the entrance fee will be paid at Banana Island
6th stop – Banana Island - the beach was good, and there are comfort rooms, a bar, where you can order some refreshments, I’m not sure if that is because of the foreigners that will have an overnight stay at that island though. Both banana and malaroyroy island is owned by Violeta, I’m not sure of other people’s experience but I’m speaking of what we had, when we were initially planning our trip to Coron, I saw her number and texted her, since I read a blog that had a good feedback on her, what happened was she offered their boat, for our Coron Island tour, a bit pricey and the overnight stayed cost 1000 each (I’m cannot remember if this includes the cottage to sleep) and even asked me for a load, since she lives in an island. Some parts, I choose to forget J I was anxious to meet her in person, when we arrived there and paid for the entrance fee, she even asked “keep the change??” …. No comment …. Let’s just enjoy the beach!! J
7th stop – Malcapuya Island – The last stop for the day, and the sunset was breathtaking J the sand bar was superb! I can compare it to boracay, though both have white sand, Bora is finer. The beach was great, the only thing in Malcapuya is the comfort rooms and where you will take a shower. I will have to add the cottage where you will stay. If you are a backpacker, it will be fine for you. Just don’t expect too much on the accommodation. J The view of sunrise was great too! There is a view deck up where you can see the both sunrise and sunset, the sunrise is perfect up there and the sunset was best along the beach!
Malcapuya Vs Banana Island – the sand is whiter and finer at Malacapuya and the sand bar is longer. I remember what kuya Ed (owner of malcapuya) told us “Pag ung beach pinapaganda mo, nakikisama sya, ung beach mismo ung kusang gumaganda” he remembered that Malcapuya looks better and bigger now.. Kuya Ed is far more accomodating, he even told us the story on how he discovered the island etc.
8th stop – Culion Island - We need to buy some stuffs for our next overnight, we ate too much!! J you can also visit a museum (Leprosy) but this town is leprosy free already.
9th stop – Lusong (?) Shipwreck – Off to Culion, we saw a turtle swimming!!, another snorkeling spot where you can see a japanese gunboat sunk.
10th stop – Coral Garden - We found nemo!! Hehehe J we ended up feeling hungry since we are snorkeling for more than 1 hr to feed nemo, the place were you can go snorkeling without those waves!
11th stop – Calumbuyan Island – We had lunch here, not a good beach for swimming, lots of stones but a good place to relax they have these duyans where you can sleep and rest, the scenery was great! 100 entrance fee
12th stop – North Cay - our last stop for our trip, we passed the horse island (which was owned by an Arab, place will be a good spot for toursist after they finished the building of the nippa huts). Upon arrival, I was stunned, though Malcapuya’s sand is finer, it has a good sand bar too! Our reaction when we saw the place – A big THANKS!! AT LAST!!! This place has an exellent accomodation, after having to spend a night at malcapuya, we were very happy of what we saw, clean restrooms, room for sleeping, and a very accomodating staff. The water here is not from a deep well, they get it from a town nearby to fill up their tanks, would you believe that they have a shower!!?? The best part for me was when they told me that 3 turtles laid eggs in this island, they showed me one (since im a turtle lover) I just hoped that im in time for their hatching (maybe some other time). We enjoyed the sunset, the sunrise and everything about this island.
On our way back to Coron, we faced huge waves again, but Kuya Jong never failed us. He is good on what he does, name it, cooking, driving the boat, and he is very nice and accomodating. He even offered his home for us, so we can take a shower before we go to the airport (since we faced big waves again), we met his son and daughter, they were cute! I forgot the name of his son, his daughter was mia, photogenic little girl.
Fondest memory: Our coron trip was fantastic, I just wished we have some time for Calauit Island, for sure, next timeJ
By the way, this is our bangkero’s details:
Kuya Jong Asutilla, 09084499523, “Jerwin” – name of our counqueror boat (small but the best boat ever)
I would highly recommend him for your coron trip, he knows a lot and you can trust him. He owns a bangka, not like those tour guides that only looks for a bangkero for you, it would be cheaper to contact a bangkero directly since no other charges will be added. We didn’t joined a group, we want to control our time and decide where to go, also the food is not in a styro, you can pick the food you want, and kuya jong will cook it for you.
It will be depending on your budget and your preference, but you can contact kuya jong if you want to ask for prices and you can tell him your budget. For me, having a private trip where you will decide where and when to go, eating the food you love, and having a good company (including the bangkero) will surely make it the best trip ever!! J cant wait to go back to Coron!!
- Hiking and Walking
- Diving and Snorkeling
Boats and vans rental assistance
Favorite thing: Thanks Edwinic! Am sure you were kidding. No sharks around Coron and nobody wear cassocks anymore.
To all, please disregard my invitation to join as their group has increased with other cousins joining. But if you need assistance on booking boats and vans, just email me.
Favorite thing: Sunsets are beautiful in Coron. Photographers will be happy. One can never get enough.
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Water Sports
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