Coron 6Days/5 Nights relaxed trip
This post is the first of a 2-part series. The second part, Cebu + Oslob 4D/3N trip is here.
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Day 1: Fly in
We got on the early morning Jetstar flight from Singapore to Clark, where we had to change flights and board a Philippine airlines propeller plane to Busuanga. (Note: Every airport in the Philippines charges passengers a ‘Terminal Fee’ which is basically extortion.) The views of the sea and islands during the 75 minute morning flight to Busuanga were absolutely stunning.
Busuanga bay lodge is a beautiful resort with infinity pool and a view of the open ocean. Our goal was to have the first day just to relax and get in the mood for the holiday, so we spent time by the beach, ate local seafood and relaxed in the pool.
The food and drinks are average quality and a tad overpriced.
Had a bar with a good view but again disappointing drinks. Except the mango margarita, which had a real sweet mango pulp. See full hotel review here.
Day 2: Busuanga to our resort in Coron + Fireflies tour
Next morning we checked out and took off for Coron town. Firstly because we had to have lunch, and secondly because we had to transfer for our main Coron lodging, the Coron Underwater Garden Resort (See review here).
There are really good, cheap, fresh sea food options in Coron. There are also some options for travellers with an underdeveloped coastal palate, a local dish we loved was Sisig, normally eaten with rice. There are 2 kinds of beer here: San Miguel and Red Horse, although both come from the same brewery.
After lunch we went to the Lualhati park, which is a huge harbour for all the small bangkas, where we were to get our boat to go to our resort.
We had to go by boat because the resort was on a certain “Baquit” Island, about 10 minutes away. On reaching the resort, we had a smooth checkin and decided to go for the a night tour later.
Glittering Fireflies Tour:
First stop was the floating restaurant, Panget, where we went full savage on a hearty seafood buffet. There were some vegetarians in the group who were okay with just plain rice, fruits, potatoes and juices. The thing about buffets with Calamian Islands Tours, it’s hard for you to go hungry: even if you only eat fruits, there’s plenty. As it later turned out, there was more to this company: all tour guides unfailingly have a knack for cracking dad joke after dad joke and making sure that everyone on board is having a good time.
Anyway it was a clear full moon night, so we only saw a handful of fireflies, and only about a couple million unphotographable plankton. But the thrill of travelling in a bangka around the most treacherous islands of the world with only the moon to guide us was an captivating experience on its own. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the floating restaurant buffet alone did justice to the price we paid for the whole tour. Everything else was just an added bonus.
Day 3: Coron Island Tour
Got up at 5:30, ate rice, eggs and fish for breakfast, and left for Coron town, where we had to meet our boat for the coron ultimate island tour.
First stop was the most popular spot in Coron, the Kayangan lake, which is one of the 2 out of some 18 odd fresh water lakes in the Coron area that are open to public access. We reached here by cruising into a parking lot, which itself is an amazing snorkel spot, and then trekking a short while. The Lake has crystal clear water, again, and there are beautiful (and sharp) limestone rock formations underneath.
Next was the second most popular spot in Coron, Twin Lagoons, where we jumped off the boat into the outer lagoon, then swam under a wall of karst into a hidden, second lagoon. At high tide the hole is completely submerged and you have to climb over the wall (there are makeshift wooden steps to that end).
Third stop of the day was at Balinsasayaw coral reef where we were hopeful of seeing sea turtles, but were awestruck by the sheer colours of life under water. Saniya, who until this day was bordering on thalassophobic, forgot all fears as if struck into a trance, and swam/got pulled along the whole reef without a break, without taking her face out of the water.
We stopped next for lunch, beer and kayaking at beach 91. Beach 91 is just a small beach with just a couple of (or was it all just one?) restaurants by the shore where we helped ourselves to the usual tropical island buffet: Lots of fish, crabs, chicken, fruits, rice, some veggies and juice.
Next up was the most awaited snorkel spot for us, the Siete Pecados marine park and another coral garden, renowned for being the ‘liveliest’ coral spot in all of Coron. Well, needless to say, our breath was taken. I will not attempt to describe it any further.
Which brings us to the last stop of the day, the Coron Youth Club Beach. This was the only free beach in coron, and it had floating 7-elevens (men on kayaks selling drinks and snacks).
Our only regret was not getting a GoPro for this trip. Please, do get a GoPro if you are planning to go to Palawan. The waters are impeccable, and the marine life is enchanting. You do not want to forget these memories.
Day 4: Relaxing at the resort + Walking around Coron town
We left the resort after breakfast and roamed around Coron town.
Had lunch at Fika indulgence (ice cold frappe and the cheesiest fries and white sauce pasta), where we found decent Wi-fi so lost track of time for a bit. We took the bangka and came back to the resort after roaming about town, as it was an extremely hot day for us, and despite all the chilled drinks, caps, sunglasses and sunscreen, the Philippines sun seemed just to strong.
So we lazed around the resort, kayaking for a while, playing the pet dogs, playing chess, drinking, eating and planning the next day. We discovered a new local favourite food: Tinola! Just plain simple good old meat and vegetable stew. The resort chefs were really good at cooking Tinola.
Day 5: Reef and Wreck Tour
After much debate we decided to do the reef and wreck tour. Mostly because we’d rather spend the day gazing at the millions of colours under water than the millions of blues above, but also partly because we were still hopeful of seeing a sea turtle.
We started the day by reaching Pass Island, relaxing, chatting with fellow travellers and having lunch at noon. Pass Island is one of the rare enviable picturesque virgin islands open to travellers. It is surrounded by the clearest water, with corals growing all around home to rich marine life, including the occasional sting ray. Be careful at the beach here, you don’t know whose home you might be intruding into.
After lazing/jumping around on Pass Island, we got back onto our boat and headed to the Lusong reef, the biggest coral garden of our life. Even to the hardest of hearts, the experience of snorkelling – gazing underwater at such a rich variety of coral and fish species, including thousands of angelfish, clownfish, cuttlefish, octopuses, giant clams is humbling and awe-inspiring. What’s more, we were lucky to see a sea turtle from about 5 metres, in the open ocean. Our tour guide dove down to get near it, but wasn’t nearly as swift as the turtle in its natural environment.
This snorkelling tour culminated at the Lusong Gunboat, which is really close to the surface. We could stand on it, sit on it (underwater) and even free-dive into the inside of ship. It was low tide by that time, so the bow was actually protruding several inches out of the sea.
Next we headed back to Coron town, and visited a Rastafarian bar called Tribu Kuridas, where we were greeted by reggae music and tribal decor. They made us generous cocktails here, headier than any drink we had ever had. Clearly, the bartender had no stake in the establishment. Anyway, we were too exhausted from the day’s swimming, and too tipsy to stay for the 9pm live band performance, so we got up, said peace out and headed home to sweet ol’ CUGR for our last night in Coron.
Day 6: Fly out
On Day 6 we had to leave for Cebu by the afternoon flight. We checked out of our resort, said goodbye to the dogs, took the boat to town, and then hopped on a van (unfortunately not a Jeepney) that would take us to Busuanga airport.
That’s it guys, thanks for reaching the bottom. You’re the best! Have an awesome day!
Next: Read part 2