CORON – Paradise Beyond Words

A month ago, during the Labor Day long weekend, I flew to Busuanga, Palawan for a quick trip with my backpack, phone, wallet & HTC Re camera. Fine, I went all by myself. I spent 4 days & 3 nights in a paradise called Coron.

View from my airplane seat minutes before landing in Busuanga Airport

I’ve been to Palawan a few times – Puerto Princesa (November 2012), El Nido (March 2014, August 2014 & August 2016) & Port Barton (March 2017) – but I’ve never been to Coron. My friends kept on telling me to visit this beautiful place, but I could not find affordable plane tickets to the island. I don’t know the reason why airfare to Busuanga is always expensive, most of the time more expensive than a round-trip ticket to a nearby international destination.

I was lucky to find a good airfare deal to Busuanga (USU) last February (about 2 months before the trip) so I didn’t hesitate to book it. I will elaborate more on the trip details – ticket, accommodation & tours – below.

Ticket

My super duper cheap plane ticket to Coron!

The good deal I mentioned earlier was using my GetGo Points, Cebu Pacific Air’s lifestyle rewards program. I got my Manila-Busuanga-Manila ticket for 10,140 GetGo points & ₱1,068.12 worth of taxes & airline fees. I know that’s quite a lot of points, but I don’t have anything to use it for anyway so I grabbed the chance. For everyone’s information, the regular round-trip ticket (same flights) costs around ₱13,500+ at the time of booking. I was able to save more than ₱12,000 by using my points. Great deal, right?

Tip: Head over to this post (& this post too) on how you can increase your chances of getting low fare tickets like I did for this Coron trip.

Accommodation

As mentioned in a recent blog post, I’ve been staying in accommodations with dormitory rooms & nice communal areas. I’ve read around different booking & review sites & found Seahorse Guesthouse as the best option.

Seahorse Guesthouse’ reception area

I booked with Agoda & got my 3-night stay for only ₱1,773.13. Rate is a few hundreds cheaper than that on the website (₱750 per night as per the website). I stayed in an air-conditioned dormitory room for 4 people. Each room has its own shower & toilet area. Each guest is given a spacious & a comfy bed with pillow & sheets, reading light & a locker with a padlock (included). For such an affordable price, guests are also given free breakfast (choice between American breakfast & Filipino breakfasts – tocino / corned beef with rice, egg & banana + coffee / tea).

My spacious bed for 3 nights

The hostel has a communal lounge area (also the breakfast area) at the rooftop where you can meet & talk to other travellers. It is also the best place to use the guesthouse’s free Wi-Fi access. Don’t expect the Wi-Fi to work well in your rooms; the facility’s Wi-Fi only depends on the mobile network & not through a wired connection. My favorite perk of being a guest at Seahose Guesthouse is the water refill dispensers in the reception & rooftop areas. You can refill as many times as you can.

4th floor common lounge & breakfast area

The hostel has nice & helpful staff. They arranged my airport transfers (₱150 per way), helped me book my island tours & gave recommendations on which restaurants to have dinner. Shoutout to Lindon & Mark for answering my questions & for helping me when the tour agency messed up with my booked island tour (more details below).

Went to the nearby gelato shop with the people I met in the dorm & island tour

I recommend everyone going to Coron to stay in Seahorse Guesthouse. This accommodation is located in Coron town, a few minutes walk to the public market, wharf, banks, stores & restaurants – pretty much close to everything. You get more than what you pay for! Make sure to book your stay early as they are usually fully-booked.

Day Tours

I only had a few days in Coron & I want to explore / visit as much as I can. First / arrival day is usually allotted for the Coron Town Tour, which will visit the Coron Public Market, Lualhati Park, San Agustin Church, Cashew Farm, Mount Tapyas View Deck & Maquinit Hot Spring. The tour costs ₱700 & it includes all fees & transfers. I sort-of got lazy after check-in & decided to skip this tour. Instead, I walked to & went up Mount Tapyas at around 5:00 in the afternoon also to watch the sunset. Entrance to the view deck is free.

Sunset from Mount Tapyas view deck

Just like El Nido, Coron also has Tours A-D. Each tour has around 4 or 5 stops with a rate of ₱800 to a little over ₱1,000 per tour (lunch included). I only had 2 days for island tours so I decided to pay a higher price to visit more islands / beaches. Locals say Calamian Islands Travel & Tours is the biggest & the best tour agency in town. I booked the 2 island tours with them through the hostel – the Coron Ultimate Island Tour (7 destinations for ₱1,600) & the Island Escapade Tour (3 islands for ₱1,700). The escapade tour is more expensive that the island tour because the 3 islands are about 1.5-2 hours boat ride away from Coron town.

The clearest waters of Coron, Palawan 😍

The initial plan was to take the Island Escapade Tour first & the Ultimate Island Tour the following day, but the agency messed up with some of the bookings. Pick-up for the escapade tour was supposed to be 7:30 am & I waited until 9:00 am. Mark (from the hostel) accompanied me to the agency office & we found out the boat left without me. DISASTER! The agency confirmed they got my booking but, the van driver & tour guide forgot to pick me up from the hostel. I was offered to join the other group of guests (also with booking problems) for the ultimate island tour; I said yes not to waste the day I have in Coron. We were given a speed boat for the tour. The snorkeling gears were given for free (usually for rent at ₱150).

Coron Ultimate Island Tour

Kayangan Lake

Beach 91 – the place where we had lunch

Skeleton Wreck

On the way to Twin Lagoon (no photo inside the Twin Lagoon, sorry!)

Snorkeling at Siete Picados

On our way back to Coron Town

Island Escapade Tour

On our way to the islands~

Malcapuya Island – stunningly beautiful!

Banana Island – the place where we had lunch

Bulog Dos

Verdict: I enjoyed the escapade tour over the ultimate island tour. The latter was jam packed with tourists; maybe because it was a long weekend in the Philippines. The ultimate tour was full of activities like snorkeling, swimming, hiking, etc. while the escapade tour was a little laid-back & relaxing – just sitting in the lying down in the sand, a little of swimming & snorkeling. For me, Kayangan Lake, Siete Picados & Beach 91 were the highlights of the ultimate tour. On the other hand, Malcapuya Island was the best island / beach I’ve been to in Coron – its beauty was beyond words.

Can’t get enough Malcapuya Island’s beauty

This pretty much sums up my 4-day weekend trip in Coron. If only I had more days to spare, I could’ve tried the Reefs & Wrecks Tour as well as the Calauit Safari Tour. I should’ve also rented a scooter to drive up to the inhabited beaches of Busuanga Island. I guess these activities will definitely be the reason to go back to Coron in the future.

Expenses

Beautiful islands, lagoons & beaches. Coron is truly a paradise! 😍

Curious how much I spent for the entire trip? Here’s a breakdown of my expenses.

Thoughts: ₱8,476.25I believe I spent just the right amount of money for a 4-day trip. The airfare was definitely a bargain; the accommodation was a good deal. It provided everything a guest needs. The tours were a bit expensive, but I think it was all good. The islands & beaches were amazing, one of the best places I’ve been to.

If you haven’t been to Coron, make sure to go there in the next few months / years before it gets super duper busy & crowded. It’s another trip for the books & I couldn’t wait to visit again!

I will definitely visit this paradise again! 😍


HELP! Recent news say that Nickelodeon (Viacom International Media Networks) & Coral World Park Undersea Resorts Inc. are planning to develop an underwater theme park in Coron. Please help stop this plan. Coron is NOT Bikini Bottom. Show your support by signing in this petition created by environmentalist Anna Oposa. I am not in any way related to the organization, but I share the same sentiments & I believe it’s worth-sharing.

Malcapuya Island – Beauty beyond words! 😍

Have you been to Coron? What was your favorite lagoon or island? Are you planning to fly there soon? Do you have any questions about the town or the islands? Feel free to comment below or send me an email to contact@thewkndtravel.com. You can also send me a message on Facebook, drop a comment on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter.

Happy weekend! 😎

PS. All photos above were shot using my HTC Re.

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