I found Paradise in Coron, Palawan.
Last November 2010, my boyfriend and I together with two other couples took the one hour trip to see what Palawan has to offer. The place did not disappoint.
This is probably our most prepared trip so far. Months before our departure date, I have already booked us a place to stay and secured seats to 2 days worth of activities. The only thing we left out would be the places to dine and buy pasalubong from.
We arrived in Busuanga Airport on a sunny afternoon. I already contacted someone to pick us up from the airport to Coron Village Lodge (CVL) where we will stay. Our contact from CVL recommended the van which costs PhP 150/person one way. The driver had a placard showing my name and we were soon off.
We passed by lush greenery and a big ranch on our way to CVL. The driver was very knowledgeable and told us some information about the airport and the ranch we passed by. The land where the airport stands today as well as Rancho Verde were both owned by Francisco Reyes (thus the name of the airport), who was a Marcos crony. The entire land was sequestered and now owned by the government. They placed part of it to good use by creating an airport for Busuanga.
CVL was the number one lodging place as per TripAdvisor during that time and I can say it was a good choice to have booked with them. We got an apartment good enough for all 6 of us for PhP 3500 per day. It had two rooms, a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom. It also had a balcony in front and a dirty area at the back. An outdoor shower can be used at the back as well.
The minute we arrived in our apartment, we already had to get ready for our first tour. We would only be there for 2 full days so I made sure to maximize our time. I booked 2 tours with CoronGaleri, a tour group I found in the internet. A tricycle picked us up and took us to the office in the center of the city for payment and instructions.
Our first tour was meant for island hopping, which means we will go to as many places as we can in the time we had. This already includes any entrance or conservation fees and lunch in one of the islands. Places we visited were: Kayangan Lake (the best!), Twin Lagoon, Atwayan Beach, and CYC Island. The tour costs PhP 650 per person. Not bad, right? 🙂
Since we started late, we stopped in Atwayan Beach and had lunch there. Our tour guide cooked our fresh food while we enjoy the water and sand.
Lunch included fish, fruits, rice, seafood and water. We were full !
We went on to see Twin Lagoon and swam in its waters. The water was sooo deep we couldn’t see the bottom. I was afraid at first when the guide said we would swim from end to end but the fact that we had our life jackets on and my boyfriend is a very good swimmer, I took the plunge. I am glad I did because it was so much fun. I felt weightless.
We went to Kayangan Lake and it was such a beauty. It is disappointing that we did not have too many photos because our camera was not water proof and we did not want to risk using it near the water.
We went home super exhausted that day after the flight and all the island hopping and swimming we did. We settled in our apartment, took baths, and had dinner at the CVL restaurant. The food there was good but the service was super slow that we almost had to leave despite the hunger. Anyway, at least the food tasted good when it FINALLY arrived.
Our second day in Coron was meant to chillax. All we had for that day was a trip to a far island called Malcapuya. This tour costs higher though despite going to only one place because the island is about 3 hours away!
Malcapuya Island boasted pristine white sand and clear blue waters minus the bar music and heavy crowd. There was only one other group of people in the entire island plus the two Greeks and three Filipino teenagers in the tour with us. For such a large island, we pretty much felt like we were alone.
We took all our time taking pictures the minute we got there while our tour guide cooked our food. We even climbed a small hill where there is a nice view of the ocean and a small nipa hut for photo ops.
There were several hammocks scattered in the island to rest and there is a vendor selling buko juice which of course we took advantage of after we had our lunch. Food served was fish, crabs, seaweed, fruits with rice and water.
One of the highlights of our trip was my sister’s post -nup shot in Malcapuya. No, we did not take a professional photographer with us to the trip. But yes, my sister, who at that time got married 2 days ago, brought her wedding dress. And her husband of course. haha. My friend’s boyfriend takes very good shots and acted as the official photographer and I was the backup. I will share the pics I took on a separate post.
During the latter part of the day, we rested. I settled on a hammock near the beach and slept for sometime while the others roamed around the island. My boyfriend woke me up suddenly and took me to a secluded part of the beach, only to show me a heart he drew in the sand and another drawing of my name. I sad inside the etched heart and voila, one of my favorite beach pics ever!
After a long day chilling in the beach, we went home with smiles in our faces. Since the day was not as tiring as the first one, we decided to dress up a bit and look for a fancier place to have dinner. It was our last night in Coron and hopefully we can have memorable food. So we went to a nice-looking floating restaurant by the bay: La Sirenetta Restaurant.
La Sirenetta is a restaurant owned by model and former Survivor Philippines finalist, Mika Batchelor. She was actually there when we had a dinner and my boyfriend was able to get a picture with her. She was very nice and very hands-own in the restaurant. She was even slightly embarrassed because she said she is not ready for a picture as she has been cooking in the kitchen the entire day.
The food was okay, not the nest for the slightly expensive menu. Their Adobo rice was very good and we had a free Mika’s Pizza because the waitress forgot to write it down and we had to wait for the order. We made sure it was not taken out of the waitress’ salary though before we agreed not to pay for it. 😉
On our last day in Coron, we opted to try to conquer the 700 steps of Mount Tapyas. We got up very early, before the usn rises so that it would not be too hot going up the mountain.
When I first saw how high the mountain was, I was concerned I would not be able to make it to the top. But of course after a lot of sweat, grunts, and encouragement, my boyfriend and I reached the top 2nd. 🙂
The climb, though very tiring, was not as bad as it sounds. If you are a slow climber, there are several opportunities to rest on the way up as you will find mini parks and resting places every stretch of the climb. There was even a concert space in the middle of the climb (maybe the first 400 steps).
I was super tired when we reached the top but it was definitely well worth it. The view on top of Mount Tapyas was breathtaking. It was another paradiose for all of us. You can see the entire Coron community from there.
We saw that a a group of elementary students was practicing that day and was already halfway through their routines. Those children probably started much earlier than us and are way faster in climbing.
We took pictures of the place and rested first on top before we decided to go back down and prepare for our flight home.
The last part of the trip was buying pasalubong. We bought Danggit and all sorts of dried and preserved food for my parents as well as little trinkets for our friends.
We rented the same van going back to the airport but disappointment struck when we arrived there. The flight was delayed for 4 hours! We were stuck watching a B movie in the terminal and eating carinderia food for lunch. Oh well.
Despite that, I would still say that Coron, Palawan is still the best destination so far. I have been to many places after this particular trip yet nothing surpassed the beauty and tranquility of this place.
I will definitely go back to Palawan. There are still so many places to explore there, thank heavens!
Useful Information about our Coron Trip:
Accomodation: Coron Village Lodge- PhP 3500 for 6 people (Apartment style) @http://coronvillagelodge.com/
Tours: CoronGaleri @ http://www.corongaleri.com.ph/
Until the next trip,