6 Days in Coron, Palawan

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6-Day Coron Itinerary and Expenses for 2

Coron, Palawan is as amazing as the photos and videos about the place have led me to believe. I had the most fun and saw so much beauty in the 6 days that I was there. I’ll try my best to share our amazing experiences there in this blog post πŸ™‚

My Companion:

During this trip, I realized that the boyfriend has been my constant companion for all my trips this year. I am not complaining since I love being with him ❀

Ruby and Francis in Coron ❀

The Flight: Cebu Pacific

Our flight to Busuanga was on time since it was still early in the morning. As soon as we landed at Busuanga airport, there were several vans waiting to take passengers to Coron. We just told one of the drivers where we would be staying and they pointed us to the van that would take us there. Fare to Coron town from the airport and vice versa is Php 150. Travel time is approximately 30-40 minutes.

Our ride to and from Busuanga

We just had a few issues during our flight back to Manila though. First, we were surprised that a terminal fee of Php 100 per person is still being collected. It should have been included when I purchased our tickets. Second, our flight was delayed for about 30 minutes – not really a big deal for us though. Finally when we boarded the plane, the temperature inside was a bit warm. The flight attendants told us that it would get better once we were on air but I still felt hot. I’m not sure if the warm temperature caused it but when we were taking off and preparing to land, I had a hard time breathing and I felt that my lungs were being squeezed. It was for only less than a minute but it was enough for me to get scared. Also, we experienced some turbulence during the flight because we went through a storm at some point. It wasn’t the most comfortable and smooth plane ride I experienced.

Our Accommodation: Sea Horse Guesthouse

We got a bit spoiled with the pool at Puerto Galera but the hotels with a pool in Coron were waaaaaay outside our budget. I found Sea Horse Guesthouse while browsing through Agoda. Although it didn’t have a pool, it was under the same management as Sunz en Coron Resort which meant that the guests can use the resort’s pool for free πŸ™‚ Aside from the perk, the location of the guesthouse was right smack in the middle of Coron town which meant that almost everything (i.e. the restaurants we wanted to try) was within walking distance. The room rate also included free breakfast.

Reception

The staff were always ready to greet us with a good morning or evening even if we were just going down to the reception area to refill our water bottles. They were always able to help with our queries and attentive to our needs.

Our homebase for 6 days in Coron

The regular room rate as of September 2017 is Php 2,000/room. They also have dorm accommodations for Php 700/person/night.Β  I was able to score a discount by booking through Agoda so it was within our budget πŸ™‚

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Though our stay was great and pleasant, I have 2 areas where I wish they would improve: (1) the rooms didn’t have cabinets or any storage where we can put clothes. We either hung them in the only racks provided or they stayed in our bags. (2) Also, there were limited choices for breakfast: cornsilog, tocilog and continental breakfast. The corned beef meal and the jam which came with the continental breakfast were so good but we didn’t like the tocino meal. Since we stayed for 6 days, we found the choices very limited.

Breakfast can be availed at the rooftop which gave a good view of the sea and a portion of the town

Itinerary: 6D/5N

Day 1: DIY Coron Town Tour

We arrived in Coron early enough to avail one of the island tours if we wanted. But rainy weather welcomed us so we opted to wait until our room was ready, eat brunch at Kainan ni Tita Mariz, rest for a bit and start in the early afternoon for our DIY Coron Town Tour.

St. Augustine Church exterior

It was a short walk from the guesthouse to St. Augustine Church. I said a quick prayer to keep us safe during the trip and for some sun in the following days.

St. Augustine Church interior

We were supposed to ride a tricycle to the base of Mt. Tapyas but the folks at the guesthouse told us we could walk since it was near. They were right though we weren’t prepared to be so out of breath when we arrive at the base. They didn’t warn us that it was an uphill walk. LOL.

Stairs to Mt. Tapyas summit

A big cross sits on top of Mt. Tapyas

The climb up to Mt. Tapyas took 30-40 minutes including breaks. According to the locals, there are around 700 steps up to the summit. It was challenging to our knees but we made it! πŸ™‚ The view from the summit and the cool breeze managed to sweep our tiredness away.

Coron town viewed from Mt. Tapyas

Mt. Tapyas also offered a view of the nearby mountains

We didn’t wait for the sunset since it was a bit cloudy and I predicted that we won’t be able to see the sun anyway. We made our way down and the boyfriend was able to negotiate with a tricycle driver (there would be many waiting in Mt. Tapyas) to take us to and from the hotspring for Php 350.

Maquinit Hot Spring entrance fee rates

Maquinit Hotspring

The road to Maquinit Hot Spring was unpaved and rough – no wonder the drivers were charging Php 300-400 as it wasn’t an easy drive. We were so excited to soak in the hot waters after the 30-minute trip. Although soaking in a legit seawater hot spring was a new experience for us, we thought that the Php 200 per person entrance fee was not really worth it. The hot spring is usually 38-41 degree Celsius in temperature so it isn’t advisable to soak in the water too long. I love hot baths but I only managed to stay for 20 minutes. There are no shower facilities so guests can rinse off the saltwater from the hot spring. As we were leaving, we realized that we burned Php 400 (plus Php 350 tricycle fare) just so we can have a 20-minute hot bath and take pictures inside. Not really the best use of our money.

A short dip at the hotspring and a few tables and chairs can’t really justify the Php 200 entrance fee

To end our day, we ate at Lolo Noy’s Food Restaurant. The locals say that it’s one of the more affordable restaurants but we still managed to rack up more than Php 500 in our bill. We ordered a LOT.

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Day 2: Reef & Wrecks Tour c/o JY Travel & Tours

We were picked up from the guesthouse by JY Travel and Tours and taken to the wharf to wait for our other tour companions for the day. Looking back, this tour was the most tiring out of the 3 that we availed as it involved a lot of snorkeling and swimming.

There are only 4 destinations in this tour because the spots are far away from each other. We arrived at our first destination after almost an hour of travel from Coron wharf. Our tour guide told us to wear our snorkel masks and life vests and jump to the sea so we can take a look at East Tangat Shipwreck which sunk during World War II (same with all other shipwrecks in Coron). It was eerily amazing to be able to see a piece of history under the ocean.

East Tangat Shipwreck

We only spent about 30 minutes in the site and traveled for an hour to get to Pass Island where we will be eating lunch. It was a bit gloomy in the morning but the sun was shining when we got to the island. The fine white sand and cystal clear waters were very tempting but my stomach was more important. LOL. Lunch prepared by JY Travel and Tours was satisfying and delicious. I just wasn’t blown away like our tour lunch in El Nido.

Usual lunch served by JY Travel and Tours. Grilled fish, meat, vegetable dish, seaweed salad and fruits for dessert. No other seafood 😦

Approaching Pass Island

Clear blue waters ❀

The next stop was the Lusong Coral Garden which in my opinion is the best among the coral gardens I’ve seen in during my travels. Our boat dropped us off at the starting point and we were left to swim by ourselves so we can leisurely take in the beauty of the coral garden. It wasn’t so easy though because we were swimming with life vests against the current. Boyfriend and I had to stop several times to recharge and catch our breaths. We swam all the way to where our boat was waiting and they took us to the our final destination of the day which was only about a minute away.

Lusong Coral Garden

Lusong Coral Garden

The Lusong Gunboat is my favorite shipwreck I saw in Coron. Since it was located in the shallower parts of the sea, I can see the ship in almost its entirety. And as it was low tide during our visit, I could stand on the bow with the water up to my chest. I was standing on a piece of history! Disclaimer: we asked permission from our tour guide if it was okay to stand on the shipwreck and he said fine because the part of the wreck where we could stand didn’t have any corals we could potentially disturb.

Lusong Gunboat Shipwreck

The clear water was a blessing so we can see below

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6-Day Coron Itinerary and Expenses for 2

I recently went back to Palawan for the third time to explore Coron. I traveled with my boyfriend and we spent 6 days there. We enjoyed every minute of it – despite my sunburn and boyfriend’s allergy attack during the trip πŸ™‚

I am still organizing the photos from our trip so I am not yet able to write our detailed itinerary and experiences, so I’ll start with sharing a summary of our itinerary and expenses. To be honest, I was shocked at how much we spent when I completed the list. Haha! It’s definitely not a low-budget trip. However, I’ll share tips on how to lessen the expenses for a trip to Coron below.

Please click on the picture to view the details more clearly πŸ™‚

Note: I didn’t include the expenses we incurred when boyfriend went for a check up at the local hospital to get his allergies checked. We bought medicines and an after sun lotion for my sunburn on the same day. We spent a little over a Php 1,000 on those.

Traveling to Coron on a tight budget?

  • Consider staying in guesthouses or homestays. While walking around Coron town, I saw several establishments which offer as low as Php 1,000 per night for a double/twin room. I am sure there are cheaper accommodations available which I didn’t see while in Coron or while browsing the internet.
  • Eat at canteens or carinderias around town. We saw a row of carinderias near the public market but we never went there to eat. We were always tempted to try the dishes served by the famous/best restaurants in town and we never only order 1 dish even if the serving is enough for 2 people. LOL. This is why we spent so much on food.
  • Travel with a large group so you can score discounts when availing the tour packages. I used up a lot of charm to ask for a discount when I was reserving slots for our island tours to no avail 😦 Tour operators will be much more generous when you are with a large group.
  • Wait for the now-elusive piso fare from Cebu Pacific so you may have a chance to score round trip tickets to Busuanga for less than a Php 1,000. I booked our tickets while it was on sale but it still hurt. This was the most expensive domestic ticket I bought in all my seat sale-booking years 😦 Boyfriend and I just wanted badly to go to Coron.
  • Shorten the days of the trip. I think 4 or 5 days in Coron is enough. I booked for a 6-day trip because we wanted to have a chillax sort of day when we arrive and before we leave.

Hope this helps you πŸ™‚

Puerto Galera: DIY Itinerary and Expenses

A cancelled trip among friends to Southern Visayas made me consider going to Puerto Galera as an alternative. I initially wanted to push through with the cancelled trip even if it meant traveling solo, but the recent events in Marawi and Resorts World made me feel wary of going. The boyfriend offered to come with me but as it was a few days before our travel date, the airline prices were so expensive. So where to go without needing to get on a plane? My sister suggested Puerto Galera since she was there a few weeks ago. I was supposed to have 8 vacation days, but I shortened it to 4 days for Puerto Galera.

My Companion:

Good thing I have a kaladkarin boyfriend and is game for almost-last minute trips πŸ™‚

Sunset at Talipanan Beach

How to go to Puerto Galera from Metro Manila:

We headed to Jam Transit Terminal located in Cubao where we found buses headed to Batangas Port. It took us 3 hours to reach the port because we encountered Friday morning traffic in EDSA.

Upon reaching Batangas Port, there are a LOT of agents(?) who will forcefully pester you to avail their services. They don’t ask for money as it is their job to get customers for their respective shipping lines. They will guide you to their ticketing booth where you can buy tickets to Puerto Galera. We bought tickets to White Beach from Minolo Shipping Lines as they seemed to have the most favorable reviews online. We also had to pay a separate terminal fee.

Aboard the boat of Minolo Shipping Lines

While having the agents to guide you where to go once in Batangas Port is convenient, I advice you not to entrust your luggage to them. We made the mistake of not getting our bags fast enough and the agents who guided us wouldn’t give back our bags. After we bought the tickets, they went into the pasalubong center which I thought was on the way to the boarding area. But no. One of the agents asked us to buy overpriced and tasteless pasalubong from their stall. Only once we bought some that they gave our bags back. So persistent. And then we found out that the boarding area was in another building. Boyfriend and I wondered exactly what happened while we were waiting for our boarding call.

Muelle Bay

It is a 2-hour sea journey from the port for Puerto Galera. In our case, the boat stopped at Muelle Bay where free shuttles of Minolo were waiting to take us to White Beach. A stall was propped up near the docking area to collect environmental fees from the arriving passengers. The driver asked us where we would be staying and dropped each group to the nearest point in White Beach. Since we were staying in a different area, the driver texted our hotel to pick us up in White Beach. I didn’t have to text the hotel to inform them we’ve arrived.

Our Accommodation:

While searching for our accommodations, I considered these criteria: boyfriend wanted somewhere with a pool and I wanted somewhere not located in White Beach because I read that it can get noisy at night. I searched and searched until I found Tribal Hills Mountain Resort. Their promo page indicated that their off peak season rates are in effect (60% off). That made them within our budget range so I reserved a room immediately!

Tribal Hills Mountain Resort

I reserved through their email address. After a few pleasant email exchanges and paying the downpayment through Paypal, our room was already reserved πŸ™‚

The resort’s pool. A staff mans the poolside bar from 6 PM til midnight daily.

I loved the location of the resort. It is located on a hilltop offering a wonderful view of the surrounding hills from our terrace and of the beach from their Tree Tops restaurant. It was quiet and it felt like we were the only people there. Although I loved the location, I discovered that I hated going out of our room late at night. I encountered a few large frogs and grasshoppers on my way to the pool on the first night when I couldn’t sleep. They had me running back to our room immediately. LOL.

Standard double room

Terrace

The staff were also very attentive. Everytime we would leave our room, they would ask us if we needed anything or if we wanted to go to the beach. Since it was off peak season and they only have few guests, the drivers were always available to drop us off or to pick us up from the nearby beaches. The shuttle was free as long as the destination was White Beach, Aninuan Beach or Talipanan Beach.

Each room is also given a broadband device for the length of the stay. We could bring this even outside the resort. There is no signal inside the rooms though.

The food was delicious! They cook our orders from scratch so we had to wait longer than usual for our food to arrive but it is always worth the wait. πŸ™‚

Tree Tops Restaurant

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The 4D/3N Itinerary:

Day 1

We got to finally settle in our room at Tribal Hills at around 1 PM. We rested for about half an hour before we couldn’t ignore our growling stomachs anymore. We headed to Tree Tops Restaurant, ordered Bicol Epxress and requested the chef to make it super spicy. Eating late lunch with an awesome view of the beach and a tasty serving of Bicol Express was enough to recharge us.

Bicol Express

Our first and only destination of the day was Talipanan Beach. The shuttle took us to the nearest drop off point and we walked the rest of the way. The road was under construction and vehicles would have a hard time plying the uneven dirt road to Talipanan Beach.

A quiet afternoon in Talipanan Beach

An afternoon in Talipanan Beach is so serene. There were only a few people and the calm waters made it perfect for swimming. We just had to be careful not to go too far from the shore as there is a point where the water immediately becomes too deep. We both don’t know how to swim. LOL.

Luca Cucina Italiana

For dinner, we headed to Luca Cucina Italiana which was a well-known establishment in Talipanan Beach. The food is cooked by an Italian so the food is authentic and yummy πŸ™‚ We ate in the dark though since moths started coming in. We ordered the Lucas Pizza which was a bestseller according to the staff, and a plate of fries. The pizza was huge for just the 2 of us and we only finished half. We took the rest home to eat for breakfast the next day πŸ™‚

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