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 🙂

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 🙂 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.  I was able to score a discount by booking through Agoda so it was within our budget 🙂

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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! 🙂 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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How I Travel

I am just an ordinary employee with the goal of discovering 2 places I’ve never been to every year. I am not rich contrary to what other people say when they discover I regularly travel. I just have this insatiable wanderlust that I happily give into once in a while. Many people have asked me how I do it – planning and preparing for my trips – and I listed down some of my habits. These are entirely based on my own experiences and what may work for me may not work for others. But I hope that this can help, even in a small way, in planning your own travels/adventures/trips 🙂

1. Start a travel fund – When I started working, I believed that my small salary wouldn’t allow for me to travel. I forced myself to allot 10% of my monthly salary into a travel fund and this has become regular habit. The 10% can increase whenever I have an upcoming trip but I always make sure that my travel fund doesn’t have zero balance even when I don’t have any trips planned. It has always been useful whenever there is a surprise seat sale! Before trips, I also prepare a list of expected expenses and this guides me in choosing my accommodations, activities, transportation and food for the trip. There are many ways to make a trip cheaper: going for inns/guesthouses instead of hotels, opting for local transportation instead of renting a car. The key is to skimp when you must and only splurge when you can.

2. Surround yourself with people who love to travel – I am lucky that I have friends who are as passionate about traveling as me. Talking to them about their travel experiences or simply just seeing their pictures on my Facebook newsfeed motivates me to create my own experiences. When my friends tell stories about their recent trips, they always end with “Punta ka rin doon. Masaya talaga!” I discovered that those who love to travel will give the strongest encouragements for you to travel as well. They also willingly give reliable travel tips when they are asked. People who love to travel are also the best travel companions. They are game for anything and everything! Having more companions means traveling in big groups which means getting more discounts 😉

3. Write down travel goals – This was an advice given to me by a friend which proved quite useful. Somehow, by writing down my goals they become more concrete and I feel like I have to act on it. Somebody else once told me that if you say what you want out loud, the universe will conspire to give you what you wished for. I have to believe the power of positive thinking. Earlier this year, I wrote down my travel goals for 2015 and I have taken one step closer to making one of those goals come true. I was able to book my tickets for Indochina because of Cebu Pacific’s piso sale 🙂

4. Seat sales are the way to go – I follow the Facebook pages of all the airlines in the Philippines. That way, I am updated if a seat sale has started or will start soon. I also created a personal account in their official websites and saved my booking details, my usual companions’ travel details and payment details to make bookings faster. Unfortunately, there is no definite schedule of when seat sales occur. Regularly checking their websites is the only answer. It is my experience that I can anticipate a seat sale around Philippine holidays. The announcements usually happen at noon or midnight a few days before a holiday. Booking is easier and you will have a lot more choices in flight dates and time when you are among the first few to know about the seat sales. Flights to local destinations disappear very fast compared to international flights. If a seat sale is announced at midnight, it is a whole lot easier to make a booking in the very early hours of the morning when almost everyone is still sleeping. Lots of patience is required when booking during seat sales. But it is definitely worth it. The money I saved during these sales can be used to make my trips more memorable.

5. Have fun planning for trips – I truly believe that planning is where the adventure starts. I get a glimpse of what a place has to offer and it excites me to discover how I can make it happen. Because I book trips during seat sales, it usually means that the travel time takes place around a year after the booking date. It gives me the opportunity to plan way, way ahead and to thoroughly research a place. My main sources are travel blogs for activities, itineraries and budget. I make sure to filter my search results for the recent posts so the rates are still applicable. For accommodations, I turn to Tripadvisor to get the list of best accommodations in an area and Agoda to search for the best rates to the hotels. Sometimes though, I check the rates of the hotels in their own website. Agoda doesn’t always have the cheapest rates. I’ve experienced finding a good deal in Agoda and discovering that the hotel also had a promo which was a few hundred pesos cheaper than the Agoda rate. It’s best to always check 🙂

6. Read travel blogs – I read lots and lots of travel blogs in my spare time. They are full of helpful information and tips about all things related to travel. Oftentimes, I discover a new place that I’ve never heard of before from travel blogs and they immediately go into my imaginary bucket list. And the writers are a constant source of inspiration. They inspire me to embrace the unknown, just go out there and have some fun. Below are some of the travel blogs I find really helpful:

  • Chyng Reyes – the first travel blog I followed. Her blog posts are fun to read but very informative.
  • Lakwatsero – Where to stay, what to do, where to eat. These are all listed in Lakwatsero’s travel guides. I love that his posts that are more than a year older always get updated so the information I read are still relevant.
  • Lakad Pilipinas – His “travel guide and itinerary” posts are a big help when I plan for trips of my own. The destinations he lists in the guide are complete with addresses and what makes them special.
  • Backpacking with Mishi – A good friend and travel companion. She is usually the first person I ask about a place that I’ve never been to and I find her advice really helpful 🙂

These are all the tips I could think of now. No doubt that I’ll more to this if I come up with something else. If you are just about to give in to wanderlust, I hoped this helped even just a little. For my readers who have traveled far and wide, how do you travel? 🙂