Since I was transferred here in Metro Manila (October 2015), I wasn’t able to blog about my travels in Laguna, Rizal, Ilocos, Puerto Galera, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu and even in Davao. So right now, I am forcing myself to write a blog post for my very recent #soLow travel in Coron. (Because I tend to forget all the details)
I booked my ticket last year. I really wanted to travel to Palawan because (1) it’s part of my bucketlist, (2) I really want to see its world-known beauty and (3) the long overdue travel me and Franz planned last year didn’t push through.
I went to Coron alone without any rigid preparation because I so busy at work. I packed my things 3 hours before my flight. Informed my parents minutes before I board. What I only prepared was the hotel accommodation I booked through Booking.com. It’s my first time to book through that online website. Franz and my parents also told me that there was an incoming Low Pressure Area that might caused bad weather during my stay. For the whole trip, I only relied with my internet connection to whatever I will do. (without even thinking if the internet signal in Coron is good.)
I’ll share to you my itinerary and the cost I incurred for my whole stay.
Once you arrived in the airport, there are a lot of transport vehicles waiting outside. The fixed fare is P150.00 pesos per person. Just hop on on one of the van and you are off to go.
This is the road you will pass from the airport on your way to the town proper. Animals are free to walk around. The surrounding is so rich and very peaceful. “Very laid-back”, that’s the usual adjective you can always attach with Coron.
The trip going to the town is around 30 minutes. I just told the driver the name of my hotel. He dropped me off on the main road near my hotel. The room I got is very spacious (good for 2) but I just realized that the bathroom was shared and there’s no TV. It was okay for me then, but its just that I cannot live without television because Coron is just so quiet and I am all alone. But then, I survived!
I rested for a while and went out to grab some lunch on the restaurant near my hotel – Kawayan Grill. Most of their dishes are for sharing. Good thing they have some full lauriat meal, but a bit pricey. I also bought 1 Liter Mineral water to get me through the day.
From there, I walked around and look for the travel agencies (1) I saw in the internet, (2) the ones recommended by my travel group, (3) the one in the hotel and (4) the ones I got in the airport and asked if I can join the tour. I got a lot of brochures in my hand and did comparison in terms of the tour highlights and the price. I chose Dream Travel and Tours which was the agency in my hotel since they have same price with others but many destinations.
After settling down, I decided to go to Mt. Tapyas. From the public market, I rode a tricycle. Fixed fare for tricycle is only P10.
When I am on my way up, two boys approached me and tried to sell the waterproof bags for the cellphones. I bought 1 for Php100 and asked them to accompany me going up. They agreed with me. I got my instant tour guide. It’s Khalid and Salman.
Khalid and Salman are two Muslim kids from Iligan (Mindanao). Their families transferred in Coron for a living. They are residents in Coron but never had a chance to visit the different islands because it’s expensive. They are selling different things – insect repellent lotion, waterproog bags, drybags and other souvenir items in Mt. Tapyas together with other Muslim kids. I suggest to all traveler, you can help these kids by buying some little stuff from them instead from the big stores.
Khalid and Salman shared me a lot of things about Coron. Like in Mt. Tapyas, you need to climbed up to 725 steps up and 725 steps down. They also took some of my pictures. I thanked them for accompanying me and giving me travel tips for my next days.
After the tiring climbed, I went back to the hotel and was knocked out. (I wasn’t able to grab some dinner because I was so sleepy.)
The next day around 8:30am, Kuya Nonoy (from the agency) picked me up in my hotel to take me to the meeting place to hop on to our boat. I chose the Ultimate Tour because it includes the top destinations in Coron – Kayangan Lake and Twin Lagoon.
We arrived in the port and I met the people who I will go with in the tour. The weather was bad. It was raining since dawn and it never stopped. I can barely see the beautiful islands which a little bit frustrates me. But I am excited with the idea that I am taking an extraordinary tour all by myself.
I will share to you photos of the different destinations. I will not describe it because words are not enough anyway to describe its beauty.
Lunch for 3
Coral named Tacloban in Coral Garden
A little bit of snorkeling
The Hidden Lagoon in Twin Lagoon
We finished the tour around 4:30pm. It was a bit early because we didn’t go to CYC Beach because of the big waves caused by the bad weather. But it was okay anyway.
So here’s my tour team. With me is Sheena and Brian, they are Filipinos who grew already in the States. They just got engaged. That’s Len, our tourist guide. I’m so lucky that my tour guides are speaking Bisaya which made my life in Coron a whole lot easier!
I went back to hotel and went out for an early dinner at Lolo Nonoy’s and had a Swedish massage at VKGV Spa.
That’s it for the 2nd day. Can’t never be so fulfilled of everything that I witnessed. The heavy rains never bothered me anyway.
Next day is another set of tour. Kuya Nonoy picked me up again. It’s too bad that the weather didn’t go well the next day. So my supposedly tour on the 3 beautiful beaches didn’t push through because we will need to pass along the open sea which is very dangerous. So the agency recommended to have the Island reef and wreck tour instead. With that, I have reasons to come back again in Coron.
I captured more underwater videos than photos. I will update this soon with the link of my videos.
Here’s Yebin Baek and Saemi, my new Korean friends who I met in the 2nd day of the tour. Shared to them some beautiful places here in the Philippines that they can also visit and encouraged them to visit Davao. In Pass Island where we had lunch, I let them try our fresh Buko Juice.
We finished the tour around 5:30pm. I told Yebin and Saemi that I can accompany them to buy some souvenirs. So we met around 7pm at the agency’s office.
With us was Kuya Nonoy and Len, we roamed around Coron’s little town but then the stores were already closed. So we just went to Lobster King for dinner.
That’s it for the 3rd day. So much fun and fulfillment.
It’s my last day in Coron. I hired Kuya Nonoy to drive me to Maquinit Hot Springs. It’s only us when we arrived there (rewards of waking up early.) Kuya Nonoy just waited for me to finish enjoying the hot spring.
Can you see the smoke? The water is really warm and very soothing. It’s one of my favorite activities.
Around 9:30am, I went back to my hotel. Packed up my things and went out to buy some souvenirs.
I informed the driver of the airport transfers to pick me up around 2pm on the main road near my hotel. In the airport, I met Yebin and Saemi and we were together till we arrived in Manila.
Here are some of my travel tips when going to Coron:
- Bring insect repellent lotion. It’s a must! There are a lot of mosquitoes in Coron. 🙂
- It is more convenient to have dry bag or waterproof bags for your cellphones when you do island hopping.
- When you love going to the beach or island hopping, you better buy your own snorkeling gears and mask to save money from renting and for hygiene purposes. (an advice for myself to invest with these things)
- Underwater/action cameras is a very nice to have when you are in Coron if you want to have memories of the beautiful corals and fishes you saw.
- Bring water and snacks during the island hopping.
- Avoid having Town Tour to be paid per person which is more expensive. The town proper is so small and the fare for tricycle is just Php10.00
For the costs, my plane ticket is only P1,000 since it is a promo fare. But I will not include it in the computation. Again the same rules apply, the more, the merrier, the cheaper. Travelling solo is a bit more expensive than travelling with someone who you can share the expenses with.
So for the activities I did, for those travelling solo, I spent around Php7,000 which includes the (1) meals which are way beyond budget, (2) I got some massage, (3) I rented snorkeling gears and masks for 2 days and (4) I paid the whole accommodation all by myself.
So if you are travelling with someone, around Php4,600 per person (exclusive of the fare) includes (1) 2 Tours – Ultimate and Island reef and wreck, (2) Town tour, (4) 3 nights accommodation, and (4) food. I guess, this one is really cheap for a 4-days and 3 nights trip in Coron.
Here’s Nemo and his dad saying “Hi!” to you from Coron.
All in all, the whole trip was so remarkable to me. First, because I did it all alone. Second, I was able to see with my own eyes the priceless beauty of Coron that everyone should also see.
Friendly advice, “Take a leave and go to Coron.”