Paradise Calling: Coron, Palawan

 

There are moments in life that stay with us for a lifetime. You can be daydreaming in your mundane routine life, for example when you’re sitting the in the train letting the landscape pass by like a time machine, and suddenly with the blink of an eye you are transported back to the turquoise water, floating on your back looking at a clear blue sky. You can feel the sudden drops of rain that pour down unexpectedly and touch your face in the slightest manner. The significance of the smile taking over your face will dawn on you much later. Trips that contain moments that force you to do an internal check of your emotions are the ones that stay with you the longest.

Trips that contain moments that force you to do an internal check of your emotions are the ones that stay with you the longest.

Coron was supposed to be the bacon in the BLT sandwich of this trip. The quick crunchy of our five days in Palawan. This turned out to be different due to the unhelpful lady at the desk of the ferry. In our five precious days between deadlines, work stress and startup competition reeling in our every thought – we picked out Coron and El Nido to gather our strengths. Mainly because the flights got cheap to Busuanga (Coron’s capital). Two days of Coron – two days of El Nido and half a day back to Coron for our flight to Manila. How serendipity had something else in store for us; for the better too!

The ferry we were planning on taking to El Nido from Coron was not moving in this low season. It wanted to conserve its pricy petrol for bigger groups of people than the few tourists the town had at the time of our visit in July. A more expensive private boat could’ve been hired if we were desperate enough to reach El Nido. But we let this event unconsciously relieve the stress we had put on ourselves to see everything both places had to offer in the span of four days, and forced us to unwind in the slow tide of the town proper of Coron. Our hotel, Sea Dive Resort, was made for this kind of unwinding with its large terraces on the second and third floor that had hammocks waiting for us.

Now that we had – what felt for us – all the time in the world, we spent evenings reading our books by the sea and sleeping in until breakfast had turned into brunch. We explored the little shops, had fresh mango shakes and took on Mount Tapyas and its view to arms. we ran down the 245 steps when we saw a storm approaching the city from far to avoid getting wet and felt proud of our walk – we were finally getting our much needed exercise, away from the desk chairs and the couch at home. For relaxation we floated about in the hot waters of Maquinit Hot Spring, which wasn’t the most refreshing thing to do in a country with 30 degrees year around.

It was mostly during this tour that I was constantly thinking to myself how incredibly lucky I am to be here and to experience this. The islands were a feast for the eyes and soul.

we took on two tours; the first one was with a wild group of lively people. This was the much-spoken-about “ultimate tour”, supposedly showing all that there was in this worth seeing, and it was! The beautiful twin lagoons and the impressive Kayangan Lake are what sticked with me the most. They struck me down with their beauty and make me want to crawl in their memory when life becomes hard.

The day after this tour we explored the town and gave ourselves a hall pass from the touristy things. We came across a pizzeria where I guess, most of our trip’s budget went to. It’s called Altrove and the stone oven pizza’s are heaven and will make you spend more than you thought you would.

the second tour’s objective was to visit some nearby beaches and relax. It was mostly during this tour that I was constantly thinking to myself how incredibly lucky I am to be here and to experience this. The islands were a feast for the eyes and soul. An opportunity to disconnect from everything weighing us down: daily life, work, social media. There is virtually no connection anywhere which is actually pretty great! You get to take your photos and then sit back and breathe in the clean ocean air.

Practical Information:

  • How to get there:
    • By air: fly to Busuanga (Francisco B. Reyes Airport). Take a taxi / car from there to the Town Proper (P100-200) in 20-30 minutes.
    • by ferry: from Manila leave from Tondo, Pier 4 on Tuesdays and Fridays. Best to double check this here as it’s weather sensitive. It’s a long ride but a cheap one starting at P1500 (+tax).
    • from El Nido: there’s a fast 2GO ferry going everyday, starting P1700 and takes you 3 hrs, going at 6AM and 12PM
    • from Puerto Princessa: also a 2GO ferry going every Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Where to stay:
  • What to do:
    • Mount Tapyas
    • Maquinit Hot Springs
    • Tours: Ultimate Tour: Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Lake, Cyc Beach, Twin Lagoon, Siete Pecados, Banol Beach
    • Tours: Tour C: Malcapuya Island, Banana Island, Bulog Island
  • Budget:
    • There’s a BPI Bank so you can use your card, but recommended is to bring enough cash with you.
    • I’d say together with all the 2 tours + accommodation + food = P10.000 should cover it (approx. 200 euros). This can be less depending on where you stay and activities of course.