Coron

My wife and I marked our first wedding anniversary last February 2012 by crossing out another item in our bucket list: Coron. Coron is both the name of an island and a town in northern Palawan. Confusingly, Coron town is on Busuanga island, while Coron island is situated off its southeastern coast. In recent years this part of Palawan has increasingly opened up to domestic tourists following the opening of commercial flights at Busuanga (Francisco B. Reyes) airport, coupled with frequent offerings of group deals online. The area is also known as a wreck diving mecca because of the numerous World War II wrecks that lie beneath its sheltered waters. Neither me nor my wife are divers though, so we’ll have to make do with what Coron has to offer on the surface.

Manila to Busuanga 

It was our first time flying in a turboprop plane; every pitch and roll of the small aircraft could be felt inside the cabin. Less than an hour into the flight, our nervousness was replaced by excitement upon seeing the hills and coves of Busuanga island. We landed safely at Busuanga airport after a bit of a rough descent. The airport is technically located inside a cattle ranch, so look out for the herd that will welcome you on the way to Coron.

busuanga_from_plane

Approaching Busuanga

cows

Moo-ligayang Pagdating sa Busuanga

Arrival in Coron

We arrived at our accommodation, Sunz en Coron Resort, after around 30 minutes drive from the airport. The resort is located beside the old Coron airstrip, a few hundred meters off the main road. Getting into town is not a problem though, as the resort provides a complementary tricycle ride for its guests.

sunz_en_coron

Sunz en Coron Resort

Around Coron Town

For local travels involving boat transfers (and international trips with a significant language barrier), I usually book with a travel agency for peace of mind. For our Coron vacation, we booked with Calamian Islands Travel & Tours. Our travel arrangement included the following:

  • Coron Town tour on the day of arrival
  • Day 2: Coron Island tour
  • Day 3: Calauit Safari tour
  • Airport transfers
higantes

Coron Island: Can you spot the sleeping giant?

One of the highlights of the town tour was the trek to Mount Tapyas. No worries for non-hikers like us: concrete benches set up at regular intervals and help in the form of cold metal railings make the 30-minute ascent more bearable. A short walk around the cross provided a sweeping 360-degree view of Coron. It was a fitting introduction for first-time visitors to the island like us.

tapyas

View from Mount Tapyas

tapyas_stairs

Stairs

The final stop in the tour was the Maquinit Hot Springs. It was the perfect way to end our day; our aching calf muscles from the Mount Tapyas trek were quickly forgotten after we dipped in the relaxing saltwater hot springs.

The quintessential Coron postcard shot, coming up in Part 2 of our Coron trip!

Itinerary:

Day 1: First Time Coron

  • Morning flight: Manila to Busuanga (1h)
  • Arrival in Busuanga, van transfer to Coron (30m)
  • Late afternoon: Coron town tour (3h)
    • Lualhati Park
    • Mount Tapyas hike
    • Cashew shop
    • Maquinit Hot Springs

Day 2: Coron Island Loop

  • Kayangan Cove and Lake
  • Twin Peaks reef (snorkeling/fish feeding)
  • Banol beach (lunch)
  • Skeleton Wreck
  • Twin Lagoon

Day 3: Calauit Safari Tour

  • Calauit Island Sanctuary
  • Lusong Coral Garden and Wreck

Day 4: Leaving Coron

  • Walk around town in the morning
  • Afternoon flight: Busuanga to Manila

Getting There:

From Manila, Cebu Pacific flies three times daily while Philippine Airlines flies twice daily to Coron (Busuanga) Airport, taking a little over an hour. For a more leisurely (and cheaper) journey, 2GO Travel sails for Coron from Pier 15 of the Manila South Harbor every Friday at 5 pm, arriving the the next morning at the Port of Coron (7 am).