A paradise in the western part of the Philippines and part of the most beautiful island in the world, Coron has indeed contributed to the beauty of Palawan. Surrounded by green luscious mountains, a calm and sometimes raging ocean that separates the Sulu and the South China Sea, it is a place to behold may it be above or below the water surface.
My trip to Coron was and always will be one of the most memorable among all the trips I took and will take – for the very reasons that one, I went alone and two, it was for my heart. I did not fall in love with Coron, but I sure left a part of myself and a big chunk of my heart. It became my home for the next eight days, my refuge when I needed healing so much.
How to get to Coron
- By plane – Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines (ATR)
- By ship – 2GO (Fridays and Sundays)
Note that Coron (Busuanga) doesn’t have the cheapest fares. I waited for almost two months to finally get a cheap flight just so I could push through.
Upon arriving in Coron
Vans are available just outside the Busuanga airport building. They will drop you off at the front of your hotel for only 150php.
Where to stay
Luis Bay Traveller’s Lodge – I took their fan room for only 500php (with no breakfast) for my first night. The room was big, with two single beds and a spacious bathroom. The only downside was that, it was really really hot. The ceiling fan was turning and could not be adjusted to focus on one place so I was really sweating the whole night.
Seahorse Guest House – I have nothing but good words for this guest house. I spent the rest of my week in this place for only 600php – dorm style (4 beds with aircon, shared bathroom and toilet inside the room) with breakfast. At first, I was hesitant because I was alone and I was scared to share with people I don’t know, but I was really relieved when I heard the receptionist mentioned that we were all girls.
The place is new and it’s very clean. The staffs are very friendly and accommodating too. Breakfast choices: Continental and Filipino (tocino, egg, rice).
Where to eat:
I haven’t really enjoyed the food in Coron, not that I didn’t like it, I was just having a hard time with my appetite. Lolo Nonoy’s is the only restaurant I’ve been to. I wanted to try Kawayanan seafood platter grill, but when you’re traveling alone without an appetite, it’s a waste of food and money. I know I won’t be able to finish it off. One of the people I met in Coron mentioned Santino’s (and based on their foodgasm story, it seemed legit).
- Snorkeling gears for rent (150php/day) in Coron Galeri. You can also request your tour guide to get you one.
- GoPro for rent (not sure about the price, maybe around 700php/day) in Coron Souvenir Shop
- Motorcycle for rent, available in Ana’s Motorcycle rent near Marly’s.
What to do:
There are a lot to do in Coron that even my one week stay was not enough. From salt water to fresh, from beaches to diving, from hiking to dipping in a hot spring, Coron has plenty of activities to offer.
Here are the three tours I took and enjoyed:
- Tour B-1 includes Kayangan Lake, Twin Peaks Reef, Hidden Lagoon, Bulungan Beach, Calachuchi Coral Eden, CYC Is for 650php/pax.
I got this tour from Coron Galeri and I was really excited since it was my first tour and I really needed it to take my mind off from unnecessary thoughts.
What happened next though was very very disappointing – no tour guides and the boatmen didn’t even bother to tell us where to go or what to do next etc etc. We even skipped Hidden Lagoon cause they said it wasn’t in the itinerary. One of tour group member showed him the leaflet from Coron Galeri and pointed out that Hidden Lagoon is in the itinerary so we tried going there but it was already low tide and the boat could not get in. We went to Twin Lagoon instead and paid another 100php for the entrance fee.
As much as I wanted to get Tour B-2 from Coron Galeri, I decided not to anymore. My new found friend Minnie and I tried other tour agencies and registered in the DCC Tours as joiners.
- Tour B-2 includes Siete Pecados Marine Park , Barracuda Lake, Dimanglet Island, Lajala Cultural Village, Coron Coral Triangle for 750php/pax.
From DCC Tours, we were forwarded to JY Travel and Tours and I couldn’t be happier. As someone who was traveling alone, everyone asked and wondered why which gave me a chance to chat up with people from different walks of life.
One thing I appreciated during this tour was I got really close with the boat men. They were the ones responsible for my photos, for my videos and they even helped me swim around and see more of Coron under water.
I was so pleased that the next day, I decided to get the Tour C from JY Travel Tours.
- Tour C includes Malcapuya Island, Banana Island and Bulog Beach (where the Two Seasons Resort is) for 1200php/pax.
While I was in Culion, this tour was offered to me for a cheaper price and I was so near to closing the deal but I had to go back to Coron to go online (for work) as the Internet connection in Culion was really bad but this deserves another blog entry.
A bright, sunny Saturday morning, I rode the motorcycle Kuya Son (the tour guide) was driving going to the dock. I joined 18 other people and I know 18 seems like an overwhelming number but the boat was so big that I didn’t really notice 18 was a lot.
I didn’t go snorkeling in the reef, I just stayed on the beach and listened to my playlist and just stared beyond the vast ocean and praised God for all the loss and everything that remained.
- Tour D includes historical tour in Culion and Bogor Marine Park. I wanted to join a tour but no tour group was available on the days I wanted to go. So I jumped on the boat going to Culion and decided to experience it on my own. I was pretty sure I could find my way around. I asked the staffs from the guest house how I could go to Culion and what to expect and they all said, ‘It’s really rural and very quiet and very peaceful.’ – – indeed it is. Some people would be discouraged not to push through, but I got so excited, aside from the fact that I needed to see someone, I really liked the whole idea of just disconnecting from the world, away from the much tourist-y Coron.
Itinerary and expenses:
Download here. Note that this is an eight days, seven nights trip.. alone and not ultimately backpacker style though I tried so hard to lessen my expenses.
It took me a long time (two weeks, man!) to write this entry as I was waiting out the pain to lessen so I could write about Coron without being biased and without any ache in the heart. I felt like Coron didn’t deserve a half-hearted write-up just because I wasn’t in my best shape when I explored her. As much as I got my heart broken in Coron, I also found refuge in the island by meeting new friends and enjoying everything it could offer.
Through Coron, God showed me that He can make everything beautiful in His time and that all I need is to wait and trust in Him.
When I visited Malcapuya, along with 17 other people, we got stuck in the middle of the ocean due to technical issues with the boat. We waited for almost two hours for the rescue boat just as a strong rain and winds were nearing. The once calm sea started its rage, tossing itself back and forth. As the storm neared, the rescue boat arrived (great timing!) and we were able to continue moving away from the storm and into the beautiful paradise. Upon arriving, the clouds were dark and gloomy. I felt my heart sunk to my stomach as I was expecting a sunny weather where I could lie on the sand and enjoy the scenery. God has His ways of surprising you though. The sun came up and said hi and suddenly, Malcapuya Island was indeed the paradise they all swore to be. And just like us, God will make us beautiful for His glory in His own time so we just have to hold on to Him as we go through the storm of life.
I couldn’t really say I found myself in Coron like the cliched script in movies, but I did found back my relationship with God through this trip. You don’t find God when your life is perfect. You don’t find God in loud, crazy places. You find Him when you have no one to turn to. You find Him in the midst of your brokenness. You find Him in the tears that you keep from falling off your eyes and the sobs that you are trying to suppress in the middle of the night. You find Him in quietness and pain. I knew God allowed things to happen because He was also seeking me and as much as I wanted to ask Him why, I couldn’t because I know who He is. I stay grounded on the fact that He has His purposes and He has better plans for me. Because if He doesn’t, why would He keep me safe and brave in that solo travel I decided to embark?
Coron was a witness to my pain and she did try to heal it. Though she succeeded temporarily, she made me brave permanently, and I couldn’t thank her enough that in the eight days I stayed, she never failed to amaze me in ways I couldn’t even describe. I left with bittersweet memories, but I was at peace and at that moment, it was all that mattered.
This is a not the ultimate travel guide to Coron. This is a faith blog in Coron.
To do: Culion, Philippine’s official leper colony