Summer Trip to Coron: Planning Stage

Our group photo overlooking the Blue Lagoon in Coron, Palawan

Our group photo overlooking the Blue Lagoon in Coron, Palawan

My friend, how was your summer?  How did you enjoy it?  Regardless of your location or the seasons in your country, summer is the happiest season for most.  This is where students end their school year and when the working adults create so many reasons to go on vacation.  In a tropical country like the Philippines, it is the best season to enjoy the best of our country.  That is, exploring the beaches.  So if you are one of those who want to plan out any vacation in Coron in the future, readout this series for your guide.  Of course, I will start my Coron Trip Series with the Planning Stage:

TIP #1:  PLAN WHERE YOU WANT TO GO AND WAIT FOR ANY PROMO RELEASES FROM DIFFERENT AIRLINES ONCE ITS AVAILABLE AND BOOK IMMEDIATELY

My friends in my previous Department, my boyfriend B and I share the same passion for exploring the wonderful beaches in the Philippines and because of this, we always in constant search for our next destination.  And I tell you, we have a lot on our list!  Just like last year, B and I were reminisced the wonderful vacation we’ve had in Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan in 2011.  Since we felt that the time we spent for snorkeling was short-changed on our last vacation, we agreed that we will explore the beauty of Palawan next year.  I guess PAL Express (new name for Airphil) heard our conversation that they decided to have a Piso Fare November of 2012!  Since Coron was on our list, we decided to book a round trip flight to Busuanga (gateway of Coron) for 2 intended for June of 2013.  The price?  Php 1,500 per person, ALL-IN (“All-in” means the price already includes the base fare, travel tax, fuel tax, surcharges, etc.)

Excited as I was, I told my friend Marie about our plan and she got envious because she heard Coron was full of beaches and we bought a roundtrip ticket for a very low price.  So I booked one for her and she availed of the discount we had.  A month after, one of our friend named Jill heard from Marie about our adventure for 2013.  Since June was her birth month and all her planned vacation for that year was cancelled, she sent me a message saying she wants to join us, too.  And off I go to my lappie and booked another ticket for her.  The price?  Around Php 2,000 roundtrip.  Now that makes us 4.  Another friend of ours, Sir Romie, heard about our planned adventure.  Since he’s very stressed with some personal matters and he hasn’t gone on a real vacation, he asked me to book a ticket for him so that he could join us!  He asked me that favor last December.  I booked the ticket but it cost him around Php 3,000 which is double the price of my ticket for the same destination.

What’s the moral of the story?

Have a list of the places you want to go.  So that once airlines starts with their promotion, you already have an idea what’s your destination will be for your trip.

– Sign up on different airlines news feed for you to get notifications about their upcoming promotions so that you won’t miss any of their deals.

– Make sure you always ALWAYS save money so that once a promo becomes available, you have the money to book for tickets and other expenses for the trip.  Really, it pays a lot if you save.

– Once an airline promo becomes available for the destination you want, BOOK IT!

– Be aware of the holidays in your country so you can plan out your vacation.  You may click here for reference.

Map of Calamines Group of island as posted in Coron Galeri's office in the town of Coron,  Northern palawan

Map of Calamines Group of island as posted in Coron Galeri‘s office in the town of Coron, Northern Palawan

TIP #2: RESEARCH ABOUT YOUR DESTINATION

Since we already have tickets, the next thing is plan for our itinerary.  I have not been to Coron nor any of my companions.  For this, I have 2 options for researching:

1.  Fire up Google and search for blog entries and travel agencies that features Coron

I know there are fellow adventurers that have been to the Northern part of Palawan that were eager to share their experiences to others.  They will provide details of their planning, their activities, suggestions and hands-on experience which you need to consider in planning your itinerary.

Based on my research, here are some of the things I’ve learned in Coron:

– Coron is a part of the Calamines group of islands.  There’s a lot of small islands there mostly with white sand beaches.  Good for beach bumming.

– The seas of Coron were protected with diverse marine life.  Which means the place is good for snorkeling and diving.

– During World War 2, Northern Palawan was one of the sites for war battles with ships falling victim to bombs.  That is why Coron is a very known for shipwreck diving.

– Palawan is a well-secluded area and far from the city which was considered in building projects like the Iwahig Penal Colony in Puerto Princesa and Tala Leprosarium in Culion, Palawan – a place for those suffering from leprosy.  Culion is a part of Calamines Group.  Due to the social stigma about people suffering from leprosy, Culion was not a popular destination and was secluded from development which preserved its environment, monuments and ancient Spanish architecture.  Therefore, it is a great place to travel back in time and see Palawan during her younger years.

– Due to its diverse flora and fauna, the island of Calauit became the area for African animals purchased by the late President Ferdinand Marcos which was now called the Calauit Safari Park.

2.  Ask a friend you know have already visited the place

Lucky that I found a friend who visited the place last year.  Rommel, a friend and co-worker whom I share the same passion for cheer dancing, told me of his experience.  There’s nothing like getting tips from someone you completely trust.  Based on his first-hand experience, he said that it is best to hire a travel guide to arrange all the tours for our group.  He said touring the islands of Coron is a bit complicated since we need to pay a certain amount every time we enter an island or beach since some were protected  by the different tribes in Palawan, some were privately owned and a few were  no longer open to public for conservation reasons.  He also suggested to hire the services of the company named Coron Galeri to arrange everything for us.

The great thing about Rommel’s suggestion is that Coron Galeri has their own website where you can see all the available tour packages they offer.  He also gave me tips on arranging our itinerary:

– Among all of the Coron tours you can avail in an agency, do not choose to avail of their Coron Town Tour.  Why?  It is expensive and you can do it on your own. He was right about this and I will provide you details on my next entry.

– Hop all the islands you can for the entire duration.  But always check on the news in Coron for the islands that are not for touring.

– to get to another island, it requires time and boat ride.  Choose well on which island you want to go.  For our group, we chose to go to Calauit for their safari rather than going to Culion.

– There are no food nor convenience store chains in the town of Coron.  But they have Sari-sari Stores and eatery or calinderias around.

– Coron is a province.  Do not expect that their nightlife is like in Manila or in Boracay that it is open till sunrise.

– Roads are small.  Mode of transportation there is Tricycle.

– ATM Machines are not easy to find.  Better have cash in hand for your spending’s.

TIP #3:  RESEARCH ON THE BEST ACCOMMODATION THAT WILL FIT YOUR BUDGET

There are so many options on room accommodation.  Agoda, Hotels.com and Palawan-resort websites provides you with lists to choose from.  Research well on their amenities and their proximity to the places you want to go.  Since a part of our agenda is to go to Mount Tapyas and I am obsess with a good view but with affordable rates, we chose Mount Tapyas Hotel for our temporary home in Coron.

Facade of our home in Coron - Mount Tapyas Hotel

Facade of our home in Coron – Mount Tapyas Hotel

After our deliberation and agreement, we came up with this itinerary.  By the way, we have 4 days for this trip:

Day 1: Island Eco Tour. This means island-hopping to Siete Pecados, Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoons, Barracuda Lake, Banol Beach, Smith Point White beach, Atwayan Beach

Day 2: Calauit Safari (travel via boat) & Black Island in the morning.  Mount Tapyas climb and Maquinit Hotspring in the afternoon.

Day 3: Beach-hopping to Bulog Island, Banana Island and Malcapuya Island

Day 4: Catch a flight going back to Manila

NOTE:  This itinerary was not followed.  Hihihi!  More on that on my future post.

Everything is set on our trip! Hope I helped you in planning for your future trip in Coron.  How was our vacation?  It was memorable!  I’ll post our 4-day adventure next.

My friend, any questions about planning for your Coron Trip?  Let me know so that I can help you.

-Tinakits-

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12 thoughts on “Summer Trip to Coron: Planning Stage

  1. Hi, Im from Malaysia. I’ve planned to go to Philippines in December. Then, we are planning to Coron City and then we are trying to reach Kayangan Lake. My 1st question, how frequeny vans will serve us when we arrived at Francisco B. Reyes?

    • Hi Tony! Thanks for reading my blog. There are vans waiting outside of Francisco B. Reyes Airport only for 150 pesos but I am not familiar with their time of operations. It may be safe to say that the vans are available until the last arrival of plane in Busuanga. To be a lot safer and sure, you may coordinate with your tour guide or your hotel to arrange for pick-up/drop-off for the same amount.

      Wishing you a safe and wonderful journey in Palawan. Do let me know your adventure after yout tour 🙂

  2. Hi Tina… Thanks for your quick reply. Actually, we just wonder and curious after we read other blogs about Coron Island . One of them did mention there’s only one van operating in Coron to fetch people which is at 2.00pm daily. You arranged your transportation with your hotel. Didn’t you? Then, how was the Mount Tapyas Hotel? Was it worth to stay there? On top of that, we are planning to stay in Coron for one night only and our main target is Kayangan Lake. We plan to book flight early in the morning and the next day jet-off from Coron in the evening. What do you think? 🙂 Or do you have any ideas?

    • Hi! I am glad to be of help. The transportation we have was arranged by our Tour Guide. But Mount Tapyas Hotel can also accomodate the transfer for you. Mount Tapyas Hotel is best if you want a serene place to stay in with the view of the sea just like our group enjoyed. But if you want convenience with restaurants, market and port for the boats, GMG Hotel is best. Are you sure you will only visit Kayangan Lake? Because there are lots of places to see and do in Coron that a day is very short. Take it from us 😉 . Our group even wants to extent for a day even if we already spent 4days and 3 nights there 😀 . Do you have a tour guide? If you don’t have any, I highly suggest http://www.corongaleri.com.ph/ and ask for Kuya Allan to be your boatman. He’s the best! 🙂

  3. Oh.. thanks for your guide. So, that means there are many vans operating in Busuanga. Glad to know that. What happens if we don’t hire or appoint any tour guides? Do you think we can survive there? Yeah, we are so amazed by Kayangan Lake by now. LOL. We afraid that we can’t make it in one day if we go to many places. As i told you, we are planning to catch early flight in the morning. We will arrive at Francisco B. Reyes at 11.00 am. Then we have to have another journey which is will take 45 minutes. So, one question from me, how far the jetty from Mount Tapyas Hotel? Plus, how about the bangka ride? How frequent are they from jetty to Coron Islands (Kayangan Lake). Sorry mate, too many questions LOL. We want to have plan it properly as we are foreigners and I hope you don’t feel annoyed with our questions. We look forward to getting your feedback before we are trying to reach the tour guide. Yeah.. Kuya Allan. We saw him on your pics. He looks friendly 😉

    • No worries! A traveller like me understands a fellow traveller like you 🙂 . All island tours in Coron ends before dawn for it will be very hard for the boats to travel back at sunset since it will be dark and the waves are higher. Visiting Kayangan Lake will only take you less than an hour or two of travel time from the port depending on the weather and condition of the sea. I suggest you also visit Barracuda Lake or Siete Pecados which are all near Kayangan Lake. Therefore, you can maximize your one day stay in Coron and visit another amazing island! Reserve the night for a simple dinner and rest in order for you to have the energy for your flight in the morning.

      It will only take you less than 5 minutes via tricycle/van from Mount Tapyas Hotel to the jetty port since the town of Coron is very small. Though you can negotiate and talk to boatmen for you to have a special tour when you arrive (people in Palawan are tourist-friendly), it might be a challenge and time-consuming since most of them committed to prior reservations. December is considered as peak season in all beaches in the Philippines so might as well coordinate with tour guides before your trip for you to have guaranteed boat and maximize your stay in Coron for a day.

  4. Thanks again mate. Well, to put it in a nutshell, we have to book the tour guides. ;). How much they will charge us? On top of that, we could plan properly our staying in Coron. You have a facebook account. Don’t you?

    Thanks!

    • Great! The tour you availed includes a fee to pay for your guide. Giving tip is highly encourage which our group did in appreciation to their excellent service. Our group gave Php 500 per guide per day, guess that’s good enough but you can give more if you want 😉

      Yup! Got an FB account but it’s private 🙂

  5. Ooo.. how about cebu? since the flight tickets are getting exorbitant, we are planning to Cebu. But I don’t think it’s going to be fun as Coron Island. We found out that ticket from Manila to Cebu is much cheaper than Manila to Coron right now. Do you have any suggestions for us to spend one night in other places rather than Cebu? Or do you think Cebu is one of the great spots to be reached. Thanks 😉

    • There are so many places to see and experience in the Philippines and Cebu is one of the places that’s visited by most tourists. It’s a huge province so better check out where you specifically want to go. I highly suggest that you visit either Camotes, Bantayan, Malapascua for their beaches or Oslob if you want to have a close encounter with whalesharks, too. The beach islands I mentioned are all in Cebu. Heads up though, the province just experienced a major earthquake and still experiencing aftershocks. Though the place is still ok and it does not hinder tourists to visit the place, but I’d like to give you heads up on that so that you’ll not be shocked with some shaking events 🙂

  6. Dear Tina, Thanks for wonderful A to Z information regarding How, What and Why to visit a place in coron. We are planning to come in the month of December. We have booked kokosnuss garden resort. Please let us know how this hotel is including its location.Thanks in advance……Kush

    • Hi! I’ve heard of Kokosnuss and yes, it is one of the hotels in Coron that’s accredited by Department of Tourism. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the place. But based on their website, they are near the town proper so their location is strategic.

      Don’t worry about it. I know you will enjoy Coron. All the best on your trip! 🙂

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