Summer Trip to Coron (Day 3): Relaxing at Three Beautiful Islands of Bulalacao, Coron, Northern Palawan

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My friend, what do you do when you go to a beach island?  For us five, we just bum around and enjoy the beauty of Coron.

We have jam-packed activities on our first and second day of tour.  So when I planned for this trip, I want our last day to be relaxing.  So we choose the Sun, Sea and Sand Tour package of Coron Galeri where they will take us to 3 wonderful islands.  The cost?  Php 1200 each person including a ride going to the port, boat ride, entrance fee to the islands and lunch.  Remember that our tour is exclusively for our group that is why the price is higher compared to the regular tour packages they offer.

Mangrove forest along the way

Mangrove forest along the way

Remember that on our second day tour, we were greeted by rains on our way.  But here, you will see that the waters are so calm that the view will already relaxes you.

The calm waters of Coron  became a mirror of the clouds above

The calm waters of Coron became a mirror of the clouds above

After an hour of enjoying the calm ride, we arrived on our first island for the day – Bulog Island.

Bulog Island

My friend Marie, the muse of Bulog Island :)

My friend Marie, the muse of Bulog Island 🙂

As usual, it has white sand.  It is unique because I think it comprises of two small islands joined by a line of fine white sand.

Enjoying the waters of Bulog Island

Enjoying the waters of Bulog Island

Noticed the white sand.  That connects the small island to the other

Noticed the white sand. That connects the small island to the other

The island above have stairs where you can climb and have a view of one of the expensive island resort in Coron – the Two Seasons Coron.

Stairs going on top of one of the islands

Stairs going on top of one of the islands

Enjoying the water, stones, corals and resort we see below

Enjoying the water, stones, corals and resort we see below

On the other small island, the water is shallow and not too salty.  This is the side of the island that we stayed longer.

Calmness again, but less saltier :)

Calmness again, but less saltier 🙂

After enjoying the island, Kuya Allan inform us that we have to go back to our boat to go to another area for our lunch.

Banana Island

Welcome to Banana Island!

Welcome to Banana Island!

The island was called as such because there were many banana trees here when it was first discovered.  Once you approach the island, you will see that it is bigger and more developed than Bulog Island.  Lots of coconut trees with hammocks were there for visitors to enjoy.  Kayaking, snorkeling and diving can be done here for a fee.  Sorry, we didn’t asked for the price that’s why I can’t tell you how much.  But I do know that fresh coconut here is 40 pesos only. 😀

During our first day in Coron, it was informed to us that this island has a lot of jellyfish.  But we did not saw nor encountered one.  Upon docking, we chose a hut farther from the crowd with a great view.  And this is what we chose:

View from our small hut

View from our small hut

B enjoying the table under the tree

B enjoying the table under the tree

The weather, the sea, the place was so relaxing!  Though we swam and enjoyed the sea, what we did here was more on bumming.  And of course, camwhoring 😉

Failed jumpshot pic :)

Failed jumpshot pic  🙂

Fave photo.  Now I'm wiishing to have SLR (my next project) :)

Fave photo. Now I’m wishing to have SLR (my next project)  🙂

Channeling Beyonce in this pic c/o my B ;)

Channeling Beyonce in this pic c/o my B  😉

We were already satisfied with doing nothing at Banana Island but our boatman reminded us that we have another island for today.

Malcapuya Island

B welcoming you to Malcapuya Island

B welcoming you to Malcapuya Island

The waves were stronger when we travelled going on this island.  Quite strange too because boats going here dock at the back of the island.  Reason is because the owner of the island wants to preserve the sand and waters at front for people to enjoy more.

Path going to the front of Malcapuya Island

Path going to the other side of Malcapuya Island

What to do on this island?  Aside from bumming around, there’s a massage being offered here.  Unfortunately, the masseuse went somewhere that we did not avail it.  Fresh buko is 50 pesos, more expensive than the one sold at Banana Island.  This island is more polished with regards to the facilities.  But I like Banana Island more.  But we won’t skip camwhoring here 😀

Tada! :)

Tada! 🙂

Feeling sexy (even if I'm not) :D

Feeling sexy (even if I’m not)  😀

Yup!  It was a slow day for us and we are not complaining.  We are enjoying our lack of activity this day since vacation is about that – relaxation.

We went back to our hotel in the afternoon and rest a bit.  In the evening after our dinner, B and I decided to have a massage.  Of course!  A relaxing vacation is never complete without a massage.  So we roam around the town and saw VKGV Spa.  B and I went there and choose their Swedish massage for Php 400 only.

B choosing oil for our massage

B choosing oil for our massage

The place was small but clean.  The massage was so relaxing that I dooze off for a bit.  I was awaken by B because there are customers waiting in line.  HAHA!

That’s our 3-day tour of Coron.  It was fun and we really enjoyed the beauty of our country.  So for you, my friend, enjoy our country first before you go overseas.  The Philippines has a lot of hidden gems waiting for us to be discovered and explored.  Hope you learned something from my post and include Coron on your next trip.

My friend, I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have about Coron.

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-Tinakits-

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Summer Trip to Coron (DAY 2): D.I.Y. Tour of Coron Town

Hollywood-styled signage of Coron which can be seen on its port area

Hollywood-styled signage of Coron which can be seen from the port area

My friend, are you a tourist or a traveller?  I recently read an article/quiz about the difference of the two.  To make the story short, a Traveller is the one who is not afraid to explore the city sans tour guide.  And that’s what we did in the afternoon of our second day in Coron.

When I asked my friend Rommel about the tour packages in Coron, he said not to choose the City Tour since it’s more expensive and can be done DYI (For those who don’t know what the acronym means, it’s “do-it-yourself”).  I checked on different sites that arranges Coron Town Tour and the fee was Php 500-700 per person.  Since an option to save money was possible, I planned of hiring a tricycle to take us to the different places at the town even if this is my first time in Coron.

After our Calauit Safari Tour in the morning, we head back to our hotel.  Since our tour includes hiring a tricycle to take us to our hotel, we asked him if he can tour us around and he obliged.  The fee?  Php 500 only!  But before we head to the hotel, we already visited the first place of out tour.  Actually, we already visited it unknowingly on our first day.  The place is called Lualhati Park.

Lualhati Park

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If you will go on an island tour, this is the starting point.  It is just five steps (as in!) away from the port area.  This baywalk is good if you want to be sentimental while staring at the sea. LOL.

A place for your "senti" moments. HAHA!

A place for your “senti” moments. HAHA!

Turning to a different direction and a few more steps fronting the park is Coron’s Public Market.

Coron Public Market

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This is where you can buy all their known goodies like different kinds of dried fish, kasuy and small gifts or pasalubong.  Though it may look dirty but it is one of the cleanest wet and dry market that I’ve seen with no foul smell but you will smell the sea and its fresh produce.  And since this is a palengke (wet market), expect that the goods here are cheaper.

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A lady selling different kinds of packed dried fish inside Coron’s Public Market

Mount Taypas and Mount Tapyas Cross

We failed to recall that our hotel is near Mt. Tapyas so we rode a short distance going there with our hired tricycle.  But if you are staying at Mount Tapyas Hotel, It is just 2 blocks away, so you can always walk going there.   We’ve heard that we need to climb 700+ steps going there, so we decided to buy drinks at the foot of the mountain.  By the way, there is no fee going to the top of Mt. Tapyas.

Collage of our climb at the top of Mt. Tapyas

Collage of our climb at the top of Mt. Tapyas

This is the best place to see the entire Coron and its nearby island.  You will also get to see the famous Mount Tapyas Cross.

The tall metal cross on top of Mount Tapyas

The tall metal cross on top of Mount Tapyas

View at the top

View at the top

Us enjoying the view and relaxing a bit after the climb

Us enjoying the view and relaxing a bit after the climb

We’ve noticed that there are seats and gazebos along the way to the top where you can rest a bit from climbing.  Unlike climbing other mountains, this is easier since the path is flat and cemented.  Take your time and enjoy the view.

After picture-taking and resting, we went down and rode our rented tricycle to relax our feet at Maquinit Hot Spring.

Maquinit Hot Sprint

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It took 15-20 minutes for us to get here.  Going to a hot spring resort is not new to me since my place in Laguna is abundant with it.  But this one is different because the water is salty and it is really damn hot!

Dipping our tired feet in a pool of salty hot spring water

Dipping our tired feet in a pool of salty hot spring water

My advise:  Don’t go diving here cause the man-made pool is shallow, similar to a kiddie pool.  Dip your feet first and allow your body to adjust to the temperature then slowly submerge yourself in the pool.  Aside from enjoying the water, you can also tour their mangrove.  How much is the fee to this resort?  It’s Php 150.  Quite expensive since we stayed there in less than an hour.  But if you want to stay longer, small cottages and tables are for rent which we didn’t do.  We just placed our stuff near the pool and look after it.  Besides neither one of us dared to do lapses at the pool.  HAHA!

If we are going to compute for the expenses we have for this short tour, here it is:

Php 500 – Tricycle Ride / 5 people = Php 100 fee per person

Php 100  + Php 150 (Entrance fee at Maquinit Hot Spring) = Php 250!!!

WOW!  We saved a lot here!  Instead of paying Php 500 per person, it was cut into half because we did it DIY-style.  So the next time you will tour the town of Coron, hire a tricycle and ask them where to go.  Hope I helped you with this, my friend.  Wait for my day 3 post to learn more.

-Tinakits-

Summer Trip to Coron (Day 2): Fulfilling a Bucket List Item at Calauit Safari, Shipwrecks and More

Bucket List Item: [x]  Go on a safari – DONE!!!

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My friend, have you recently fulfilled an item on your bucket list?  I do.  One item was removed from my list during my trip in Coron. Based on my research about Northern Palawan, I can fulfill an item on my bucket list which is to go on a safari.  Since my friends also dreamt of going to one, we chose to go to Calauit Safari when we finalized our itinerary.  Though our expected close encounter with tigers and lions never happened, we did have a memorable experience with a close encounter with other animals in the safari.  Since it was informed to us that the tour will start at dawn, we place this as our second day activity at Coron.  How much?  It’s Php 2,600/pax inclusive of lunch, boat rental and entrance.

That's out boatman.  Yup, it was really dark and raining when we left

That’s out boatman. Yup, it was really dark and raining when we left

Call time was at 4:00 AM and we still have our hangover from our first tour.  We chose to go to Calauit via boat for more excitement.  And that boat ride was more than we expected.  Aside from being dark at that time, news said it will rain in Luzon and we were not spared.  It was raining with thunderstorm when we were travelling in the middle of the sea!  I cruised the sea before for more than a day in a large ship but this one was scarier because our boat was small, we don’t have any electricity and it was really pitch dark!  After an hour and a half, the rain had stopped but the waves were bigger till the last 2 hours of our travel.  Yes, we travelled from Coron Town to the island of Calauit for more than 3 hours.  But don’t worrry because once the sun shines, you will enjoy the different rock formations and clear waters along the way.

The sun shines.  This is a promising day for us :)

The sun shines. This is a promising day for us 🙂

One of the roack formations you will see along the way

One of the rock formations you will see along the way

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The Calauit Island in Busuanga, Island of Palawan was first declared as a game preserve and wildlife sanctuary by the power of Presidential Proclamation No. 1578 issued on August 31, 1976. This was in response of the Government of the Philippines to the international concern to save the diminishing numbers of African animal population in the country of Kenya, Continent of Africa. The Giraffees at Calauit island was chosen for its relative isolation, size, topography, and vegetation, which provides the necessary environmental variability.” – Source: CalauitIsland.com  

Can you travel from the town of Coron to Calauit Safari via land? – Yes!  But the length of time for travel is the same.  The thing also is you will be dropped of from a port near the Safari and take a short boatride going there.

After docking our boat, we were welcomed by their receptionist and intorduced our guide, Kuya Omar (I think? Forgot his name. Hehe!).  A native of Manila, Kuya Omar was very knowledgeable about the history of the Safari, the animals living there, the trees and plants surrounding the area.

Our very knowledgeable tour guide at Calauit Safari

Our very knowledgeable tour guide at Calauit Safari

We were first introduced to the zebras:

Some of the zebras we saw upclose at the safari

Some of the zebras we saw upclose at the safari

Then to the tall giraffes:

The giraffee family :)

The giraffe family 🙂

Kuya shows us how to feed the hungry giraffes

Kuya shows us how to feed the hungry giraffes

If you want to feed the giraffes, just pay Php 100 for the feeds.  You will be asked to go inside a gazeboo with wooden gates which allows you to feed them without the danger of getting hurt.

That's B scared while feeding the giraffes

That’s B scared while feeding the giraffes

My friend Jill whose scared, too

My friend Jill whose scared, too

I’ve been to many zoos but this is the first time that I fed animals up close.  I was quite scared after one of the giraffes planned to run and attack my friend because they have an impression that they will be harmed.  But they were behaved during this activity. After the short “feeding program”, we rode a 4×4 and roamed more.

Our cool ride

Our cool ride

Aside from the two animals, Calauit has more to offer:

Camouflage Tree and other animals at the Safari

Camouflage Tree and other animals at the Safari

After the trip, I was impressed by the move of Ferdinand Marcos with this project.  Regardless if he started this to preserve African animals or for mere tourism purposes, it was a good move to enjoy the beauty of this island.  I just hope our Department of Tourism and Department of Environment and Natural Resources will help them more to preserve the animals and this place.

Black Island

Tall Black Limestone where the Black Island took its name

Tall Black Limestone where the Black Island took its name

After spending our morning at the Safari, we went to Black Island for our lunch and bum at the beach.  The island’s sand was not black but was creamy white.  The “black” on the island are the mountains of black limestones that towers the island. Though it rained during our visit, we still have another activity to do: spelunking!

There were 2 caves in this island and I forgot the names but both have unique stories.  One have sparkling stones which the crony treasure hunters of the late Fredinand Marcos dug and found the Yamashita Treasures.

Noticed some white spots on the pic?  Those are the "sparkles" on the first cave

Noticed some white spots on the pic? Those are the “sparkles” on the first cave

The other cave has a river inside where you can see different shapes including a man on bended knees proposing to a lady.  They say that this was also a place where a certain adventure-drama tv show was shot (forgot the shows title).

Me on the second cave

Me inside the second cave

Lusong Shipwreck

A view of Lusong Gunboat Shipwreck.  Image taken from http://coronvillagelodge.com

A view of Lusong Gunboat Shipwreck. Image taken from http://coronvillagelodge.com

After staying till afternoon, we rode our boat and went in the middle of the sea to see a shipwreck.  Remember the time that we skipped 2 islands on our first day?  Instead of asking for a refund, we called our contact at Coron Galeri to include this place on our second day itinerary.  Of course, a trip to Coron will never be complete without seeing one of the many shipwrecks found under its sea. Among all the shipwrecks here in Coron, this can easily be seen and touched by snorkeling especially during low tide.

Marie and Jill went down the boat to see the Shipwreck

Marie and Jill went down the boat to see the Shipwreck

Too bad we do not have any waterproof cameras with us on our trip that we don’t have our own pictures to document what we saw.  But the ship was so near that we can even touch the boat and felt the metal with shells sticked to it.  Since it was under the sea for a long time, the wreckage became an artifical reef for corals and fishes to thrive.  After less than an hour, we decide to go back and head to mainland since the waves were dancing frantically that made me dizzy.

We have so many activities for this day that a second post is needed.  Hope you learned something to arrange your tour in Coron this summer or the next.

-Tinakits-