Pardon the travel agency-like title but this post will chronicle my 4D/3N solo backpacking trip in Coron, Palawan. Coron boasts of scenic natural attractions topped by the twin lakes of Kayangan and Barracuda. For budget travelers, the cheap/Piso flights to Coron are one of the most sought-after flights where schedules are usually gone within an hour after the airlines' announcements. Luckily, eight months ago, I was able to book a two-way flight to Coron for only around Php 1,100.Here is my day-to-day account of my travel-adventure in Coron.
Day 1. Touchdown Busuanga. The airport is located on the north side of Busuanga and is around 20km from Coron town. Van is available to transport passengers from the airport to Coron. Fare is Php 150. If you do not have a hotel booked yet, the driver of the van is a good source of information and will even drop you-off your hotel of choice. There are numerous accommodations in Coron from the high-end to the budget rooms. I looked for a place that fronts the sea and Sea Dive Resort is just perfect for me. Fan rooms are around Php 700 while aircon rooms are around Php 1,300. Try to negotiate for a cheaper rate, 'coz that is what I did, I got the aircon room for my entire stay there for a lot cheaper price.
After I have settled in, I went to Santino's Grill to have late lunch. Then, I went to Makinit Hot Springs, a salt-water hot spring surrounded by mangroves. My initial plan was just to shoot the place but it was lightly drizzling so it was not a good time to shoot. Also, the hot spring is very inviting so when I dipped-in, it was so soothing that I just want to relax there for a little while. Entrance fee to Makinit is Php 150. To go there, you can hire a tricycle or a motorcycle for Php 100 one-way. You can opt to let the driver wait for you so you have a ride back to town for Php 300.
My second and third day in Coron is all about island hopping. What I like about Coron is that there are packaged day tour offered by operators there where you just pay a fixed fee and that includes going to several set itineraries with lunch included. We all know that it is very burdensome and expensive for solo travelers to rent a boat just to explore the islands. So it is very comforting that a whole-day trip to the islands will cost you a lot less plus you get to meet various travelers from other places who will share the boat with you.
My Day 2 Island hopping trip cost me Php 800 and included trips to Kayangan Lake, Siete Pecados, CYC Beach, Blue Lagoon and some other places where we snorkeled. Lunch of crabs, grilled fish and eggplant were served in the docking area of Kayangan Lake.
Day 3 Island hopping cost me Php 950 and took me to Barracuda Lake, Banol Beach, Twin Lagoon, Coral Reef and Skeleton Reef among others. Lunch of grilled pork, grilled fish and seaweed salad were served on a beach.
The island hopping tours usually starts early at 7 am and ends at around 4 pm. For breakfast, there are several restaurants located around town from budget-friendly (lots of carenderia in town proper with price range from Php 50 to Php 100 per meal), to more expensive ones (Big Momma, Coron Grill with price range from Php 200 to Php 500 per meal). At night, you can stroll in the plaza and enjoy some of their street foods or you may want to dance the night away in some of their cheap girly bars.
My last day in Coron was spent climbing Mount Tapyas in the early morning where magnificent view of the islands await. Jump-off to Mount Tapyas is just walking distance from the Town Proper so you need not ride anything. Also, there is no entrance fee to climb the 742 steps leading to the once-stood Giant Cross.
Flight back to Manila is usually around noon. You can ask your hotel/lodge staff to arrange for your pick-up by vans going to the airport.
That's it, my 4D/3N adventure in Coron. A mixed case of DIY and packaged tours. I have budgeted Php 2,500 for a day for room, tour and food but I was not able to exceed them each day. But even if I do, I didn't mind 'coz you just can't buy experience - it's priceless.