The Beautiful Islands of Coron, Palawan

Another Summer, another set of islands yet to explore out of the 7,641 islands of the Philippines. Come to think of it, we only knew about about 7,107 islands back when in elementary. Thanks to NAMRIA (National Mapping and Resource Information Authority) who were tasked to discover and enlist 534 more islands making a record of 7,641 Philippines Islands to date.

This summer, we are ticking off one of the best islands in the Bucket List. I've been badgering Monchet that we go to Palawan for years but, being workaholic and someone who prefers modern cities for traveling, it didn't come to fruition until now. Thank God his family likes nature and sceneries and alas, 2018 is another blessing.

Some of Coron's most treasured views:

Welcome to the Breathtaking Islands of Coron, Philippines!

Tour duration: Good for 4D,3N 

On Day 1: Do a day tour since and immerse yourselves in local cuisine and culture. You can hire a tricycle (shared or not) to take you from point A to point B around town for only P10.00 per head. Since we were on a packaged tour, our van picked us up at our hotel at 4:00PM and headed off to our first stop, Souvenir Shop! Kinda weird to buy souvenirs on the first day though.

At the main Souvenir Center, there are three shops clustered together: Edible goods for nuts and carvings, Clothes store and an adequately sized nick nacks shop. Here you can buy all travel essentials needed for Coron Island tours, handmade stuff like woven bags, chimes, ref magnets, wallets, pearl earrings, decorative fans and the list goes on. 
Second Stop: Lualhati Park. Here you can get a glimpse of Mount Tapyas, the highest peak available for tourist viewing of Coron Islands and the sleeping giant, a set of mountains forming shape of somewhat a sleeping giant.

Third stop: San Agustin Parish Church. It was massively hit by Typhoon Yolanda and is being restored until now. Hence, the new interior of the parish has a much more vibrant and colorful appeal. We went back here end of the week to celebrate Palm Sunday 6:00am mass to which the priest was encouraging churchgoers to donate monetarily to help restore the church. If you notice only four of the pillars are decorated and colored in gold to date... the next pillars are in line once they gather enough fund to complete the restoration and beautification of the Church.

Fourth stop: Mt. Tapyas and it's 726+ steps. This literally took my breath away! I felt like I'd faint at one point but I had a good trainer haha! We were the first ones to get on top from our group. I bought ice candy from a young kid at about 600 steps up the trek, needed some energy boost from all the calories lost along the way. Athan was a terrific guide, he knows a lot about the land that he grew up in and was passionate about sharing history of Coron from atop the mountain. 

By the way, Mount Tapyas got it's name by the way it was trimmed/chipped from American bombing when the Japanese were the current invaders of the area. This is also the reason why there are shipwrecks in some areas of nearby waters, which are now part of tourist attractions in Coron.

Our fifth stop would be at Maquinit Hot Springs. It was a nice way to end a tiring and challenging day. Sorry we didn't get to take photos, we were too tired to set up whichever camera as all we wanted to do was to relax and enjoy our night. We had dinner at Santino's Grill afterwards, one of the best restaurants in town.

Day 2! Island Hopping! This trip is more scenic out of the two full day island tours arranged! No amount of heat and sunburn could stop anyone from enjoying this enchanting and equally exhausting trip.

First stop: Kayangan Lake. Yet another climb of another +300steps and another set going down. It wasn't as exhausting as Mt. Tapyas hike, but the view of the rock formations here is one of the most amazing sceneries I've seen in my life. Definitely worth the buck! People from all over the world come here to see this view.

After photo op, we headed down the other side of the rock formations for a little swim at the pristine waters of the lake. 
Next up, Skeleton Wreck. We had to swim hundreds of meters away so we can ride back up the boat so the propeller would not hit corals down below.
After all that swimming it is time for lunch! The tour package includes catered lunch at Beach 91. The food was good and eating was convenient wherein the dining area stood on stilts beside the beach where we stayed in for a while by the shed watching other people swim. 
After more than a hour lounging, we headed off to another beach good for kayak and...more swimming... The next island would by CYC beach which stands for Coron Youth Club Beach. This is the only island who does not charge entrance fees to tourists.
The Coral Garden is definitely another highlight of this trip. We saw real clams, schools of fish swimming in rich coral gardens, untouched and definitely
Back to the boat, this little guy wanted to swim with his parents so bad that we had some more time snorkeling by the corals.
And when you thought you've seen the best, you're in for another treat. Truly, photos do not give justice to nature's beauty. You have to be here in person to be able to fully appreciate it. Here's our last stop for the day, the majestic Twin Lagoon.
But before we dive in..

Enjoy the lagoon with us :)
End of Day 2 ^_^
Day 3! Island Escapade. This was wayyy more chill than the first two days. 
First stop, Bulog Dos Islands. We were picked up at 7:30am from the hotel since we had to travel earlier cause islands are far from the dock.
Lunch was set up at Banana Island, by far our favorite of the day. It's perfect to enjoy family time and just do R&R. By the way, food was cooked by the same boatmen who are on board with us. They do know how to prepare good tasty food, kudos!
Last island we visited is Malcapuya Island. Once we arrived, we picked our own cottage and got ready to snorkel again. We got close to the fish with our guide and it is yet another beautiful adventure for the books. Locals of the island also sell food and beverage for those who'd like to stay and just enjoy the view.
Day 04 is for enjoying breakfast, buying more souvenirs and packing things up and head to airport for departure.

Here are the basic things you need to know/Frequently asked questions:
During beach trips:
  1. Schedule at least 2 full days for island tours. Three if you'd like to see all the best Islands Coron has to offer.
  2. Best to wear rashguard during travel for island tours plus sunscreen for the face. You can take it off once you get to the beach.
  3. Do not forget to bring aquashoes, preferably hard soled than the sock type. This is to keep you safe in case there are stone fish, sea urchins, especially sharp edges you may accidentally step on.
  4. Dry bags are also useful in this trip. You can bring them anywhere without worrying about it getting wet or get splashed on by water during strong currents.
  5. If you do not own an adventure camera yet, you may rent adventure cam at the main souvenir shops, just be sure to bring your own memory card. 
On Day Tours:
  1. To save on cost, no need to book a day tour inland. You can get to point a to point b for just P10 per head. Yep, it's that cheap! A usual day tour is composed of souvenir shops, Lualhati Park, Cashew factory, Mt. Tapyas, and Maquinit Hot Spring.
  2. To avoid running out on food for dinner, try to order earlier for restaurants accepting reservations or come there early as they tend to get packed by dinner time.
  3. No need to dress up at night, most tourists wear simple clothing even at night, comfortable to walk around and decent enough to dine and go to a coffee shop. The people and environment here is very simple and carefree.
Restaurants on the island do serve cheap but surprisingly good tasting food that does not come short of serving! Our typical meals cost below P2,000.00, even up to P1,600 that's already good for 7pax. 
On our last night we went a little extra and took advantage of the cheap seafood prices. Lobster King was the ultimate choice.
Once again, thank you for reading my blog ^_^

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