The other day Instagram reminded me about a spontaneous trip I had with my friend Violet eight years ago. Back in the day when there wasn’t a pandemic, when people go on a trip normally they plan it a few months in advance. The trip may be to celebrate one’s birthday or a special occasion, it can be that there’s a holiday/long weekend, or there’s a seat sale from one of the airlines. Ours was none of the above. We were just out shopping while I was in Manila when an idea suddenly popped into our minds while checking out some accessories in Forever 21- we should go on a trip to Coron so we could wear those accessories!
At that time I was working in a mine site in Benguet and was on a 21 days work-7 days field break cycle. I don’t remember though why I was in Manila at that time and two weeks after, I was on a field break again. But yeah, after we decided on going on a trip to Coron, we booked a flight immediately and two weeks later, we were on a flight to Coron.
The trip to Coron was eight years ago, so a lot may have changed already. But I still wanna share how our trip to Coron was eight years ago.
Where is Coron?
Coron is a town in the province of Palawan in the Philippines. It comprises the eastern half of Busuanga Island, all of Coron Island, and some 50 other minor islets. Coron is best known for its crystal-clear freshwater lakes, dive sites, limestone karst landscapes, and beautiful beaches. It is one of the top tourist places in the Philippines.
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Getting to Coron
From Manila, we flew to Busuanga via Airphil Express. (I had to check my email to make sure I am writing the right information). You might be wondering what is Airphil Express. It is what is now known as PAL Express. And as per the ticket, our round trip airfare was Php 5963 (~US$ 119), which I think wasn’t that expensive considering it was booked 2 weeks prior to the flight. The flight from Manila to Busuanga was 35 minutes.
From Busuanga Airport, we rode on a passenger van to Coron town proper. If I remember correctly, the fare was Php 100 (~US$ 2) per person.
Where to Stay in Coron
There are a lot of different types of accommodations in the town proper of Coron. You can check Booking.com for the biggest selection of accommodation establishments there. During our trip, we stayed at Amphibi-ko Resort. I think what I like most about the resort is that it is centrally located and has a nice view of the sea. It is located near Mt. Tapyas and the docking area for Coron island tours.
Our Coron Travel Itinerary
This was a spontaneous trip so we didn’t do much planning. I don’t remember us preparing an itinerary. I remember though that I wanted to do the safari tour. And that one of our conditions for that trip is that we can’t wear pants (just shorts, skirts, dress) for the entire trip.
Day 1: Flight to Coron, climbed Mt. Tapyas and night swimming at Maquinit Hot Spring
Our flight to Coron was 8:00 AM so before 9:00 AM we were already in Busuanga Island. I don’t remember anymore how long the van ride was from the airport to Coron town proper. After checking-in at the resort, we walked to Lualhati Park. The park is near the public market. There is a restaurant nearby where we had our lunch. In the afternoon we climbed Mt. Tapyas.
I think the reason we climbed Mt. Tapyas was that someone from the town told us you’ll get an amazing view of the whole town at the summit. (We didn’t do much research so we had to ask around for recommendations.) The climb to the top is not that easy though. You need to climb 721 steps to get to the top. At the summit, there is a giant cross.
Someone also told us that the best thing to do after climbing Mt. Tapyas is to take a dip at the Maquinit Hot Spring so when we got down the mountain, we took a tricycle to the hot spring.
Day 2: Coron Islands & Lakes Tour 2
It’s been eight years already but I still remember that we weren’t too happy with the service of the tour operator for Day 2. The tour is called Coron Islands & Lakes Tour. I booked it online with WHL Travel/Go Discover Travels. The reason we weren’t happy with them is that we had to wait more than an hour for them at the designated pick-up point, and the lunch provided wasn’t that good (compared to the lunch provided from our safari tour).
I don’t remember anymore the places we visited during the tour but below are some photos.
Day 3: Safari Tour
For our third day, we did the Safari Tour. I no longer remember the name of the tour operator, but we booked this tour at the airport in Busuanga. There were booths there when we arrived and a lady approached us and offered us their tours.
For this tour, we had to wake up super early. I think we left the docking area at 4:00 AM. It was still super dark and cold. The tour had to leave early because it takes 3 hours by boat from the town proper to Calauit Safari Park. It was worth it though. I had a great time at the park. We saw zebras, Calamian deers, freshwater crocodiles, monkeys, porcupine, bearded pig, and we even fed the giraffes.
After the safari tour, we went to Dibutunay Island. We had our lunch there. Our lunch was prepared at the boat and it was really good.
Day 4: Flight back to Manila
We had nothing planned for the fourth day because our flight back to Manila is at 9:45 AM. After checking out of the resort, we headed to the airport.
Our Coron trip was very short but it was super fun. I think it would be nice to go back to Coron someday and see how it is there now. For now, all we can do is reminisce about that spontaneous trip we did eight years ago.