Coron Philippines Beach Questing

CORON In large letters on the top of the hill over Coron Town Proper with a cross.

Coron Philippines The Last Excursion

The Wisconsin Skier floating in blue waters with an open can of San Miguel Beer
CHEERS!

The last excursion was to Coron Palawan Philippines. Which occurred in the middle of our excursion to Cebu. We left my wife’s hometown and motored to Cebu City where we stayed with a “brother-in-law” at his boarding house. We then took a fast ferry to Bohol and spent a night there which deserves and will get its own article too. After we returned from Bohol we then spent a night again at Noy Lito’s and then it was off to the airport for yet another flight. The flight was then a short flight to Francisco B. Reyes airport on Busuanga. While in Coron we spent the time in the company of family and maximized our time in, on, and around tropical ocean waters.

The weather was perfect. The weather was warm but cool ocean breezes and available shading helped us keep our cool.

Disclaimer

As is usually the case I will be discussing merchandise, services, hotels and the like here. None of those “products” were comped and all were paid for with personal funds. I have no direct (or indirect) financial interest in any of the goods and services thus noted.

Beach Quest

a Cebu Pacific Turbo Prop plane being loaded with luggage
Sunny Cebgo!

While Cebu’s airport is a major airport it was generally hassle free, but we did have to weigh our carry on bags and they required us to repack and check in one bag. One thing I really like about traveling in groups in the Philippines is they sum up the total baggage allowance of the group and then allow you to redistribute your packing among the group. However, at first they thought I was traveling alone, hmm I wonder why that would be? This time we were flying on a turboprop plane and I thought this meant lower flying which I translate to bumpier flying. Fortunately, the skies were smooth and the flight was not long. We then disembarked from the plane and quickly made our way out of the airport where our hotel transport was waiting for us.

Ski or Beach Bum? Yes!

The ride to the Zuri resort was smooth and maybe a bit shorter than our flight. On arrival to the Zuri Resort we checked in and settled in. We then met two of our nephews who were already there waiting for us and then it was to dinner. The dinner at the hotel was good but they only sold wine by the bottle and I was having wine and I ordered salmon. My nephews had steaks so they split a bottle of red but I ended up sharing a bit of the white with my brother-in-law. The meal was good, I had some mushroom soup with it too and I have no complaints about the meal.

This was also a beautiful hotel and this time the view outside of our window was looking out to the ocean instead of a swimming pool. The room was spacious and very comfortable.

Coron Day 1

So, what is there to do in Coron?

First off, we stayed in Coron Town Proper. Coron is the east half of the island of Busunga which is different from Coron Island which is a short ride across the water from Coron Town Proper. Our trip started with our tour-guide John reminding us we came to Coron to view the natural beauty and not the hospital. So the first day was spent tooling around in the bangka around Coron Island. The first stop was at place were freshwater was dumping into the ocean and we donned our gear and jumped in. I did not snorkel here opting instead for some lazy bobbing. I wore my life vest and just soaked. A guy on a small bangka approached ours and he was selling snacks and drinks – including some San Miguel – how could I resist? I bought a couple of San Migs, stuffed one in my life jacket and got into the water. I popped the one and drank my San Mig in the water, yes I have proof!

Looking out over a multi-hued blue ocean shore
The Lunch “cafeteria”

Stops that day included a stop for snorkeling in the open ocean and then we got off the bangka onto Coron Island and did some fairly substantial hiking (not long but it included a decent stair climb and descent) and arrived at a place called Baracuda Lake. We then jumped in and snorkeled around. The water was clear but the sun was getting low. Despite the ability to see, there was not much to see the only thing of real interest to me where shoals of small garfish. Also interesting was one of the guides was putting on a show with his ability to dive deeply. Regardless, the water was warm and that was what we came for. Notable too is they required us to be wearing life-jackets which after getting in was okay as I said, the water did not have much of interest to see.

The lunch they served was the standard stuff – fish, rice, pinakbet, barbecue, local fruits, etc. I enjoyed it all.

Our trip to Boracay was “marred” (not really) by someone coming down with tequilaitis and we did have one illness victim on this trip. The day we were scheduled to go on our second trip my sister-in-law came down with something that we all believe to be food-poisoning. Only her, and we were all eating from the same pool of food. So the second day’s excursion we left without my my sister & brother in law. As we pulled away from the dock it was obvious there was some sort of problem with the bangka and eventually John announced we needed to turn back and get into a different bangka. It cost us some time and while I don’t know the nature of the problem I am glad John was practicing his preaching about being safe.

Coron Day 2

This was the better and more ambitious trip of the two days. We crossed Coron bay to the island on the edge of the Sulu Sea. The waves were definitely larger in the middle of they bay but nowhere near big enough to cause me worry. However, we were all in agreement it was kind of a blessing my sister-in-law wasn’t along as she would have been in major fear. My wife and her family are not beach people but mountain people. I quite enjoyed the ride and it was obvious the men crewing the boat knew what they were doing.

A windswept ocean spit
MAHANGIN! WINDY!

The second day involved three stops, the first being a stop on a island/spit. The wind was just howling and at times it felt like being in a sandblaster. I turned on my activity tracker and made a lap around the spit – lol you know my intent – put that activity onto Strava for all to see not because of the awesome effort but the awesome location! Then we had a lunch stop on Bulog Dos Island! I’ll not go into the details it was the usual stuff. Then we scrambled back onto the bangka for the last stop of the day.

The last stop involved snorkeling. We disembarked on an island and did some hoofing. We arrived at a beach donned our snorkeling gear, and then grabbed hold of another bankga and they towed us out to deeper water. Then they stopped and provided us Skyflakes which we then provided to the fish which would swarm our hands to get a nibble. After that, they towed us back and we hung out on the beach and had some very good ube turon! The vendor touted it as no-sugar added turon and yeah, none was needed.

On the way back to the bangka my nephew and I took up the rear guard and we heard some weird noises and stopped to spot the source. Henryk, then spotted a money in a nearby tree so out came our cameras. It was also apparent it was not the monkeys making the noise but we figured it was a bird of some sort. The guide asked if the monekys were big and immediately I said “’di ko alam” – I don’t know.

So, then it was back to Coron Town Proper. The wind and the seas had settled down a bit but again I noted definite difference in the seas in the middle of the bay as opposed to the sides. We got to enjoy a beautiful sunset on the water and arrived back shortly after nightfall. We went and checked on my sister in law and she did end up going to the ospital and they gave her a drip. However, she was mostly back to right. Then we cleaned up, had some dinner, and visited the night-spot for some karoke. After the karoke it was back to the room and prepare for our return to Manila.

My Impressions

Whitecaps on a choppy blue sea
Not Bad

The one drawback about Coron in comparison to Boracay is there was no readily available beach from the hotel. The frontage we looked over was not a proper beach. In addition, our hotel was far from the market and its accompanying restaurants. After our first day we located a restaurant but had to hire transportation to get there, not a big deal but even on the trisikads it was a significant trip. Were we stayed in Boracay was close to the beach, the market, the restaurants, and all the nightspots. Admittedly, Coron is known to be a more serene spot and it definitely lived up to that reputation.

So, would I go back? I want to say yes but not being able to immediately say it means I’ll probably not be back. Do I regret going? NO, I definitely enjoyed my time there. I’ll go back to Palawan but I’ll try to steer to El-Nido which has a more of a beach-party reputation (akin to Boracay). While I did not mind the serenity I definitely did not like the feeling of being stuck at the hotel for dinners and the like. This is not a knock on the location or the hotel just more of me than anything.

Coron Basic Travel Facts

Getting There

To get to Coron Town Proper by air you need to get to Francisco B Reyes airport in Busuanga. There are also ferries that go from Manila to Busuanga but mind you it takes about a 13 hour passage.

Lodging

Night scene of travellers in front of their hotel
One last group photo

Again, there is a wide variety of places to stay in Coron Town Proper and around Coron Island. You can stay in posh hotels or resorts or if you are travelling on a tight budget there are basic places to stay too. While I found the Zuri resort to be nice and I would not mind staying there again, if I go back to Coron I’ll be looking for another option due to its remote location.

Communication

Like anywhere in the Philippines you will be able to get by with English. However, I did run into one instance where someone helping us out appeared to not understand English (or was just ignoring me or did not understand I was asking a question of him). Again, the English will have the Filipino accent but you will get by. Also as I always say here make an effort to learn some Filipino (here I believe Bisayan is the dominant strain of language, but usually everyone who speaks Bisayan also knows Tagalog) and they will appreciate it.

If your phone is capable get an eSim in advance of arriving. I put an eSim on my wife’s phone and it worked well. I OTOH, used a pocket wifi to provide data connectivity. The pocket wifi worked well enough but it was another thing to manage, charge, and track.

Money

We had plenty enough Pesos when we arrived so I did not need to track down a 7-11 (which would have been a pain given our hotel’s distance from the market). Whenever, I needed to I used my credit card and that worked without a problem. Remember, before departing home call your credit and debit card companies and let them know the whens and wheres of your trip.

Would I Go Back?

If a group I was part of wanted to go back, I would. However, if I have my say, I’ll direct the group to El Nido.

One Last Call Out

I want to explicitly call out I Capture Travel Services. Their and John’s attention to safety in making the call to swap the boat is much appreciated. John had a good rapport and sense of humor with us and he definitely knew the ins and outs of Coron. I do recommend seeking them out if you find yourself in Coron looking for things to do!

Good Stuff!

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