Coron was the second stop for my cousin and I during a 10-day Palawan tour we went on in the spring of 2018.
Ferry to Coron
The day we went to Coron should have been a travel day on its own with some time to relax. But for us, it was both a travel and activity day.
When booking Palawan tours through e-Phlippines, the suggestion is to fly into either the Puerto Princesa Airport on the main island/Busuanga Airport in Coron, and then to depart from the airport you didn’t fly into.
I didn’t do that, and as a result, our trip was a little tighter than it should’ve been.
We boarded a ferry that departed El Nido at 6 a.m., arrived in Coron a little past 10 a.m., checked into our hotel, and then hit the ground running with an Island Loop tour.
Exploring Coron was a lot different from El Nido because this time around it was just me and Chia on the boat. Hah. We were expecting to be part of a tour group, but it was a private tour. This wasn’t indicated in our itinerary, but we had a lot of fun anyway despite the fact we were also both thinking this would be a more fitting for people going on a honeymoon. Or maybe for a couple celebrating an anniversary.
On a brighter note for us, apparently there have been people who book these private tours solo. Our tour guides, Aldrine and Wendell (who, fun fact, are brothers), said that usually people that do this spend their time flying drones. (So I’m going to guess they’re vloggers.)
Islands in Coron require entrance fees that weren’t covered by the tour agency we booked with. The fees aren’t too bad, though. On the first day we paid a total of about P1,600, roughly around $30 at the time.
“Dinanglet” is the local term for “big clam.” Aldrine told us that this particular island used to have a lot of big clams. Then the locals collected them and sold them to earn money. Today, you can see clam shells scattered around the island.
Aldrine also told us that the entrance fees we pay go to the locals who protect and look after the islands.
We spent the longest time at Dinanglet Island because it’s where we had lunch, which was also included in the price we paid for the tour. Of all the lunches we had on our tours, this one was my favorite. I was especially fond of the seaweed, which resembled caviar, except bigger and green. There more than enough food for Chia and I, so there were quite a bit of leftovers.
Coral Garden is a snorkeling site in Coron. I don’t have any decent photos for this site because I still didn’t have any way to document anything underwater at this point in the trip. All I got was this mediocre shot before we jumped into the water:
Because I wear glasses and have a pretty bad prescription, I’m sad to say that it was impossible for me to see much other than the bright colors of the corals and the movement of equally colorful fish. Despite this, I really observing whatever I could. I couldn’t see clearly but being able to see all the colors and fish swimming made me pretty happy. As temperatures rise and coral reefs all across the world are bleaching rapidly, witnessing a thriving ecosystem was a highlight that day.
(Plug: Watch the Netflix documentary “Chasing Coral” if you haven’t yet!)
You can check out user photos on TripAdvisor here if you’d like to see what it was like!
Barracuda Lake (Fresh Lagoon)
Here’s another spot that I didn’t get to photograph. Our tour guides said this place was called Fresh Lagoon and is named what it is because it’s 70 percent fresh water, 30 percent salt water. But when I looked it up online, I found Barracuda Lake. In any case, it’s a lake that’s made up mostly of fresh water. Wendell took Chia and I to the site after Aldrine parked the boat. We didn’t actually swim much because Wendell swam for us 😛 He brought along a safety ring that we held onto for probably 80 percent of the time while he propelled us forward.
We also brought along our snorkeling masks, though there was little to see compared to the Coral Garden.
Sources on the Internet – like this one – say that Kayangan Lake is one of the cleanest and greenest lakes in the Philippines. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is. What I did immediately recognize, however, is that this was another place in Palawan I instantly fell in love with. We sadly only spent about half an hour here because we arrived just as it was about to close.
Maquinit Hot Spring
Another popular attraction in Coron is Maquinit Hot Spring, a natural hot spring that is amazing if you like that kind of thing and if you’ve got sore muscles. This was not included in the package we booked, so we went up after the island loop tour.
You have to take a tricycle to get up there. It’s an uphill trip on dirt road. My cousin and I made the trip in the evening and the tricycle driver offered to wait for us because drivers weren’t going up there to look for passengers. Since he waited for us, we paid the guy P400 after he dropped us back to our hotel. That’s like, $8, so not bad.
Anyway, there’s a P200 entrance fee (as of this writing) to get to the hot spring. This was my first time at a natural hot spring and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a bit crowded, but there was enough space to just hang around on the side. I’m not sure what the temperature of the water was, but I actually felt like my feet were cooking in super hot water the first time I dipped them in.
There’s also a waterfall-like area at the hot spring, which is incredibly soothing if your back is aching. But even if it’s not, it feels so nice to just have the hot water fall on your back.
I don’t have a lot of good photos from the hot spring because it was dark, but here are a few okay ones that I snapped in the surrounding area: