Where I was going to spend my vacation last Holidays wasn’t decided upon until the very last minute. Early last year I had already set my eyes on Coron, Palawan, and was even able to book a very cheap seat sale from Coron to Manila. The plan was to be on the look out for another seat sale and see if I could grab another one, this time from Manila to Coron. But about a month before the planned trip I still wasn’t able to book a flight going to Coron so I started looking for an alternative location. I had a friend who will be staying in Romblon for the rest of December so I figured I could stay with them for a few days ’til Christmas and then ride a boat going to Boracay (only 4-5hrs away) where I’d spend New Year’s Eve. Sounded like a good plan, so I booked my 2GO Shipping (travel.2go.com.ph) ticket already and even my plane ticket going back to Manila from Boracay. Unfortunately due to a misunderstanding literally about 3 days before my trip, I decided to cancel and push through instead with my original plan – Coron, Palawan. Luckily 2GO also had routes to Palawan so I didn’t have to book a plane ticket which prices were skyhigh already because it was just a few days away.
The ship left Manila around 6pm and arrived in Coron the following day around 7am. At the pier there were tricycles waiting for passengers. Coron town is very small so you just tell them the name of your hotel and you’ll be dropped off there (P10/head, 10-15mins travel time). (If you took the plane, there were passenger vans at the Busuanga Airport with a P150/head fare, 30mins travel time).
On the first day, I decided to walk around town (everything was walking distance except the Maquinit Hot Springs). My first stop was Mt. Tapyas, where you can find a view point at the top of a flight of 700 stairs. Best times to go there were very early in the morning for sunrise or late in the afternoon to catch the sunset. There were resting areas along the stairs but bring water.
At Mt. Tapyas, I met Ross who was also planning to go to Maquinit Hot Springs so we decided to go together and split the tricycle fare (P300 back and forth, can wait for 1 hour, but you will have to pay extra if you let them wait more than that). The Maquinit Hot Springs is about 20 minutes away from Coron town and is open until 8PM.
On the second day I didn’t do much but I booked my tours for the next few days with through the hotel. One tour will take up 1 whole day. I booked Tour A (P650, Kayangan Lake included), Tour B (P750, Twin Lagoon and Barracuda Lake included), and Tour C (P1200, Malcapuya and Banana Island included). One good thing about Coron was that booking the tours was very convenient because the hotel can book it for you, and the tour people will pick you up at your hotel.
First up was Tour C:
Unfortunately, Tour A was cancelled due to the typhoon. It didn’t directly hit Coron but the coast guard didn’t allow the boats to sail out maybe because of the strong currents. Boat trips going to El Nido were also cancelled for 2 days. This was when I realized that it was actually a good thing that I cancelled my Romblon-Boracay trip because Boracay was exactly where the typhoon was at that time. I was bummed by the fact that I wasn’t able to see Kayangan Lake, the main attraction. But there’s always next time.
With nothing to do, I spent my morning at my favorite cafe that I found on the first day (for the free Wifi), and went over to Sinugba for lunch. When I got there, I noticed that I was the only customer and was greeted by a young lady (I’m guessing she’s the owner), and informed me that they had limited menu for that day because her staff didn’t come to work (it was New Year’s Eve). I said I’ll take what she was offering.
(I screened grabbed this from Twitter because I lost the pic. Lol.)
After lunch, I met with the 2 Canadians (whom I met during one of the tours) and 2 Aussies, and motorbiked our way to Bali Beach, about 30 minutes from Coron Town. The beach wasn’t that good, so I didn’t bother taking pictures. My new acquaintances liked it a lot, though.
The town had prepared a New Year’s Eve celebration at the plaza so after dinner we headed out and continued the party over there. Funny thing was that most of the locals were just sitting at the bleachers watching the foreigners/tourists dance in the middle of the basketball court. But by midnight (and more booze), more of them also joined the dancing.
This trip was one of the most fun I went to. I met about 15 people of 5 different nationalities, with different stories and perspectives. Solo travel doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be alone. For me it actually does the opposite. You discover things about yourself, pushes you to be independent, assertive, and above all, be open to meeting new friends! 🙂
Where I stayed:
Luis Bay Travellers Lodge
-Starts at P500/night with private bathroom, towel, WIFI
Coron Backpackers Guesthouse
-Starts at P500/night, shared bathroom, towel, WIFI, free coffee, water, free use of kitchen, ref
Carinderias – P50-P70/meal
Restaurants – P150-P250/meal
Tricycles – P10/head
Van (to or from airport) – P150
*Vans are your only option going to the airport, just advise your hotel and they will arrange a pick up for you.