Coron: A Newbie Traveler’s First Solo Adventure

Coron A Newbie Traveler's First Solo Adventure

I know that it’s not that easy to plan a trip and it’s not at all CHEAP to travel. Airfare would consume a huge chunk in my budget, plus my accommodation, then I have to spend for the tours, of course I need to eat (A LOT!), and not to forget the souvenirs. But I have to start somewhere to make it happen…Coron seemed to be a great place to start.

Around late April 2016, Skyjet Airlines had a seat sale to Coron for PHP 888 base fare per way and after 1-2 hours spent on refreshing its website’s booking page, I bagged a promo fare for only PHP 2,341.00 (Roundtrip Manila-Coron via Busuanga-Manila) all-in. Regular airfare with Skyjet going to Coron would cost you as much as PHP 2,800 - 4,900 per way all-in, so you really need to scour for promo fares to save a lot. You can also check out promo fares with Cebu Pacific and Philippines Airlines (PAL Express). That was one big hurdle I’ve overcame.

Skyjet Coron
Watch Out for Promo Fares 🙂

Next, I need to look for a place to stay. Coron, being a premier vacation destination has a lot of hotels that cater to luxurious, mid-range, budget and backpacker type of travelers that range from as high as PHP 25,000 / night in a private resort to as low as PHP 500 / night in a backpacker guest house. As for me, I opted for a backpacker type hotel to save money and I found Seahorse Guest House’s dormitory-type room to be the best fit for my needs. Priced at PHP 750 / night with free breakfast, the room is air-conditioned, includes a private toilet and bath with hot and cold shower, there are 4 beds in a room meaning I get to share it with other people which I do not mind since I only need a place to sleep. I inquired for the room availability and after a few exchange of emails with Sir Marc, I booked it.

That was two down, only one more to go – the tours. Since I’m on a solo trip, the best option for me is to join group tours to cut on the cost. I stumbled upon some articles that recommend Corong Galeri a.k.a. Calamianes Expedition and Eco-Tours and arranged a tour with them. That was the last piece in my preparations; I was all set and was just waiting for my travel dates on Jun 7-10, 2016.

A few weeks had passed and the day came, my flight schedule was on a Tuesday at 10:30 AM. Boarding started around 10:00 AM. As I was approaching the plane, I was thinking if I will take my camera out from my bag. I was a bit hesitant at first but I took it out anyway and captured some shots of the plane from a distance. Then I boarded the plane smiling to myself, I don’t know how to describe it but I was happy and excited, but I don’t want anyone to know kind of feeling. It was a short flight from Manila to Coron and 40 minutes later we touched down at Francisco B. Reyes Airport in Busuanga Island, Coron, Palawan. The airport is located up on the mountains and to get to Coron Town I needed to take a van.

Francisco B Reyes Airport Busuanga Coron
Up on the hills of Busuanga Island, it is a 35 minute drive from Coron Town

The regular rate for the van was PHP 150 and the travel time from the airport to Coron Town was approximately 35 minutes. I was dropped off at Seahorse Guest House by 12:15H, I immediately checked-in to get some rest before starting on my escapade. My room, or should I say my bed, was already prepared when I arrived. I was assigned on the top bunk, there was no one in the room but the other 3 beds were already occupied. It was clean and comfortable, the shower room was located near the main door and it was separate from toilet which was in the middle then there was a lavatory situated before the beds. I also have my own locker; it was spacious that it can fit my whole backpack. The hotel staff starting from the security, the servers, to the receptionists were all very courteous, always smiling and helpful. Most importantly, it was only within a five to fifteen minute walk radius from the tour office, souvenir shops, public market, church, banks, park, and the island hopping boat port and most food establishments which was actually impressive.

Seahorse Guest House Coron
Affordable, Nice and Friendly Staff, Conveniently located at the center of Town

I went to Corong Galeri to confirm my tour for the next day and had lunch before starting on my DIY Biking tour around town. I went all over the town on a mountain bike from 14:30H – 17:30H, it cost me PHP 300 (PHP 100/hour).

Biking in Coron Palawan
You can explore Coron Town on a bike

I went to Mt. Tapyas and hiked to its peak. 723 steps and forty minutes later, I have reached its top, at last! I can see the whole town of Coron from the deck. It was the best spot to watch the sunset but it was cloudy at that time. In fact, it rained a few minutes after I got to summit. I got stranded at Mt. Tapyas due to heavy rains and was able to get back to the base around 20:00H.

Mt. Tapyas Coron
A view from Mt. Tapyas overlooking Coron Bay

With my stomach already grumbling, I went to Lolo Nonoy’s for dinner located just along the National Road near the church. It is where the locals would direct you if you want a satisfying Filipino home-cooked meal. You can order from the menu but if you do not want to wait you can order some ready to eat food from their counter. The price of each dish on the counter ranges from PHP60 – PHP90 and it was really good.

IMG_1291

The following day is the start of my island hopping tour. We went to Malcapuya Island, Banana Island and Bulog Island. These islands all have powdery white sand beaches, clear waters and mesmerizing views. It was a whole day spent in paradise.

Coron Palawan
Turquoise clear waters

We returned to Coron town by 17:20H, I headed back to the hotel for a quick rest, and then I traveled to Maquinit Hot Spring. I hailed a tricycle, the standard fare was PHP 300 round trip, there was an entrance fee of PHP 200; the tour cost a total of PHP 500. The road going to the hot spring was not all paved a few kilometers near the site was off road. Travel time from town to the hot spring was fifteen minutes. The place was very close to nature, there were some huts and tables made of hardwood. A large rustic round pool was constructed close to the sea. The water was too hot. This was very different from the other hot springs that I’ve tried. I need to gradually put my whole body under the water. At first, it felt like I’ve been burnt by boiling water, but eventually my body adjusted to the spring’s temperature. After a few minutes of having my body underwater, I found myself sweating. I began to catch my breath and felt tired with just sitting on the steps doing nothing. The water temperature increased my heart rate and stirred my metabolism. Maquinit Hot Spring is open until 20:00H but if you’re already inside the premises you can stay until 22:00H. I packed up at 19:30H and journeyed back to the hotel.

Maquinit Hot Spring Coron
Maquinit Hot Spring
Maquinit Hot Spring Coron
A view from Maquinit Hot Spring
Maquinit Hot Spring Coron
Maquinit Hot Spring Cottages
Maquinit Hot Spring Coron
Maquinit Hot Spring Pool

I went to Carl’s BBQ for dinner. The ambiance at Carl’s was pleasant. They have a few huts good for couples or groups to dine in. Price was mid-range from PHP 120 -PHP 300. Unfortunately for me, my experience at Carl’s was not up to par. My food came in after more than an hour with no explanation nor apologies. I didn’t mind waiting if it was worth it, but the food was not that good. I went back to the hotel with a full stomach but not a happy one.

I started my day early at 06:00H and by 08:00H I was already at Corong Galeri for my tour. This time I signed up for Tour B1, to visit more islands (CYC Beach, Siete Pecados, Calachuchi Beach, Calachuchi Coral Eden, Hidden Lagoon plus Kayangan Lake). It was all about fun water activities and discovering the world under the sea.

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Kayangan Lake Coron
From the View Deck of Kayangan Lake

I went for the last time at Lolo Nonoy’s for dinner after I bought some souvenirs at Coron Souvenir and Gift Shop also along the National Road. The next day, I was picked up at the hotel around 10:00H to get to the airport.

Coron is the type of vacation destination where there is so much to do, with so little time. It felt like I can go back again and again and I would never get tired of what it has to offer.

Here was my 4D / 3N Itinerary

Day 1 - Exploring Coron Town on a Mountain Bike

10:30H-11:10H Departure from (MNL) Manila Domestic Airport Terminal 4 via Sky Jet
11:10H-11:40H Arrival at (USU) Busuanga Airport / Baggage Claim
11:40H-12:15H Travel from airport to Hotel/Accommodation in Coron Town (Around 35 mins)
12:30H-13:00H Quick Rest
13:00H-13:30H Visit Corong Galeri to book tours for the following day
13:30H-14:30H Lunch at Carinderia (Canteen)
14:30H-17:30H Rented a bike and go around town.
17:30H-20:00H Off to Mt. Tapyas.
20:00H-21:00H Dinner at Lolo Nonoy’s
21:00H Back to hotel

Day 2 – Alluring Beaches of Malcapuya, Banana, and Bulog Islands

06:00H Wake up
07:00H-07:30H Breakfast
08:00H Meet up at Corong Galeri office for the Tour
08:30H Off to the Island Hopping Boat Port
09:45H-11:15H Boat ride to Malcapuya Island
11:15H-14:00H Stay at Malcapuya Island
14:00H-15:30H Hop to Banana Island (Additional Php 300)
15:30H-16:10H Transfer to Bulog Island
16:10H-17:20H Travel back to Coron Town
18:00H-19:30H Maquinit Hot Spring
20:15H-21:30H Dinner at Carl’s BBQ
21:40H Back to hotel

Day 3 – Island Hopping on Coron’s Prized Wonders

06:00H Wake up
07:00H-07:30H Breakfast
08:00H Meet up at Corong Galeri office for the Tour
08:30H Off to the Island Hopping Boat Port
09:45H-10:30H CYC Beach
10:30H-11:30H Siete Pecados Marine Park
11:30H-12:00H Hidden Lagoon
12:00H-13:00H Lunch at Calachuchi Beach
13:00H-13:45H Calachuchi Coral Garden
14:10H-14:40H Hike to Kayangan
14:40H-16:00H Kayangan Lake
16:00H-16:30H Back to Coron Town
18:00H-19:00H Buy souvenirs
19:00H-20:00H Dinner at Lolo Nonoy’s
20:10H Back to Hotel

Day 4 – Until Next Time

06:30H Wake up
07:00H-07:30H Breakfast
10:00H-11:00H Travel to Busuanga Airport
12:00H-13:20H Travel from (USU) Busuanga Airport to (MLA) Manila Domestic Airport Terminal 4. The travel time was supposed to be 40 mins but we landed late in Manila due to airport traffic.

Daily Breakdown of Expenses

Day 1

PHP 250 Manila Airport food expense
PHP 200 Busuanga Airport food expense for my mom and my sister
PHP 150 Van transfer from Airport to Hotel
PHP 150 Lunch (Carinderia)
PHP 300 Bike rental – 100/hour x 3 hours
PHP 380 Dinner @ Lolo Nonoy’s
PHP 1,430 Total

Day 2

PHP 950 Tour-C Malcapuya Island
PHP 300 Additional for Banana and Bulog Islands
PHP 150 Snorkel and mask rental
PHP 500 Maquinit Hot Spring – 300 RT tricycle fare, 200 hot spring entrance fee
PHP 330 Dinner @ Carl’s BBQ
PHP 2,230 Total

Day 3

PHP 650 Tour-B1 Siete Pecados, CYC Beach, Calachuchi Beach, Calachuchi Coral Eden, Hidden Lagoon
PHP 300 Additional for Kayangan Lake
PHP 1,020 Souvenirs
PHP 230 Dinner @ Lolo Nonoy’s
PHP 2,200 Total

Day 4

PHP 150 Van transfer from Hotel to Busuanga Airport
PHP 100 Terminal Fee
PHP 250 Total

Overall Expense

PHP 2,341 Roundtrip Airfare
PHP 2,250 Lodging - 750/night x 3
PHP 1,430 Day 1
PHP 2,230 Day 2
PHP 2,200 Day 3
PHP 250 Day 4
PHP 10,701 Grand Total – 4D/3N Coron Solo Travel

I was able to apply some of the tips/guides that I have read about DIY/budget traveling for my first trip. It can still be lowered but I think that it was not too bad for a first-timer and that was quite an accomplishment for me.

How about you? When are you going to start on your own adventure?

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Coron A Newbie Traveler's First Solo Adventure Portrait

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I have always yearned to try out new things but I tend to procrastinate or too reluctant to take that first step to making it happen and being an introvert only made it even harder. When In My Journeys is all about stepping out of that comfort zone and bringing all those aspirations come to life while exploring different places, trying the not so familiar things and meeting new souls.
Seize the moment! Let us all Go Out, Travel, Enjoy and Live Life!

0 Comments

  1. Kat
    2016-10-27

    I was recently in the Philippines and have learnt about Coron. Wow, I didn’t know it was that beautiful! Thanks for sharing your itinerary – a good start for Coron newbies like me. Hope to get there some day 🙂

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2016-10-28

      Thank you for visiting my blog and for finding it useful. You should definitely go to Coron on your next travel to the Philippines.

      Reply
  2. Miggy Neutron
    2016-10-24

    Thanks for following my site. Hey, you’ve got an awesome corner here.

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2016-10-25

      Thank you Miggy Neutron. Yours is awesome as well. Continue doing what you’re doing. 🙂

      Reply
  3. SueT唐 梦 琇
    2016-10-07

    Again stunning photos. Love the colour of the water. What a great time you had.

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2016-10-08

      It was certainly a great time spent in Coron. You should go there too, you’ll definitely love it. Thank you for noticing my work.

      Reply
  4. The Moment Keepers
    2016-09-04

    Beautiful Coron!

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2016-09-05

      Indeed! Thanks for dropping by.

      Reply

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