A Hidden Gem, Coron Island, Philippines

Welcome to one of the world’s top 10 places to see before you die, Coron Island!  I always say this is a hidden gem because no one really knows about it.  When people go to the Phillippeans, Palawan kind of takes the crown for the prettiest place in the world.  Which is stunningly gorgeous, but, Coron island needs some lovin’ as well!!  I’ve never  seen anything like this in my life and out of all of my time I spent in the Philippines, Coron was my favorite.

With this being a hidden gem, it’s not really easily reachable.  Unless you buy a plane ticket from Manila and fly there, which won’t be cheap.  I was in El Nido and booked a return ticket to Manila from Coron.  Little did I know getting to Coron from El Nido would be a ride to remember.  I booked a boat ticket thinking it would be a normal ferry ride from Palawan, and boy was I wrong!  When the lady sold me the ferry ticket, she gave me a description about the boat and even said it even had wi-fi.  So I’m thinking its a bigger inclosed ferry and the wifi will be a hit or miss.  When I arrived to the pier, there was the typical SE Asia long tail fishing boat setting there next to some other big cargo ships.  So I’m like, “maybe I’m going on the cargo ships?”  Nope, you guessed it.  The long tail boat was the ferry.  It held about 25 people and there were benches setting on both sides.  In the back there was a piece of ply wood for a door and hole in the bottom of the boat for a toilet.  I was thinking to myself. Am I really about to be on this boat in the open ocean for about 6 hours??? It was one of those things I’m glad i did it, but ill never do it again.

Once I arrived on Coron I loved it. It was cleaner, nicer and less touristy than El Nido. I made my way to my hotel that I booked called Coron Paradise Bed and Breakfast.  It was around $18usd a night and was worth every penny!  Once I got settled in, I made my way into town to explore.  There is pretty much two main roads in the town area where all the bars and restaurants are located.  You can get lost because the town itself is fairly small.  There is a street food stand that you can’t miss on one of the main roads.  It right in front of the road that takes you to the Sea Dive Resort off of Don Pedro Street.

The No Name bar was where I spent a majority of my time at night.  There is always a good crowd.  I met a couple of Filipino guys one night who were eating at the street food stand.  They were from the states, but was on vacation visiting family.  We went to the market and grabbed some beers and went down by boardwalk and drank for a while one night.  It was really nice and relaxing,  And for the most part, fairly safe for 1am.

While I was walking though town, I shopped around for the best price tours.  When you go to all these beautiful islands, there are tons of tour options to take.  Most of them are broken up into different islands tours.  Usually ranging from 3-4 islands/reefs/lagoons in a tour mixed in with some snorkeling and or kayaking.  They also include lunch.  But I would advise to bring some snacks and extra water.  The only reason I went to Coron Island was to see Kayangan Lake.  Which should be very high your bucket list.  There was two tours available with other options to see the lake.  So I just picked one.  I didn’t really care as long as I got to see what I went there for.

On the day of my tour, I was picked up by transportation and taken to the pier.  It was me, 4 Chinese kids, and a couple from California.  We got on our long-boat and away we went.  They stopped a couple of times on really small islands so we could get out and fullsizeoutput_dbdsnorkel and enjoy the views and the reefs.  The water was so clear and all the coral was so beautiful.  I quickly made friends with our tour guide because I was an excellent
swimmer, and I had a GoPro.  He immediately took me really far out in the middle of nowhere to show me a reef at one of our stops.

After some coral hunting out next stop was an old sunken war ship.  We got to swim around it and get some cool pictures.  If you’re not a good swimmer you can’t really see it fullsizeoutput_fa0all that much because you have to dive down under water about 15 feet to get a good look at it.

Next, we stopped at a little deserted island for lunch that our tour guides had IMG_4046prepared.  They grilled some fish on the back of the boat throughout the day for us to eat along with some rice and fruits.  This is where I learned how to eat a fish when it’s served to you with the head and everything still attached.  The one Chinese girl knew I had no idea that I was doing, so she helped me out.  I also learned here that in the Philippines, they usually don’t use IMG_4062silverware to eat.  Everything is done with their hands.  There a technique to scooping rice with your fingers and eating it.  After all this, I will have to say, the grilled fish was incredibly delicious!
Once we got back on the boat, and headed for our next stop.  We came up into a lagoon type cove.  Here we got to get out and swim around for a while and just enjoy the turquoise blue water.  Off inside the actual lagoon, there was a place you can climb up and jump off into the water.  That kept me pretty entertained for a while. fullsizeoutput_da2

Our final stop was Kayangan Lake.  Just pulling inside the cove was breath-taking.  I could barely wait to get to the top.  And with that being said, I was told it was it was a hike to get there, and by a hike, I mean about 300 steps up.  I started my ascend up and wasn’t even bothered by all the steps because of the views. Once I got to the top and turned around, I knew that postcard picture moment was worth every last step up.

After taking a few pictures of what I came so far for, it was time to go to the actual lake.  You have to walk on the other side of the hill you just climbed up and down some more stairs and it opens up into this secret lake. The crystal clear water was pretty cold.  IMG_4128But after that hike, it felt very refreshing!  I swam around and looked at everything I could.  The views underneath were so amazing.  There was a couple little caves you could swim inside and look around.  After spending about an hour here at the lake we all made our day back to the boat to head back to shore.  The whole tour took all day, 8-5.  And its pretty exhausting when your finished.

When I arrived back at the pier I went for a beer at No Name Bar to relax after my long day.  I ended up meeting up with my tour guide from the boat that day at a bar for a couple of beers and to show him some of my GoPro footage of him being on it.  My flight left the following morning to Manila. So I was really bummed I didn’t have another day to do another tour here, but my 30 day visa was up and I had to fly out.  A lot of people come there to dive.  It’s actually bigger here than in Palawan.  There were tons of divers all over the place when we were doing our tour.  So if diving is your thing, then defiantly get here! You will not be let down!

Also, you don’t actually stay on Coron Island.  The island you stay on is called Busuanga Island, which is a fairly large island.  The town on the south part of Busuanga is called Coron, and the actual Coron Island sets off to the southeast with all the lakes on it.  I stayed in the Coron proper town because its close to everything and that’s where pretty much everything  is located.  You can find a couple of resorts throughout the island in different locations if you want to be more secluded and away from everything. But don’t expect much.  Remember to book your plane tickets in advance because flights are limited to get on and off the island.  But getting stuck here wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen to you!

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