Coron island- the shipwreck capital of the Philippines, part of Calamian group of islands located at the northern tip of Palawan- Lonely Planet’s #8 in the top 10 list of the worlds best regions for 2013. With it’s pristine calm water perfect for snorkeling and wreck diving and just less than an hour from Manila, this destination might make your summer the most memorable one so far.
Even if you’re not a diver you will really appreciate the island’s pristine and tranquil beauty. With it’s hidden beach pockets, hot springs to lagoons and freshwater lakes, you will never run out of things to explore in this magnificent island. The jagged limestone formation are very intimidating. There are many attractions you can discover in Coron Island alone. It is a black limestone island with exhilarating cliffs cascading down to thirteen grandiose lakes (only two open to public – Kayangan and Barracuda), sugary white sand coral beaches and is home to the indigenous tribe called Tagbanuans.
Barracuda Lake has amazing underwater rock formations where couple of barracudas seek refuge and used it as home, hence the name. Kayangan lake has the most photographed view of Palawan and considered as the cleanest lake in the country. Both places are stunning and good for snorkeling. A cross on Mt. Tapyas above the town is worth a climb up to see the majestic view of the small islands below. Noticeable from the waters is a huge CORON marker on a hill overlooking the town mimicking the well-known Hollywood sign.
Other worthwhile activities aside from island hoping, snorkeling and wreck diving includes taking a dip in Maquinit Hot Spring, a beautiful place to hang out in the evening after a long day of activities. Hiking at Mt. Tapyas (a 700+-concrete step leading to the summit) can definately jumpstart your trip if you will put it on top of your itinerary. The entrance is found at the side of community basketball court. Experience a breathtaking view of the sunset, recommended to start setting out at 4pm. Maquinit Hot springs
Getting there and Away
Palawan’s main airport is in Puerto Princesa, but there are two smaller airports further north in Palawan and one on the island of Busuanga. El Nido and the Bacuit Archipelago are served by small El Nido Airport. Sandoval Airport, about 30km north of Taytay, serves as an alternate entry point for northern Palawan and places like Flower Island and Club Noah Isabelle. On Busuanga Island, there’s the YKR Airport, which serves Coron Town and the resorts of the Calamian Archipelago.
The following airlines offer flights between Manila and Puerto Princesa; all except Cebu Pacific fly daily:
Air Philippines (02-851 7181 in Manila, 048-433 7003 in Puerto Princesa; http://www.airphils.com)
Asian Spirit (02-855 3333 in Manila, 048-434 4344 in Puerto Princesa; http://www.asianspirit.com)
Cebu Pacific (02-551 6250 in Manila; http://www.cebupacificair.com) Flights on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
PAL (02-855 8888 in Manila, 048-433 4565 in Puerto Princesa; http://www.philippineairlines.com)
In addition, SEAIR (02-884 1521 in Manila, 048-434 5272 in Puerto Princesa, 0919 467 4616 in Coron, 0916 628 6665 in El Nido; http://www.flyseair.com) has a number of flights from Manila to various airports in Palawan, including: Manila-Busuanga (one on Tuesday and Saturday, two on Thurs- day, three on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday); Manila-Busuanga-El Nido-Puerto Princesa (one on Tuesday and Saturday); and Manila-Busuanga-El Nido-Puerto Princesa-Cuyo (one on Tuesday). These all operate in both directions on the days listed here.
Asian Spirit (055-209 1189 in Busuanga) has a flight daily to Busuanga but that can be reduced during the low season. It flies to Taytay’s Sandoval Airport (0916 4528197 in Taytay) daily.
Finally, ITI (02-815 5674 in Manila, 09209081025 in El Nido) offers two direct flights daily between Manila (Soriano Hangar) and El Nido.
You would be well advised to keep in mind that the timetables (as well as the routes and fares) of the different airlines, particularly Asian Spirit and SEAIR, are subject to frequent change, so it’s best to check with the airline for the latest update.
SuperFerry (02-528 7000 in Manila, 048-434 5734 in Puerto Princesa; http://www.superferry.com.ph) liner sails once a week from Manila to Puerto Princesa via Coron and back again (P1852 Super Value ticket with meals, 28 hours). It departs Manila on Friday, arrives in Coron on Saturday and then in Puerto Princesa later that same day; it departs Puerto Princesa on Sunday, arrives in Coron on that same day and then in Manila on Monday.
Negros Navigation (www.negrosnavigation.ph; 02-244 0408 in Manila, 048-434 4735 in Puerto Princesa) has a ferry that sails once a week between Manila and Puerto Princesa (P1835 economy class with meals, 23 hours). It departs from Manila on Thursday and arrives in Puerto Princesa on Friday; it departs from Puerto Princesa on Saturday and arrives in Manila on Sunday.
San Nicolas Shipping (02-243 4595 in Manila, 0918 216 1764 in Coron) operates three trips weekly between Manila and Coron (P800, meals included). All trips leave Manila at 4pm (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) and arrive in Coron at 5pm the following day. Coron-Manila trips sail Monday, Wednesday and Friday, leaving Coron at 4pm and docking in Manila at 5pm the next day.
Atienza Shipping Lines (02-243 8845 in Ma- nila, 0927 406 6036 in Coron, 0918 566 6786 in El Nido, 0919 257 4455 in Liminancong) operates a Liminancong- El Nido-Coron-Manila route, leaving Liminancong at 7pm Saturday and arriving in Manila at noon on Monday. The reverse journey leaves Manila at 6pm Wednesday and arrives at its final destination at noon on Friday. The Manila-Liminancong fare is P940, with meals included.
Milagrosa Shipping (033-335 0955 in Iloilo, 048-433 4806 in Puerto Princesa) has a ferry that sails once a week between Iloilo and Puerto Princesa, stopping in the Cuyo Islands en route (P800 economy, 26 hours). The ferry departs Iloilo at 7pm on Monday and Thursday and arrives in Puerto Princesa at 9pm on the following day; it leaves Puerto Princesa, headed in the opposite direction, at 3pm on Sunday and Wednesday, arriving in Iloilo at 5pm the following day.
San José (mindoro)
San Nicolas Shipping (09182161764 in Coron) does a weekly Coron-San José trip, departing at 10am Tuesday and arriving at San José about six hours later. The return journey leaves San José at 10pm on Saturday and arrives in Coron at around 4am the following morning.
the most photographed Kayangan Lake Bay overlooking the hiking trail