Coron – The Travel Guide

Things to knowCoron is located in the North of Palawan, just above El Nido on the map.

Coron, simular to El Nido, can get very busy very quickly. Book your accommodation as far in advance as possible. We had to change hotels three times just to be able to stay here for a week. My cousin also had issues with accommodation and had to move around a lot. 

There isn’t much to do on land, everything involves boat trips. There isn’t a sun bathing worthy beach on land either.

There are 2 ATMs 🙂

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Getting to Coron

The fast ferry from El Nido is the best way to get to Coron if you are travelling north from Puerto Princesa. The Phimal Ferry takes 5 hours and costs around 1700 peso each. You can buy tickets from the Art Cafe in El Nido town. This boat isn’t huge so I would recommend booking a few days before you intend on leaving. The first boat is at 8am, so make sure you get to the port with enough time to sign in, pay terminal fee 15 peso and get your bags on the boat.

Coron also has an airport which you can fly into. I am not sure how frequent these are as I did not fly in or out of Coron.

 

Accomodation - Bondi the Travel Guide

Backpacker- Hop hostel –  A really nice place to stay, imagine Santorini colours!

Hop Hostel, Coron, Palalwan

 

BudgetDivine Castle Travellers Inn It was a nice hotel with breakfast included. They will also help you with trips and pick ups.

Divine Castle Travellers Inn, Coron Palawan

 

Luxury-  Asia Grand View hotel. This hotel was incredible! The rooms were huge, clean and very peaceful. With a pool and restaurant there isn’t too much of a reason to leave the grounds. 1000 Peso to use the pool if you are not a guest.

Asia Grand View hotel, Coron, Palawan

 

 

Places to Eat

Unfortunately I caught food poisoning here so I didn’t actually eat many places, Olly on the other hand did.

Breakfast and Coffee

Coffee Kong 

Buzz Express – Great coffee and western food. This place takes card!!

Dinner & Drinks

Altrove This place is insanely good! Italian restaurant which is the same owner as Altrove in El Nido. It has the best pizzas and pastas in town! We would recommend the pizza though, the dough was extremely fresh!

La Sirenetta – This place is right over the water, beautiful setting but slightly hard to find. Just look up for this photo (Mermaid photo below) and you will find it at the bottom of the alley way off the Main Street.

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Hangover Bar seems to be the bar open till the latest in the whole town.

Places to visit

Boat trips 

We did one trip as a group with 20 other people which cost 1500. 

Super Ultimate tour is the most popular one to do as you see the most amount places. This normally costs 1500 peso per person, this was the cheapest we found at a shop called Timothy Travel and Tours. All you need is your self, a camera and maybe some cash to buy some beer when you stop for lunch.

Private Boats 

The next day we hired a private boat for 2700 for 4 of us, plus the entrance fees to each location and we went to a market and picked all of our own lunch. 

Kayangan Lake – This is the most popular spot so get here around 8am to beat the crowds. There is a a moderate amount of steps up to the look out and then a walk down to the other side to access the lake. As it is fresh water, you have to wear a life jacket and there is a marshal on guard who will not let you pass without one. The water is crystal clear and worth the hike. Swim around the sides to see the hidden caves!

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Kayangan Lake

Coral Garden & Siete Pecados – Grab a snorkel and go enjoy this incredible reef.

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Coral Garden 

 

Twin Lagoon – Life jackets must be warn here too. Short swim around as the boats do not enter, to some stairs which shows you the other side. You can also swim under the stairs but it is crowded.

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Twin Lagoon

 

Skeleton Wreck  – WW2 Japanese ships are in an abundance in Coron. Most of the wrecks here are only visible from scuba diving, but there is one which you can see from the surface.

Barracuda Lake – Another Life jacket destination. Fresh water lake is the clearest water I have ever seen. You can see straight down to the bottom as it is 70% fresh water, 30% salt. If you are lucky you will spot the famous instagram rock which is very popular for photos!

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Barracuda Lake

Beach/Reef & Wreck tour – If you want to check out a few beaches and snorkel some ship wrecks then this trip is the one for you. 

 

On Land 

Mt Tapyas – Hike to the Coron Sign! Imagine the ‘Hollywood’ sign..but a Filipino version. Lots of stairs for a beautiful look out over the whole island.

 

Leaving Coron

 Go2Travel Ferry to Manila – 2500 Peso Each (Non Aircon)

This is the only company which has a ferry to Manila, this also sells out very quickly. There is 2 boats a week, Thursdays and Sundays and I suggest booking this as early as possible. Air con accommodation sells out and we had to book the open air accommodation which was hell, it was boiling! There is about 200 of you on one floor (see photo below) You do get linen with your ticket which is worth collecting from the first class section. Bring snacks and water as there isn’t much on board. This ferry leaves at 4pm and gets to Manila around 7am.

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Flights were sold out for 2 weeks in advance leaving Coron to Manila. If you are planning ahead, make sure there is an affordable flight if you would rather fly out of here.

Click below for the Manila Guide!

Manila Guide

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Coron – Our Journey

After what felt like just a nap for me we had arrived in Coron! While I was in a mini coma Olly had been chatting to some people around us who turned out to be a Videographer for Five Guys. He was interested in Olly’s drone photos which he was editing at the time and I woke up and interrupted their bromance as we had arrived. We headed to our hotel and checked in to Divine Castle Inn, surprisingly there were huge photos of Disney Land castle everywhere..it was very odd! We headed to a restaurant to grab a snack and the staff were so rude we left. I hate how British we are when it comes to manners. If someone doesn’t have basic manners then I need to let them know that they are on the same level as a cave man. I can’t help it..a bad review on trip advisor is coming their way! 

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Anyway.. we headed into the tiny town of Coron to explore and grab a coffee at a highly rated cafe on Trip advisor. It was the first time in so long we had proper coffee! It tasted so strong just because we are used to coffee flavoured water which the Filipino people call coffee. We walked up and down the street and booked a tour for the next day as we wanted to jump into exploring and taking photos. We bumped into Ali, Mo and Patricia ( drone wars from El Nido) and we all decided to go and grab some dinner. Mo and Ali warned us the food was rubbish but me and Olly ordered differently to them so we assumed we would be fine. I tried a chicken dish I had never tried before because I am Queen Fussy eater and I stick to what I know, but Olly is always trying to push me to try different things. We are so similar that normally we order the same thing or I get jealous of what he’s got so I trusted his judgement and ordered this chicken dish. 

The next day we were waiting at our hotel for the trip to pick us up but after an hour we assumed they had forgotten. Our hotel receptionist had called the company and sure enough they had forgotten us, not only that but they walked in and picked up 4 other people and didn’t acknowledge us sitting there. When we eventually got to the boat, Ali, Mo and Patricia were nowhere to be seen and we had to run through two different boats to get to ours. We had made everyone late and It was awkward as hell! We sat down, confused and trying not to make eye contact with the rest of the boat. Once we got enough courage to look around, Olly noticed his mate from the ferry, the Five Guys..guy?

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We stopped off at the first location which was the Twin Lagoon which was a lot of swimming. The guides were adamant on wearing life jackets which was confusing as this was the first sign of health and safety we had experienced the whole time in the Philippines. This lake was beautiful but after some awkward swimming and pushing, me and Olly decided swimming with life jackets was not only ridiculous but we looked pathetic. Do you know how hard it is to get from point A to B when your back is perfectly straight and floating? No, nor did we so we took them off and pushed them in front of us. This was also our first time flying the drone off of a boat which sent my anxiety levels through the roof. I am a great at helping Olly now, he has taught me how to get the controller set up and phone so I can actually help, other than shouting at people to move because did I mention that nobody seems to have manner here? If the drone is landing, chances are its going to hit you if you stand in the way taking a selfie. I can say from experience when the drone hits you, it bloody hurts!

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Five Guys guy had given us his email to send him all the drone photos of course and we learnt that the reason they are so strict with the life jackets is because two tourists died last year, drunk, freediving or something. They hit their head and drown or so the rumour goes.

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We stopped at some more incredible snorkelling spots and some lakes. The first lake was hell, naturally it had 500 steps up and down to reach which I didn’t moan about once. I did managed to refuse to go any further and made Olly walk on without me but after 2 minutes of sitting there on my own with lots of Chinese tourists staring at me, I picked my pride up and ran down to find him. This was a fresh water lake so we had to wear life jackets again which made it hard to find him as it was a sea of Orange. The water was the clearest I have ever seen and because it is fresh water, you do tend to sink which was fun. 

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Barracuda Lake

We also stopped at Barracuda Lake which was out of this world. This lake was perfectly still, perfectly clear and perfectly refreshing. Olly was blown away at how deep this lake was and you could see the whole way to the bottom. It was mad how you can’t see this deep in the sea but yet here you can see everything, catfish and all! After a hell of alot of swimming, climbing and moaning we headed back and were exhausted! We managed to find the energy to meet up with Mo, Ali and Patricia for some amazing dinner at the sea front. We had some drinks and headed home.

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Lake Kayangan from above

That night turned into hell. If you have read all of this page you will know that Olly made me try a new dish a day before this evening. This turned into a bad idea as I have now got food poisoning. I have never had food poisoning before as I am a fussy eater and the one pro of being fussy is that you don’t get ill from food! The next two days I was trapped in bed with nowhere to go, nothing to do other than moan and watch Netflix. Poor Olly was going out getting me all kinds of medicine and when I thought I was hungry he went to get me food which turned into another bad idea. 

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We booked a fancy hotel for our last few days in Coron as there wasn’t actually much to do on land here, other than do boat trips so we booked into Grand Asia Hotel. This was the perfect place to be ill as it had a pool and HUGE room and was so peaceful.

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My not so baby cousin

The next day my bébé cousin had arrived and wanted to do a boat trip with us. Olly pumped me full of pills and we headed out to find a boat. We managed to get a private boat and choose all of our lunch which was really nice. This was the first time I have ever hung out with my cousin, how crazy is that. We have never been in a room together without our dads being there either. It was nice to gossip about our Dads finally. We had a really nice day chilling and swimming and taking lots of photos and I had started to feel better, still not eating but not in pain. 

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The next day we invited my cousin and her friend, also called Olivia, to our hotel and we chilled by the pool all day and caught up some more. I had started to feel worse again and relaxing done me some good.

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Asia Grand View Hotel

A few days later we took a ferry to Manila, a 15 hour journey in what looks like hell. I can only describe it as the prison Bridget Jones goes to in Thailand. Air con sleeping quarters had sold out so we were in the very local, very open air accommodation. It was boiling and it was awful. Olly pumped me full of pills again so I wouldn’t feel too bad on the ferry but there was no happiness on this ship of doom. We did meet some lovely Americans on this ferry who heard I wasn’t well and came and found me to give me some crackers which was so nice of them. I hadn’t eaten for 5 days at this point and it was just what I needed to survive the night.

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Coron from above!

Next stop Manila for the last leg of our journey in the Philippines. We have booked an apartment in a residence building as they have a pool and gym we can use and being in Manila isn’t particularly fun. Theres not much to do here and we just want to relax incase I am still ill.

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Lake Kayangan 

Olly once again has proved to be the best boyfriend in the world. Putting up with me in general is a hard gig but he’s put up with me at my worst and hasn’t battered an eyelid. I am the unluckiest person in the world, that’s a fact. But the fact I have him makes me extremely lucky. I don’t know many people who would do as much as he does for me and I will be forever grateful to have him in my life. He even let me watch 6 hours of Greys Anatomy while I was ill.

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Port Barton – Our Journey

We have landed in Puerto Princesa!! This is our third week in the Philippines and this was only our second flight, which I am very impressed by. Last year I did 9 flights within 2 weeks in the Philippines to get around as there are so many islands to visit. We arrived at the airport and boy has it changed since I have last been here, I didn’t recognise anything! We found a tour company who would take us to Port Barton in a van with a few other people. We got to the van and there were already 12 people squished inside, plus bags. I get the seat near the front and push Olly into the back where the bags go, not enough room for a human. I was already in a bad mood as I wanted to sit next to Olly for this 3 hour drive and the journey is not pleasant. I knew this drive was bad but I clearly had chosen to forget how bad it was. About half an hour in Olly shouts for me and I turn around and he’s saying he needs to get out, I turn back around as I was thinking he’s joking but then he shouts to me again ‘Milly I need to get out’. As soon as I saw his face I knew he wasn’t joking. I signalled to the driver to pull over and call us a private car. Olly gets travel sickness anyway but being cramped in the back with no way of seeing where we are going, no air con, 13 other people and bad roads- It was a recipe for disaster. As soon as we pull over another couple get out and ask if we can split the private car with them as they didn’t feel well either. It’s situations like this I don’t care how much money things are, as long as Olly felt OK that was my main concern. We all jumped in another car, just the four of us and we all fell asleep within half an hour. 

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I had herd Port Barton was a beautiful fishing village which broke up the journey to El Nido. I also herd there wasn’t much here but I didn’t really think too much in to it. If I have learnt anything from being in the Philippines, it is to not expect anything. We arrived at our accommodation which were 3 rooms in the middle of nowhere. We are told that there is only electricity from 5:30 till midnight and that goes for the whole town, so if we want to sleep, make sure we fall asleep before midnight so we don’t notice the fan going off. HAHA..THIS..IS..GREAT. This is also the first time I haven’t even looked at what Olly is booking and he’s booked us here for 4 nights. Our first evening we took a stroll into the main street and got something to eat but we were pretty tired so we headed back to make the most of the fan. I have said to Olly on this trip, I need to get back into the backpacker head space and I need to not be such a princess but this place has me waking up sitting straight up and screaming. I am either screaming because there is a millipede on me or a mango from the tree outside and has fallen and hit our tin roof which makes it sound like someone has fallen through the ceiling in the bathroom. Yes I did make Olly check if there was someone in the bathroom on the first night and no I do not feel stupid.

Our second day in Port Barton was much better. We had arranged with the couple we have travelled here with, Sasha and Simon, that we would rent a private boat and do an island hopping tour. We all met on the beach and jumped on our boat and headed to the first snorkel spot. The water was so clear!! Oh my goodness it was incredible! As I am the biggest wimp known to man I still make Olly hold my hand, just incase I see a shark and he pointed out all the clown fish! I have always wanted to see a bright orange clown fish and I finally saw an adult one!! It was amazing!

We headed off to German Island which was just out of this world, we saw the biggest turtle which literally turned and posed for me and I reckon it was bigger than Olly is tall. As we were on a private tour we asked our driver to take us to the spots where the tourists weren’t. WOW did he pull through! He took us to his friends island who let us visit and there was no one there. The crew started to cook our lunch which was fish and veg whilst we took photos. Naturally Olly’s drone caught the attention of the locals and some kids ran over to come and play with us.

An afternoon of more snorkelling and swimming was just what we needed and we dropped Sasha and Simon back off at their accommodation. On the way back to our place we stopped at the sandbar to take some drone shots while there was no one around. At this point me and Olly had drank some beers and were tired. Olly starts to land the drone and shouts ‘ catch it’ to which I panicked. ‘What do you mean catch it! No I DONT want to’. He ignore this and keeps telling me to catch it so I put my hand up. Right as I am about to grab it he shouts ‘ turn it over’….WHAT! Its so strong I cant turn it over, its naturally trying to take off again and me being an idiot start to bring my other hand up to help bring it down. This was a bad idea and my fingers met the drone blades while they were full power, I didn’t even feel a thing. I brought my hand down and was so worried I broke the drone I didn’t even look at my hand, I handed the drone to Olly and turned around. At this point my driver has run over shouting and 4 of his friends are also running over. I looked down and see my whole hand covered in blood dripping on the sand. I couldn’t even see what had happened and I was still trying to see if the drone was OK. The Filipino’s brought a first aid kit over and kept trying to get me to sit down but I was insisting I was fine. At that point I got extremely dizzy and had to squat down as I didn’t want to sit in the sand. I turn to look at my hand and I still cant feel any thing but I can see a lot of blood. They wrap me all up and we get back on the boat. It isn’t until we are right about to dock I burst into tears as suddenly the adrenaline wares off and all I can feel is so much pain in my fingers. I am crying my eyes out and all I can do is hold my hand up to stop the bleeding. Olly tries to do anything he can to calm me down which involved chips and a milkshake and him telling me to breathe. The pain was unbearable and all I could think was, what an idiot I was. Why did I bring my other hand up!! I hurt two fingers but as I haven’t had an injury in years I just freaked out and I wouldn’t even let Olly clean them as it hurt so much. 

Worth this shot though !

The next day called for some much needed rest and a lazy day on the beach, which is exactly what I have been after. I just had to slice my fingers open to get it! We topped up our tans, drank on the beach and chilled. We managed to explore more of Port Barton by just walking around. We didn’t want to get a moped as this was the time we set to relax and not do much!

Not having wifi for a few days was really nice and refreshing. I know how lucky I am anyway to have Olly in my life but these few days put it all into perspective for me. He lets me watch Drag Race, he calms me down when theres a bug on me, he investigates the mango intruder and he mends me when I am ill. I am so lucky to have him in my life. Not only are we 99% of the time on the same page, but he is all I need to make me happy or cheer me up in what ever situation and its times like this which make you really appreciate this and makes me want to hold on to him even tighter than I do.

 

Next stop El Nido