After the whirlwind that was Manila which you can find out about in a 24 hour whistle-stop tour post here. We jumped on a quick Cebu pacfic flight to Coron, Palawan. Just to note we moved around a bit but always took a flight to each place rather than boat as we found it to be easier and better for us.
Coron, some may opt for the more popular more party vibe Palawan island of El Nido just across the water but we wanted authentic Philippines to kick of our trip and well, that is exactly what we got!
Okay, so this hotel is not authentic Philippines but it is right in the bustle of it. A small hotel that has the most incredible view of the whole bay. We got a not so great room with a view of the main road and even though we tried to upgrade they had no rooms available. Nothing too major as we only slept there. The bay view is what sold me this hotel and it was so worth watching the sunset here, the pool was cooling and because Coron is a place where people come and go on trips daily you can pretty much always find a spot by the pool for a few hours.
The hotel restaurant was good serving up great truffle fries with truffle mayo, breakfast was basic but was enough to fill us up before a day. The bar did 2 for 1 cocktails every afternoon and they did a fab frozen daiquiri, one gripe was that everything closed at 10pm, the bar everything and the hotel became a bit of a ghost town. It would be good for them to maybe have the bar or something open a little later so you can enjoy the evening looking out on the bay.
Getting around the island
So Coron’s main area is called ‘Coron Town Proper’, our hotel was just on the edge of the town and to get around we used the tuk tuks which were only 30php for 2 people (40p approx.) for the journey which is extremely cheap. They are rickety and would 100% not be UK road worthy but really handy to get from place to place. You can also rent a moped here for approx. 500php a day (£8 approx.) petrol was 150php (£2.20 approx.) to fill up a tank and we used it to explore the island and go looking for waterfalls and stuff that you just can’t do on trips. Angels is a reputable place to rent from with a Facebook page etc. you just have to give them your driving licence which they keep while you rent it out so remember to bring it with you, otherwise you’d have to hand over your passport.
Trips and Exploring
I knew when booking that Coron is the place to go for trips. We booked two which were pretty much full day trips and we booked these through our hotel. I will give you the details below of what each trip included, price per person etc. but what I can tell you from feedback through others who’ve visited Corons neighbouring island El Nido is that the tours in Coron are much less busy and I feel that’s true because El Nido is the new party destination now Boracay is cleaned up (more on that in another post).
Coron Island Ultimate Tour – This tour is jam packed with things to do and it is a bit of a long day. You’ll jump on a boat down at the bay, we did a joiner trip with others for 1,600php (£24 approx.) which included lunch too so much much cheaper than the trips we’ve done in places like the Caribbean.
On this trip you do Kayangan Lake which is up approx. 320 steps and back down to a gorgeous lake, it was rather busy but the lookout point gave some of the best views i’ve ever seen. The Twin Lagoons are the next stop and they are insane, hardly anyone here and we’d recommend renting a kayak from your boat as it was just breathtaking. Balinsasayw Reef was so vibrant and colourful, with so many fish. Beach 91 was next, though we didn’t get to this stop and went straight to The Skeleton Wreck, which is cool but it was so far down we didn’t see much. Malwawey Reef and Coral Garden was next followed by your last stop which is CYC Beach. However our party was exhausted and the rain was just closing in so we sat on the boat and watched the sun go down.
Coron Island Escape Tour – I can tell you straight up the beaches here make the Caribbean look a little sad and we’ve seen some incredible beaches there but in the Philippines they were just something else. I will say that this tour is no where near as ‘adventurous’ as the first and in my opinion one beach trumped them all. This tour was 1,200php per person (£18 approx.) and also included lunch both of which were delicious but very similar on both trips. The spread included fresh fish, veggies, chicken, fruit and later on a snack such as Turon which is fried banana.
This tour does a loop of the three nearby quiet and peaceful islands of Malacapuya, Banana (known by its fruity shape) and Bulog Dos islets all of which have white sand beaches and beautiful clear waters.
For us without a shadow of a doubt Malacapuya had the most incredible beach and clear water we’ve ever seen and Banana Island had such warm spots to swim in. Bulog Dos is a sandbar and while it was beautiful with a reef one side and clear water the other it just didn’t have the same WOW as the other two.
Where to eat
Boy are we glad we started with Coron, it was gritty and real and full of home-cooked food in small little family owned places with plastic tables served with a whole lot of flavour and love. We decided while we would still scope out the best places to chow down at on TripAdvisor we wouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover and opt for just the fancy looking places that look ‘western’ no we want the stuff where locals eat.
KT’s Sinugba Sa Balay – Okay spoiler alert this place was our favourite food of the WHOLE trip. Yep that’s right! It is a small restaurant, that looks like someones back-garden and the only menu is on the board. It was also the best value meal too for approx 900php for us both (£13 approx.) we had a beef and prawn Thai red curry, garlic and chilli bok choy, two portions of garlic rice and two beers each. It was delicious and we left about 400php as a tip (£5 approx.) you are not required to tip in the Philippines but we did in almost everywhere.
Sharkys Resto Bar – A new bar only opened in 2018 it is a little bit out of the town but is worth a visit. We sat here for a couple of hours me drinking some frozen daiquiris and Jonny taking advantage of the cheap beer while listening to what I would say the best live ‘pub’ singer I have heard. He was fantastic and we stayed for all of his sets.
Levine’s – Okay, food was just that OK. Levine’s was a bit of a let down, small portions fatty meat and not the friendliest of service. We sat up top with a nice view but all in all for us it wasn’t great. I ended up just having my adobo sauce with rice and a beer because I couldn’t face they chewy, gristly chicken.
Laura’s Garden – What a gem we found with Laura’s Garden. If your off looking for waterfalls on your moped or beaches you should stop here. It isn’t close to the town so you will need transport but the food was fresh, delicious and drinks good too. The frozen apple drink here was perfect and even came with the nice touch of a fresh flower to decorate, the little things impress me.
Lolo Nonoy’s – This place gets busy and we can see why! Jonny had fried chicken but needed to help me out with my mammoth portion of crab, for I think around 500php (£7.50 approx.) I was served 3 huge crabs, oh yes whole crabs. The sauce was out of this world so much chilli and garlic and onions I could of eaten bowls of just that with the garlic rice. It was messy though and a bit of a pain to eat but so yummy.
Santinos Grill – This was next door to our hotel (Two Seasons Coron Bayside) and we loved it. It has good reviews for a reason, there were also a couple of kittens there which won me over. I had some huge prawn kebabs and I think Jonny went for another curry but it was honestly a portion for two. We had just got back from a trip so it was really handy having this on our doorstep. It is know for it’s BBQ food so most people get ribs or steaks here.
Summer Cafe and Bar – This place is more ‘western’ it is modern and trendy but was a bit of normality in our food routine. We stopped here for breakfast as the hotel breakfast became a little samey. Jonny had a full english style number and I had a fresh fruit yogurt bowl. Both came with free black coffee but I changed mine out for a cappuccino which came nicely with a fresh biscuit.
Buzz Cafe – This is probably the most western place in Coron it is modern, offers WiFi (not many bars offer that in Coron) whips up burgers and pizzas and of course looks fantastic. However the prices do correspond with the look at 600php (£9 approx.) for a pizza it is expensive in comparison to everywhere else here. We only popped in for some drinks, again daiquiris for me and beer for Jonny but again the price was a little more expensive than other bars.
For us Coron was the most authentic part of our trip. We loved that we went here first and I would recommend this island to anyone, it is so friendly and welcoming and you really feel like you experience the culture here.
Remember you can catch up with our first stop in Manila. Be sure to keep an eye out for our Bohol, Boracay and a final Manila post that will be coming in the next few days/ weeks.