Truth to tell, Coron in Palawan was the most memorable place I visited this year, especially if you count the uber-turbulent flight we had there on bad weather. I also couldn’t forget this place since this is where we made Baby Z, tee hee. I guess it was the powerful combination of nature and nurture that did us in 😀
Coron foremostly entices you with its lush beauty. One major activity here is island-hopping where you can enjoy the sea, the mountains and the islands in their full splendor. Must-visits are the some of the town’s famous nature spots:Siete Pecados, the Twin Lagoon, Cayangan Lake, Barracuda lake and Maquinit Hot Springs.
For a fee of P1,300 or so, a boatman and his team will take you to the islands for a day on an outrigger boat. Be prepared to shell out extra because entering each island will set you back another P100-200 which they charge to tourists as “environmental fees.” Before setting off to the sea, you can also choose to have the boatman buy fresh fish and produce in the wet market, and they will grill it for you when you have your lunch stopover (we ate in Banol Beach, a small stretch of a beach maintained by the Tagbanuas, a native tribe.)
Accommodations are a-plenty in Coron, but it was probably our mistake that we didn’t book beforehand. Upon arriving, we first went to Sea Dive Resort but it was fully booked (even on a lean month like September?) Next we went to the adjacent lodge called L&M Pe, but its standards weren’t acceptable to my non-backpacker husband:D Finally, somebody showed us the largely unpublicized, newly-opened Coron Gateway Hotel which I presume is the only five-star hotel in Coron. We got a junior suite and at 80 square meters or so, it was large enough for the two us. It had a big jacuzzi and our room had a balcony which looked out into the sea. This kept us happy and contented for a few days.
If you ask me for one travel tip on your stay in Coron, it would be to get a hotel or resort that’s in the center of town to save you from the hassle of tricycle trips. Staying in the center, or the commercial part of the town, meant that we were just a walk away from most restaurants, bars, bank ATMs, tour agencies, stores, and the market.
As for the cuisine, what can I say… the town certainly gets my vote as our food destination of the year! I feasted here on the freshest seafood and found two of my favorite restaurants: Kawayanan Grill and Bistro Coron (more on them in another post). Breakfasts would find us enjoying Continental fare at the bistro and talking to the Swiss owner, Bruno. Nights would find us hanging out at Kawayanan with its individual nipa huts, native ornaments and great-tasting, affordable dishes.
Coron is also an ideal jump-off point for trips to Culion (site of the former penal colony), Busuanga Island and the Calauit Safari but I guess these all give us reason to go back a second time! One lesson I learned: fly there on good weather 😀