"Coron Palawan, a dream Come True..."
5.18.11 27 °C
Beautiful white sand beaches, amazing gigantic rock formation, the best snorkeling spot ever been, very clean water (literally bluish and greenish water). - my most memorable birthday experience in an enchanting paradise of Coron Palawan.
Day 1. Reaching the peak of Mt. Tapyas is a must-to-do during your first stay. It's best to hike before the sunset. A 360 degrees view of the Coron Island, relax while watching sunset is worth climbing the 700 steps.
Spend about an hour chatting with your friend in the peak and take plenty of photos of these wonderful God's creation.
A little quest for you guys, try looking for the "SLEEPING GIANT" island formation.
You'll be amazed once you find it! .......................
After the sunset, look for a "tricycle" (a public transportation that carries up to 6 people) to bring you to one of the famous site of Coron only 15 minutes from the city centre - Maquinit Hot Spring. Rate starts from 300-400 pesos and the driver will be waiting until you finish - a good deal indeed.
Maquinit is a local term which means "MAINIT" or "HOT" which is literally very hot at around 37 to 40 degrees Celsius. Soak your entire body for approximately 2 hours for a perfect relaxation to a good night sleep. I had a chance to meet some locals who are very friendly and advised me not too stay too long in the water if I have high blood - Good thing I am not.
After more than an hour, we decided to go back to our hotel and find something to eat. I haven't done any research about best restaurants in the area however, I was lucky to find a newly opened restaurant on our way home. The "bahay kubo" on the 2nd floor catches my attention with its local artifacts makes the ambiance so perfect for dinner. I strongly recommend, "Palayok" - food are excellent and prices are really reasonable. (According to the owner, they just opened February 2011). That concludes the 1st day.
Day 2 is Island Hopping and recommended itineraries should include 6 or 7 Destinations which are all truly a "Paradise".
Hire a bangka for a day tour at 1,500 pesos. Starting with Siete Pecados which means "siete" means seven and "pecados" means sins - I don't know the story behind the name of this island though. It a group of 7 islets which is the closest to the Port of the coron and usually the first stop of the trip. Do not forget to bring plenty of breads. Here you can feed the hungry colorful and friendly fishes. It was so fun watching them so close to you and seems not afraid of frying pan and the cooking oil LOL.
Here are some great photos:
Reminders: There are packages offered in different websites with accommodations, island hopping and meals included for a cheaper price however, my travel companion suggested to have our trip itineraries on our own and not go with any packages for the ff. reasons:.
1.) You may have limited time to spend in each of the island destinations.
2.) There are several tourist who can join you in the group, you might not get comfortable with it.
3.) Meals served are limited.
4.) Time constraint.
On the other hand, if you'll choose not to go with any packages, definitely you can manage your own time, anyway the "bangka" will be there just waiting, can prepare your own desired meals, it's more relaxing - all you have to do is ENJOY the scenery and nothing to worry about.
Entrance Fees - thumbs down rating!
I hope this segment will serve as "alarm call" to the local government of Coron. To those who plans to visit Coron and do Island Hopping, make sure you are aware that you have to pay EXCESSIVE Entrance fees in each of the site destinations ranges from 100 to 200 pesos per stop. Meaning, if your itinerary includes 6 or 7 destinations in a day then prepare about 900.00 pesos per head. (e.g. for a family of 6 members, total entrance fee would be around 5,400 for just one day) That's too much for an entrance fee in just approximately 1 hour stay in each stop. I felt that locals are taking advantage of us travelers.
"Bangka", local term for small motor boat has a fixed price of 1,500 per day. The "bangkero" or the driver will also prepare the meal for you.
I asked one of the locals on how they did the policy for these entrance fees and accordingly, the collected fees serves as salaries of the island keepers. One boatman interrupted and says that these Islands are owned by private sectors/families which they charge their own fees. I' am not against charging entrance fees but hopefully the local government will issue a Mandatory and Aligned policy to lessen the said fees. Approximately, there were about 100 person in each of the destinations which means each island earns 10,000 pesos a day.
Here are the updated entrance fees as of April 2011.
Siete Pecados - 100.00 per head
Banul Beach - 100.00 per head
Barracuda Lake - 100.00 per head
Twin Lagoon - 100.00 per head
Skeleton Ship Wreck - 100.00 per head
Kayangan Lake - 200.00 per head
Philippines is blessed with plenty of beautiful tourist spots but if it's too costly to experience these sites, tourism will definitely affect with all negative reviews. Hope they will fix it!