Coron, Palawan - February 25, 2011

All I can remember with how my year 2011 started was the urge to buy a new camera, one that can produce images that are worthier versus my previous Canon A310 that I have been using.  This urge was so great that I kept visiting and reading reviews of my favorite cams everyday and night of January.  It was an emotionally driven decision backed by logic that pictures are priceless and that I would be travelling pretty much.  I ordered it in Amazon, delivered to a US-based courier that sends to Philippines, and then sent here at home which went, luckily, with no problems or delays.
After a few weeks playing with it, I brought it going to Coron, Palawan, Philippines on an early morning of February 25.  We got the plane ticket for free as a courtesy from Cebu Pacific due to an inconvenience in departure from Boracay in September of 2010.

Coron is a municipality in the province of Palawan, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 32,243 people in 6,264 households.  The municipality covers part of Busuanga Island and all of the nearby Coron Island. The main industries of Coron are fishing and tourism, being a popular diving location.  The aquatic views from the sunken Japanese warships off Coron Island are listed in Forbes Traveler Magazine’s top 10 best scuba diving sites in the world. (Wikipedia)

As many of you know, Coron is not the only destination in Palawan, such are Puerto Princesa and El Nido.  Some tourists include these sites to their travel itinerary when going to Coron as they are south of Coron on the map.

As usual, the plane is late for 30 minutes for our 8:30am flight. The flight was short, around 25 minutes to Busuanga Island.  Before landing, you'll be greeted with nice islands such as below.  You might want to convince a companion to swap seats before takeoff. :)

Most likely, an air conditioned van will transfer to you to the city, around 30min,  not bad while you appreciate the new, empty road and good scenery.

We got Rudy's Place Lodge as chosen by my friend due to the "bahay kubo" look of the rooms and a swimming pool.  It turns out that the "kubo" look is dirty and not well built.  The pool is not for swimming as the water stagnant and old.
Don't get this place even for a good price since it is also far from the center where you could buy food and needs. It's a 30min walk and a tricycle would cost 10.00 pesos per person.

Coron Major Tip:  Look for a place to stay near or in city as you'll be near the sea port which will be your only access to most of the tourist destinations plus the fact that good food and groceries are here.

Took this picture while my companions are chatting with the lady in charge regarding the choice of rooms and a snag for a good stay in Coron, that electricity is only available from 4 PM to 4 AM only.

Luckily, the electricity flowed throughout the whole weekend which started 4pm of Friday.

Took this tricycle to the center to find a place to eat.  The driver is professional and has a sense of tourism, telling more about the city and way of life there.
If you happen to need his services especially when going to destinations such as Mt. Tapyas, Maquinit Hot Springs, and waterfall, just post below asking me his name and number.

Nope, we didn't eat here, friends didn't quite like the menu or price.  No customers at 12 pm.
Walang "pumili" kumain rito. hehe.

Coron Tip:  Bring enough cash.  There's a nearby BPI bank from this restaurant which you could withdraw from an ATM.  There's also an Allied Bank further from here. Nevertheless, have cash.

 We ate here which has typical Filipino food at reasonable prices.  Tricycles can seat four passengers inside plus one behind the driver.

After lunch, our tricycle came back and asked him to bring us where we could buy some slippers.  As I recalled, one of our companions didn't have one as he  forgot to bring due to a drinking session the night before.

 We went to the public market and didn't find it but I took a shot of this vast  land.  I think, our driver narrated that this is just an artificial land to extend Coron's area.

There are two new hotels in this area and I reckon that there will be more in the coming years due to its close vicinity with the small port.

 At last, they found a good slipper store.
While waiting for them outside the slipper store, I took this shot.  I don't remember it was that cloudy.  By the way, find the Zagu store.  Don't get too excited, the quality of the drink is bad.  Try a few at first if its good enough before your whole group gets to order.
We headed back to our lodge, fix our things, and took a nap for a planned climb to Mt. Tapyas at 5pm.  Most travel itineraries in Coron will have this on first day, which makes sense.

Coron Tip:  Climb the 768 steps of Mt. Tapyas to get a snapshot of the sunset and group pictures, so plan accordingly to avoid high sun and/or darkness when leaving the site.  Climb early if you're with a big group and/or there's adults of 30 years and above as the climb is difficult that might take an hour to the peak.

 At Rudy's lodge, they maintain chickens that roam freely which is quite nice touch of province feel to the place.  We were waiting for our tricycle ride to the site of Mt. Tapyas.

We started our climb at 5pm and there is a half of a basketball court at the bottom of our climb.

Coron Tip:  Take pictures during the climb as this will also be your rest and time to take a drink.  Chat with your friends or other travelers about the difficulty.  :)

I discovered that you will be taking a lot pictures while resting going up there. Hehe.

We reached the top in 30 minutes which is not bad despite numerous breaks.
I guess we had enough time for the pics and got the perfect sunset we did not plan to get.

 He and his handler sure had a good workout.

This is on our way down at around 6:30 pm. I had a more than enough good pictures from there but did not got a shot of the setting sun due to clouds.

It's all good as it was getting dark anyway.

Our tricycle driver was waiting for us for this next destination, the Maquinit Hot Springs.  This will help relax tired legs from the climb.  We went back to our rooms to get clothes and towels.

Coron Tip:  It costs 100 pesos per person and yet it doesn't have a proper shower room.  We did not take a bath despite the sticky hot spring minerals on our bodies.  Expect it.

This is me taking a picture which retired early from the hot bath from the pool.  You could get easily dehydrated from this ordeal which started already from the climb to Mt. Tapyas.
After a drink on my bottled water, I was still not able to stay on the hot waters long enough, around 5 minutes only.  I realized, I was hungry, it was around 730 pm anyway.

Maquinit Springs Tip:  Bring in food, ideally with rice so you could stay longer.  There's a store there for snacks and junk foods though.

Our trusty tricycle driver brought us here to Kawayanan Grill Station.  The place is nice and food is reasonably good.  The prices are quite higher, ask for the menu before taking a seat.
We still haven't take a bath since we're hungry already and went directly here.

 Take pictures of these curious lizards while waiting.

That's the rest of our food and our day.  We went straight to our beds after shower.

Coron Tip:  Get sleep early for a long and tiring day tomorrow as you/we are going island hopping.  You might not want to get late for the 8am leave time of boats on the port as this is early enough to get back before it gets the dark and you might not get anymore boats around 9 am. That means, no drinking!

You need help to get here in Coron?
One friend with me here is a travel agent at CNM Travel and Tours.  They're the only agency that allow you to travel now and pay in a 6 month term at "zero" interest.

Go here at CNM's website to get their numbers and look for Khrizia regarding your inquiries.