Coron, Palawan! Breathtaking.
Most people will opt to stay in Coron town proper for its convenience. A short tricycle ride for P10-15 can bring you to the closest port for the island hopping or the popular Maquinit hot spring (too many tourists for me). I tend to avoid tourist traps although you still have to see and experience a lot of them. The island hopping tour in Coron is a must. Kayangan Lake is the main attraction, which we missed as it was closed down due to an unfortunate accident a few weeks before our scheduled trip. The Twin Lagoon deserves the second spot but then again it gets busy. Tip: Go there as early as possible!
Part of the optional island hopping tour is the coral garden. We spent a few good hours having barbecue lunch with the boatmen there. Yes, it was only us and the boatmen in the coral garden! I could not get enough of the corals and the barbecue- the perfect island living!
Before staying in Coron town proper for a few days, we decided to explore the quieter, less crowded side of Coron: Busuanga. I booked a place called La Estancia in Busuanga for 3 nights and our stay was one of the best, most authentic experiences I ever had in Palawan and in the Philippines.
Look at this view from our room!
La Estancia is a private island beach resort overlooking beautiful hills and serene, peaceful waters full of unique fishes and water animals including Nemo (clown fishes) and dugong (sea cow). The dugong was a rare sight during our fishing trip in the area. On our first night, we were treated with free cook-your-own barbecues in the hilltop with the most romantic view. The staff will treat you like friends more than strangers and they will offer you the best services you could imagine- good food (my favourite were the crabs covered with chilli coconut sauce) and amazing island hopping experiences minus the hustle and the crowd! They will assist you with all the tours including the Calauit Safari and the Black Island tour.
The Black Island is an island unlike any other (fewer people; luckily for us, it was just us)- white sand beach, a secret cave, and clear turquoise blue waters filled with different, colourful fishes and corals. The wonderful boat men of La Estancia even helped us with buying fresh, cheap seafood from a fishing village and the staff cooked it for us. Every meal was a feast!
Top 3 things to do when in Busuanga, Coron:
1. Island hopping (the best is Black Island). Check out the cave in Black Island!
2. Spend time and laugh with the giraffes and zebras in Calauit Safari.
3. Go fishing, rent a bike, and explore the serenity and beauty of Busuanga and meet its friendly, down-to-earth locals.
The price for the whole booking including tours went a little beyond my budget. But, you get what you pay for and even more!
Looking forward to a private island experience? Visit Booking.com and book La Estancia now!