Philippines – Coron

So the Philippines… a place most people asked me why I wanted to go there?
Well uh let’s see: stunning beaches, warm water, incredible landscapes, whale sharks, caves, and SO cheap. So with that… let’s go over why YOU SHOULD be planning a trip to the Philippines.

View from the rooftop bar at our hotel 

The only negative: having to fly 26 hours each way (but hey it’s the same for really anywhere in South East Asia… so don’t let this scare you off!) We had about 2 hour lay overs in San Fran and in Tokyo before landing in Manila at 9:30 PM. Our only plan was to GO TO BED, and our hotel was only a mere 4.5 km or 15 minutes away. Outside the terminal they have a queue of taxis with the posted prices to make it easy for you. We hopped in a yellow metered cab and he took us right to our hotel for 140 pesos…. or $2.70.

Same view in the morning

Next morning was up and back to the airport, only this time to the Domestic terminal (which isn’t attached to the others) and was only 2 km/ 8 minutes so half the cost of previous night at 80 pesos.

The airport is SMALL and it’s important to know you need some sort of voucher, or SOMETHING that shows your flight itinerary (depending on the airline) to even get INTO the airport as they have a STAGE 1 security to get in to the airline check in desks. I’d also recommend saving them to your phone or printing them out since wifi and service is not the most reliable over there.

Smaller Islands we flew over on our way to Coron

Anyways we were checked in, grabbed breakfast, and only had to wait like 40 minutes before they boarded… 20 minutes earlier than they said they would board. So another tip: ALWAYS get to the airport 30 minutes earlier than you THINK you should get there. ALL of our domestic flights in the Philippines boarded an entire HOUR before our departure time and one even departed 20 minutes early… They aren’t messing around over there.

Busuanga Island (where Coron town is) 

So now that we’ve gotten through all the boring travel stuff, HELLLOOOO CORON, Palawan!
Immediately getting off the plane it was much hotter than Manila and the airport was SOOO small. As you leave the departure gate you feel like a celebrity as people hand you discount tour pamphlets and all the different shuttle drivers ask you where you are going. There’s no taxis, and from what I saw, few to none anything else, so a shuttle is the only way you will get from Coron airport to Coron town proper. It was a beautiful 30 minute drive and the air conditioned shuttle cost 150 pesos pp.

Outside the little domestic airport 

We got to our hotel right around noon, too early to check in so we dropped our bags, traded my socks for sandals, and headed out to explore. We had expected to take it somewhat easy on our first day but we had energy, and with a lack of beaches close to the town, we settled for our more demanding bucket list item:

Climb Mt. Tapyas
The Mt. Tayas view deck is very Hollywood. haha 

Trail Stats:
1.5 miles RT if you start down in the town. 
700+ steps and around 700 feet of elevation gain 
It’s free to climb and there are shaded benches along the route for weary travelers to take a break.

As we were doing it in the middle of the day, we had the place just about to ourselves, but boy was it HOT.

The views at the top were definitely worth it though. Incredible views of Coron bay and the surrounding islands as well as inland from Coron town.

There’s more trails around and behind the viewing deck that lead to more stunning photo spots and seating areas.

 The view looking over at Coron Island with the town next to the bay

Family pose in the pagoda with the back side of Mt. Tpayas view
Another photo of the backside Mt. Tapyas view
Heading back to the stairs

After some time hanging out we headed down to find some water and lunch. We ended up at an ok place in town where I tried chicken adobo (a popular dish in the Philippines as I’d come to find out) and cucumber lemonade.

Then it was time to finish our check in, which promptly lead to being comfortable, and thus falling asleep at a tradgically early time… of 5 PM. but hey jet lag! haha we had our tours figured out for the next day and it would be a long one so we missed out on sunset night 1 but sleep was oh so sweet.

Days 1.5 Costs:
Food on the plane and access to a lounge for additional snacks in Tokyo- free
Taxi from airport to hotel: $1.35 pp
Taxi back to airport: $0.75 pp
Seattle’s Best coffee and muffin: $3.50
Flight from Manila to Busuanga airport (Coron): $85 pp
Shuttle from Busuanga airport to Coron town proper (hotel): $2.89 pp
Lunch/dinner in Coron town: $4.00

Night 1- Nichols Airport Hotel $23 pp. Plain jane but they gave us a water bottle, had a nice view from a rooftop bar, and very conveniently located. AC and clean were the name of the game here.

Night 2- Luis Bay Traveler’s Lodge $12.50 pp Great location! Reviews were mixed on this place, and they did have cheaper non ac rooms but I’m glad we “splurged” since our room was great! We had a powerful AC unit AND a fan, TV, and really sturdy twin beds. The room was quiet from street noise although one night there was a weird dripping noise that about drove me nuts but for the price?! It was a nice location too, 2 minutes from the market and tour shops.

The view out of room’s window… we were literally over the water 

Total Costs for 2 nights and day 1: $133 and that includes 2 nights AND our most expensive domestic flight…

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