The Philippine province of Palawan is becoming a big name in international circles for being a prime tourist destination. I will be posting a series of blog articles about the many destinations in Palawan, the first being Coron.
Last summer, our family visited this place for a 4-day tour and just recently this January for a 5-island hop and town sightseeing with my friends both having the same but slightly differing itineraries.
When visiting Coron, you have a choice of airlines like Cebu Pacific, Zestair, the new airline Skyjet, and Airphil Express. It has been a routine of mine to troll these airline booking sites for promofares. Last summer, we were able to book our tours for as low as 2000+ php ea (Cebupac) and for this January for 1200-2000+ php (Zestair). Flights can originate from Manila airport and a new route– Cebu-Busuanga– is opened by Cebupac. The flight duration is about one hour. All domestic terminal fees are already included in the airfare starting 01 Aug 2012 so for tickets booked thereafter, no need to pay the fee before going to the terminal departure area like before.
Upon arrival, van transportation is available and can be booked in advance for 150php per trip, the standard rate. From Busuanga airport, it’s a 20-30-minute ride going to Coron town. For our van last May, we got referrals from locals and this January, our hotel arranged the van ride.
Last summer we stayed at the Coron Village Lodge – in their family room worth 3600php/night that can sleep up to 12 occupants. It has aircon, cable TV, 2 T&B with hot showers. Their double room rate is 1500php/night (same amenities, own T&B). Breakfast is not included in the package but you can order them at 100php/pax with continental or Filipino breakfast options. The lodge also has an in-house restaurant with wifi. It is close to town and if you do not mind walking, it’s a 10-minute walk to the marketplace and to the steps of Mt Tapyas. The proprietor Ma’m Bec is very kind and can be seen walking around the property talking to guests.
Last January, we stayed at the Apartelle de Gabrielle. Our group of 6 booked two triple rooms at 1700php/night with its own T&B, aircon, and flat screen TV. They also have an in-house restaurant with videoke whose time for use is only up to 9pm. The resto also has wifi. The hotel’s common areas have hot-and-cold water dispensers for your coffee and noodles snacks as their resto closes at 11pm. Their staff is very friendly and immediately acts on queries and requests. You can also ask the kitchen staff to market fresh produce or seafood for you and cook them for your meals with a minimal cooking charge. Breakfasts are also not included in their rates but can be had at 120 – 180 php depending on the viand ordered. The hotel is a little way off from the town center but tricycles are available for 10php per person when going around.
For those going on a tight budget, other inns and backpacker hostels offer 300-500php per night fan rooms with common areas for T&B (separate for male & female).
Eating in town is affordable. I calculated our total food expenses (breakfast/lunch dinner) during our 5-day stay and it averaged to 150php/meal (I will post a separate blog about food in Coron so watch out for that). Our meals sometimes are in our hotel, in restaurants or marketed and cooked during our island hopping tour.
All our accommodations are booked in advance and coordinated via cellphone calls/texts and email. Downpayment is usually required at 20% of total cost and paid thru bank deposit. Just keep and bring your booking details (sent via email) and bank deposit receipts.
Van/ shuttle service: Raquel – (0908) 8668393; Carlo Barin – (0919) 2597877
Link to Coron accommodations at Senyor Lakwatsero’s blogpost here — www.senyorlakwatsero.com/2012/03/12/coron-accommodation-cheap-lodges-guesthouses-resorts-and-luxury-hotels/
Photo credits: Pictures posted in this blog are from my personal collection and that of my sister Joy of Creative Booze Photography and my friend Jennee.
Watch out for my next post Coron Part 2 – Let’s go Island hopping!