As someone who resides in the Philippines, I feel blessed to have access to some of the best beaches in the world. I recently visited Coron, Palawan, where I was able to spend three wonderful days that were equal parts relaxation and adventure.
Are you planning a trip soon? Perhaps reading this would entice you to finally book that ticket and escape the city for a little while. Either way, let me share with you our itinerary.
Travel and Accommodation
Coron is accessible via a 45-minute plane ride to Busuanga, then depending on your preferred accommodations, you’d have to travel for another 30 to 45 minutes via boat and/or van. We stayed at the newly-opened Bacau Bay Resort, which is only a 35-minute van ride from the airport.
Bacau Bay Resort Coron has 64 deluxe rooms, 15 premier suites, and a presidential suite just in case you want to spend a little extra. Each room has complete amenities and champions sustainability—you won’t see single-use bottles for shampoo and body wash here. I stayed in a deluxe room that had two double beds and was pretty spacious for one occupant. I was pleased to find an espresso machine and a fully-decked mini bar, too.
Food and Drinks
Traveling to Coron means you have access to the best seafood. Amihan, the restaurant in the resort, features locally sourced, organic produce, so expect the menu to change every now and then depending on what’s available. Do make sure to ask for the Kilabo, which is a local shellfish that’s a cross between a clam and an oyster. Also try their local fish called Samaral and Surahan (the best!), which they usually serve grilled.
If you have intolerances or allergies, they are very accommodating so you do not need to worry. If you’re up for post-island hopping or happy hour drinks, they have two bars to choose from inside the resort. There’s Sirena, which boasts of the mangrove view by the jetty port; and they also have Isla, which is conveniently located near the pool area. But wherever you are, they could get drinks to you. Convenient, right?
What to Do
If you have a tight schedule and can’t stay for long, let me assure you that you can thoroughly enjoy what Coron has to offer—you can always go back to explore more.
You can take one of the earliest flights out of Manila and arrive at the resort before lunch time. Check in, settle in your room, and freshen up before you head for lunch. After lunch, you can walk around the resort and take in the fresh air—swim or hang by the pool and get a drink.
After your relaxing afternoon in the resort, schedule a quick trip to the town proper where you can grab more food and buy treats to take home for family and friends. You can visit Nanay Lita’s for their famous cashews.
Prepare yourself for a hike up Mt. Tapyas just in time for the sunset. You’ll get to see Coron at a vantage point and all the steps up and down will be well worth the trip. Now that you have your legs fired up, you can head to Maquinit Hot Spring, a saltwater hot spring that's sure to get those muscles to relax.
Head back to the hotel so you can shower and grab dinner under the stars. Cap the night off with some drinks, but not too much because tomorrow you’ll have an early start.
This day is dedicated to island hopping and snorkeling, which is the best way to discover Coron. The resort can make arrangements for you and you can go as early as you’d like. Be sure to stock up during breakfast so you have the energy up until lunch! Get your swimsuit ready, get on the boat, and explore!
First stop is the Twin Lagoon, which is a sight to behold. The rock formations that surround it look magnificent. It'll feel like you're in an entirely different world. Make the most out of it and take a lot of photos for the ‘gram before swimming to the smaller lagoon. When you swim inside, you’ll feel the difference in water temperature because this is where saltwater and fresh water meet. It’s quite trippy!
After the Twin Lagoon, visit a snorkeling site where you’ll see a shipwreck. Apart from the shipwreck, you’ll be able to see a variety of fish. This will only take about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how long you want to stay, then you can move to your next stop: Paca Island for lunch. When we were there, they served us grilled fish and pork along with a selection of vegetable dishes. I went straight for the glass of lemongrass ginger juice and boy was it super refreshing!
The island has its own amenities like a bar, cabanas where you can nap, picnic tables for lunch and snacks, and proper bathrooms. This is co-managed by Bacau Bay Resort, but it is not exclusive to its guests. It is open to all tourists who want to make a pit stop.
Just across Paca Island and a kayak ride away is Coron Youth Club or CYC, a white-sand beach where you can lounge and enjoy the clear blue waters. After CYC, you can head to a coral garden where a vast area for snorkeling awaits so you can marvel at the underwater world. A lot of fish like a regal blue tang (a.k.a. Dory from Finding Dory) and other underwater creatures will keep you wonderstruck.
And now on to your final stop: Kayangan Lake also known as the cleanest lake in the Philippines. The entrance to the lake already looks gorgeous, but a quick hike (around 300+ steps) will get you to another vantage point with the most amazing (and most popular) view of Coron. A few more steps down and you’ll see the calm and clear lake where you can swim.
You’re now all set to go back to the resort for a filling dinner (that hike will tire you out, I swear) and a massage at Bacau Bay Resort’s Alon Spa. The massage after a long day of island hopping is the perfect way to end the night. Before you start, you can pick which oil to use: They have lemongrass (a Bacau Bay classic), lavender, and peppermint.
Take this last day for yourself and enjoy a slow breakfast and a hot cup of coffee. Read a book by the pool or in one of the cabanas. Walk around the resort! I recommend taking in the view of the verdant mangroves by their jetty port and just be surrounded by nature. You can even go for a swim before lunch rolls in. Once you’ve done that, you can pack your bags and have a hearty meal before you head to the airport. Since the flight is short, you’ll probably be in Manila come sun down.
Palawan has been hailed as one of the best islands in the world by several international organizations. The accolades and attention it is getting, however, come as no surprise. This idyllic island is a paradise and should definitely be on your bucket list.