The first day of activities in Coron (Philippines) started very early, so early that I needed a strong coffee to wake me up and energize me for the planned tour. We went to the top floor of the hotel, where there was a kind of rooftop bar & eating place, we ordered breakfast, and we prepared ourselves a strong coffee, which we enjoyed while watching the colorful boats in the harbor, the place from where we should go to Coron Island. Breakfast was not as consistent as we were hoping for, so we added a delicious mango on the morning menu, bought from the downtown market on the previous day.
At 8 am, we went down to the hotel’s lobby, where we should have been picked up by a pedicab to take us to the harbor. We waited for half an hour, but our driver was late, so the receptionist, a friendly Filipino, started to call various people. After much explanation and clarification, we found out there had been a confusion, so the tour we had scheduled for the day, the Coron Island Ultimate Tour, had been replaced with Island Escapade, a tour we should have done in two days. It seems the main tourist attraction I wanted to see in Coron, Kayangan Lake, had to wait. In fact, the whole island of Coron had to wait, because the tour that was scheduled today was happening much further than Coron Bay.
A pickup van took us at 9 am, together with other hotel guests. 10 minutes later, we were already in the extremely busy harbor, where each tour guide was trying to find his customers. Eventually, they directed us to our boat, they offered life jackets, and some essential information on safety methods and what we were going to visit, then we headed to the first destination.
We had both tours organized by JY Travel & Tours, who gave me a very pleasant overall impression and who behaved in a professional, friendly and relaxed way. Everything was done in very good conditions, with no incidents, except for the misunderstanding of the days of the 2 tours, which did not affect us. Besides Island Escapade and Coron Island Ultimate Tour, JY Travel & Tours organizes other excursions, but more information you can find on their official website.
How much does Island Escape Tour C cost and what do you get for the price?
I can not comment on the rate of this tour, as long as it is organized by other agencies, but we paid 1200 Php (≈ $ 24) per person. As in the case of Tour A in El Nido, the price included transport to the port, boat transfers, life jacket, tourist guide, entrance fees to the islands, and a delicious lunch. We visited three beautiful islands, located about one and a half hours from Coron, belonging to the Calamianes group: Bulog Dos Island, Banana Island, and Malcapuya Island.
The three Islands
It was the first stop and the one I liked the most. Bulog Island is made up of two islands, one large, but private, belonging to the Two Seasons Resort, and the other very small, but extremely picturesque. On one side you will admire the spectacular rock formations, the gorgeous trees of African origin, with red flowers and branches that seem dry, called Lucky Bean Tree or Coral Tree, but also a 360-degree panorama of the island.
On the other side, you will walk on a very fine and white sand, you will admire the sea stars lying beside a beach sand bar, fully discovered only during the hight tide, and you will enjoy the very crystal clear waters, colored in an intense turquoise shade. If you manage to recover from admiring the spectacular scenery, you can also take part in a snorkeling session where you can get acquainted with marine life. The waters around the island abound with colorful fish and coral reefs.
Though you may be tempted to think that here you will find a lot of banana trees loaded with delicious fruits, allow me to disappoint you and inform you that the name of the island comes from its shape, which is said to mimic the contour of a banana. On this island, I served a lunch that was extremely copious. I had rice, fish, chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, potatoes, pineapples and red melon. Although I was surrounded by hammocks placed in the shade of towering palms, but also by many cabins and kiosks, Banana Island was the last place in the top of my favorites on this tour. 🙁
The last destination was Malcapuya, an island that seemed to be detached from a magazine with exotic destinations, where everything seems perfect. Here, we spent about an hour and a half, enough time to laze on the beach, to do some snorkeling, to play basketball on the arranged ground, or simply to relax with a coconut in my arms, freshly picked from the palm trees on the island. I have to admit that I was impressed by the climbing talent of the boys in charge with the supply of coconuts. Although the palms on Malcapuya are not at all the shortest, these guys were able to reach their peak in a matter of seconds, and make the whole process look very simple, though clearly, it wasn’t.
Of the three islands visited on the Island Escapade tour, Malcapuya is best suited for exploring marine life, due to the multitude of colorful fish, but also smooth sand and total lack of sharp stones, making it easy to move around and extremely enjoyable.
The tour ended around 5 pm. Even though it may seem that you don’t visit much by reserving this tour, you have to keep in mind that the three islands are not very accessible, and they are actually located quite far from Coron. The way to them will take around 3 hours round way. For this reason and for everything they have to offer, I recommend this tour, and I suggest you do not miss the three islands when you visit Coron.