Summer days have made me dream about the Philippines. And although it’s been more than a year since I came back from there, memories are more vivid than ever. How could I forget the dusty streets, crowded with dozens of gaudy cars, colorful stalls, and snorkeling equipment, the locals with their wide smiles and their curious looks, the small, modest houses with terraces on the roof and flowers at the windows? In Coron, time seems to stand still, you seem to forget about the agitated life of the urban jungle from which you retreated to come to this island separate from the rest of the Palawan archipelago and still more and more sought after by tourists.
Once you get here, you’re wondering if you struggle each day, in vain, to have so much, while ordinary people here live with so little. You wonder why they are smiling so much if there is so much poverty. And then you go on a tour of one of the surrounding islands, with towering palms, fine and white sand, turquoise waters and dramatic landscape, and the answer comes by itself. These people were born in the midst of a paradise, and they surely feed on it with cravings for life.
Coron, like El Nido, Puerto Princesa or San Vicente, creates addiction. It shows you what this planet has to offer at its best and makes you want to get back before you even left from here. Days are not enough, even if you stay for a month, the maximum allowed with a tourist visa, as I did. I discovered a lot, but I would love to explore even more, to enjoy every piece of it, every Japanese rose, every coconut, each shell, every single yarn and especially every sensational sunset.
But, by the time of my return, I have a list to share for those of you who want to discover this piece of Philipino realm, named for years the most beautiful island in the world. So, these are the things that I recommend you to do in Coron:
10 things to do in Coron:
1.Explore the town
At first glance, the town of Coron is small, narrow, dusty, noisy and tiring, but as you stroll the streets, you will increasingly understand the culture of the place and the way of life, you will feel more and more integrated into the landscape. The residents are very smiling, friendly, communicative and ready to help if you are lost while you are looking for the way back to the hotel or a place to shop. As a result of the celebrity of this places lately, in Coron, you will stumble upon many backpackers always ready for fun. Therefore, many bars have been opened in the area, many of them having a more than welcoming look. Whether it will attract you or not, in Coron town you will not spend much of your time, the real reasons why you are here being the islands.
2. Go on a tour on Coron Island
Or better being said, choose The Ultimate Tour that includes the most beautiful view of the Philippines, but also some beautiful lagoons. Coron Island’s star is definitely Kayangan Lake, where you will find the cleanest water in Asia, but also a 5 stars panorama that will make you fell in love. The tour takes about 8 hours and takes you through the most beautiful places to see on the island. I’m telling you in detail about it right in this post.
3. Climb Mount Tapyas for a sensational sunset
Once you have completed the 700 steps to get to the top of Tapyas Mountain and finally you can breathe easy, you will inevitably wonder if it was worth the effort and you will find that it really is worth it! The sunset here not only has the most beautiful shades in the color palette of red, orange and yellow, but it also gives you a broad perspective of the entire region. About this experience, I have already told you here on the blog.
4. Rent a scooter and tour the island
An activity not to be missed when you are in Coron is the tour of the island on a scooter. It is the perfect opportunity to discover as much of the beauties of these places and to fully enjoy, at your own pace, each one of them. Don’t forget that when you rent the scooter you must also take a helmet for protection, but also a map if you will be left without internet. Don’t adventure yourself alone, you should definitely have a partner with you because the roads are not very good and you may need help. When it comes to fuel, things are pretty simple. In every village, you will see at least one house where fuel bottles are sold, so the risk of staying in the bush is almost nonexistent.
Do not forget to add to the list, mandatory, the small, but beautiful Concepcion waterfall. Once there, hire a local guide to lead you to the place. It’s a short hike, but you can miss it easily without the support of a native. My experience of driving the scooter in Coron was a bit painful. Together with my boyfriend, we ventured on some roads dug by the heavy rains, which led to a mini accident where the scooter left me with a forever tattoo on my right foot. So, if you find that the route you chose is not the best and the safest, it would be better to stop on time and return so you won’t have any unwanted incidents and … tattoos.
5. Go on tour on some of the most beautiful islands in Coron
This time, it’s about tour C, where I visited some charming islands, with white and fine sand, palm trees, karst relief, intense turquoise water, and sea stars. The tour is somewhat more relaxed and easier than the one that includes Coron Island, for the simple reason that you will not have to hike, but the landscapes deserve all the money and all the time. It is also important to note that during these tours you will have a luncheon prepared, as authentic as possible, with fresh fish, watermelon and salad picked from the bottom of the sea. All you need to know about the tour I’ve already told you here.
6. Swim in the hot springs Maquinit
The only recommendation on the list that I did not have time to experience is to take a dip in the famous thermal springs with salt water. Both locals and other travelers promise that it is best to go here right after hiking the 700 steps to get to the top of Mount Tapyas, and I can only believe their words. Situated just a 30-minute drive from Coron City, the Maquinit Springs are the perfect relaxing oasis after a full day on the Philippine island.
7. Dine at Le Sirenetta restaurant
Leaving aside the wait time that is a bit long, Le Sirenetta restaurant deserves to be on your itinerary. The welcoming atmosphere, the sirens that seem to support the ceiling, music, and food served here are great reasons to spend an evening in the famous restaurant of Coron.
8. Walk through Lualhati Park
Surely it will not be the most beautiful park you’ve ever seen and maybe it will not even make its way into the top 10 on your list. Even so, a walk through Lualhati, the park located near the bay, practically on the “Riviera” of Busuanga Island, should be ticked if you have enough time to spend here.
9. Visit a souvenir shop
There are some souvenir shops in town, but the one who definitely captivated me is Aramimas. 95% of all the items here are handmade, colorful and have a funny look. If you want to leave the island with an original memory of Palawan, I suggest you buy such an object. I’ll leave you some pictures, as an inspiration, below.
10. Go to the market
I’m sure it will not be the first time you’re going to taste a mango, but I’m also sure that you haven’t tested one as sweet as the one you can buy from the Coron market. Here, exotic fruits are at home, grown in their natural habitat and therefore you can enjoy the original taste, unaffected by any chemicals that force them to grow and to have a specific color. And the prices are very low, so all you have to do is go and choose your favorite fruits or some that you have never tested before. Also, on the market, you will find fresh fish cooked on the spot, right in front of you, and many locals with whom it will be a real pleasure to interact.