Coron Island has always been known for its beautiful waters and its colorful marine life. Last October, Mark and I had the chance to see the place ourselves, and truly, we were blown away by its humble beauty and warm people. During our first day, we decided to go on a quick tour and explore what their small town has to offer.
How we got around:
Mark and I stayed at The Funny Lion, and the hotel staff were kind enough to hook us up with a tricycle driver named Kuya Allan. We were supposed to do a DIY tour of the town, but since the destinations were pretty far from each other, we decided to ask Kuya Allan to tour us around. We paid PHP 300.00/head for the four hour tour. Some backpackers say that they were able to go around town for less, but honestly, it was super worth it as our guide was really accommodating and helpful.
Fun fact: Kuya Allan is a chef and he knows all the great food places in the area. Since Mark and I are foodie wannabes, we asked him to bring us to places which he thinks serves awesome dishes, and he did not disappoint! He also knows a lot about the island’s history, so you’ll also get some interesting facts while touring around. In case you’re interested, you may contact Kuya Allan at (0908) 349 7499. He also helps on arranging private island tours and can help you out on which islands to check out depending on your interest! Pretty cool. 🙂
Where we went:
One of the must go to places would be Mount Tapyas because you will see the breathtaking view of Coron and Busuanga. You’ll have to endure going up through 725 steps, but I assure you, it will be worth it.
We were glad that Kuya Allan went up with us because he was kind enough to explain the places and give us a quick background on each of the little clumps that we see. It was here that he explained the islands that we will see during our tour, and set us on should we expect from each. Kuya Allan has a lot of stories with him, so there really was never a dull moment during the tour.
Up at Mt. Tapyas, you can clearly see the island of Coron which is also dubbed as the ‘Gentle Giant’. Apparently, the island that we’re staying at is still part of Busuanga. This post shouldn’t even be entitled as Coron Town Tour, but then again, most tourists use to refer the whole island as Coron.
It is quite tiring getting up at Mt. Tapyas, so make sure that you’re not full just in case you’d like to take on this challenge. Kuya Allan told us that when he once brought a huge guy up in the trek, the guy ended up vomiting when he finally got to the top because he was so full, and really exhausted. You don’t want to experience that, do you?
In case you forgot to bring water prior your climb, there’s a small “shop” near the start of the trek where you can buy bottled water. Prepare PHP 20.00 for your entrance fee. Going up usually takes about 15-30 minutes, depending on your pace.
FUN FACT: It was called Mt. Tapyas because it really did have a huge tapyas (it looked trimmed) on its side. This was a result from an alleged attack from the Japanese during World War II.
Our next stop was Maquinit Hotspring where we enjoyed a quick and relaxing dip after the exhausting climb at Tapyas. Maquinit Hotspring is a natural spring that the municipality developed. The water is really hot (duh), and if you’re not into that kind of baths, then you might find it pretty hard to enjoy. It’s oddly relaxing and refreshing, though.
Because of the water’s high temperature, guides only bring in visitors in the afternoon and is best enjoyed during the evening. However, the road going to Maquinit Hotspring is still underdeveloped, and there are barely any lamp post until you reach the town, so it is highly recommended that you at least hire an experienced guide to go here.
There are only two available rest rooms at Maquinit Springs, so if you go here during the peak hours, then it would be pretty impossible for you to take a shower. I suggest that you bring in a towel and just take a proper shower back at your hostel. Prepare PHP 200.00 for entrance fee. For senior citizens and students, they offer discounts and you’d only need to pay PHP 160.00 for the entrance. Children are at PHP 100.00, but if they are below 5 years old, they can enter for free.
One of the best pasalubongs that you can buy in Coron would be their delicious cashews. According to Kuya Allan, cashews just sprout out of Coron’s abundant lands, and this delicacy has been an island’s staple. They offer various types of cashews like the usual fried garlic ones, and they also have pretty unique ones like cashew brittle. You can bring home 100g. of cashews for PHP 100.00. If you plan to buy bigger ones, prepare at least PHP 800.00 for a kilo or two.
Other stops for the Coron Town Tour:
Serving as the port for island hopping tours, Lualhati Park is usually the first stop on guided tours. Honestly, there isn’t much to see on this area, except for a huge space and the seaside. It’s a wee bit disappointing how underdeveloped Coron is, despite the flock of tourists that visits the area. I wish they would try to make the park a bit more pleasant by putting more chairs, or at least creating a more welcoming feel. It’s a nice place to take photos, though. If you’re doing a DIY, you can definitely skip this part.
Again, nothing much to see, except for the closed municipal office. You can definitely skip this as well, if you are on a DIY tour. It’s nice to take a photo on the Coron sign, though.
This was also a part of the tour and was usually the stop before Tapyas. You can also skip this part but there’s also nothing wrong with sending off a quick prayer before exploring the place.
Some tips from our Coron Town tour experience
We took the ‘full tour’ as we really wanted to see what the place has to offer, but we also wanted to go to only the must see places. Unfortunately, since researching online wouldn’t tell you that there are unnecessary stops, we didn’t know which ones are to be eliminated from Kuya Allan’s ‘template’. We didn’t even know that there was (honestly) nothing to see on the Lualhati Park. He was kind enough to usher us as soon as we saw what there was to see, and if he noticed that we were pretty uninterested.
Unfortunately for the island, despite its popularity to tourists, the government isn’t using its funds to create a better living for those who resides on the island. Most spots are still undeveloped, and the airport is really unappealing. There wasn’t even a conveyor belt inside (unfortunately). I hope that the municipality’s next mayor would use the funds wisely, though, so that people in the island would have a better chance of enjoying a more comfortable life.
Transportation from Hotel + Tours: PHP 300.00 / Head
Mt. Tapyas Entrance Fee: PHP 20.00 / Head
Maquinit Hot Springs Entrance Fee: PHP 200.00 / Head
Total expense per person: PHP 520.00
There you have it! Our complete itinerary for the Coron Town Tour. I hope this helps you on your exploration on the town as well. Don’t forget to bring your towel and bottled water for this adventure. In case you have any other questions, I would be more than happy to help you out. Shoot me an e-mail or contact me through social media.
How about you? Have you ever been to Coron? Did you explore their town, too? Share your experiences below! I’d be more than happy to hear your stories. 🙂