Coron Palawan Escapade - Part 1

Monday, December 12, 2016

The trip to Coron, Palawan was years in the making. We were supposed to go there back in 2012 but there was a typhoon. Mother nature just wasn't on our side. So March this year, we booked tickets through Cebu Pacific's Piso Fare for a grand total of PHP 2,604.00 for the three of us! We agreed that rain or shine, we are going to Coron. Come October, we were already counting days as our work stress heightens. Haha! November can't come soon enough. 

So if you'll allow me, let me write and talk about the trip in a conversational manner--not using a formal, magazine-ish type. I'll be alternating photos and stories because I just LOVE telling stories (you all know me). I'll also be giving some tips for when you plan to visit Coron as well.

The photos on this post will be from our first and last day in Coron when we just went on a tour around the city.

Here we are at the airport. It was only after this photo that we noticed that blue was the color of the day.

Cams doing her thing.

Hello there, Coron, Palawan!

We stayed at Jim's Castle Inn. We had to go uphill and downhill to reach the place that by our fourth day, I think our muscles already got used to it already. We're also no longer catching our breaths as well. 

Here it is. Our home for 5 days. We stayed in Coron from November 16-20, 2016. Service was okay for the price. For PHP 2,000 for 4 nights, we weren't exactly expecting a butler or anything. Breakfast is also not included for that rate but they do serve them. You have to place an order the night before with their receptionist so they have time to prepare it for you in the morning. The most important thing was that it was airconditioned. It was also hot in Coron when we visited. We're not complaining though. Full-on sunshine is way better than rain which we don't want for our island-hopping. For inquiries, you may visit Jim's Castle Inn's Facebook page here.

We got a room for three. 1 Queen-sized bed for Camille and me and another twin-sized bed for Gilbert (who we fondly call--and shall refer to as Gibbo for the rest of this post). Jim's only has 2 floors. Unfortunately, the wifi signal is already too low in our room. We either have to go down to the lobby to access the internet or stay at the stairs. It is a little inconvenient but good thing I bought my Smartbro LTE Pocket Wifi which has been very reliable during the trip. But even if I didn't, we can still live without the internet--for you know, just five days. 

The comfort room is pretty regular but there's no shower curtain between the toilet bowl and the shower area so the floor can get pretty wet. We appreciate the water heater which worked well during our stay. 

We didn't join any city tour because from our research, the town was small and we figured we can do a tour ourselves and it will definitely lessen our expenses. Plus, we can go around and stay in places for however long as we want to because we don't have other people to think about. 

Commuting around town is very easy. Tricycles are the primary mode of transportation. The fare is Php 10.00-12.00 per head. We arrived at 7:30 am, walked around town and ate lunch. Then we went back to the inn, checked-in and slept again. Around 2 or 3 p.m., we rode a tricycle to Lualhati Park. It is also a dock for boats to ride for the island-hopping tours.

Here is a panoramic view of the park. Nice view eh?

Of course, I had to take a (semi)selfie. Teehee.

From the park, we met a tricycle driver and rented his services to take us to Mount Tapyas and Maquinit Hot Springs after. Please excuse the noise in some of the photos. I only used my phone to take photos. By the way, there is no entrance fee for the hike.

This is a lame excuse but since moving to Manila because of work, I have no time and safe place to run which is why we practically crawled going up Mount Tapyas and its 700+ steps. I appreciate that the government allotted budget for concrete steps going up the mountain which made the climb easier.

We stopped at every chance we get to sit, breathe and drink. Just look at our faces! Oh yeah, bring water for hydration when you climb. There are also vendors who sell snacks and drinks below Mount Tapyas. 

Going down. Next stop, Maquinit Hot Springs.

We initially wanted to go to Maquinit at daytime so we'll have a natural lighting for better photos but our driver warned us that the water is hotter during the day. Thank God we heed his warning! I know it's a hot spring but I did not expect it to be THAT hot. It's not even lukewarm, it may be the same as the normal body temperature. Imagine if we went during the day or at noon. I don't think we'll enjoy it that much. 

It took a while for my body to adjust to the hot water but it does help soothe tired muscles from the Mt. Tapyas climb. No wonder the locals highly suggest to do the hot spring right after.

Also another nice-to-know information, Maquinit Hot Springs is approximately 30-40 minutes away from the city. The roads going there are not yet concrete so expect a bumpy ride. If it's raining, expect it to be a bit muddy, too.

Please take note that Maquinit Hot Springs do not have shower rooms. They only have cubicles for you to pee and change clothes. You can't even rinse your body because the water in the comfort/changing rooms is also salt water. I suggest you bring your own towels to dry yourself after soaking in the hot springs. 

Finally, here are some shots I took during our walk around town during our last day in Coron. Our flight for Manila is in the afternoon so we walked around town to eat lunch and buy souvenirs. I just want to give you a glimpse of this beautiful town. It is quiet and has a really chill vibe even at night. People here go to sleep early and it can get quiet at around 8 p.m. 

There are bars where you can enjoy the rest of the night too if you want. I'm just saying the place is so chill, I noticed that there are no police patrolling the area unlike in some other "normal" towns or cities. They still have a police station of course. Our tricycle driver from Mount Tapyas and Maquinit Hot Springs told us that people there are scared to commit crimes because the prison is too far. It's in an island near Puerto Princesa called Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm which is hours away from Coron by boat. It is so far that they're afraid their families won't get to visit them often. Some prisoners don't get visitors at all.

Coron Church

The police station

There are banks in Coron but it's often offline. It's better if you bring cash because rarely are there restaurants and shops that can take payments via credit or debit cards. Even souvenir shops don't have them so remember to save money if you're planning to buy souvenirs and pasalubongs for your loved ones and bosses (kasi alam mo na yan, bes).

We did not have a chance to do a food trip around Coron. They say Carl's Barbecue is good but we'll never know because it was always full. We always go back to Lolo Nonoy's. The food is so good. I don't recommend Big Mama's Hot Pot and Grill though. We had an unpleasant experience that one time we ate there. We think the food was prepared in an unsanitary condition because our bulalo had an insect when it was served. We were too tired from the island hopping to complain so we just asked them to replace it. The servers were also talking so loud that we didn't get to enjoy our meal in peace. But that's just us. I know, I know. I always like giving people a benefit of a doubt. But still, Lolo Nonoy's food tasted way better if you ask us.  

Love Lolo Nonoy's homey vibe.

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of my Coron Palawan escapade. Watch out for my next posts with more information about our island-hopping. I'll also share a breakdown of our budget then. Please visit my blog again when I do upload it because I know you'll enjoy the photos. 

Coron is worth the wait and the best parts are yet to come.

Update: Check out part 2 of my Coron, Palawan Escapade here.

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