This trip was beyond expectations. It is truly a world- class island. Nothing compares to its staggering limestone formations & its pristine beaches plus the people are so kind, they always greet with a smile.
In this trip, I visited five (5) islands- Kayangan Lake, Banol Island, Ship Wreck Island, Coral Garden, and one of my favorites, the Twin Lagoon.
How to get there:
Palawan island is on the Western part of the Philippines. With the numerous flights flying in and out of Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, getting to Palawan is hassle- free. Regular direct flights to Coron Airport on major airlines cost around $150 (8000 Php) and on seat sales, it can go as low as $57 (3000 Php). I suggest you book ahead of time to avail of cheaper plane fares. The flight takes about 1hour and 45 minutes.
Upon arriving at the airport, there are vans that will take you to the main city or if you booked for accommodation in advance, the hotel van will be ready to pick you up and take you to your hotel.
Island Tours and Inclusions:
Now here comes the exciting part. If you haven’t prepared an itinerary beforehand, don’t worry because hotels usually offer island tours and believe it or not, these offers are cheap. They don’t take advantage of tourists which is highly appreciated. In my case, since I love spontaneous trips, I was in for a sweet surprise. The tour offered five islands with the inclusion of a tour guide, food, a snorkel and goggles.
First Stop/ Where to get food:
The tour guides/ boatmen can cook food on the boat and prepare it for you so it’s hassle- free. The best way to get island food is to go to their local market. So my first stop was the market, which offered fresh seafood, fish and vegetables at cheap prices.
Never leave the island without treating yourself with fresh and cheap seafood. It’s worth the extra calories!
Second stop: Kayangan Lake
Seriously, the best sight my eyes laid upon on. The dramatic entrance to the lake was made by the staggering limestone formations that make you feel like you’re entering an enchanting world. And true enough, it was like no other. Entering the lake, you have to climb a 10-minute steep slope and the reward is the crystal- clear blue waters of Kayangan Lake. The lake consists of 70% saltwater and 30% freshwater that’s why its waters are heavier than usual.
Third Stop: Twin Lagoon
The lagoons are separated with a tunnel- like rock formation where in you have to swim under if it’s low tide and when it’s high tide, there’s a ladder you need to climb to get to the other lagoon. This lagoon is so magical with its fine white sand, all surrounded with sky- rise limestones not to mention the lively monkeys jumping from one rock formation to the next.
Fourth to Sixth Stop: Banol Island
Banol Island is a small and simple island, perfect for travelers who want the peace and quiet, away from tourists who tend to flock during peak seasons. This was where I stopped for a sumptuous lunch by the beach.
These islands are perfect for underwater enthusiasts who love to go snorkeling or to go diving and see the amazing marine life. The Shipwreck Island holds a Japanese Shipwreck not so deep underwater, dating back from World War 2, now encrusted with coral reefs. This was definitely a unique sight to see and it was nice to be a witness of a wreckage that holds so much history. Not far from this island, is the Coral Garden which was a feast to the eyes. This is underwater heaven for divers. Its marine life is so alive and colorful and is well- protected from harsh environments.
Last stop: Maquinit Hot Springs
This is a wonder to me. It’s all natural and its waters go up to 30-41 degrees celsius. It’s really hot and it will take time for your body to adjust to the temperature. It is surrounded with mangroves and its waters extend all the way to the vast ocean.
Truly, the authenticity of Coron Palawan sets it apart from other islands. Its blue, pristine beaches which remains to be unspoilt, its amazing underwater scenes or its delicious local food, should be in every wanderlust’s bucket list. It being part of the top 10 best beaches in the world for two consecutive years, is worthy of its nomination and is not a disappointment. As a matter of fact, it went above and beyond expectations. Just being in the Philippines and having an easy access to it, makes me blessed and proud to be a Filipino.