By Anna Galathea
Coron Island, Palawan is a breathtaking, picturesque wedge-shaped limestone island which is the third largest island from the Calamian Islands in Palawan, Philippines. Having seven lakes, one of them is nationally-renowned as the cleanest lake in the Philippines, the Kayangan Lake. Of the seven lakes, only two are open to the public: the Kayangan Lake and the Barracuda Lake. The rest of the five are restricted to the public. Local residents believe that Cabugao Lake, which is the biggest from the seven, is a lair of a giant octopus.
What more could visitors ask for when Coron has a number of islands that have a feast-full of white beaches, majestic limestone cliffs, rich marine life, mysterious lakes and lagoons, and sparkling blue waters perfect for sporting and leisure activities such as snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, shipwreck diving, and many more promising adventures.
The island has been declared as an ancestral domain of one of the oldest ethnic groups in the Philippines, the Tagbanwa people. An ancestral domain entitles the ethnic community to manage the area and preserve its marine and land resources. It covers the two villages of Banuang Daan and Cabugao, and the neighboring Delian Island. The ancestral domain is presently ruled by Tribal Chieftain Rodolfo Aguilar I, assisted by his Council of Elders.
Some of the best attractions of Coron Island:
What made it popular for shipwreck diving is its famous attraction: the interesting reef dive sites. It is said that in 1944 (World War II), a fleet of Japanese ships hiding in the harbor sunk during a daring raid by the US navy. Because of this, there are a total of ten well-preserved underwater shipwrecks surrounded with coral reef that draw crowds of divers all over the world. Forbes Traveler magazine hailed it as one of the top 10 best scuba diving sites in the world.
There is this Gunther’s Cave that exudes a mysterious air. During a certain time of the day, a portion of the ceiling of the cave receives a beam of light from the sun, eventually illuminating the inside. Surfacing out of the cave is possible as a hole in the cave ceiling allows fresh air to seep in. It was named after Gunther Bernert, one of the earliest divers. It is also known as the Cathedral Cave.
Mount Tapyas provides a challenging 700-step staircase that leads to a view deck with a giant cross on top of the mountain. The hike is worth doing for as it gives a breathtaking view of Coron Island.
Lualhati Park offers a unique sunset view experience and a zip line facility along the bay walk.
Maquinit Hot Spring refreshes you after a long tedious hike everywhere.
Malcapuya Island boasts of a pristine white beach that closely resembles Boracay but has a more untouched beauty.
African Safari Calauit gives you a taste of African wildlife with a real safari.
Siete Pecados is said to be the best place for snorkeling in Palawan. You can enjoy swimming inside an aquarium with a variety of colorful fish and beautiful corals.
The cleanest lake hailed in the Philippines, Kayangan Lake, has a cave where you will have a remarkable view atop the mountain.
The Twin Lagoon Lake has brackish water and a small tunnel that you have to swim through to reach the other side of the mountain. Brackish water is described as a not so clear water as if there’s oil in it, and this phenomena is a result of hot water coming from the mountain mixed into the cold water from the sea.
Explore the island’s lakes and lagoons. Barracuda Lake contains layers of fresh, salt, and brackish water and dramatic temperature shifts. Underwater scenery for divers is simply amazing.
There are many more attractions available at the Coron Island. From a sleeping town to a haven for tourists, Coron Island has a lot to offer. It is the jewel of the Calamianes islands for its perfect paradise-like beauty.
WHERE TO EAT AND DINE:
1. Bistro Coron – offers delectable French cuisine at affordable prices
2. KokosNuss Resort – offers an eat-all-you-can Barbecue package requiring six or more people
3. The Old House – boasts of affordable food
4. The Chicken Grill
5. You have an option to request the lodge you are staying to prepare the foods that you bought from the market for free.
HOW TO GET THERE:
From Manila, book a flight to Busuanga through PAL Express, Cebu Pacific, Zest Air or SEAir.
There is a boat to Coron that runs from San Jose, Mindoro, several times a week.
One ferry runs on Sundays from Puerto Prinsesa to Coron at 1 am.
Tricycles are available everywhere downtown and there are no taxis in Coron. There is only one van that goes from the town to airport at 2 pm; while buses and jeepneys have dropping points departing from the jeepney’s terminal near the Tourist Center.
Coron Island Palawan Beach Resorts, Hotels, and Lodgers:
1. BalayMalika Lodge – Maggie Palanca, Real St.
2. Busuanga Island Paradise – Dimaniang
3. BusuangaSea Dive Resort – Coron, Palawan.
4. Club Paradise Resort – Dimakya Island, Coron
5. Dive-Link Coron – Oson Island
6. Coron Reef Pension House
7. Darayonan Lodge – Poblacion, Coron
8. El Rio Mar Beach Resort – San Jose, Coron
9. Hotel Michaelangelo – Bgy. Tagumpay, Coron
10. Discover Divers Resort – Coron
11. Kokusnuss Garden Resort
12. Kubo sa Dagat – Bgy. Malbato
13. Krystal Lodge – Coron
14. Lamud Island Resort – Coron
15. L & M PE Sea Lodge – Bgy. 3, Poblacion, Coron
WHERE TO STAY:
The Mainland features most of the hotels and lodges. You can also stay in neighboring islands with beaches. It is an adventure to pitch your tent or stay in the beautiful cottages with sandy beaches such as Banana, Malcapuya, Malaroyroy, Banol, and Atwayan among others. For budgeted tours, go for packaged tours offered by hotels and resorts.
Coron Island is a paradise within a paradise. Start planning your adventure.