Tracy visited me what feels like ages ago, but it was actually just a little over a month ago, and in between shopping in Manila, we took a quick trip to Coron, in Palawan.
Coron is known for having one of the highest numbers of wrecks in the world, because its many many islands provided the perfect spot for the Japanese ships to hide during the war – they were all found in one day, bombed, and now people visit Coron to dive the wrecks (in case you’re not a diver, there are no bodies in the wrecks, all of those have been removed).
I had already been diving in Coron with Karl last year, and Tracy doesn’t dive, so our goal was to do the other thing Coron is famous for: island hopping!
On a short tangent, we HATED the place we stayed last year: Majika Tour and Resort. I would NOT recommend to anyone, specially since they do a “pinoy” price and a “foreigner” price (as we found out when talking to Filipino guests who literally paid half of what we paid – it was a per-person price), so we got screwed with the foreigner price and grossly overpaid for what we got, specially since all meals, including breakfast were for Filipinos, nothing we like to eat at breakfast (Filipinos eat rice and fish for breakfast, and by fish I mean whole fish with head, scales, bones, and they pick through it. I am not ready to eat fish, specially having to pick through anything, at 7 o’clock in the morning EVER).
The place was not well maintained, falling apart, the “beach” they advertised was a mangrove, and we were in the middle of nowhere with no other options of food (yep, more fish and rice) or a nice place to hang out. It truly was a horrible experience (so much so, that I never even shared my pictures from that trip aside from a quick “I’m back” post because I didn’t want to relive our bad accommodations). And yes, people here use the term “resort” very liberally.
This time? We stayed at the Asian Grand View hotel, and I can’t recommend it enough! It was a little on the expensive side for Coron Town (we paid about $80/night for a room with 2 beds), but still much much much cheaper than Majika, and totally worth it. The place was brand new, in great condition with awesome pools, an amazing view, good breakfast (included!), good restaurant, free wifi, toiletries, AC, hot water (yep, we had none of that at the other place), amazing friendly staff and only a 5 minute, 15 peso tricycle ride to Coron Town!
I would stay there again in a heartbeat! Plus, the other advantage of staying in town is that you don’t end up paying a fortune for your island hopping trip (the island resorts overcharge for this like crazy). Ours was P850/person (about $20) for all day island hopping, including lunch!
Sadly, the weather in Coron was not on our favor, as rainy season was in full swing. But we braved it out as we only had one full day in town. So despite the crappy weather, we put on our waterproof jackets and off we went…
Yes, we’re not in Manila anymore! Coron is a small little town!
Getting in the boat in the pouring rain, also meant we got a whole boat for ourselves! SCORE!
So while debating our sanity while thinking “am I really taking a banca under monsoon-type rain to isolated islands?” our adventure was about to begin!
But despite being unlucky with the weather, we also lucked out with our tour and boat guy – they were great! If you’re in Coron, ask for “Nono” to guide you (www.niceinparadisetours.com / 0999-995-6313 / 0917-811-1828), you won’t regret it!
More tomorrow! (Spoiler alert: pictures of some beautiful places coming up! I love Coron!)