I hired a boat at PhP 1500 for the whole day to see the beautiful islets of Coron.
The prize of the boat is standard in Coron. It is PhP 1500 for a private boat not including food (which will be cooked by the boatmen) and entrance fees.
A more affordable package is also available as a “joiner” which I will explain in my next blog.
I ended up hiring a boat through Sea Dive Resort, the only resort awarded a 5-star rating by PADI.
Food (raw and purchased from the nearby market):
1 medium-sized tulingan at PhP 60
2 medium-sized crabs at PhP 180 (PhP 300 per kilo)
4 large (which shrank considerably when cooked) squid at PhP 150 (exactly 1 kilo)
1 1.5 bottle of Sprite, 1L of Wilkins, ingredients for ginataang crabs and saw-sawan at PhP 150
Entrance fee per island / location: PhP 100 per pax
Beach Hut spf 75, 2 speedo snorkeling masks (you can also rent at PhP 150 per set), snacks, sarong, shades and most importantly – camera!
We left shortly after 9am and headed to the nearest spot, Siete Picados. So called because there were 7 limestone formations in the area (I literally counted them). Fish here are small but colorful. The bigger limestone formations serving as the backdrop was just breathtaking.
Next we went to Skeleton Wreck, where even when you just snorkel you’d see the sunken fishing boat below. Read more about scuba dive in this same spot the following day Scuba Diving Coron.
Here I wanted to go as far from the boat as possible to take pictures of the corals and the wreck under the surface. But I was scared of the sea urchins that lurk in stones and corals. They are said to sting really painfully.
Next we went to the Atuayan Beach to take our lunch, and pause for more pictures. I saw some Pinoy tourists who had Kayaks with them, and I immediately envied them.
After the sumptuous lunch which I of course shared with the boatmen, we went around the beach for photo ops. And that’s where I got stung by a medium-sized jellyfish, which 2 weeks later still itches.
Guides from other boats rushed to my side as they poured vinegar on the affected area. One other guide advised other swimmers to leave the beach as she tried to scour the waters for the jellyfish. They say it may be invisible to swimmers when not wearing goggles. So much for pictures, huh?
The son of the tribe leader of the Tagbanuas, whose ancestral domain is the entire Coron Island, came to the rescue and helped alleviate my pain by crushing some native leaves and applying it to my swollen left foot. He said one of his sons was attacked by a large jellyfish a few years ago and died instantly.
More of the beautiful but dangerous jellyfish here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jellyfish
And so we decided to go back to our boat and go to the next destination, Cap’s Point, where even from the boat, one can see the fishes and the corals with the naked eye.
I enjoyed it most here. It was like a consuelo for the pain I’m still feeling on my right foot. I didn’t get a picture of Nemo (clownfish) here, but his kind was there, along with other beautiful-looking fishes.
The last spot we went to is the Kayangan Lake, where we had to climb a few steps and descend a few more to get to the 80% fresh water lake that was so clear, so clean, you could see the bottom clearly.
This spot also has the most expensive entrance fee of PhP 200 per pax, whereas all the others only charged PhP 100.
Other places we did not visit but you can include in your itinerary (especially if you hired a private boat, you decide where you want to go and how long you stay):
Barracuda Lake (similar to but smaller than the Kayangan Lake), CYC beach (public beach without entrance fee), Coral Garden (comparable to the Cap’s Point in terms of snorkeling opportunities), Twin Peaks, Banol Beach and Blue Lagoon.
Other farther island / islets can also be visited on a separate trip: Malcapuya Island, Banana Island, Bulog Island, Lusong Island with a shallow ship wreck for snorkeling and diving purposes.
So when visiting Coron, if possible, allot 2 days for island hopping, 1 day for the closer, and 1 day for the farther islands / islets. I assure you, it’s worth it!