Palawan will always be in our family’s hearts. It’s our favorite island in the country to visit because of its unique rock formations , friendly locals, diverse flora and fauna, and heavenly island beaches. Before our Coron Trip last week of April this year, the family has visited Puerto Princesa, Taytay, Balabac, and El Nido. We booked our tickets for Coron last year when we found out that mommy and my siblings were gifted trip tickets to the island by my generous sister. It was an opportunity to bond with my siblings and mom as well so the four of us decided to go with them. The series of snapshots below are just some of the ones we took during the trip and highlights the beautiful sceneries Palawan can offer to local and foreign tourists. I hope that with this blog, you, my dear readerships, will also consider going there. I have also included the contact details of our travel agency, owned by a very dear friend and one I trust with my own life. Her agency is highly recommended!
Coron Town Tour
Part of our itinerary was a tour around the town. We visited the port, places to buy souvenirs, a cashew nut factory, Lualhati Park, St. Augustine church, and the town plaza. We also hiked more than 700 steps to see the view from the top of Mt. Tapias peak. Afterwards, we took a dip in Maquinit Hot Spring.
In case you don’t know, Palawan Island, particularly the northern part, has possibly the oldest rock formations in the Philippines. Coron’s geological formation consists of Permian-Triassic chert rocks called Liminangcong Formation and the Coron Limestone. The reason I mentioned this bit about the geology of Palawan was because these were the types of rocks I was on the look out for when we visited Coron. The last time I saw similar massive limestone formation was way back in 2017 when the family visited El Nido and before that was in 2002 during our class fieldwork for geology. Palawan rocks will always have a special place in my heart.
At Twin Lagoon you’d see massive limestone formations that show pinnacle shapes and these predate the dinosaurs. I simply had to have the photos below taken against the backdrop of these ancient rocks. As you can see from the pics, the limestone rocks form steep walls that surround the deep lagoon, the deepest water body I have visited in my life.
To get to the second lagoon (the are two, hence, the name), one has to wear a life vest and swim from the first lagoon where the boats dock towards the base of a narrow but short flight of stairs built into the limestone. Another option is to let go of your vest, dive underneath a wall of limestone and go out the other side. It’s best to dive with a guide to ensure you safely go out the other side. The second option was not encouraged during our trip as an experienced diver allegedly died in the area before. I’m a good swimmer but I didn’t do the second option.
The third option that is available upon request is to rent a kayak and row your way around the beach from one lagoon to the other. This is what my sister and brother did. One of our guides taught them how to paddle. They were both first timers but the smiles they had in the photo below says how much they loved the experience.
Kayangan and Barracuda Mountain Lakes
The Kayangan Lake is one of the mountains lakes in Coron. It consists of brackish water (part sea part fresh water) so it’s a bit salty. To get there, one has to climb another flight of stairs shaped around the limestone formation. Midway, one can go to a narrow flat ledge of a rock just outside a tiny cavern to have a vantage view of the lagoon. Most tourists go there to have their photos taken (see family photo below) with the view as their background. After we had our photos taken, I went inside the tiny cave to check out the stalactite and stalagmite. My mom and sister also entered the cave because they got curious as to how it would feel inside, being first timers. One of the guides asked questions about Palawan rocks and I was happy to share what I know. 🙂
As you can see in the pics, there is a long stretch of walkway made of planks that you can walk on before jumping into the lake. There are short stairs that lead into the water if you want to gently enter the lake. I was surprised that swimming without life vest was forbidden but I guess it’s for safety since the lake is also very deep. The water was very warm, the lake’s plus points in my book, most of us were unhappy to leave the lake when it was time to go.
Just like Kayangan, Barracuda lake is a mountain lake containing brackish water. Compared to Kayangan Lake, it is much smaller so it can get crowded during peak hours. We did not stay long but I did swim for about 30 minutes. The place had so many tourists at the time, with the walkway too crowded to get decent photos.
Skeleton Wreck and Coral Garden
Skeleton Wreck was named so because when water is shallow enough, one could snorkel just a few meters from the shore and see an outline of what once a 25-meter long Japanese supply ship that was hit by an airstrike during World War II according to our guide. It was high tide during our visit and the camera’s battery was drained empty by that time so I was not able to get good photos. We also got to visit the nearby Coral Garden. I used rented mask and snorkel set and shoe type fins to snorkel around but was not able to get great photos. (When I returned, I bought a spare battery for my future travels, lesson learned).
However, to give you an idea how the boat looks like, here’s a great photo I got from the website of an Australian traveler, Jackson, link here:
As mentioned we weren’t able to take good photos of the Skeleton Wreck but the island offers amazing rock formations and narrow strip of white sand despite coming there during high tide. My kids enjoyed swimming here because there were lots of fish and corals.
We visited a lot of islands during our Coron Trip but this one is in our list of favorites because it was a really quiet spot. It has great outcrops of chert rocks – the oldest rock in the country exhibiting bedded structures that have convoluted due to tectonic processes. I also love the wide sandy beach so everyone simply went exploring around before swimming. There were plenty of trees that swayed with the breeze, a real tropical paradise to behold. It’s like Boracay but so much smaller. The waves are much gentler and the slope of the berm is not steep so it’s safe for kids to swim in. My mom and youngest son didn’t want to take off their life vests but water is much shallower here compared to the other islands we visited.
My thesis adviser in Geology who mapped this part of Palawan positively recommended this island to visit when I told him the family is visiting Coron. He recommends this one because a few years ago, he conducted a geological mapping of the whole island and fell in love with it. I did too. Who wouldn’t? It has wide sandy beach made of white sugar-sized sand. There are plenty of trees to hide from the sun under, verdant Bermuda grass, huts, and places to chill on the island. Despite the two-hour travel time and strong waves along the way, the island is all worth it! As you can see, my little boy enjoyed swimming here with his life vest. The water is shallow enough for tens of meters away from the shore for beginner to average swimmers.
Bulog Dos and Banana Islands
I can’t be sure why the island is named so but I will take a wild guess that it’s because one can see a pair of hills on both ends of the island and a sandy beach in the middle upon approach. Nevertheless, despite its small size, we loved exploring around here also because it offers sandy beach, higher bathymetry (compared to Malcapuya), and there were more fish here during our visit. The long bamboo table covered with roof made of palm leaves on the left side where our boat docked was where we had lunch. Basically, the island has rock formations on the left side with slightly steep cliff that drops towards the beach, sandy beach in the middle, and a low hill on the right side with great 360 view of the island. The island also has a sand bar that connects to another island that we weren’t allowed to visit because it’s a private resort. One can walk on the bar during low tide to access the private resort. Behind the island, the water’s wave is much stronger and deeper so it’s best to swim on the docking side/downwind side.
Banana Island is a just less than 10 minutes away from Bulog Dos. Just like CYC beach, it offers pristine white sandy beach and ample marine life for swimmers and snorkelers alike. Below are just some of the photos we’ve taken of both islands.
Lusong Gunboat and Coral Garden
Lusong Gunboat is a huge submerged boat from WWII that is now encrusted in hard and soft corals, barnacles, and other marine life. The sheer size of the boat makes it one popular spot for snorkelers and divers in Coron. To access the boat, one can freely dive a few meters water depth or by scaling the rope tied on it. When we went there, there were scuba divers below us inspecting the boat hence, the bubbles. After looking at the boat for a few minutes, I decided to explore around the boat and towards the nearby rock formations to observe the rich marine life. I also took photos of the magnificent coral reef formation with my Fujifilm XP-140 camera whose battery I ensured was fully charged early that morning. We then moved a few meters into the shore to look at the coral garden near the Gunboat. The corals are colorful and teeming with life! The only caveat during our visit was the waves were strong and tossed us around a bit. It was so hard getting decent photos because of that.
East Tangat Wreck
While Lusong Gunboat was impressive, East Tangat wreck is my favorite among the shipwrecks we visited simply because the coral reef there was much more diverse and the waves much gentler. My favorite bit was when I toured my sister around the corals surrounding the boat and at the backreef. She wasn’t a confident swimmer and was a bit scared of the corals but she enjoyed the towing I gave her eventually that when we visited the nearby Pass Island, she was able to swim over the corals there without life vest. I even teased my mom then. Told her as we were approaching the shore, “Hey mom, I’m returning your youngest daughter, intact and alive, as promised!”. We had a good laugh.
Here are just two reels I want to share before I end this article of our recent trip. Thank you so much for reading this far. 🙂
Edit: I forgot to add that our trip would not have been possible if not for my friend, Lot, who owns a travel agency. Hit me up with an email if you would like her contact details. She’s still working on their agency’s website and social media but I will surely add them here once these are up and running. Thank you for reading.
5 thoughts on “Coron Trip with my Family – Days of white sand, fringing reefs, beautiful lagoons, mountain lakes, great food, and friendly locals”
Very nice! I’ve never been to Palawan.. Maybe one day!
You should definitely come. It’s beautiful! 🙂
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So I’ve heard! Someday… It’s time and money, you see.
True. Going to Coron can be expensive and you’d need to spend a few days there for full appreciation of the place. If you ever decide to go, I can recommend you to my friend who arranged our trip, she owns a travel agency. Just hit me up via email. 🙂
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That’s amazing! I’ll keep that in mind ☺️ Not sure when I will be able to go back to the Philippines, but hopefully soon 👍
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