You will wonder if this is real when you sea the water, the rocks, the corals, the fishes, the lakes, the giraffes… This is not a dream. This is Coron island. Amazing destination for sea lovers, divers, snorkelers and travelers in need for blue. The trip to get there can seem a bit long but honestly, you will not regret it. You need at least 4 days to enjoy the place (including the trips there and back).

Singapore Coron journey details

One comment however, this destination is great for its sea but don’t expect to find amazing beaches right off your hotel. It’s a beautiful sea for sure, but this destination is not the best if you plan to lay by your hotel pool and do nothing for a few days. You will need to travel the sea to enjoy Coron’s treasures.

You can combine this trip with another destination in the Philippines. In most cases you will need to fly through Manila to transfer. You can go to Bohol for instance. If you are brave enough (and have time) you can travel by boat to reach other destinations. Transfers by boat are subject to weather conditions and… luck.

Getting to Busuanga from Singapore

There are no direct flights from Singapore. You will need to make a transfer in Manila.

Fly from Singapore Changi Airport to Coron (Busuanga Francisco B. Reyes, USU)
Getting there: Cebu Pacific – Singapore to Manila: 00:40AM SIN – 4:05 AM (3.5h flight) then Manilla to Coron (Busuanga Francisco B. Reyes) 6:30 AM– 7:30AM (1h flight)
Coming back: Cebu Pacific – Coron to Manila 4.35 PM – 5.35 PM then Manila to Singapore 9.25 PM – 0.50 AM.
Return ticket from SGD 400

Get your ticket NOW to enjoy the best fares. Check directly on Cebu Pacific website as some flights may not appear on Skyscanner.

Coron airport is very small and offers limited facilities. There is a café and a small souvenir shop.

Getting to Coron Town from the airport

You can get a van or minibus PHP 150 – SGD 12 /pax. It takes about 30 minutes to get from the airport to the city. You will see many minibuses when you exit the terminal. Alternatively, if you book your accommodation in advance you can ask them to send you a minibus. Your hotel is likely to charge the same price. That’s the best way to get to the city.

Where to stay in Coron?

Coron is a small town. Most accommodation options are concentrated between the main street and the sea. The Sea Dive Resort is nice but often fully booked so book in advance if you plan to stay there (Email: seadive@seadiveresort.com /Tel: +63 920 945 8714). Have a look at the Agoda box below.

You can narrow down your search on “Coron Town”. Coron Town is the best place to stay if you want to easily plan and book your boat day-trips to Calauit island or to do some island hopping. If you want a more remote and selective (and expensive) place look around “San Jose – Busuanga Palawan”.

To see & to do in Coron

Island Hopping

That’s the absolute must-do activity when you visit Coron. The classic tour will take you to the following places: Twin Lagoon, lunch on a beach, Baracuda lakes, Coral snorkeling, Rayangan lake. It’s just beautiful.
PHP 1500 (SGD 45) per boat per day. Extra PHP 250SGD 7.5) to have lunch (fish grilled on the boat)

Caluit Safari (or Emerald Buddha)

If you like the idea of seeing giraffes in the Philippines, you should definitely go for the Safari. The safari itself is nothing like Africa, but the journey and the stops you will make on the way are worth the early start and the long hours on the boat. You can book this trip at the tourist counter or at the Sea Dive Resort. The tour will only be confirmed if a minimum number of persons are interested, so it’s a wise idea to put your name for the safari when you first arrive. In case there are not enough people you will be informed and you can do some island hopping (you will find one any day). Here is the program:

  • Wake up at 4am. Pickup by a minibus at your guesthouse.
  • 3 hours of boat to get to the Safari Island.
  • 1 hour Safari in a jeep on the island (mainly giraffes and zebras)
  • Lunch on the Black island (or another island close by) – great beach, white sand, cold lunch.
  • Snorkeling on the way back in 2 spots: a coral garden and a Japanese wreck.
  • Back in Coron at around 6.30PM

PHP 2,500(SGD 75) per pax for the full package.

If you prefer to stay on Caluit Island to spend more time looking for animals, you can also book a package to sleep on the island (good luck)…

Makinit Hot springs & Siete Pecados islands

The site is not very nice but the water is hot. You can get there by bike or take a tricycle. From there some boats can take you to the Siete Pecados Marine Sanctuary for a snorkeling session. Siete Pecados is worth a stop for snorkeling as you will see many colorful fish & corrals. Don’t forget your mask and scuba!

If you want to exercise a bit, you can go to the hot springs kayaking. You will need to paddle from the city for about 1 hour to get to the hot springs opposite the Siete Pecados site.

Entrance fees to the Makinit springs: PHP 100 /pax. (SGD 3)
Entrance fees to Siete Pecados Marine Sanctuary: PHP 100 (SGD 3) /pax.
Tricycle from Coron Town to the springs: PHP 200 (SGD 6) / tricycle per way.
Kayak rental: PHP 450 (SGD 14) for a double-seater for half day at Seadive resort

Explore the island on a bike

The road is in a bad condition as you leave the city. For experienced drivers only. You can have a break at Cabu beach. There is a simple local resort/camping resort. To be honest, we found that the inland was not as beautiful or interesting as the island hopping so focus on the sea if you have little time.
You can rent a bike for PHP 500 (SGD 15) per day.

More info to prepare your trip

You will find Wifi in pretty much any hotel, guesthouse, bar, restaurant.

What to pack for Coron island – Busuanga

Your main bag

That’s the one you leave at the hotel. Ideally you want to avoid checking in your luggage when flying. So check the weight and dimensions for hand carry luggage with your airlines (some airlines will allow only 7kg, some will allow up to 10kg). From head to toes.

  • Short sleeves tops: your main outfit. Everybody will see them on all your pictures. You really want to take that old Mickey Mouse T-shirt? Be mindful that you will be in a different environment so it might be a good idea to adjust your wardrobe.
  • Long sleeves tops: to protect yourself from the sun (if you’ve stayed for 5 hours on a motorbike with short sleeves you know what I mean) or to enter religious buildings or to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the evening.
  • Pullover. Yes I know, you’re going to a country where the temperature never goes down below 25 degrees and you need to pack a pullover? You will thank us when you’re back. Remember that flight during which  you were freezing? Or this museum where the aircon is set to the “polar bear” temperature?
  • Short/skirt (you should be able to chose the appropriate one by yourself).
  • Trousers for the same reasons you need to take long sleeves tops. Jeans are usually not a good option. They are heavy and keep you too warm.
  • Underwear: well, you know. If you plan to walk or ride motorbikes for long hours, take something comfortable as the combination heat + friction can make you regret this sophisticated silk underwear. Cotton is good.
  • Shoes: one pair of flip flap and one pair of confortable shoes. Remember that you are going to spend most of the time on your feet. Forget about high heels and leave your Westons at home.
  • Swimsuit: even if you don’t plan to go to the beach, you never know. A nice river, a swimming pool, a heavy rain? Always have one with you.
  • Raincoat and protection for your bag. Even if you are visiting the country during the “best season”, you never know what the sky will be like.
  • Torch: take a pocket torch with you if you visit countries where the power is not reliable… Can come very handy when stuck in the dark in your room.
  • Toilet bag: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush & toothpath, deodorant, sun screen, tiger balm. Ideally, all these in miniature formats.
  • Sleeping bag liner (if you plan to stay in very cheap or dirty places, not required if you are staying in a 5-star hotel…)
  • Your IT stuff: iPad, eBook, laptop, chargers, memory card, batteries, etc.
  • Dryer sheets: they will help keep a fresh smell in your bag.

Your small bag

That’s the one you keep with you, all the time. Hence, a backpack is the best option.

  • Your passportcashcredit cards and other life saving items like your insurance card with emergency contact details. Not a bad idea to put them in a zip-lock bag  in case it rains. It will keep your documents dry.
  • Your driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car or a motorbike (some countries are quite particular about this so take it with you in case you are not sure, even for a motorbike rental).
  • Your emergency medical kit: painkillers, mosquitoes repellent, dressing/plaster, disinfectant, anti diarrhea, eyewash
  • Tissues and toilet paper (you will thank me later). Remember that in a lot of countries, you will not be provided napkins when having a meal.
  • Water – plastic bottles are a good option as they are lighter than a gourd/flask.
  • Biscuits (always buy some before you go when you are not sure what you will find. Always have “emergency” biscuit  and water in case you cannot find food around and need to recharge batteries)
  • Sunglasses: you’ll need them. Take them even if it’s raining. Weather can change very fast in the region.
  • Scarf (krama, or any kind of fabric that you can use to put around your neck, put on your head to protect it from the sun, cover your shoulders in temples, dry your sweat, etc). Can come very handy in some situation. It will not stay clean for long so it’s wise to pick a dark color…
  • Camera and its protection.

Beach pack

Remember that this one comes on top of the Regular pack (above)

  • Beach towel or equivalent (pareos / sarongs are lighter)
  • Snorkeling equipment: mask, scuba, (fins?)
  • Shoes you can wear on the beach or in the water (to protect your feet from being cut by corals)
  • Dry bag if you plan to go on a boat and want to keep your stuff dry.

Well, you will probably adjust your bag after a few trips. Remove the stuff that you have not used and add the one that you missed. Post a comment to share your tips!

Happy packing (it’s the worse part of the trip but it’s worth it…) and travelling!

Philippines

Philippines

  • Language: Tagalog, English
  • Time zone:   GMT + 8 across the country, no time difference with  Singapore
  • Currency: Philippine Peso (PHP)
  • Phone: + 63
  • Electricity: 220V 60 Hz

Immigration and airport taxes on arrival

To enter the Philippines, a passport valid for a minimum of six months is required.

  • Exemption: If you are Australian, British, Canadian, European or a USA citizen you will not need a visa if you are planning to stay less than 21 days.
  • Visa on arrival: If you intend to stay longer than 21 days or if you are not a citizen from above you may be able to get a Visa on arrival.

Departure tax: You need to pay the airport tax in Pesos. For national flights it varies from 20 PHP to 200 PHP / pax. Children under two years and passengers in transit remaining in the airport are exempt – so keep your 1 airplane ticket if you are in transfer via Manila. For international flights from Manila it  is 550 PHP / pax

National Public Holidays in the Philippines

2015

Day Date Holiday Comments
Thursday January 01 New Years Day Regular holiday
Friday January 02 New Year Holiday Additional special (non-working) day
Thursday January 15 Public Holiday Manila only. Public Sector holiday for Papal Visit.
Friday January 16 Public Holiday Manila only. Public Sector holiday for Papal Visit.
Monday January 19 Public Holiday Manila only. Public Sector holiday for Papal Visit.
Thursday February 19 Chinese New Year Special (non-working) day
Wednesday February 25 EDSA People Power Revolution anniversary A special holiday for all schools
Thursday April 02 Maundy Thursday Regular holiday
Friday April 03 Good Friday Regular holiday
Saturday April 04 Black Saturday Special Non-working day
Thursday April 09 The Day of Valor Marks the the fall of Bataan in World War II.
Friday May 01 Labor Day Regular holiday
Friday June 12 Independence Day Celebrates the Philippine Declaration of Independence
Friday August 21 Ninoy Aquino Day Special Non-working day.
Monday August 31 National Heroes Day Regular holiday. Last Monday of August
Sunday November 01 All Saints Day Special Non-working day
Monday November 30 Bonifacio Day Commemorates the birth of Andrés Bonifacio on 30 Nov 1863
Thursday December 24 Christmas Eve Special Non-working day
Friday December 25 Christmas Day Regular holiday
Wednesday December 30 Rizal Day Commemorates the execution of José Rizal
Thursday December 31 New Years Eve Special Non-working day

* check the exact date as it varies from one year to another. When a Public Holiday falls on a Sunday, the following day will be Public Holiday. Check on this website