Travel to the Philippines and you’ll have many choices of beautiful islands. One of the top destinations is the area of Coron which is made up of approximately 50 islets. This piece of paradise has become the second most popular vacation destination in the country, just behind Boracay. If you are putting your itenerary together for Coron, you’ll be directed to the island of Busuanga. But don’t be alarmed, the city of Coron is actually on the larger island of Busuanga. The actual island of Coron is across the bay and offers no accommodations and overnight activities are prohibited. The island is protected to ensure no environmental damages is levied on this pristine environment. The only permanent structures on the island are provided by the indigenous people who inhabit the island and help to protect it. Lodging can be mainly found on Busuanga, along with the airport, and there are also other isolated resorts located on the other islets surrounding Coron.
If you want to visit the island of Coron you will have to hire a boat or join a tour which will take you there. I decided to do a private tour to insure that I see the twin lagoons before the hoard of tourist descend on this body of water. We left the city of Coron before any of the other boats and within 15 minutes we were at the lagoon, the only souls there. We dove into this amazing shade of blue and then swam through a short cave that joined one lagoon to its twin. The water is brackish with fresh water from the interior running into the lagoon. The center of the lagoon is deep and not much to see there, actually, I didn’t see much fish at all while I was snorkeling. It was just the experience if being in this beautiful lagoon. I can only imagine if I came here on a group tour. This lagoon would be elbow to elbow in tourists.
We were on our way to the next stop before even seeing another boat. We would snorkel the Reef Garden. Coron has rightfully protected reefs in the area and it’s paid off. This reef, along with others in the area have a wonderful array of coral species and an abundant mix of fish species.
The next stop was at a near by public beach. CYC Beach was on a nearby islet where I could soak up the sun after swimming in the early morning water. A local vendor was on hand, paddling around on his small boat, selling snacks and drinks. I ordered a San Miguel and just sat on the beach with half my body in the water and the other half warming in the sun, all while drinking my beer.
After about 30 minutes, it was time to move on to our next stop, the Malwawey Coral Gardens along the coast of Coron. In hindsight, this was the best snorkeling spot of the whole trip. Being the only person on the boat and being a good swimmer, the guide decided we do a 1 kilometer swim in the gardens. She instructed the boat to drop us off and meet us 1 kilometer away. Again, the coral species were incredible with plenty of fish. Such as clown fish swimming in the protection of the sea anemone and very large clams closing its shell as my guide would move her hand over them. Unfortunately, I lost the footage of this. Or, accidentally erased it during the downloading process to clear the mini disk as I clear space on my GoPro. I could have made several loops of this garden and would have never been board.
The next stop would be a skeleton wreck of an old Japanese ship. There are several shipwrecks in the Coron area, mostly Japanese ships sunk during World War II. This one was a popular spot for divers who could be seen below, creating their bubbles as they breath under water and going in and out of the wreck.
We had done a lot in a short amount of time, again, a benefit of doing a private tour. It was time to make our way to Beach 91 and our lunch spot. But, before I would take in some much-needed carbs, the guide took me on a kayak ride into a neighboring lagoon. Not part of the normal tour, just another benefit of a private tour. We paddled into this amazingly beautiful lagoon and she said we would look for a cave that would lead us into a tiny lagoon with a hidden beach. She pointed at the entrance but I couldn’t see it at all. Only when we came to just feet of the entrance did I see the cave. If you were at a certain angle, you would still miss it even if you were just feet away. We left the kayak behind and entered the cave and behold, a small lagoon with a hidden beach. The sunlight barely made its way to this small beach. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay long. The kayak wasn’t tied down to anything and it would have been a long swim back.
We paddled our way back to Beach 91 and finally had lunch. I took my photos and videos and we were off again. The final stop of the day was another for Coron Island, Kayangan Lake. The water in this lake is amazingly similar to the lagoon below but this was fresh water.
This lake is situated at an elevated level above the sea so it does take a climb to get to it. The path is made up of rocky steps with a view-point that breaks up the climb and gives you a chance to rest while admiring the lagoon below. Once you get to the lake, you can swim in it but they do require you to have a life vest with you. You don’t have to actually wear it, you can just have it within reach of you. There is an indigenous life guard on hand that will point you out if you don’t comply. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to swim the whole lake, just a portion of it. I’m sure it’s for everyone’s safety so they can see everyone in the water.
By private tour or by group tour, it’s a must if you visit the area of Coron. It would be a shame to come such a long way and not actually visit the island of Coron. The beauty of the lagoons, the lake, beaches, and the coral reefs along its shores makes the island a magnificent visit. If my stay was longer, I would have definitely went twice.