I left my heart in Coron

There was no denying the beauty of Coron. The cluster of islands that make up Coron spelled numerous white sand beaches and absolutely beautiful hidden lagoons that literally take your breath away (from all the trekking and swimming you have to do).

Islands View Inn

My friend Hana and I got to Islands View Inn, the place we stayed at in Coron, later than expected because our flight was delayed by an hour. There was nothing to see because the island, soon after we arrived, was soon plunged in darkness due to the regular black out. We could barely see the outline of the other islands in Coron from the top floor of the inn. It didn’t matter that first night, though, because we were taken to the Maquinit Hot Springs, which was a fifteen minute trip from the inn. It was a good thing that it was so dark because we were told that because it was a natural hot spring, we should expect to see moss/algae? in the water with us. Since it was so dark, we didn’t see any of that. We just enjoyed the relaxing heat that stimulated the blood and got us looking fresh and healthy afterwards.

We didn’t avail of the breakfast and dinner inclusions of the hotel, but we were tired and didn’t want to explore other restaurants in the area, so we decided to head on up to the third floor where the restaurant/bar was located. We were surprised to see that the prices rivaled that of Manila’s food prices, so we ordered the “snack” items, which cost P150 each. Hana got the fish and chips while I got the cheeseburger and fries.

I was surprised and apprehensive when the waitress put my food down in front of me. I had two tiny burger patties (to be fair, they were on the thick side) layered with a slice of cheese, tomato and cucumber on the side with two slices of bread on the plate. Hm. The only condiment was this sauce made of ketchup and mayonnaise, which, I would discover later on, seemed to be an island favorite. I asked for plain ketchup and began to dig in. I’m not sure if I were just ravenous, but the food was actually quite decent. It wasn’t as bad as I had expected it to be. I’d have preferred a traditional cheeseburger at that time, but this was a pretty decent and interesting alternative. Hana, too, was satisfied with her meal and mopped up everything on her plate.

The next day, we went to two white sand beaches that were an hour and a half away from the island port. The bangka (boat) ride was pleasant, and I amused myself by looking at the cloud formations and the underwater sights when the sea allowed us a peek beneath the surface. Hana and I weren’t sure what to expect because we left the boat at the “parking area” which was behind the actual beach, but when the beach loomed into our sight, all we could say was, “Wow!”

[Pardon the pics. All were taken using my phone; the camera’s all misted up and I don’t know why.]

Malcapuya Island signage. It should’ve said, “Welcome to paradise!”

The island was so beautiful that Hana and I didn’t want to leave just yet. We left a little after lunch, and what we went to was another island a few minutes away that also had white sand beach. Unfortunately, the shore was smaller, and the boats didn’t have a separate “parking lot” which meant that if you wanted to sunbathe, you’d be doing so with a bangka right in front of you. As for the water itself, it was as clean as the one in Malcapuya, but you couldn’t go far out into the sea without stepping onto some rocks, some of them sharp. The Malcapuya shore was nothing but white sand all the way to the water.

I have to stop here because I don’t have any more pictures to go with the narrative, but trust me when I say that if you want a piece of quiet paradise, then Coron is the place you’re looking for. Sure, Boracay is more popular and has a longer stretch of beach, but it’s noisy and congested and noisy. Coron is peaceful and all-natural.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in, then I suggest Islands View Inn. They offer you a choice of air-conditioned or fan rooms and can arrange tours for you. Our tour guide was Kuya Raymond and he is a certified tour guide and is trained (and certified, I think) by the Philippine Red Cross to give first aid and CPR. Our boatmen were… um, I apologize because I can’t remember their names, but they were so gracious and kind, believe me. Our bangka was called the MV Christian James. One of the boatmen suggested switching the itinerary around (we were supposed to go to Malcapuya on day 3 instead of day 2) because the water that day was perfect for the long boat ride to the island. On day 3, the sun was out but so was the wind, which whipped up some pretty nasty waves. It was a good call on his part because we didn’t have to face the scary waves; we were really lucky that we got the team that we were assigned.

As for food, the inn was in a great spot because it was walking distance from everything except the cashew factory. When we had time, Hana and I explored the place and found a number of small local eateries that served cheap but good food. For breakfasts, we went to the kainan below Balaibinda Lodge. They served cheap breakfast meals for P75 each. One breakfast meal I had was the hotsilog meal: 2 jumbo hotdogs, sinangag (fried) rice, egg. Coffee was P10 a cup (3-in-1 instant coffee). We also tried out this 24/7 eatery a few steps away from the inn. It served a variety of meals (rice meals, noodles, burgers, etc) for a fraction of the cost of the ones in the inn. Then again, I have to be honest, they weren’t as good as the ones in the inn. Still, the food was pretty okay. Nothing spectacular, but nothing that repulsive either.

So yes, I’d love to return to Coron. If I could afford to travel whenever I wanted to, I’d definitely go there.  It’s the perfect getaway place.

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