You cannot leave Palawan without taking the day tours that explore all the hidden gems of Coron island! Tours are one of the activities offered by travel and tour agencies in popular tourist destinations. Most tourists would definitely avail this! Why? Well, of course, it is less hassle and pretty convenient! Can they really provide personal recommendations that will make the tourist holiday easier? Let’s find out..
Coron in Palawan has been dropping jaws for years and it is no surprise why. A great place to start is not always by exploring the beautiful island of Coron, first, explore the small town of Coron. Coron town tour, run by K-Tours, is a half day tour which gives you an option to explore and learn about Coron town, its major landmarks, people, dialect and its culture. This tour is the most convenient, easiest way and most affordable way of experiencing Coron Town. They have a complimentary free pick-up service from your hotel located in Coron Town Center to the drop-off area. From the Asia Grand View Hotel, where we were staying, we were picked up by the shuttle van and taken to our first destination.
Our first stop took us to the Coron Souvenir and Gift Shop where you can find many cheap souvenir items like key chains, magnets, woven bags, necklace, bracelets, basket weavings, mugs, chandelier, tapestries, wood carving, shirts and other accessories. The place is huge as trinkets shops go, I must say it’s more than about 10 regular souvenir shops combined.
I was busy looking for some handmade Dreamcatchers but couldn’t help noticing other tourists buying pasalubongs such as key chains, bracelets, and necklaces with shells. Other necklaces have pearls but I’m quite sure they are not real. Even so, it is good to wear for fashion and special occasions. They have a handmade basket and a flower base with the nice color combination. I think you can also use this in your office to hold pencils and pens. A nice way to remember your Coron Holiday. They also have bags in different styles and colors all monogrammed with Coron Palawan. When you shop here, make sure you haggle and not pay face value, especially if you are picking up multiple items. Souvenir shops are full of all the expected touristy things to spend your money on.
Gary was a little disappointed with the shop. He found it too touristy… the first stop on the town tour is a souvenir shop for you to spend your money… He wanted to see the sights, not visit shops. Needless to say, Gary didn’t buy anything. “I want to see the sights first before I know it is worth buying a souvenir to remember the trip…” were his words of wisdom…
The Lualhati Park is Coron’s very own bay walk with the inspiring beauty of the scenic Coron coastline. It’s a quiet, spacious area where you can sit and relax or grab a bike and ride around. But, most of all, enjoy the views that Coron Town offers. There is also a zip line in the area. It is basically just a park where you can do some photo-ops. You can enjoy the view of ’Sleeping Giant’ – A unique formation of mountains resembling a man sleeping. Can you see it in the pictures below?
According to our tour guide, the park is part of the reclaimed area the government built to serve as the main docking point for boats and ships going in and out of Coron. From here you’ll get a good vantage view of Coron Island, as well as of Mt. Tapyas, one of the highest peaks in town.
You can also ride a zip-line that crosses above the water near the shore. It looks like an exhilarating adventure, with your feet almost touching the water and all, but I’m sure I’ve seen a better zip line around the country.
It’s also here where you’ll find the wet and dry markets of the city, as well as the tourism office. If you’re up for some afternoon grub during your city tour, there are a lot of hawker stalls and small restaurants nearby. Best to go in the afternoon to do sunset and people watching while eating local ice cream bought from the vendors surrounding the park. Nice place, very scenic but not enough shade (and too many people trying to sell you sunglasses, hats, and water-proof bags). This is also a meeting place or place to gather tourist who availed joiner package tour. Also a tricycle bay. Haha!
After seeing a bit of the more “urban” part of town, we headed straight to St Agustine Parish Church.
It is strategically located in the town center and the only Catholic church in Coron Town. The church was built on 1901 and had some major renovations throughout the years. When we visited, there were no other people so we had some quiet time to meditate and reflect. It looks really small but when you get inside it has a very nice interior, a golden altar, and paintings in the ceiling which I suppose was just painted recently.
I love the facade and the interior of the church. It was clean and – despite being in the town center – it was very peaceful. It also has an Adoration Chapel. It is open all day. They have English and Tagalog mass but very few schedules, especially on Sunday. If I’m not mistaken, local says, St. Agustine only has 4 schedules on Sunday: 06:00 AM, 08:00 AM, 05:00 PM and 06:15 PM.
Next was on to Mount Tapyas… We were given 45 minutes to see the sights and, believe me, it took every one of those 45 minutes to trek to the top. It serves as a popular viewpoint that offers sweeping panoramas over the surrounding islands. At 210 meters with over 700 steps to the top, it is one of the most dominant mountains in town. Towering over the Poblacion, its trail is easily accessible on foot.
The challenging climb to witness the amazing sunset is definitely worth it. The steel cross can be found at the center of the spacious viewing deck. Few benches were also provided offering climbers some rest. Everyone was waiting with their cameras and phones to get the best sunset photos. We enjoy the panoramic views of Coron town, the bay, and rugged coastline.
Take some video and photos then stagger back down to the base… On our return, we discovered that we were the only ones in our group to have made it to the top. The others only made it to the 200th step. So, on our return, we were told they had already eaten the tour supplied dinner and we waiting for us. We had to eat our dinner as we drove to Maquinit Hotsprings.
We had a 5 mins stopover at Cashew Factory before we headed to Maquinit Hotspring. The Cashew Factory isn’t an actual factor despite what the name claim… It is actually a local shop that is famous for its high-quality cashew nuts. Managed by ‘Nanay Lita’, the Coron Cashew Harvest has been featured several times by local media. We wondered at first why it was included in the Coron, Palawan Town Tour but upon getting there, we understood why. Aside from its hospitable host – Nanay Lita- the cashew nuts were made fresh! Trust me, they were indeed! They have several flavors or varieties including Garlic Cashew and the yummy Brittle.
Finally, our last destination is Maquinit Hot Springs where we enjoyed a warm and therapeutic dip. After our hike to the view deck of Mt Tapyas a nice cool lake swim is what Gary was dreaming of… Imagine his face when he dove into the 40 degree Celcius waters of the HOT springs (Yes Gary, That is why they called it HOT springs). I loved it and found it ideal after a morning’s traveling and trek up from Mt Tapyas. It is located in the south-east of Busuanga Island and is a mere bumpy 45 minutes ride away (Oh, did I say “bumpy”?.. Hmmm, I meant “really bumpy, dirty, dusty”).
Maquinit Hot Springs is one of the few hot saltwater springs in the World. Surrounded by mangrove trees, the pool is quite large and has two smaller pools cascading into it with unique rock formation around. The main pool can accommodate at least than a hundred people and two smaller pools that can hold at least 10. Towards the tier-layered swimming pools of hot fresh spring water, one will notice the algae growing on the rock wall of the pools an indication that this water through hot is livable to these organisms.
Whatever fatigue we gathered on our trek in Mt. Tapyas, were all drowned and washed away by the therapeutic water that flowed from the underground. It provides different health benefits and relaxing effect on body and mind.
** Guests staying in Coron Town will be returned to their hotels approximately 7:30-8PM
Group size: 1 – 20 people
Pickup location: From your hotel located in Coron Town Center to the drop-off area.
Drop-off location: Travellers taking tours are ready for collection at 3:45 PM.
Pickup time: 3.45 PM – 4.00 PM
Drop-off time: 7.30 PM – 7.45 PM
Coron Town Tour Inclusions:
- Air-conditioned van
- Light snacks with bottled water
- All Permits and Entrance Fees
- Services of a licensed tour guide
- Government Taxes