Busuanga Island Coron, Palawan

Flying to Busuanga Island Coron, Palawan

Do you ever get tired of the usual summer getaways like Boracay and Puerto Galera? If you’re after the party and beach babes, then go there. But if you want to experience a not too populated and commercialized vacation place, then you should try exploring the unblemished island of Busuanga in Coron, Palawan. Last week, my wife and I together with some travel blogger friends (Nina, Eric, Ferdz), went on an adventure trip to Busuanga Palawan.

Travel time from Manila to Palawan usually takes 1 hour and 20 minutes as you see them advertised in the websites. But thanks to SEAIR, we arrived at our destination in just 35 minutes! Aside from making the most out of the abs of celebrity endorser Marc Nelson, SEAIR is also known to have the fastest flights to its select destinations like Palawan. The sooner you get there simply means more fun and adventure time for you and your friends. Agree? You can also take the much cheaper but agonizing 24-hour Superferry boat route if maximizing your travel schedule is not too important.

After the pleasant half-hour trip via SEAIR’s 32-seater Dornier 328 Aircraft, we touched down at the Francisco Reyes Airport in Coron, Palawan. There was a lot of construction and expansion work being done at the airport. So this means that Palawan is being developed to be a prime tourist spot in the country. I just hope our government will not be too aggressive on this so as not to make Palawan too commercialized.

SEAIR's Dornier 328 Aircraft
Photo by Gail dela Cruz-Villanueva

From the airport, we went on a 45-minute jeepney ride going to the town proper for Php150. The jeep will drop you off at the lodge or resort you’re staying or somewhere near. Just make sure you tell the jeepney driver ahead of time. Although it was a very bumpy and dusty ride because there were no concrete roads yet, the scenery was breath-taking. The air was really fresh. We passed by the Yula King cattle ranch. I didn’t see too many cattle but I do remember seeing horses doing what stray dogs usually do here in the streets of Manila. It was a bright sunny day too. Our timing was perfect.

Staying over at Crystal Lodge

It was Ferdz who took care of our reservations a week before the trip. We initially planned on booking at Sea Dive Resort, a popular place to stay because they have air-conditioning. But we ended up staying at Crystal Lodge.

Crystal Lodge Coron, Palawan
Photo by Gail dela Cruz-Villanueva

Crystal Lodge Coron, Palawan
Photo by Gail dela Cruz-Villanueva

The nipa-hut style cottages are nicely situated along the seashore on stilts. So you have a nice view of the sea and the islands across. Very beautiful. There are mangroves as you walk along the narrow passage made of old, cranky wooden planks. One wrong step and you can find yourself swimming with the little fishes underneath. The whole place is somewhat primitive and that what makes it so beautiful. It was as if we were living in a fishing community together with the Coronians (better known as the local people of Coron, Palawan). Crystal Lodge does not have air-conditioning but the rooms and hang-out areas are very cool and breezy all the time. It was so peaceful and relaxing over at Crystal Lodge. At times, we would just sit around a bamboo bench and wonder how we could stop time so we can stay longer in this island paradise.

I noticed more foreigners (usually the backpacker tourist type) prefer staying at Crystal Lodge because it’s the place closest to Mother Nature so to speak. And they’re cheaper than the other hotels too. Gail and I rented our cottage for Php1,200 for 2 nights. You can check out their website over here. On the other hand, if you prefer a more convenient place with modern facilities like most Pinoys on vacation coming from Manila prefer, then you’ll probably sleep more comfortably over at Sea Dive Resort. You can see their website over here.

Crystal Lodge and Sea Dive Resort are both located inside the Coron town proper. So the wet and dry market, carenderias, scuba diving centers and shops, airline offices, bars, restaurants, and other establishments are just a walk away. Or maybe just take a tricycle for Php8 per person going to nearby places within the town proper.

We came to learn that Crystal Lodge was being leased and managed before by some foreign businessman who also operated Dive Calamianes, a popular scuba diving center in Coron. I guess the lease contract already expired this year so Crystal Lodge (as of June 2008) is now being managed by its Filipino owners.

On our second night, we kinda experienced the “nightlife” in Coron. What happened was, the electricity went out which lasted the entire night. It would have been pitch black if it weren’t for the brightly lit moon and stars that night. The place we stayed did not have a generator for back-up power. So it was quite an experience for the five of us, all in a single file, finding our way cautiously through the wooden planks back to our cottages with only one flashlight.

Coron, Palawan
Photo by Gail dela Cruz-Villanueva

Coron, Palawan
Photo by Gail dela Cruz-Villanueva

Coron, Palawan
Photo by Gail dela Cruz-Villanueva