Travel Guide, Travel Tales

Unspoiled Paradise: Coron, Palawan

After a 3-day stint in Manila, James and I couldn’t wait to leave the craziness behind and enjoy a much needed relaxation in Coron. Thankfully, it’s only an hour plane ride from the metropolis. Known for deep sea fishing and shipwreck dive spots, Coron is a beautiful town on the northern side of Palawan.

Huh? Palawan?

If you haven’t heard of Palawan then you’re definitely missing out! Deemed as the Philippines’ last ecological frontier, the island of Palawan has been making its rounds among publications, lately in Conde Nast Traveler as the most beautiful island in the world. Boasting a plethora of pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and impressive marine life, Palawan was suddenly on everyone’s radar, including ours.

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

Initially I wanted to go to El Nido. Unfortunately, getting there was a bit complicated and given our tight schedule, we ended up in Coron instead. Since we took the earliest flight out of Manila, we decided it was best to get some shut eye before our hike later in the afternoon.

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

View from our room

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

Mount Tapyas

After our nap, we grabbed a bite and headed for the town proper for our sunset hike. It was about a 20 minute tricycle ride before we finally reached the foot of Mt. Tapyas, the second highest mountain in Coron. I stared at what seemed to be a never ending flight of stairs (700+ steps), trying to comprehend how in the world will I reach the top. After 35 minutes of gasping for air and with sweat trickling down every inch of my body, we finally made it to the mountain summit!

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

Worth the climb, right?

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

The sun dipping behind the horizon

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

palawan 17 jannaonajaunt.com

Must know:

  • There’s no entrance fee. Yay!
  • Contrary to the norm, you don’t need a tour guide to hike Mt. Tapyas. You can just hail a tricycle and let the driver know where you’re headed.
  • After the hike, some people choose to go to Maquinit hot springs, while others (us) pig out instead.
  • Notable restaurants to try: Winnie’s restaurant, Kawayanan Grill Station & Sinugba sa Balay.

Island Tour

The next day, we went on an island hopping tour to 6 destinations:

  • Siete Pecados
  • Kayangan Lake
  • CYC Beach
  • Sunset Beach
  • Skeleton Shipwreck
  • Twin Lagoon

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

Siete Pecados (Seven Deadly Sins in Spanish) is the nearest snorkeling spot from the town of Coron and is the first stop of the tour. The marine life here is quite abundant so there’s no shortage of multicolor corals and beautiful sea creatures to see. The corals are shallow here so we had to be extra careful not to swim too close to avoid harming them.
unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

The world famous Kayangan Lake was our next destination. Dubbed as the cleanest lake in Asia, this popular tourist attraction is accessible by a steep 15 minute climb up and down a flight of stairs. Yes, again! I don’t know how I was able to push through after our hike the previous day. My legs felt like jelly while I was ascending towards the viewpoint but overall, it was worth it because look at this view! Although this is the most well known photograph of Kayangan lake, the lake itself is on the other side.

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

Limestone rocks taken from viewpoint

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

The real Kayangan Lake

The lake is nestled between limestone rock formations  that tower over the crystal clear waters. My first instinct was to take a photo but I immediately got drawn in and took a dip instead. The water was refreshing and had the perfect temperature for a leisurely swim.

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

Before we had our lunch, we made a quick stop to CYC Beach. Although there was nothing spectacular to see here, the clear and shallow water was definitely inviting. James and I waddled in the water for a few minutes before heading back to our boat with the rest of our group.

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

Finally, it was lunch time! We had lunch at Sunset beach and had yummy Filipino food prepared by our tour guides. We had an amazing time with our group, sharing stories about our trip in the Philippines.

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

With our bellies full, we hopped on our boat to our next destination. Skeleton Shipwreck is a popular snorkeling spot and is the site for one of the sunken Japanese ships in Coron Bay. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a shot of the ship because a.) I can’t swim that deep b.) I can’t hold my breath long enough to take a photo of it. Basically, I’m not a very good swimmer no matter how much I pretend to be lol. But I did get this amazing shot with the fishies!

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

The final stop on our tour is Twin Lagoon. As our boat approached the entrance to the lagoon, I couldn’t help but marvel at the jagged limestone rock formations towering over us. Right after we docked our boat, one by one, we jumped into the calm waters and swam towards the fissure that separates both lagoons. There are two ways to get to the neighboring and more secluded lagoon 1.) through an underwater “tunnel” or 2.) through a man made wooden ladder. I was conflicted between being adventurous and avoiding hyperventilation due to a sudden onset of claustrophobia. I chose the former cause you only live once right? 😀
unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

palawan 23 jannaonajaunt.com

Upon entering the second lagoon, I  was surprised at how open and extensive it was. The water was perfectly still, playful and strange – changing from warm to cool. Although Kayangan Lake is favored by many, Twin Lagoon was by far my favorite out of all the places we visited. I’m really glad they saved the best for last.

unspoiled paradise: coron, palawan

Must know:

  • Tours vary depending on the company but the tour we went on was Tour A/Coron Island tour for P1,500/$32 per person by JY travel and tours. Our package included lunch and entrance fees for the 6 destinations we visited.
  • The tour lasted the whole day from 8 am-5 pm.
  • They rent out snorkeling gear but I highly advise you to bring your own, just for hygiene purposes.
  • If you’re not confident in your swimming skills, make sure you rent a life vest. We rented ours for P50/$1 per person.
  • Don’t forget to wear water shoes. There’s a lot of poisonous sea creatures that you want to avoid stepping on.

Thanks to my good friend Yin (@yinjs0305) for lending some of her photos for this post.

Have you been to the Philippines? What’s your favorite island?

Let me know in the comment section below.


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68 Comments

  1. Svetoslav Dimitrov

    April 19, 2016 at 6:43 am

    What a paradise, Janna!

    I cannot wait to visit the Philippines and this heavenly place with white sand and lip-smacking food!

    Amazing photos, especially of the sunset.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:49 am

      Thanks Svetloslav! Sunsets are amazing, isnt it? The photos dont do this place justice. You def have to see it for yourself!

  2. Jess @ Jess Explains It All

    April 19, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Oh my goodness, those photos are absolutely breathtaking!!!! I wish I could take a trip there right now!!

    Jess

    http://www.JessExplainsItAll.com

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      July 5, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      Thank you Jess! Appreciate it!

  3. Tamar

    April 20, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Wow, wow, and wow! That sand, the turquoise waters, the lush mountains, it all looks absolutely stunning! I’m really craving a trip (and some of that food) there now!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:50 am

      Sounds like someone needs a trip to the Philippines! 🙂 Food is so cheap you will be so spoiled Tamar!

  4. Voyager

    April 20, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Reading posts about the Philippines is always a source of great pleasure and your writing and photos make it an altogether different experience. I loved the pictures of the Kayangan lake, looks like heaven.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:51 am

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you liked the post. 🙂

  5. marie

    April 21, 2016 at 12:02 am

    This really does look like an unspoiled paradise. Let’s hope not too many people visit and turn it into Koh Samui!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:50 am

      Oh no I hope not! But despite all that I still want to visit and see Koh Samui for myself! Hope I’m not too late.

  6. Paige Brown

    April 21, 2016 at 6:06 am

    I love the view from the top of the mountain – makes those 700 steps worth it, huh? Some of the photos remind me of the formations of Halong Bay, but it looks much prettier! This is serioulsy where I need to go! I was in the Philippines last year, but stayed on Luzon (I visited Manila -I have family there, Sagada, Tagaytay and Baggio – very, very briefly) and then to Cebu (Cebu City and Oslob) but this looks unreal! My fiancé and I are planning our trip back to Asia with the Philippines as a stop and this post just put Palawan at the very top! Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:57 am

      It was definitely worth it! Yeah, that’s what I noticed too. It does remind me of Halong Bay as well. I did stay in Luzon as well for a brief time and I didnt enjoy it much because of how crowded it was but I enjoyed Palawan and Bohol so if I have to suggest places to visit next time you go it would definitely be those two. Cebu was okay for me. Its similar to Manila which I didnt like but Im sure there’s other islands that are worth visiting outside of the city. No problem! Glad you liked the post! 🙂

  7. Stephanie

    April 21, 2016 at 6:16 am

    These pictures! Oh my! What a photo essay. They really tell the story. I want to be there…I might be bugging you next time I have a good chunk of vacation time. This trip is absolutely beautiful, so picturesque!! Thank you so much for sharing. It is people like you who inspire me to travel more.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:59 am

      Thanks Stephanie! Yeah bug me, not a problem at all. 🙂 I can share some tips and contacts for whenever you plan to visit the Philippines. And you’re most definitely welcome. I’m really glad I inspire you to travel more. 🙂

  8. Amanda Williams

    April 21, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Wow, it looks absolutely beautiful there; wonderful scenery, great weather, good food. Looks like it has it all!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      July 5, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      It really has it all Amanda! The people are so friendly and helpful too. Loved everything about Coron!

  9. Patricia

    April 21, 2016 at 9:23 am

    I can see why you were drawn to Palawan. Gorgeous scenery and so much to do! My knees would hate me for it, but the view at the top of Mt. Tapyas would be worth all of those stairs. And I can’t believe how clear the water is! Thank you for introducing me to Coron (and Palawan)!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 1:00 am

      My knees were bugging me the next day after that hike to Mt Tapyas but the views are magnificent so it was all worth it. Yeah the water is one of the many qualities that draw people to Palawan. I’m glad I was able to show you how beautiful it is. Hope you can see it for yourself too! 😀

  10. Marteen

    April 21, 2016 at 10:23 am

    What a view from Mount Tapyas! Would you recommend to be able to swim some bit to take the tour? I can’t swim at all!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:55 am

      Panoramic views are always nice! The tour does require swimming since it will be mostly in the islands but you can definitely still do it because they have life vests that you can rent out.

  11. Jasmine

    April 21, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    It’s so beautiful, I love how soft and bright and blue all the pics look. Would love to do that hike and the food looks delicious too!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      July 5, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      I really miss it! It was so beautiful and relaxing. Hope you can make it out there too Jasmine!

  12. Cynthia

    April 21, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Wow your photos are gorgeous! I would love to go here and hike in this beautiful place!!!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      July 5, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks so much Cynthia! I hope you get to experience this beauty too!

  13. noel

    April 22, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    That’s it, I need to visit Palawan and check out the gorgeous islands, water and amazing food – it all looks pretty spectacular.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      July 5, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      Yes, you most definitely have to Noel! Palawan is even more gorgeous in person!

  14. S

    April 22, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    Beautiful photos! Looks very peaceful. I can already imagine relaxing at a place like this.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      July 5, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      Thanks so much! Glad you liked it!

  15. Jessica

    April 22, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    I’ve never heard of Palawan but after reading your post it’s on my travel list. Your photos are spectacular and that food looks amazing!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:53 am

      Thanks so much Jessica! I’m glad you are now aware of this place and it’s beauty. Hope you can visit soon!

  16. Knycx

    April 23, 2016 at 12:32 am

    Wow the water is beautiful ~ and the photos on the hilltop are amazing.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      July 5, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks so much! Yes, the water is crystal clear and beautiful!

  17. mark wyld

    April 23, 2016 at 2:00 am

    Looks amazing and great value for money for a whole day tour. Like most places in Asia that are not yet overpopulated with us, tourist the water is an amazing colour blue. The deep sea fishing you mentioned at the start intrigues me, I love fishing

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:52 am

      Yeah, the tour was super cheap I was surprised! Yeah so far its not that overpopulated yet but its definitely getting there. Hope they can maintain it’s pristine beauty so others can enjoy it too!

  18. Carla Abanes

    April 23, 2016 at 2:06 am

    I really love Palawan. The place is so beautiful, and its people even more beautiful. I am definitely going back soon!!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      July 5, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      It really is! I hope to go back and visit El Nido this time!

  19. Darlene

    April 23, 2016 at 5:10 am

    I’ve been to Palawan a few times but havent been to El Nido and Coron yet. Hopefully will rectify that soon. I didnt know that Mt. Tapyas has a flight of stairs. Good to know! hehe.
    PS. If i could make a suggestion though, it would be better if the Headings will be more readable. 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:48 am

      Yes definitely you have to see it for yourself! Do you only visit Puerto Princesa? I heard the underground river is a sight to see! And yeah Mt Tapyas was a killer for my legs and thighs! lol

      And awesome! Thanks for the suggestion!

  20. Vicki Louise

    April 23, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Coron is beautiful! Congrats on making it up the 700+ steps – that looks like a climb for early in the day! and I love that they have their own version of the ‘Hollywood’ sign! Very cool! The Philippines is the next SE Asian country I am going to visit and Coron, Palawan is at the top of my list!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:46 am

      Haha thanks! I don’t know how I made it to the top. I’m not exactly in top shape. And yea, I thought it was clever of them to do their own version too. So cool! Yay awesome Vicki. Let me know if you need any info, I’d be more than happy to share some of my contacts.

  21. Samiya

    April 24, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Pawan looks amazing, the colour of that water wow! Can’t wait to visit Phillipines, hopefully later this year 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:44 am

      It is amazing! The waters are calm and beautiful. Hope you can make it out there soon Samiya! 🙂

  22. sabrina

    April 24, 2016 at 7:15 am

    Can’t believe the colors of this sea are true! The Philippines, as far as I read on several posts, are one of the last green areas left green by mass tourism. Do you think they have special policies to make this and avoid exploitation?

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:44 am

      Unreal right? It sure was pretty! Oh I didn’t know that. I’m not sure about special policies but I do hope they are making efforts to avoid exploitation. Although it might be hard nowadays with social media being so predominant.

  23. Noemi of Pinay Flying High

    April 24, 2016 at 8:44 am

    So beautiful! I’ve been to Palawan a very long time ago and at that time, Mt. Tapyas isn’t even a destination to go to. Or probably it doesn’t have the stairs yet at the time? Lol. I need to go back.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:42 am

      Yea maybe it wasn’t as established back then as it is now. Another reason to go back Noemi! 🙂

  24. Veronika

    April 24, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    I love your photos from Palawan! It is really the most beautiful island on Earth. I visited Coron in the end of my backpacking trip, and I loved it very much, and also El Nido was awesome.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:41 am

      Thanks so much Veronika! Aw I’m jealous you’ve been to El Nido. I heard its somewhat similar to Coron but less tourist-y.

  25. Meg Jerrard

    April 24, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Wow, beautiful photos, looks like a wonderful trip! I’ve been hearing a lot about the Philippines lately, and having just moved to Australia, we’re really looking forward to making a trip happen. Thanks for the tip on water shoes – have been meaning to buy some!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:40 am

      Thank you Meg! It really was such a fun trip! Yea, Philippines has been really popular lately. Hope you can make it out there soon.

      And no problem! I forget to buy supplies sometimes too so I’m happy to share some of the things on my travel list. 🙂

  26. Alice Teacake

    April 25, 2016 at 6:40 am

    I’m crazy about Coron! I went there February last year and learnt to dive for the first time in the shipwrecks. I have very special memories of it 🙂 Great to see all of your photos and especially your hike up to the top. I was always in the waters so never made it up there. Gonna have to go back to see the island from a different angle.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:38 am

      I’ve always wanted to try scuba diving! I’ve heard many amazing stories about people and their scuba diving adventures that it’s making me jealous! Yea, you should definitely head back and check out Mt Tapyas. It was a great preview of what Coron has to offer.

  27. anto

    April 25, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Beautiful! That water at Kayangan Lake looks surreal!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      May 4, 2016 at 12:35 am

      Thanks Anto! Kayangan Lake was beautiful! The water was so clean and refreshing!

  28. Laura @ Grassroots Nomad

    May 11, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Spectacular! I didn’t have time to visit Palawan on my last visit and now I’m really regretting it!! It looks like I need to plan another trip ASAP!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      July 5, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      Yes, another trip is a must Laura! Where else did you go during your trip to the Philippines? Hope you were able to visit Bohol too!

  29. Cass

    June 10, 2016 at 12:34 am

    This looks amazing and so beautiful. I’ve never heard of it before, but definitely adding to the list if we can make it the Philippines. The water looks so inviting !!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      July 5, 2016 at 10:10 pm

      Add Bohol to your list too Cass when you visit the Philippines! I loved every minute of my stay there! <3

  30. Anne

    July 4, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    OMG I am so excited now for my upcoming trip to the Philippines in November. I wasn’t planning to go here but it looks stunning and if it is easier to get to than El Nido, I could be seriously tempted. I would love to dive the warships too

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      July 5, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Oh yay!! So excited for you Anne! It’s definitely easier to get to than El Nido because they have their own airport and you don’t need to take a bus ride to get there. From what I heard, the sights are just the same. The only thing is that El Nido is more remote and quieter than Coron.

  31. Stella the Travelerette

    July 4, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    The Philippines really are stunning! The more I read about them, the more I want to go. I can’t believe how blue the water is and how primeval the foliage looks. But why is the snorkeling spot called Seven Deadly Sins?

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      July 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      Yes, definitely try to visit the Philippines Stella. You won’t regret it! From what I heard, the spot is called Seven Deadly Sins because according to legend, seven daughters went swimming in the area against their mother’s orders and drowned, leaving the seven small islands that surround the area in their wake. :\

  32. Chantell Collins

    July 4, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    This place looks absolutely incredible! I confess that I don’t know much about the Philippines but I have heard to Palawan, I would definitely love to hike Mt. Tapyas – the view looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      July 5, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      No problem Chantell! Actually, the Philippines is becoming more and more popular now. I was born and raised there but never really got to see much when I lived there. Bummer! I can’t believe that there’s so many destinations to go to and explore!

  33. G

    August 10, 2016 at 3:36 am

    Hi Janna! Great post on your trip to Coron. Where did you stay? My boyfriend and I are planning to go there on January but still haven’t found a hotel/resort that we like.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      August 17, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Hello! Thank you for liking the post! It’s a small, family owned resort called La Natura Resort. Its about a 20 min tricycle ride from the town proper. Its quiet and nice and I like that its away from the chaos. They have a restaurant on site so you dont have to worry about traveling outside for food. The staff are very friendly. I do recommend it if you want a nice, peaceful getaway. The only downside is the wifi is only located in their reception area. The rooms dont have it. But I guess that’s good too? More time to enjoy each other’s company. 🙂

  34. Natalia

    February 25, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Great post and love your blog. My partner and I are traveling to the Phillipines in June of this year and are really looking forward to exploring some of these less travelled areas. Can you give me an idea of how much the travel costs were per day? Are these islands generally more expensive or did you find you could still do a fairly budgeted trip?

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      February 28, 2017 at 1:29 am

      Hey Natalia! Aw thanks, I’m glad you like it and thank you for supporting my blog. 🙂 I think it depends on the season. We went around Jan-Feb and it wasn’t as expensive, in my opinion. I think the only thing you guys would spend a lot on would be the plane tickets/transportation. But the food, accommodations and island tour in Palawan, were actually affordable. It wasn’t cheap per se, but it wasn’t super expensive either. I can say the same thing for Bohol and Cebu too. Which islands do you guys plan on going?

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