Coron Boat Tours

If you’d like a one day boat tour only around Coron, the prices in pesos are shown in
the table below (or check here for multi-day boat tour expeditions between El Nido and Coron). 1,000p is payable up front to reserve, the rest payable in cash to the boatman on meeting. To request a reservation simply fill in this form so that we can check availability.

 

DESTINATIONS 2-4 PAX 5-8 PAX 9-15 PAX 16-20 PAX
CORON ISLAND 3,700 4,250 4,800 5,900
SANGAT/LUSONG GUNBOAT 5,350 5,900 8,100 9,600
BANANA/MALCAPUYA ISLAND 5,350 6,450 8,100 9,600
CULION MUNICIPALITY 5,350 5,900 8,100 9,600
DIBATOK ISLAND 4,800 5,350 6,450 7,950
CALUMBUYAN/ PASS ISLAND 5,900 7,000 8,650 10,150
TARA ISLAND 10,300 11,900 18,000 19,500
NORTH/SOUTH CAY 7,000 8,100 10,300 11,800
CALAUIT NATlONAL PARK 10,800 11,900 18,500 20,500
PANLAITAN/BLACK ISLAND 8,600 9,700 13,000 15,000
LINAPACAN ISLAND 10,800 13,000 18,500 20,500

 

The top row (Coron Island) in the table above applies to 5-6 of the destinations in the top two rows of the picture below. Note that the entrance fee/pax for each destination is not included in the above price.

coron-boat-tours-destinations

This Tripadvisor page shows the most popular destinations around Coron, our favourite suggestions being Kayangan Lake and Twin Lagoons, quite close to one another.

At some of the places, like Twin Lagoons, the local caretaker grills fresh fish and rice. Or the boat crew can cook you up the same for 150p/meal. If instead you buy vegetables from the public market (the loading area for most of the boats), the crew can cook that for you for free, but a little tip would be nice.

If you are staying at a hotel with a pier, the boatman can pick you up and drop you off straight from there. Or they can arrange a tricycle taxi to take you to their boat.

Check here for our tips what to do in Coron.

Glamping in the Philippines, Palawan

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Glamping is an abbreviation for “glamorous camping”. But since all the manufacturers of such glamorous camping seem to be from the United States and because shipping to the Philippines from there is so expensive, if you bring the tent with you, we’d be happy to pay for it and build you your furniture in advance!

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Furniture made from bamboo and/or sawed coconut trunk. With juicy fat mattresses brought in from Coron.

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At the southern end of the beach there are wonderful spots for such glamorous tents, and where eventually we’d like to build small huts. Very private and quiet space where you can catch both sunrise and sundown (certain times of the year).

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If the big hut is already reserved for your dates but you’d still like something fancy, this at least is an option for you. Contact the new manager through the Accommodation Page link below.

Back to accommodation page

All-inclusive ten day return trip from Manila to Palawan for 10,000pesos ($200)

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Do you live in Manila and have always dreamed of spending a week in beautiful Palawan but could not afford the expensive booking packages? I’ll show you some ways how you can do it very cheaply.

First of all, as explained in my travel itinerary suggestions for the Palawan area, if you have a limited time and budget, I would suggest you skip Puerto Princesa entirely. It is not a very appealing town, and the only reason to even go down that far, the Underground River Tour, really isn’t that spectacular. You’ll lose an entire day waiting in line and be herded about with the massive crowd of other tourists. Then you’ll lose an entire day making your way up to El Nido.

If you love nature, glad to get away from the tourist crowd, have a limited budget and only about one week’s travel time, I would suggest you take the Atienza ferry straight to El Nido. That costs 1,700p, you sleep overnight in a bed (so you save one night on accommodation), and they feed you, so you save on food costs.

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The contact for Atienza’s Manila office is (Smart) 0999 881 7266 or 0998 532 6553, or (Globe) 0917 633 2090. Other details on our ferries page. Note that if the waves get too rough, sometimes the coastguards delay them from leaving. There is only one Atienza ferry doing the Manila > El Nido > Linapacan > Manila route, once a week, so a delay will delay the whole cycle.

 Day 1: 1,700p, 1,700p total 

If you have the budget and want to get that extra day in, you can take a Air-Swift flight to El Nido for around 6,500p, so about 5,000p extra.

El Nido

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Now you have several options. You can check out our El Nido page for info on accommodation and what to do there. You can get a room for as little as 500p, perhaps less, so if there are two of you, that would be 250p each.

You can rent a kayak for 400p, so 200p each for two. The zipline for around 700p is worthwhile, otherwise there are a few nice things you can do for free. Meals are around 200p in restaurants, or there is a good public market across from the bus terminal.

El Nido is famous for its lagoons, but that will add to your budget. Note that, because they are famous, they tend to be flooded with tourists and perhaps you’d be satisfied just renting the kayak to explore the island across from El Nido. Also beautiful and you may very well be by yourselves.

Note that you may be charged 200p each for the local environmental fee.

 Day 2: 2000, 3,700 total 
(includes budget accommodation, 3 meals a day in restaurant, kayak for 2 and zipline)

El Nido has a good night life with lots of bands playing in different places, but if you want to avoid the tourists and save, you can always move on towards Sibaltan, depending on when the ferry arrives.

Moving to Sibaltan

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Moving east along the El Nido peninsula, we come across Nacpan, Calitang and Duli beaches, with various resorts off the beaten path as explained in our suggested accommodations page. The most affordable of these is Where to Next on Calitang beach, but close to the end of Nacpan beach, so you get two beaches for the price of one. 550p tent for two is their lowest offer.

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On the Sibaltan page below there are some contacts to bus and jeepney services. May require some juggling to hop along the coast, but ask the resorts you will be staying at to help you. When in El Nido you can also ask at the bus terminal.

 Day 3: 1000p, 4,700p total 
(assumes 500p for food, 300p for accommodation and 200p for transport)

Sibaltan

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Sibaltan is a lovely little archeological village with a very long stretch of beach quickly filling up with one quaint resort after another. You should be able to get accommodation for as little as 500p for a room, and there are many options. Definitely worth visiting.

 Day 4: 1000p, 5,700p total 

Linapacan

island-hopping-boat-tours-takling_DCIM100GOPROTakling Island

I would consider this the jewel of your stay. So much to explore, but the best way to get there, if you have the budget, is by a private boat. That way you get to see a bunch of more jewels along the way, such as Pical (30 minutes by boat from Sibaltan), Takling (a deserted island you can camp out on, and there are many others), Calacala, and the tons of great places to snorkel and lounge (check out our most popular boat tour stops).

island-hopping-philippines-calacala_DCIM100GOPROCalaCala Island

With enough people, such a tour can actually be quite affordable, especially since you will only be going from Sibaltan to Linapacan, perhaps on a two day trip, combining it with a boat tour of the Linapacan area on day 2. Or we have small boats for 2-3 people that are much more affordable, but not so comfortable, details here.

Trekking on Bolina island, Philippines, PalawanBolina, deserted island across from our nature camp where you can sleep overnight.

If you cannot afford a private boat, there is the Lara and other ferries leaving from San Fernando, just north of Sibaltan, at least four times a week for about 700p. That will take you to Linapacan (San Miguel), where there is tons to see by inexpensive local boat tour, and affordable accommodation easy to find (about 500p/room or two people).

return-trip-manila-palawan_20161212View of our nature camp beach from our island mountain.

And if you really like to get off the beaten path into beautiful and peaceful nature, you can stay at our kitesurfing nature camp. We have beach volleyball, good music, several instruments with which to play live music around the campfire at night, wakeboarding, rent a banca and borrow our fishing rods, jungle trails to explore, but general all out relax. We also cook together and food costs are only 250p/day, so a good place to save.

Drone shot of our island.

Here in Linapacan there is also an environmental fee of 200p, and perhaps also along the route to get here, so keep that in mind. Tents for as low as 600p for two, 400p for one, more details here. So roughly 500p a day including food, and assuming you will want to party it up a bit or maybe do an affordable local group boat tour, a budget of 1000p a day should be sufficient for the rest of your stay and include the Lara ferry to get here.

 Days 5/6/7/8/9: 5000p, 10,700p total 

Back to Manila

Snorkeling nearby.

So if the Atienza ferry leaves Manila on Saturday (make sure to call and check their schedule), arrives to El Nido on Sunday, leaves for Linapacan on Monday (which you can obviously take if you want to save more money by not going to Sibaltan), and leaves from Linapacan back to Manila on Monday, it should be on the same schedule a week later. Day 10 should be the next Monday and when the ferry will head back to Manila, overnight arriving on Tuesday, 1,700p, food included. Total price then:

 Day 10: 1,700p, 12,400p total 

Of course savings can be made here and there, such as not boozing up so much while staying at my nature camp (1L beers selling for 100p or big bottles of Emperador for 200p – or simply bring your own), such that, technically, you could have a ten day trip through the best parts of Palawan for as little as 10,000p.

return-trip-manila-palawan-beach-volleyballFree activity.

But if you do have more meat in your budget, there are certainly other options to making your way back to Manila. For example, you can shorten your stay in Linapacan and take one of our boat tours, small or large boat, up to Coron, visiting the most popular Coron spots along the way. If you are an avid diver, there are 8 shipwrecks around Coron, but no beach and not much else to do there.

Twin-lagoons-coron-Twin_Lagoon_Palawan-120Twin lagoon near Coron.

Or if you do not have the budget for a private boat to Coron, take the Jessabel ferry, and then the 2Go ferry onward to Manila (all info on the usual ferries page).

So lots of options to choose from, depending on your budget or time off. If you prefer packaged tours, I can arrange that as well.

Hope to see ya!

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Opening a bank account and atm cash withdrawal for foreigners

opening-bank-account-atm-cash-withdrawal-foreigners_67312c

After struggling with this issue for half a year, I finally found an excellent solution.

Background history

I’m a digital nomad, deriving my income from my various online jobs and businesses, a luxury which has enabled me to travel around the world for the past 15 years. The problem with this is big brother is growing and about a year ago the banks where I held accounts started asking me to prove that I still live in the country where my account is located. A few years before that my PayPal US account would no longer issue debit cards. One by one I was losing my cards. As a seasoned traveler, I like to have several cards and accounts for backup purposes, and different card types, because some smaller, remote villages might only have mastercard atms, while others only visa.

Now the number of my cards has whittled down to only one: my Bulgarian visa card. But it uses the latest technology with a little chip in the card which the old atm machines in Coron cannot read. I tried everything to resolve these issues but the only solution would be to fly back and show up at the banks in person. This was not an option, so I finally resorted to my good friends at Seadive Hotel in Coron, who would accept a direct paypal payment from me and either give me cash or write me a check. An expensive 10% commission option, but at least there was a way.

Opening a bank account

opening-bank-account-atm-cash-withdrawal-foreigners_7865Cartoon source

So an obvious solution would be to open a local bank account, move my income stream to a local PayPal account (where I get all my income), connect the two and we’re done. Since Coron is the closest town with banks to my beautiful little island, I started first with BPI, since the Seadive had an account there and it seemed the most established.

After spending an unbelievable 30 minutes to exchange $300 in cash to Filipino pesos, the clerk filling in all sorts of forms, punching in details of my passport and who knows what in the computer, vigorously stamping many papers in the process, it was finally time to work on opening the account. He grabbed a purple pink little pad of sticky paper, pealed off one and proceeded to scribble down a small list of instructions of what I needed to get, smiling assuredly when I asked him, “That’s it?”

opening-bank-account-atm-cash-withdrawal-foreigners_teller

Because it was low season and the regular ferries to my area were not operating, I was forced to hire private boats to go to Coron, three and a half hours away, to do occasional shopping and sort out these headaches. I therefore ran out and arranged for the copy of my passport and other requirements.

Long story short, I had to go back to my island and back to Coron many times, and each time I showed up with the needed documents, I would hear what I have been hearing my entire life whenever dealing with banks: “Oh yes, and we still need this and that.”

By the fifth visit I finally blew up and demanded to see the manager. The woman came over and I filled her ears with questions why doesn’t such an established bank have saved in its computer system a simple form they can just print out with all the requirements necessary to open an account at their bank, without resorting to these amateur gumby and inaccurate sticky papers that waste a lot of my time and money. To this she responded that, in the end, it is still up to the discretion of the bank, even if I fulfill all their requirements.

To that I could only respond by asking what discretion, the manager’s particular mood that day? She seemed quite taken aback by that comment, and my head was so boiling hot I was very close to adding that it might also be influenced by her menstruation cycle.

The final solution

I will not go into detail about a host of other Filipino bureaucratic idiosyncrasies I’ve come across during my stay in this lovely country. The locals know it themselves. But the final solution was to buy a Globe sim card and request a GCash mastercard from them.

opening-bank-account-atm-cash-withdrawal-foreigners_MasterCard

With the card you can:

  • buy things online or in shops like a regular credit card
  • download funds from your PayPal account, for ZERO charges, withdraw from atm for the next to nothing Filipino rates, about 100k a month once everything is verified

The small catch is, as usual, the PayPal account must be Filipino, but that is easily resolved by using another email address, if you already have a PayPal account elsewhere. If you do not have another email address, simply set up a free one at gmail or yahoo etc.

When setting up another PayPal account or transferring funds from one to another, make sure to first log out of one before logging in to another. Otherwise some alarm signals can go off and your account blocked. Then you have to phone in, which is always a traumatic nightmare, and answer all the security questions you may have easily forgotten.

opening-bank-account-atm-cash-withdrawal-foreigners_Red-Flag

For extra paranoia, I would use a different password, to avoid any possible automatic red flags, and a different browser. You should use your real name and other truthful information, in case some day they ask you to verify yourself by sending in a picture of your passport etc. For your local address, make sure it is the same for both your Filipino PayPal account and your GCash account. It cannot be a postal address. Since I live on a paradise beach island with no streets or “addresses”, I just made one up. I don’t need paper bank statements, since I am a digital nomad.

On the other hand, a better option might be to first get an ACR (Alien Certificate of Registration) card, in case some time in the future you are asked to provide some additional documentation. On the back there will be an address, and you can use the hostel etc. where you are staying.

Opening-a-bank-account-and-atm-cash-withdrawal-for-foreigners-ACR-card

Now go to an official Globe shop, bring your passport, and they’ll set you up. But hey, either it’s because it’s a banky sort of thing, or maybe I’m always plagued with these sorts of things, I did run into problems, so I’ll go through those so at least you’ll have a heads up on what you might run into.

  • First of all, try to use the same email address for both accounts, and all other information, exactly.
  • There is some verification process on the Globe end that takes about three days. You can expedite that to immediately by going to your official Globe shop and ask them for that, or apparently there is an online option using your Facebook account.
  • In your PayPal account, verify your account by connecting it to the same GCash debit card (detailed instructions below). You will need at least 150p on your GCash account for the verification to work.
  • With your GCash card you will receive a little brochure of information. So little in fact it has hardly any useful information other than the weblink. Follow that, open an account and connect to your phone number (the one associated with your GCash card).
  • Download the GCash app to your phone. When trying to figure out why it was not working, one website stated that it needs to be at least Android 5. Follow the simple logic and connect to your Paypal account. Detailed instructions below.
  • Since it is a new PayPal account, be careful about transferring too much in the beginning, otherwise more red flags may be raised or limitations imposed (details below).

Troubleshooting

Sometimes I think there are little devils in another dimension who meddle into my IT life and aggravate me in so many ways to hinder my spiritual advancement. So I will just list some points I had to struggle through, in case the above does not work for you.

After everything was verified according to the above, I tried to transfer USD funds from my PayPal account to GCash, but I received the error message:

“Oops! The payment cannot be processed because no payment source is available.”

Tinkering around, I then converted some USD funds to pesos in my PayPal account and tried transferring that. It worked! Unfortunately, only that one time (after that I always received the above message). One website said they had the same problem and resolved it by removing the USD account on PayPal and making the pesos account primary. Didn’t work for me, and my housemate said she regularly sends money from her USD balance to her GCash card without a problem.

Tinkering some more, if you click on Profile > Profile and Settings, then My Money, then Update for “My preapproved payments”, you will find a link to Preapproved Payment Plans, which will take you to the following window:

Opening-a-bank-account-and-atm-cash-withdrawal-for-foreigners-preapproved-payments

In my case I found two for the same service, because I accidentally did it twice. I removed both, added a new one, but was still getting the same error message.

And the final solution? I tried and I tried and finally the next day it worked. Sometimes a little patience can do wonders! Phew! What a relief, but then it stopped working again. I phoned GCash and they suggested to go to the above window in PayPal, click on the preapproved payment and cancel it, then change your PayPal password, the relink in the GCash app with the new login details. In this way you create a new link and it may help.

Transaction Limits

After talking with PayPal a few times, they said they often have connectivity problems with GCash. Hopefully things will have improved by the time you read this. At the time apparently the transfer limit per day is 25,000pesos. Also, one PayPal help suggested that there has been too much activity on such a “young account” and that I should instead transfer higher amounts rather than a lot of smaller transactions. Consider your account might be fragile in the beginning, but they told me that, after about three months, if I only withdraw about once a week, the account should be established enough and the limitations lifted. I was even having problems simply sending money to another Filipino paypal account!

Calling PayPal

Opening-a-bank-account-and-atm-cash-withdrawal-for-foreigners-call-paypalAfter trying this and that and no longer even able to transfer funds to another paypal account, I finally resorted to calling them. When I was not able to transfer funds to another account, a little window popped up suggesting the number to contact them. I used Skype to call them and managed to move forward an inch, but every subsequent call was automatically disconnected after I had gone through the long process of struggling with the robot. I was desperate and started calling from my mobile phone.

But even though I was calling from the number associated with the account, the robot still could not recognise it. To save money, I found I could press a few numbers of a fake phone number while the robot asked her questions. Then when asked what the problem is, feel free to interrupt her by saying “problem with payment”. Speak clearly, and you will have to go through this several times.

After several phone calls one kind operator mentioned a special number I could call by Skype:

1-888-221-1161

To confirm that I remembered the number correctly as she dictated it over the phone, I found one site which listed many phone numbers how to contact PayPal, and which departments or persons. There is apparently a second number that you can Skype call.

Don’t pay by invoice

The operator who first mentioned that there is a daily transfer limit of 25,000 (it would be real nice if they simply stated all this somewhere on the account or by email) suggested that, if it still does not work to transfer funds to another paypal account (my host was willing to take out the cash through her card), I could ask her to issue me an invoice instead. I tried sending her the limit of 25k, then 20, then 15, finally 10, until I asked her to send me the paypal invoice. I accepted that and, all of a sudden, my account is in official lockdown mode, only able to receive payments or issue refunds. How utterly useless and now I was really stressing out. I clicked to the resolution center and found I had to upload all sorts of documents which I don’t have, six in total, impossible government documents, and I began to S in my pants.

Opening-a-bank-account-and-atm-cash-withdrawal-for-foreigners-shit-in-pants

Fortunately, a simple phone call to the Skype number above resolved that. Be polite and nice to the operators and you will get the best results. Hope this all helps!

Useful Links

Some useful pages I read when I was trying to troubleshoot the glitches.

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Bulog Dos

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#14 of top things to do near Coron according to Tripadvisor.

Like Malcapuya Island, Bulog Dos also has a nice white sandy beach, although rather short. It also charges an entrance fee, and has a long snaking sandbar that connects it to Malaroyroy Peninsula and the rest of Bulalacao. It has interesting rock formations, but is currently under negotiations with the same new owners of Malcapuya, so it may be closed to public soon as well (make sure to check the latest comments in Tripadvisor above for the latest news).

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It is usually part of the same tour package of three islands, including Malcapuya and Banana island. “Bulog” means bald, describing the shape of the mound that resembles that of a bald head. Snorkeling there is good if you get out far enough (although Banana Island is better), and overall the best visit among these three islands. A rather small island that can be explored in less than 30 minutes. There’s a lone hut on the island which may be possible to sleep in. Otherwise, if you’d like to stay in the area, you can walk across the sand bar to the 5 star hotel on the neighbouring island.

Back to Suggested Travel Itinerary for the Palawan Area

Bulog Dos 3

Bulog Dos 6

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Banana Island

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4.5/5 of 241 reviews on Tripadvisor, #12 of things to do around Coron.

200p entrance fee.

Preserved and privately-owned by the Gallego Family, they allow visitors to swim and see the clams, corals and lots of fishes just a few meters from the shoreline of the island. The waters are deeper than Malcapuya Island, so you can expect a greater variety of sea life.

Some info according to http://blog.macoymejia.com/2015/11/23/banana-island-coron-palawan-philippines/:

  • Beach camping on the island is no longer allowed
  • Day-tour entrance fee is PhP 200
  • Overnight fee is PhP 850 ~ PhP 1000 per night
  • Most of the cottages have lights and electric fans run through electric generator
  • Some
  • They can cook for you, but bring your own food to cook
  • No fishing, but you can ask them to fish for you
  • They have a small store that sell few items like softdrinks, beer, alcohol drinks, cigarets, and chips

More officially known as Dicalabuan Island, the name Banana catching on later because of the island’s shape.

Banana-Island-7135657495_656e684e9e

The beach can be somewhat pebbly, but it does have a volleyball net.

A little tip: There is a sandbar jutting out from Banana Island to Malaroyroy Peninsula. You can hike over the base of this sandbar and walk all the way to Malaroroy and Bulog Dos along it. During high tides you can still get across if you don’t mind wading through chest-deep water.

It is more developed than Malcapuya or Bulog Dos and has a reasonable sized convenience store where you can get beers.

Banana Island

Back to Suggested Itinerary for the Palawan Area

Malcapuya Island

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#2 of top things to do around Coron according to Tripadvisor.

This island, along with Bulog Dos and Banana Island are part of a package offered by local tours in Coron because they are located so close to one another. Each of these stops (at least two of them) charges an entrance fee of around 200p/person, and is located close also to our recommended stop for this area, No Name island. Bulog Island is apparently the best of these three, and any of these four is a good stop to break up the trip into smaller parts. If you want to visit more than one stop in this area, you might not have time during the same day to also visit Araw Beach.

The island has white sandy beaches comparable to Borocay, as does Bulog Dos.

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This one has an entrance fee of 200p but they have begun work on a new resort, so it is uncertain how long it will remain open to the public (check out the Tripadvisor link above to make sure).

Malcapuya-Island-11.-cottages-at-malcapuya-island

At the moment it offers accommodation as explained on http://www.traveling-up.com/a-night-in-malcapuya-island-coron/ (TravelUp pics):

  • Our room for the night was a simple cottage by the beach, an enclosed thatched hut with an electric fan and a mattress on the floor. Cost for cottage rental was P750/person.
  • There are two restrooms with open air showers a few meters away from the huts.
  • The island does not have electricity, but they have a generator which provides light and electricity at night.
  • There are outlets in the huts where you can charge phones and camera batteries.
  • You can also opt to stay in a simple house-for-rent on an elevated portion a few meters from the shoreline, which has a single room, basic yet comfortable beds, and a decent restroom.

Rather undeveloped at the moment, which only adds to its charm, with many deserted and protected beaches.

08.-malcapuya-island-sunrise-beach

09.-malcapuya-island-sunrise-beach-landscape

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Single One Day Boat Trips Tours Between Sibaltan (El Nido) or Coron and Linapacan

beach-hopping-tourCheck out our page for the latest info on the public ferries between these locations, but since they do not run every day and you might not have enough time during your limited travel schedule, we have private boat options.

Large or small boat?

The most comfortable option would be our larger boats, which can accommodate up to 20 people in good weather, 15 in harsher/bigger waves. It has bench space for 8 people and plenty of other space for comfortable sitting, or lying down, with tons of space for baggage. It also has a sun and rain shade, but if it looks like it might rain, or if it will be wavy and windy, for a more comfortable trip you are advised to bring an umbrella or some kind of rain gear (in very very wavy weather—usually around February—even snorkels to cover your eyes).

This costs 10,000p for a single day trip, plus 1,000p for each additional person above 1.

Budget travelers can take our smaller boat with a maximum capacity of 3 for

  • 5k for one person
  • 6k for two people
  • 7.5k for three people

There would be tight sitting room for three people and the boatman, with gear you will find it difficult to stretch your legs, but there is a small awning cover against the sun and rain.

Island hopping or not?

island-hopping-boat-tours-el-nido-coron

The journey by the faster big boat can take roughly 3.5 hours, while 4.5 hours for the small boat. You can alleviate this journey with a bit of island hopping for frequent trips along the way, but that would require the boatman to come the night before so that you could leave first thing in the morning. This would cost an additional 1,000p for the smaller boat or 2,000p for the larger boat. You can meet the boatman the night before, he can show you some sites around town, and it would be nice if you would buy him a beer or two. They will be sleeping on the boat. This way you can stretch out the journey to seven hours or more.

If coming from or going to Coron, you can include in that the three most popular sites: Twin Lagoons, Kayangan Lake and Malcapuya Island, which would save you money from having to hire an additional local tour for those. You can check out the boat stops page for ideas where you could take breaks along the way.

Special prices from Sibaltan (El Nido)

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Sibaltan is a nice archeological village well worth visiting and located about one hour by van east of El Nido. Our boats do not go directly to El Nido because it is significantly farther, can be dangerous around the north peninsula, and all of the beautiful spots to visit are on the east side of the peninsula.

We happen to also have a couple of boats in Sibaltan (most of our boats are docked in Linapacan), so if you want a quick day trip to Linapacan, tour the area, and make it back the same day, that is possible.

* Note that prices may increase in October.

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Back to Suggested Travel Itinerary for the Palawan Area

Twin Lagoons, Coron

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No. 4 of things to do around Coron according to Tripadvisor.

Located not far from Kayangan Lake on the same island of Coron (the town of Coron is located on another island), another worthwhile stop along a boat tour. The coastline is splendid and the bay mystifying as you approach the little house wedged into the sharp rocks at the lagoon’s mouth.

Twin-lagoons-coron-twin lagoonsPhoto left: the usual entry is at the boats in the upper right, where the house is. But boats can also get into the second lagoon, shown bottom left.

The house owner will paddle out occasionally, collecting the 200p entrance fee from the various boats, but if you’re hungry, this could be a good stop for lunch because they’ll also grill you up some fresh fish. If you take a peak behind the house you’ll find the usual hung laundry, roaming chickens and dirt floor backyard that you’ll find in any other rural Filipino home, so obviously the attendants are not collecting much of the entrance fee.

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Grilled fish diner and entrance fee collection.

Because the lagoons are so popular, you can expect a lot of tourists bobbing in the water, but still much less than the lagoons around El Nido.

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To get to the other lagoon, if tide is low enough you can swim your way under a tight impasse, otherwise you can crawl over on a funky ladder system.

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If it is low tide, the ladder is a worthwhile climb if you want to take some good pictures.

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View from the top of the ladder to the second lagoon.

Alternating cold fresh water with warm ocean water can give a slightly eerie feeling, which is why the locals call the lagoons “strange waters”.

Here is a short video:

Kayangan Lake

 

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No. 1 of things to do around Coron according to Tripadvisor.

But it requires a steep 75m climb (about 300 steps total), both up and down into it, about 15 minutes if you are in reasonably good shape. That includes the waiting time, as the path is too narrow to accommodate traffic in both directions, and because it is a popular destination, be prepared to slide to the side and wait occasionally.

It is a hall of fame awardee for the cleanest and greenest inland body of water in the Philippines and dubbed as the cleanest lake in Asia. However, when I was there it didn’t seem so clear but somewhat murky, and hardly as clear as the waters around Linapacan.

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If the climb is too much for you, another alternative is the nearby Barracuda lake, one of two out of eight lakes in the area open to the public. It has only 30-40 steps.

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The lake is surrounded by a karst scenery of limestone cliffs and guarded and maintained by Tagbanua tribesmen, who consider the lake a sacred cultural site. It is believed that spirits used to dwell in the sacred lakes and that a ritual was performed to transfer the spirits from Kayangan and Barracuda to Cabugao, the largest of all the lakes. Kayangan Lake is 70% fresh water and 30% salt water. According to Coron Tourism it is the most photographed spot in Coron.

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Typical shot of Kayangan Lagoon from the top of the climb.

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The busy docking area in the lagoon.

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It has astonishing underwater rock formations (which have jagged edges and can be fun to grab onto to keep underwater and pull yourself along), and you can discover the enchanting Awuyuk Kayangan Cave, where you’d have to swim to go through its narrow entrance.

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There is a cave you can check out at the top of the climb. At the top there is also an area where you can take a beautiful shot of the Kayangan Lagoon, where the boats dock.

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The trip from Coron there is itself breathtaking, the shoreline adorned with beautiful limestone cliffs and hidden little beaches.

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There is an entrance fee of 200p to enter the area.