19 April 2015

Coron and Busuanga - what the Philippines are best at

Arriving on Busuanga island
After Manila, things could only get better. And they did. Already the flight from Manila to Busuanga made us forget the horrors of the capital quickly. Once we left Metro Manila behind, all we saw from the plane window were green islands in turquoise waters and the deep blue sea. After a short hour, the plane landed at Busuanga airport. Though airport is quite an overstatement. A landing field, an arrival hangar, a parking lot. But what more do you need to accomodate two daily flights?

If you haven't booked any expensive resort, your only choice to get to Coron town (about 25 km from the airport) are minibuses for 300 PHP per person (6 EUR). Not exactly a bargain, but not a rip off either. There is a surprising shortage of cheap accommodation in Coron town and Busuanga in general. If you're not willing to spend over 1000 PHP (20 EUR) per night for a simple double room, you're limited to three options. We got dropped directly next to Coron Backpackers, where we had made a reservation for six nights. This proved to be an excellent choice. For 500 PHP (10 EUR), we got a simple but nice room in a cozy house with free drinking water and a kitchen we could use freely. After several months without cooking ourselves, this was heaven.

On the way to Barracuda lake on Coron island
To be honest, the neighborhood of Coron Backbackers could be nicer. And it could definitely smell better. But then, it's in the middle of the town of Coron, which confusingly is the biggest settlement of Busuanga island and not on nearby Coron island. What makes this backpacker a great place to stay is a combination of things. An open space shared by everyone, an open kitchen, the friendly and helpful staff running it and the great people we met there.

Coron town is, as every human settlement we've seen in the Philippines, no pretty sight. But the people are friendly and the market provides you with all the fresh fruits, vegetables and fish you could possibly want. Plus the main reason for coming to Coron is anyway
Island hopping
just outside the town. The nature surrounding Coron and the whole Busuanga archipelago is simply spectacular. Steep limestone cliffs, rolling hills, both savannah and jungle on the islands. Just off, the most beautiful shades of blue and turquoise you've ever seen. And pristine, white beaches. Nature really spoils you in Coron.

We of course wanted to enjoy nature to the fullest. So apart from enjoying Coron town and our fellow guests at the backpackers, we wanted to get out to the islands. We heard diving around Coron is spectacular. So we researched on TripAdvisor for the most reliable and safe dive operator and booked a day with
Malwayuyo beach on Coron island
three dives all across the archipelago. During World War II, the Busuanga archipelago was home to one of the most fierce sea battles between the Japanese and the US pacific forces. "Thanks" to this, the whole area is nowadays littered with shipwrecks from those days. Exciting opportunities for diving!

Rocksteady Dive Center lived up to our expectations. We had a perfect day out with nice people, the staff was knowledgeable and safety-aware and the water was just perfect. The first dive of the day was in Barracuda Lake on Coron island. While the top layer of the lake consists of fresh water (our first fresh water dive), at a depth of 13-14 meters the water changes to be salty and very warm. We dove without wetsuit, as our bodies would get too
warm in the 38-40 degrees Celsius down there. The only spectacular thing to see in the lake is the thermoclite at 13 meters between the two different layers though. The two following dives were out in the sea, exploring (inside and outside!) Japanese shipwrecks from World War II.

On our last day, our friend Jesper invited us to join him and his business partner to the beach they just started to lease and wanted to develop. It was again a perfect day out. Spotless white sand on Malwayuyo beach, snorkeling on the reef and above a shipwreck and drinking plenty of San Miguel. We definitely had a blast in Coron and Busuanga and plan to go back there to see how Jespers business is going and dive the world class Apo reef nearby. Do you want to join us?

More pictures from Coron and Busuanga Island

2 comments:

  1. Hello there, interesting post!
    Can you tell us where we can find Jesper & Gints? Do the people of rocksteady dive center know him? We would like to join them on a 2 day trip to Malwayuyo beach...
    Thanks
    Fien & Jesse

    ReplyDelete
  2. You can reach them through their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Malwayuyobeach?fref=ts

    ReplyDelete

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