Our journey to Coron started bright and early with a 4am pick up to get to the ferry port in El Nido by 5am to check in for our ferry to Coron. Of course there was the usual bun fight to get on the ferry – a futile exercise seeing as we all had actual seat allocations but we have now come to expect this fiasco everywhere from buses to planes – as well as this there was also quite a stringent security check with all our bags being subject to sniffer dogs as well. After a choppy 4 hour ride we arrived in Coron. We headed from the main ferry port to the small craft dock for our ferry/water taxi to our hotel. We had plumped for a hotel on an Dicanituan Island that was only occupied by the hotel. Their ferry runs all day (until 11pm) so although we were isolated although the main land was only 10 minutes away.
Coron Town Proper – yes that is the way it is described on Google maps – is quite small. There are plenty of restaurants offering local and western food. One of the stand outs for me was the complete ban on plastic bags – I was given the most amazing reusable shopping bag that I am still using. This of course does go a long way to all alleviating the pollution problems although the need to drink filtered water (and lack of people carrying their own refillable bottles) does mean that there are always a lot of plastic bottles – admittedly the locals do tend to use the refuse bins and, as we found elsewhere in the Philippines, there was an abundance of recycling bins around.
Most of our time here was spent around the pool reading our books. They had their own dive operation and Ivan enjoyed a couple of good dives, especially the wreck dives where it was just him and the dive master (owner of the dive shop) and because of this they were also able to get out to the dive sites earlier than the masses. There are over 25 dive operations in Coron town and this excludes the resorts and operators that offer the day trips to the islands and snorkelling that goes with that.
Relics in a waterfront pub
The wrecks mentioned are wreckages of Japanese ships sunk during the Second World War and most of them are actually accessible to snorkellers and scuba divers.
We spent our last 3 days of our Philippines adventure in Coron Town. We hired a bike for a day and explored a small part of the island – we visited the hot water springs which was a great experience and we spent a few hours there although we could only spend 10 minutes at a time in the water – it was really hot and they obviously have a high sulphur content.
Our last evening we went for sundowners at a rooftop bar that afforded us the most magical sunset views – a perfect way to end our month in the magical Philippines.