Getting “wrecked” in Coron

Coron-5666Our last stop before returning to Manila was the Island of Busuanga and its main town of Coron. The perspective of some more island hopping but especially some of the world’s best wreck diving made us take the long boat journey from El Nido upon ourselves. What was supposed to be a trip of about 8 hours, turned into a 12 hour odyssey. After 4 hours Dolf and I got sick – not because of the rough sea or the boat being to shaky. No, we figured that we both had something bad for breakfast and it felt terrible. Anxious to arrive in Coron, we noticed that the boat turned around all of a sudden. Apparently another boat of the same company had engine problems and needed to be towed into Coron Harbor. The timing for a maneuver like that could not have been worse.

The whole maneuver cost us about 4 hours and we arrived late at night – completely exhausted from the long trip and the effects of our light food poisoning.

The dog giving instructions.

The dog giving instructions. Maybe that’s why they had to get towed.

Towing the other banka into Coron. Glad to help but what a waste of time.

Towing the the Welcomer 2 into Coron. Glad to help but what a waste of time.

Coron is a busy and bustling port town with its two main sources of income namely fish and tourism. Both of those are pretty evident while strolling through the town. The fish market with its enormous variety of fish and constant trading going on was especially interesting.

Still not feeling a hundred percent, we arranged motorbikes for the next day to explore the Busuanga. After an one hour trip to Concepcion, a small village on the east coast, Dolf and I decided to head back to Coron to eat, rest and then head to the west. We were still feeling exhausted and didn’t feel like continuing in the hottest hours of the day.

Some impressions from lazy Concepcion

Some impressions from lazy Concepcion

After some well deserved rest we both headed for the little fishermen’s village of Marcilla. There was supposed to be a very beautiful and remote beach, hardly ever visited by tourists. Sounded great and after checking the distance, the trip should not take that long. However, our map was not scaled and the trip took well more than an hour going along some really steep, rocky and dusty roads. Going along the hills lining the bay, we we could catch a glimpse of the bay every now and then. The views were amazing. We almost decided to turn around at one point but were happy that we did not after arriving at our final destination – the beach. There was not a single soul on that beach. The sun had just begun to slowly set and the atmosphere was great. After that long trip and being uncertain if we would ever make it, we really felt like having discovered a hidden gem. Unfortunately we didn’t have too much time left since we didn’t want to ride in the dark all the way. We took a dip in the warm and shallow water, floating around and reminiscing about our day and the trip to the beach. After snapping some pictures we already had to leave. With the sun ahead of us, we made our way along the coast and through the hillside of Busuanga back to Coron Town.

The second day we decided to do yet another island hopping trip. The special thing about this one was supposed to be the stop at two lakes inside of Coron Island – Lake Kayangan and Lake Barracuda, famous for its thermo clines. The scenery was beautiful but by that time at least I felt a little bit bored of island hopping. Maybe I just had a bad day but I couldn’t it enjoy the day as much as the previous trips in El Nido.

The view coming back from Barracuda Lake.

The view coming back from Barracuda Lake.

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Snorkeling down to a wreck. About 7 meters deep.

The highlight of our stay was supposed to be the wreck diving which Coron is so famous for. Several warships and cargo vessels of the Japanese Fleet sunk during World War II can be found in the bay. We chose to dive with Rocksteady Dive, a German run dive shop which operates a small fleet of colorful and very comfortable dive boats. We booked three dives and all would take us to different shipwrecks at depths at around 20 – 30 meters. The visibility wasn’t the greatest but the sight of a huge ship lying on the bottom of the ocean, covered in coral and surrounded by marine life made more than up for it. The most interesting and exciting part was diving into the wrecks itself. It was narrow, dark and gloomy and we could only dive into the wrecks one after the other. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to do more wreck diving soon.

On our last day before boarding the ferry to Manila, Chris did a couple of more dives whereas Dolf and I decided to spend the day relaxing. The day would be exhausting enough with a 17 hour ferry trip ahead of us. We boarded the cargo ship in the evening and took off into the dark night. Finally we all three realized that our trip is now almost over and we would have to split soon.

Bound for Manila. Good Bye

Bound for Manila. Good Bye Coron.

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Categories: Diving, Motorbike, The Philippines | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Getting “wrecked” in Coron

  1. peter montgomery

    hi Philip

    great post , got to be young .

    regards peter

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hi Peter, I am actually not tat young anymore and I am regretting not having done all of this before in my twenties. At least I have traveled AUS when I was that age. Man, I really want to go back to Biri to surf the point. By the way, what was the name of that neighboring island with great waves and where Badger or his Dad used to have that Surf Camp? Can’t remember the name.

  2. scott major

    I love your adventures!

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hey Scott, thanks for your feedback. It is fun but sometimes you start getting used to all the beautiful you see while traveling. I just try to remind myself of what I would be doing at home in that moment. That usually helps a lot 😉 Regards, Philipp

  3. Alexa Cabot

    O god, I’m glad I didn’t try that El Nido to Coron ferry. Met a fellow backpacker who arrived on a ferry from Coron and warned me against it. There’s a flight from Puerto Princesa directly to Coron.

    After Honda Bay and El Nido, I was getting a bit tired of island hopping myself. And without a PADI certification, I couldn’t do any wreck diving.

    Note to self: I really need to learn to ride a motorbike. 😦
    I could’ve had your kinds of adventure if only I can ride.

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hi Alexa, the flight was too expensive for us and the ferry seemed like an ok option. But yeah, I wouldn’t do it again – let’s put it this way. I suggest you really take a few days and learn how to ride a bike somewhere. It really gives you a different perspective and the travel is so much more independent. It is already enough if you know how to ride a fully automatic scooter – that will take you anywhere and it is easy to ride. Try it ….

  4. Coron is one of the best place I had been. I was excited to see the shipwrecked, we visited the site but we only did snorkel. I still didnt know how to swim at that time and scuba diving is kinda expensive. But yes, the ship looks impressive covered with coal reefs and fishes!

    I noticed you didn’t visited some of the best islands in Coron, like Banana Island and Malcapuya Island. Its my long time dream to stay overnight on those island, hopefully I can come back to Coron soon.

  5. Princess

    May I know how much did you spend for the ferry fare from El Nido to Coron?

  6. Your exploration of our beautiful country, Philippines, makes me feel like I am travelling the country though that’s one thing I haven’t done yet.
    And it’s a shame, I must admit, for not having to experience or to explore my own country the way you did.
    Good job!

    It’s time to re-arrange my plans and travel locally once I set foot in Manila.

    Wish me good luck!

    🙂

    • Hi Mheng, I think it would be nice to go explore your country …. give it a try maybe and see how it goes. In any case, happy travels and good luck! 🙂

  7. Excellent blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring
    writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little
    lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress orr
    go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused ..
    Any suggestions? Thank you!

    • Hi there, I am not even sure if I am in the position to give tips as I consider myself an amateur rather than anything else. I think you just need to take it step by step. It takes some time but you will get there. The question if you should wordpress.com or a paid self hosted version depends on what you want. The self hosted version gives you more flexibility but you also need to know more about tech stuff. If you have ti at WordPress.com it is all pretty simple. If you have the ambition to build your blog bigger etc. – then you should go with a paid service right away.

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