Coron is one of the more popular holiday destinations in the Province of Palawan. Comprising the eastern half of Busuanga Island, Coron Island, and about 50 other smaller islands, all of them part of the Calamian Archipelago, Coron is a first class municipality listed by UNESCO as a unique natural biotic area.
Originally dependent on fishing and mining, tourism is now Coron’s main industry thanks to its superb beaches, preserved nature, and, above all, the stunning underwater scapes found all around Coron. Interesting historical artefacts – the sunken WWII vessels of a Japanese supply convoy - have propelled Coron to rank amongst the most sought-after diving destinations in the world.
Things to See and Do in Coron
As mentioned, Coron’s prime activity is scuba diving. The seven Japanese shipwrecks that lie on the sea bed of Coron Bay, between Marily and Uson Islands, offer a fantastic playground for scuba divers of all skill levels as the wrecks lie at depths ranging between 10 and 40 metres. Other water activities such as snorkelling, sea kayaking, or simple island-hopping are also very popular in Coron.
You’ll find here similar limestone karst landscapes to those in El Nido, located 120 km south. Here, there are secret lagoons that can be reached through tunnels carved in the rock. Trekking is also a great activity in Coron. Getting to the viewpoint above Kayangan Lake, or even higher to the summit of Mount Tapyas, is a really rewarding experience.
If partying is important to you then Coron may disappoint. There’s little vibrant nightlife in Coron, apart from a few bars and restaurants at which you can have a drink after dark. On Busuanga Island, Coron Town is rather sleepy and only venues such as No Name Bar, Hangover Bar, Helldivers and a few other bars offer the opportunity for conversation with fellow travellers over an alcoholic drink or two.
The Coron dining scene features restaurants that can cater to most tastes. Even though Coron is a remote and barely developed municipality, you’ll find restaurants here that serve everything from Filipino to European, Asian, vegetarian, North American, Korean, and other world cuisines.
Lolo Nonoy’s Food Station, Altrove Coron, Brujita Bar & Restaurant, Pedro’s Gelato, and Sinugba Sa Balay are amongst the most recommended venues to dine in around Coron Town. Seafood is especially good in Coron, so don’t miss the chance to sample freshly caught prawns, squids, crabs, and lobsters.
While the Coron shopping scene is limited to basic necessities and beachwear, the public market near the pier is dedicated to fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables, and seafood. A few local convenience stores offer everyday items such as sunscreen, toiletries, snacks and drinks. You’ll also find a good choice of handicraft and fashion boutiques that will give you the a chance to pick up souvenirs for friends and family. Cashew nuts, one of Coron’s specialities, can be purchased at Coron Harvest, a cooperative located 12 km north of Coron Town.
Getting to Coron
There are a number of options to get to Coron. You can fly directly to Busuanga Island from Manila any day of the week. The flight takes roughly one and a half hours. Once at Francisco B. Reyes Airport (formerly Busuanga Airport) you can easily take a minivan. If you are in no hurry, or simply want to enjoy the experience, you can get to Coron by ferry from Manila or from Puerto Princesa, the capital city of the Province of Palawan located some 300 km south.
Despite its remote location between the South China and the Sulu Sea in northern Palawan, Coron attracts an increasing number of visitors every year. As with many popular holiday destinations around the world, the first travellers who ‘discovered’ Coron were backpackers, quickly followed by scuba diving enthusiasts. The Coron’s accommodation scene has evolved with the growing diversity of the visitors. Accommodation options range from cheap bungalow resorts to more exclusive hotels and everything in-between.