Palawan is beautiful, and the limestone formations in Coron are particularly a must-see. Not only for tourists, but for Filipinos, as well. “Huwag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan.(Do not be a foreigner in your own country.)” Being a mother, I greatly encourage my children to believe in this, and so whenever possible, I take them on trips that will make them see and realize what a beautiful country we live in.
Coron is not for everyone though. Here are things to expect so you can decide whether it’s age-appropriate for you, your children, parents, titos and titas.
It is a quick 35-minute plane ride from Manila to Busuanga airport in northern Palawan. Coron is composed of 200-plus islands in the northern tip of this region. Cebu Pacific and Skyjet fly this route. Philippine Airlines, on the other hand, flies via Clark-Busuanga, so the Manila-Clark drive is something to consider.
From Busuanga airport, it’s a 25-minute van ride to Coron town, where most of the inland resorts are located. This is also where the Coron port is—where boats and bancas for island hopping are docked.
Where to Stay
Coron is not like Boracay, where most of the resorts line the beach. As a matter of fact, most of the resorts in Coron are inland, with only a swimming pool and a great view to keep you entertained when you are not touring. Given this, it is best to choose the right resort for you and your family.
Funny Lion is perfect for those traveling with family of all ages. The rooms are spacious, clean, modern and comfortable. There is a relaxing pool and several Jacuzzis with a view of the bay. Lounge chairs and beds surrounding the pool are inviting after a whole-day adventure. There is a roof deck with two Jacuzzis and a 180-degreee view of Coron—perfect for watching the sunset during happy hour.
The restaurant in Funny Lion has delicious fare, from Asian dishes to pizzas and sandwiches. Good food, for me, seals the deal when recommending places to stay. The service is at par with its sister-resort Amorita in Bohol. Every request is done efficiently and with a smile.
Funny Lion’s location is very convenient. It’s only a 5-minute van ride to the Coron port. After the sun sets and it’s cooler, you may opt to travel like a local via tricycle and visit the small shops, bars and restaurants around town, similar to Boracay’s D Mall.
Because of Funny Lion’s efficient service and safety, it was no issue for me to leave my two-year-old and her yaya (nanny) in the resort while the rest of us went island hopping, which takes the entire day. Being a young toddler, it felt more reasonable leaving her behind to enjoy the pool before taking her nap in the comforts of the hotel room. Plus, they had the option to order whatever they wanted from the restaurant! The pool is designed with shallow areas, an important consideration for moms with young kids.
Island Hopping Tour
There are several tours to choose from, but if you must only choose one, go for the Coron Island Hopping Tour. It doesn’t matter which tour operator you choose, all the island hopping tours include the five musts—Twin Lagoons, Kayangan Lake, Calachuchi Beach, Coron Coral Gardens, and Siete Pecados Marine Park. Funny Lion has their own tour operator called Calamianes Expeditions, with a very charming tour guide who does everything—from setting up lunch on Calachuchi Beach, to snorkeling and trekking with your group. Everyone in Calamianes Expeditions is a local from Coron, so hiring them helps the local community.
As the banca leaves the pier and heads towards the islands across the bay, you will notice the topography changing, until finally, you are surrounded by limestone cliffs and formations. You will be blown away.
At the center of these limestone formations are the Twin Lagoons, two crystal blue lagoons connected by a low tunnel you must swim through to get to the bigger lagoon. All the bancas anchor in the outer lagoon, where you are to jump off the boat with a lifejacket and swim towards the tunnel with your group. In single swimming (or floating) file, your guide leads (or for lazy swimmers, more like “pulls”) you under the tunnel, where there is just enough breathing space for one’s head above the water. During high tide, tourists need to get out of the water and take the steps to the other side.
Lunch in Calachuchi Beach is pleasant and relaxing. Only a limited number of groups are allowed to use the beach, so it is never crowded. There are a limited number of huts, and each group can use one privately. Since all day tours come with lunch, your guide and boatmen take care of cooking your simple lunch of inihaw na liempo, fish, crabs, and vegetables.
If you prefer less crowds, visit Kayangan Lake right after lunch, as more people opt to visit it later in the afternoon when it’s not too hot. This is because of the 300 plus steps you need to trek up the mountain, then down again, before reaching the emerald green lake. Mid-way through the trek is a viewing deck, where you can take a breather and several of those IG photos. By the time you reach the lake, you will be raring to jump in and cool off. The water is clear, with a depth of about 20 to 30 feet. Being a lake, there is no current, so it’s safe to just lie on your back and float away. There is a tiny cave in one part of the lake, where even children enjoy entering to witness the different colors of darkness.
Both the Coral Gardens and Siete Pecados Marine Park are for snorkeling. Depending on what time of day you go, there may be a little current. So it’s advisable to hang on to a buoy held by your guide. These snorkeling areas are all reserves, so it’s guaranteed that you’ll see many colors and species.
The inland tours include visits to Tapyas Viewdeck, Centennial Shrine, Coron Baywalk, Maquinit Hotsprings, and the Cashew Nuts Producer. You do not need a tour guide for all. If you like to jog or walk, it is a pleasant hike to Tapyas Viewdeck early in the morning or late afternoon when it’s not too hot.
For family members with aches and pains, you can stay in Maquinit Hotsprings for hours. Immediate relief can be felt. The depth of the hotsprings is not even, so children and the elderly need to be careful when moving around.
Funny Lion is located at Sitio Jolo, Poblacion 5, Coron, Palawan. For inquiries and reservations, phone (+63 2) 553 9549 or 856 1443, or visit <thefunnylion.com>. For Calamianes Expeditions, phone (+63 917) 552 6766 or (+63 919) 992 6766.
By Carmen Silverio-Roxas