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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Do-It-Yourself CORON ISLAND HOPPING Tour + Expenses


There are many Island Hopping Packages in Coron reflective of there are many destinations to choose from. Rates for these tours are standard even among different tour agencies. This also means some of the tour combinations vary from one agency to another. Quite confusing.

Since we only have two days for such activity, what we did was to rent a boat so as we can streamline the destinations to our liking.

We rented a boat worth Php 2,000 for a whole day tour which started 9am and ended 5pm.
This only covers for the boat rental, meaning, we had to:

1.Buy our own food
2.Pay for entrance fees

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Do-It-Yourself CORON ISLAND HOPPING Tour


TAKE NOTE: Each destination in Coron would require entrance fee, with the exemption of Kayangan Lake (200 pesos) each costs 100 pesos. That's why they sometimes call Coron Island "Hundred Islands" because you pay Php 100 per destination.

The money goes to the local tribe (Tagbanua) who owns, maintains and manages Coron Island including outlying destinations like Siete Picados.


ADVANTAGES:

1.You get to pick your destination. ( they usually suggest 10 spots)
2. You can tour around at your own pace.
3. You don't have to share the boat with strangers.
4. You get to pick your food and the market experience is fun.
5. You get to save a few hundred pesos.
6. You can go to both Kayangan Lake and Baraccuda Lake in the same day.

The last reason was our main consideration for renting a private boat because standard tours offer separate packages and therefore separate days on the two attractions.

The Standard Tours that we wanted to combine were,

1. Coron Island Ultimate Tour --650/pax (whole day)
Destinations: Bulungan Beach, Calachuchi Coral Eden, Hidden LagoonsKayangan LakeTwin Peaks Reef, CYC Island.

2. Las Islas Tribal Ecotour --750/pax
Destinations: Barracuda Lake, Siete Pecados, Lajala Cultural Village, Dimanglet Beach, Coral Triangle/ Garden
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Supposed expenses
Tour A --650 X 5 = 3,250php
Tour B --750 X 5 = 3,750php
___________________
TOTAL=  7,000php/5
Per Pax = 1,400php  (for a group of 5pax)

Our Expenses:

Boat Rental   --1,500php
Food             --1,000php
Entrance Fees -2,500php
____________________
SUBTOTAL:        = 5,000php/5
Per Pax =1,000php (saved 400php each) 

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Add Ons (OPTIONAL)

Snorkel Rental -150 X 5 = 750php
Tip:                   300php
Sub-total      = 1,050 /5 = 210php
TOTAL: 1,000 + 210 = 1,210php/pax (Saved 200php each)

Our Do-It-Yourself Tour
5 persons Php1,500.00 boat rental

1.Siete Picados
2. Blue Lagoon
3.Kayangan Lake
4.Twin Lagoon
5.Barracuda Lake
6.Twin Peak Reef 
7. Atuayan Beach


Our fist destination was 
SIETE PICADOS
I asked our new friend Julius of www.lakwatserongtsinelas.com to do do the research and plan the itinerary because I didn't want this trip to be just my trip so I wanted to be surprised as things unfold. Julius mentioned that he is particularly excited about Siete Picados. His excitement was contagious. I started imagining things like giant karst formations, grand entrances and stuff. It was after all our first destination in this D-I-Y Coron Island Hopping Tour.

Then our boatman said, that's Siete Picados, the excitement evaporated. Hahaha! Siete Picados are "seven" small islands on the Northern part of Coron Island. They are nice little islands but we have seen grander, more beautiful ones before so they didn't impress us at all.
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Plus it started to rain hard the moment we anchored at Siete Picados so we were all busy securing our things and keeping warm. Too preoccupied with other things that we forgot one thing---that in Coron, 80% of the beauty is underwater. We did snorkel but there was nothing but dark underwater view. We were allowed to fish feed though. We were surprised at how many fish chase you when you bring bread underwater as if the come from nowhere. I even remember this big fish competing for my bread against the small colorful ones. It's almost half the size of my head!haha

Our boatman motioned to the area where he said corals are concentrated. But we got lazy and didn't bother snorkeling that far. We stayed for only a few minutes and left with a heavy heart thinking that we paid 400 pesos entrance fee for the place only to fish feed. Our friend Rupert said it's an experience not worthy of 400 pesos. We thought it was a waste of time. It was, because we didn't check the corals which is the main attraction in Siete Picados. Only learned about it when we chatted with our guesthouse keeper the nights after the island hopping trip. I suddenly wanted to go back and check. Sayang!
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2nd Destination
BLUE LAGOON
I enjoyed this place so much. I love the shallow water ( depth of only up to 2.5x my height.I am 171cm) and the sandy seafloor in a certain section. Now this is what I call a lagoon! I was excited to show my wife and Rupert the "freediving" skill I learned in Cebu a few months back and I am so glad I still didn't forget it. I touched the bottom each time before going back to the surface. 

Best of all, NO ENTRANCE FEE here! lol
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3rd Destination
KAYANGAN LAKE
Then we were off to thr Legendary Kayangan Lake. I call it "legendary" because it has been synanymous with Coron or Busuanga. You mentioned Coron and people think of Kayangan Lake. It is no doubt the most famous attraction in Coron.


Google Kayangan Lake and you will most likely find the photo below. That's not the lake itself. That's the entrance leading to the dock area. The lake is inland ----that's why they call it a lake, because it's inland body of water.
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So what you do is climb a couple of steps up to this vantage point, (above picture) then hike down more step towards the lake.

Again, it was rainy during our visit but the view was still a thing to cherish. One that is calm and unspoiled natural beauty. I like it that they put boardwalk on one side of the lake so as tourists can wander around and appreciate the view. Many people were swimming on the side of the boardwalk as that's the shallow part is. One can snorkel here and appreciate the underwater view. NO CORALS of course as it's a freshwater lake. I heard it's considered one of the cleanest lake in the world, unfortunately, it has been raining even before we came so the water there was a but turbid.



Sayang, should go back one summer when some of those stones on the side seem to shimmer as sunlight penetrates the clear water. No "dramatic" profile photo here as I imagined coz it was already lunchtime when we hiked. Medyo napagod sa akyat, plus we were already starving a bit. It also rained a few minutes after we reached the lake. Bad rain. 


Kayangan Lake All to myself

If there was one thing I am thankful because of that rain though, I feel very happy that for a few seconds, KAYANGAN LAKE WAS ALL FOR MYSELF. Everybody hurried back to the boats, including my companions, that I was the only one left. I snapped a few photos and it sure felt like I had the place booked for an exclusive magazine cover shoot ---except that the photos I took were not magazine worthy. haha

I took a deep breath, appreciated the peace of the place again and hurriedly ran to catch my friends. I promised myself to be back someday.

Lunch After Kayangan Lake

We were starved by the climb so we decided to have our lunch in one of the huts at the dock area instead of having it in our next destination. Sarap ng kain namin coz the one's in charge of buying food at the market (Rupert and wifey) made sure we had a variety of dishes. Local fish, squid, crabs, shrimps, etc. 

Ang sarap kumain pag ganitong island hopping tapos ganito ang ulam. I ate a lot pf course and you can tell that coz in our next destination (Baraccuda Lake), my tummy was bulging no matter how hard I tried to hide it. lol



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TWIN LAGOON
Destination #4

We dripped by Twin Lagoon first before going to Baraccuda Lake. This is Coron's answer to the Big Lagoon of El Nido ---which also means it's only a boat tour around it. No docking as water is deep, really deep.
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BARACCUDA LAKE
Destination #5

We were asked if we want to try Baraccuda of simply skip it. One of the main reasons we hired a boat rather than going on a regular tour was because we wanted to see both Kayangan and Baraccuda Lakes on the same day. 
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Personally, I wanted to compare the two lakes and despite the review putting Kayangan at #1, I wanted to check it out myself. To be honest, the quiet charm of Baraccuda Lake, (yes, more calm than Kayangan Lake), the easy access to it, the beautiful boardwalk trail and the mysterious (and sometimes a little creepy) feel of the lake made me like it more than Kayangan. 

I will make a separate entry soon detailing the strength and weaknesses of both lakes.

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TWIN PEAKS

We were off again. To Twin Peaks where there is nothing much to see above water and we were already a bit exhausted + it was about to rain again so we didn't dock anymore to snorkel. Again, another underwater beauty missed.

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It wasn't just me. All of us were already eager to step on a beach. It has been like boat, water, boat, boardwalk, water for us. Beach naman. S

o, despite the big waves, we headed towards Atuayan Beach.

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Sand at last!

I am not supposed to write about the place because I jokingly referred to it as "never beach". That joke is of course half-meant.

There is nothing so significant or beautiful about the place. I thought the sand is so so and there are rocky portions when you hit the water part. Not sharp stones but enough to cause a little inconvenience when you swim. I also thought there are too many cottages put up at the beachfront that they look more of an eyesore. Iba't-ibang shapes and scattered aimlessly all over the beach. We were also annoyed because of all the places we visited with entrance fees, this was the only one which didn't give us discount.

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TALAGANG 100 PER HEAD..No haggling. 
Di naman kagandahan! Haha

But other than the above rants, we did enjoy our stay. It was here actually where we stayed one of the longest as it was our last stop for day 1 of island hopping. We hit the water ---all five of us----and we enjoyed swimming while talking about the places we visited, already marking our personal favorites and our overall impression of Coron Island.

We also had fun playing and feeding this baby monkey.
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Nakakatuwa palang makipaglaro sa unggoy.lol

CORAL GARDEN
We actually missed it on our 1st day Island Hopping Tour but since our boatman was kind enough, we included it in our 2nd day itinerary---the advantage of hiring a private boat for two consecutive days.

We should have missed it again the 2nd day but thanks to a fellow travel blogger, Marx of http://www.marxtermind.com, he replied on my Facebook shout that seeing Coral Garden will change my verdict that El Nido is still better than Coron. Did it?

READ THE REST OF THE STORY >>>here.
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MASAYA PALANG MAG ISLAND HOPPING KAHIT STORMY WEATHER. We were out the whole day and we didn't even bring towels with us, amazing, we didn't feel cold at all. Akala ko mamamatay ako sa lamig. I guess it also boils down to good company. Thank you to my wife, Rupert and new friends Julius and Ranj who made it fun.

If you are out of time, say you only have one (1) day for island hopping, renting a boat is the best option.

We headed back to Coron Town (Busuanga) trying to answer the question "Which one is better, El Nido or Coron" in my head. I think that will have to be answered in another blog entry. SOON!

9 comments:

  1. ang dami pala naming hindi napuntahan sa coron... hmmmmm

    Comment by: The Rookie Blogger

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello, thanks for your Blog. Went to Coron this March.
    Awesome Super Place :)
    Red Red is really a "mabait at madaling kausap" na contact sa banca. Recommended to ALL who want to DIY banca tour. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello, thanks for your Blog. Went to Coron this March.
    Awesome Super Place :)
    Red Red is really a "mabait at madaling kausap" na contact sa banca. Recommended to ALL who want to DIY banca tour. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Pusangkalye for this Blog. We went to Coron this March .
    Super Awesome Place :)
    Red Red is really "mabait and madaling kausap" na contact for banca.
    Recommended for ALL who wants to DIY island tour. (^^)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sila sir red po ba yung nag luluto ng lunch for the group? Talaga mamimili ka lang po ba sa market then sila na mag luluto? ilan po silang boat members during island hopping po? Thanks po :)

      Delete
  5. Hi Antonio! Tried contacting Red Red but he did not reply. Good thing a friend of mine also has a number of a good boatman. Kuya Jason 09085053687 of Ultimate Coron Experience. I was the one who arranged the itinerary based from yours. Hehe! Check http://www.ultimatecoronexperience.com/diy-tours/ for boat rental rates! I will definitely go back to Coron again this year! The place is so beautiful and amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. You have very nice photos! :) I love Coron!! :) The beaches, the lakes, the very hospitable locals especially the very helpful boatmen! I make sure to go back to Coron at least once a year! I always book with Ultimate Coron Experience 0918 4659010 for the boat rental because of their excellent service! Highly recommended! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Ms Elena, you might also try renting scooters or motorcycle to see Bohol in a different view!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ganda po ng
    photos niyo! :)

    The next time you go back, please consider our services. We
    have packages and boat rentals. Kindly check our website at
    www.UltimateCoronExperience.com or contact us at 0918-4659010.

    Looking forward to having you at Ultimate Coron Experience!

    ReplyDelete

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