TRAVEL

Welcoming the Summer in Coron, Palawan!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

This weekend has probably been one of the most exhausting we've had, but it's also been one of the most enjoyable so far. We ended up celebrating Valentine's day in Coron, Palawan, & incidentally, this trip was a lot of firsts for Joaquin & our family as a whole. My hubby & I aren't big on travel, but we do try to go out of town every once in a while for a change in scenery. Each trip we've had as a couple has given us unique & truly memorable experiences, this one more so because we have our little man with us for the first time.






I was anxious about a lot of things before the trip, particularly because I had no idea how Joaquin would react to the upcoming new experiences. You see, he recently learned to throw tantrums when upset, & I was clueless how I'd handle that if it lasted through an entire plane ride - one of the reasons why I chose this destination since it had one of the shortest flight durations at only 40 minutes from Manila to Busuanga. I was worried he'd be cranky because his sleep might be cut short since we had to leave at around 5:30am for our 8:30am flight via PAL Express. He ended up playing in the departure area & sleep hit him by the time we were about to board. Apparently, the change in pressure didn't bother him enough to wake up, & it was only when we were already about to descend that he woke up long enough to take in the plane interior & gawk at the propeller right outside our window.



We landed in heavy rains, which I hoped would let up soon otherwise the point of the beach trip would be missed. The Busuanga airport was rather small, and it sadly still showed some evidence of being battered by the recent typhoon, Yolanda. I had booked a hotel several months before, which did not include airport transfers. Luckily,  there was a van right outside the arrival area waiting to take us right to the hotel for P150/passenger. The ride towards town took around 30-40 minutes, a pretty long drive through partially paved road that offered a seemingly endless view of mountains & forests.

Coron Westown Resort



Our lodging, Coron Westown Resort, seemed to have been near the outskirts of town & it was the first hotel we saw. I was quite surprised to see how beautiful the place was, considering how online brochures & photos often tend to be deceiving. This one though, earned an instant thumbs up from the hubby.
the amazing rock formation that greets
hotel guests right across the entrance hall
Our room was fortunately right in front of the pool, so it was very convenient since we can just easily pop in whenever Joaquin wanted to take a dip again. It was relatively spacious and, to my delight, had a very nice bathroom (One of my major considerations in accommodations).

pool view right outside our room

view of the pool area from across our room

jacuzzi & the diving end of the pool below
the little boy who loved to swim
lounging by the poolside while watching the boys wade

al fresco area of the hotel restaurant
poolside bar

Kawayanan Grill Station

Because the bad weather lasted for a while after we arrived, we chose to have our lunch in the hotel resto. Of course being in Palawan, seafood cost so cheap so most of the dishes we had through our entire vacation consisted of squid, crabs, fish & prawns.



The rains almost instantly cleared out by afternoon of our first day though, so Joaquin had lots of opportunity to play in the pools. By the time dinner rolled in, we were ready to go into town to try out one if the restos with consistently good reviews - Kawayanan Grill.

seafood galore!
crab, fish, squid, prawns, clams & lato
The service here was really good, all the waiters were attentive & prompt. But more importantly, the food was very satisfying. We shared the seafood platter which was the perfect serving size for us, & it was slathered with butter & garlic - I know, screw the diet! Incidentally, because it was Valentine's day, we also got a complimentary dessert :)

hungry monsters
You might want to spray on lots of insect repellant if you plan to visit this place though, especially if you have kids with you. The kubos & most if the tables are out in the open air so mosquitoes can get nasty. They do have an enclosed area where the dancing floor (yes, lots of the foreign tourists actually danced here) is also located, but we didn't stay there because the loud music might bother Joaquin.

outdoor table set-ups & kubos

Bulog Dos, Banana & Malcapuya Islands

a peek at the famed Two Seasons Resort
at Bulog Dos Island
Naturally we wanted to make most out of the trip by introducing Joaquin to the beach experience, so we asked the hotel to arrange for us to join a tour group that would go island hopping on our 2nd day, which cost P1,700 per person. The package included a tour of 3 islands by boat, roundtrip land transport, and lunch. The van taking us to the pier where our boat for the day would be waiting picked us up before 8am, and again my apprehension was that Joaquin would be in a fussy mood because we'd cut his sleep short again. Good thing he ended up sleeping through the whole 1.5 hours of the boat ride going to our first island destination - Bulog Dos Island.

kept this grumpy face of his for the first 15
minutes of the boat ride before drifting
off to sleep
amazing view from atop the rocks at Bulog Dos
When we got there, the view, the weather, the clear waters & the white sand was just perfect. I think Joaquin felt a bit weirded out with the sensation of shifting sand under his feet while he was in the water, but in no time he was enjoying himself while wading - too much actually, that when we got him out of the water because the lunchtime sun was getting too hot & we were prepping to leave for the 2nd stop, he started getting cranky. By the time we were aboard the boat again, he was throwing a full on tantrum, & thankfully it only took us around 10 minutes to get to the next island.

first ever dip in the sea!

checking out the sand bar at Bulog Dos
I think most new parents would understand how awkward it is to receive piercing stares from other people when you seemingly can't control your young who's wailing like crazy. Well, Joaquin chose that moment to throw a fit like no other - I swear, we've never seen him cry inconsolably & so loud, that I got paranoid & actually stripped him down to his diapers to check if he was hurt anywhere. He wouldn't stop crying even when I nursed him, which was very unusual for him. So we weren't able to explore Banana Island because we took turns trying to calm him down, & after more than 40 minutes or so he finally fell asleep sans puffy eyes, tear & uhog streaks. Our only souvenirs from this island were a lot of lollipops & candies from the other tourists who were apparently bothered with Joaquin's non-stop crying. Haha!

2nd stop:Banana Island

that's his post-sumpong face right there
Moving on to our 3rd & final destination things got a bit easier. Joaquin woke up with a good mood (as if he hadn't been raising hell just an hour ago), and was walking around & playing in no time, taking in the afternoon sun & pulling us by the hand towards the edge of the beach. Malcapuya Island was the most beautiful one for me, among the islands we visited. While it took around 3-5 minutes of a mini-hike to get to the beach from the docking  area which were on opposite sides of the island, the water here was the clearest in my opinion, plus the sand had a powdery texture so it was super nice to lounge around in.


found the perfect spot with shade!
running off by himself to play
finally enjoying the sand & sun
The boat ride home took 2 hours from our last stop, and this was both a scary & hilarious experience. Around this time, the waves were already crazy high coupled with strong winds that we ended up being splashed from all sides (what sea spray?! LOL). I know that the hubby hated this part of the trip, probably with capsizing scenarios running through his head already with all the huge waves smashing us, it really was almost like being in Anchor's Away. Fortunately, Joaquin took all the movement in stride & slept it off again. By the time we returned to the pier, we had jelly legs & were just all too grateful for land.

tents & a make shift hilot bed at Malcapuya
Our 3rd day was spent just lazing in the hotel so it was pretty uneventful. By the time we got the airport, it seemed as though it was jam packed with other tourists heading back to Manila, too, which was kind if expected given it was a Sunday. I quickly learned that I should've brought more diversion for Joaquin to keep him occupied because it took a while to board. Our flight was right on time, and this little one stayed up the entire duration of the flight; I was just happy & contented he managed to stay entertained with the ipad movies we had. No difficulties with ear popping as I just nursed him when we were taking off so the suckling motion helped, & we just continued to feed him snacks to keep him chewing through the altitude changes.

our ride home
This trip certainly leveled our expectations for long trips with a toddler, and testing the waters (literally & figuratively) taught us what to better prepare for on our next big trip. Glad that we got to spend quality time as a family (especially since Smart had no signal so we stayed away from our gadgets almost half the time *wink*), & took a time out from our usual routine. While we weren't able to visit all the other noteworthy places in Coron, it just gives us an excuse to come back again. :)

until next time, Coron!




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1 comments

  1. My kids and I are also going to Coron, Palawan this summer. My eldest specifically chose Coron because one of her classmates have been there. Hehehe. I think she was envious that her classmate saw a lo of anemone fish and corals. Because of her request, I booked a tour package from UltimateCoronExperience.com/ 09184659010. I'm glad that the team behind Ultimate Coron Experience was really nice and they make sure everything is suitable for our budget and requests.

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