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Traveling

Tribal Adventures in Coron with Outback Greg Jan 13-17, 2016

Tribal Adventures in Coron with Outback Greg

GPS waypoint: 12°14'00.7"N 120°02'19.1"E
Location: SandCastles Palawan Beach Resort, Cheey, Palawan, Philippines

Restless in Manila
After the holidays in Manila, it was time to hit the beaches of Coron (Busuanga) again for that laid-back lifestyle of sun and sand. With no cheap air fare available given the short time frame, my only recourse was to take the 2GO ferry plying the Manila-Coron route. This would be my first time to do that.

2GO Ferry: Manila to Coron and Back
Taking the overnight boat ride makes economic sense - it's cheaper than regular air fare and you save one night's lodging. 2GO's facilities were better than I expected - it resembled more an airport than a bus station (at least the Manila port). The ship is clean and staff are attentive. However, and I use the word 'habitually' as confirmed by Coron locals, the ferry often departs late...very late from schedule. To Coron, it was 7 hours late, and back to Manila, it was 5 hours late! It's bad enough the ferry ride takes 14 hours, but add the late departure and we're talking around 20 hours on the boat. There is no wifi onboard and online booking for two people results in beds far apart instead of side-by-side. Additionally, when I asked the Coron office to print my online ticket, they charged me P100 for the 2 sheets - Ink Man charges P1/sheet. I harshly criticized the Coron office for their eye-gouging consumer ambush. At best, the printing should have been a complimentary customer service.

Outback Greg
In Coron, I hooked-up with my adventure buddy, Outback Greg who is ever ready to spice things up with all his adrenalin toys at Tribal Adventures Tours - kayaks, mountain bikes, jet ski, snorkeling equipment, etc. I could have joined his 4-day Coron-to-El Nido expedition, but the timing didn't work out for me. Greg and I go back to my early Sagada days where we met. We rode the single tracks together and hung our hammocks on some mountain slope to chill, picnic and chat. We even rode into a remote mountain village in the Cordillera where the entire village folks were starring at us. It was discomforting to say the least. We later realized they haven't seen two guys on Spandex before! Greg also faced challenging times in Boracay where I got to use my web machinery to even-up the playing field against the bad guys. Yeah, we go back and it was a pleasure to spend time with him again.

SandCastles Palawan
We headed northeast of Busuanga to his isolated resort in Cheey, SandCastles Palawan where I stayed for the most part of my Coron stay. SandCastles is a little slice of paradise tucked neatly on a cove where dugong sightings are still reported. It has air-conditioned bungalows designed to weather a typhoon and it also has rustic cottages built on a hill slope overlooking the sea. I chilled out and talked to the guests who also had fascinating stories to tell. With all the Tribal Adventure toys stocked at SandCastles, it was a grown-up playground that put a surgical smile on my face.

Coron Town
It has been 2 years since my last visit and I saw how the place has changed. Most conspicuous are the new and trendy restaurants that now serve delectable food. A modest Thai restaurant, Winnie's, serves good Southeast Asian meals. Trattoria Altrove, is an Italian hipster resto serving good pizza, pasta and seafood. Other hotels also sprung up. Price-wise, you spend more here than other Philippine destinations, except Boracay perhaps. Island hopping tours are everywhere, but Al Linsangan's Calamianes Expeditions remain one that offers value and support to the indigenous people of Coron. Despite the progress, internet remains sluggish and unreliable. This is odd. I wonder why the local government hasn't done anything about this bottle-neck. Coron needs people who are dynamic and forward-thinking. Cpron is on a shifting mandate to level-up its benchmark.

Boat Ride from Coron to Cheey
I have always taken the land route on Greg's Land Rover or the Hilux pick-up from Coron to Cheey. But this time, a boat was making the trip to deliver some kayaks to SandCastles in Cheey. I opted to join-in, sleep over at SandCastles and hitch a ride back to Coron the following day on the Hilux. The boat ride departed too late in the day - around 10:30am. The boat ride non-stop would already take the whole day, so that already put pressure on our time frame. Plus, there were scheduled snorkeling stops en route - Calumbuyan Island, North Kay and Black Island. I was told that these are perhaps the 3 best snorkeling places in all of Coron. But due to time constraints and the boat's hard-starting, only Calumbuyan was visited. It became a harrowing ride when it got dark. The waters got choppy and the boatman gunned the engine to make up for lost time. We arrived night time with the tide not high enough for a shore docking. We had to walk the knee-deep water to make it to shore. Unlike the boatman, we were lucky not to have stepped on the sea urchins. That boat ride is perhaps the memorable high light of Coron.

Snorkeling at Calumbuyan Island
In my snorkeling experience, Calumbuyan is one of the best. During my last visit, I almost got lost in the thick coral forest surrounding the island. It has its own relief system with gullies and shallow ridges. This time however, I saw the damage the recent typhoon had on the reef system. Some sections are now in rubble and recovering. Altogether, Calumbuyan remains a very good snorkeling destination.

1-kilo Giant Shrimps
Al Linsangan, who has become a friend in the ensuing years, invited me to join his family for a sumptuous lunch at his private property in Maricaban. He talked about 1-kilo giant shrimps on the menu! I haven't seen such a thing and I would have loved to be there and explore his private playground as well. But time constraints didn't allow me that. Sigh! Thank you Al - you've always meant well.

Ending Thoughts
This visit is unusual because it was short. Normally, I stay in Coron for weeks before another destination presents itself. I headed back to Manila, but more refreshed and invigorated. Outback Greg was already on his way to El Nido by the time I left. Coron is always special. The continued growth is promising but I hope the infrastructure catches up.

Thank you Greg for your kindness. I'm sure to see you again at some fork on the open road. Big "thank you" too to Lerma, Derek and the attentive staff of SandCastles Palawan for making my stay a comfortable and memorable one.

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: back to Manila

ps - If you want me to objectively cover your resort for this website (beach resort, mountain resort, island resort, etc.), email me.

SandCastles Palawan Tribal Adventures Palawan

off to board the 2GO ferry from Manila to Coron the bunk beds on board 2GO, Tourist Class simple meal pre-purchased online - they sell this onboard with bonus. No need to purchase this online. it was already dark when the boat departed Coron. It should have been a 1:30pm departure - 6.5 hours late!
passengers usually flock to the open air roof deck where there is a resto live music at night on the roof deck finally reaching Coron the following day hooking-up with Outback Greg in Coron, with Lerma and SandCastles guest
Tom Yum soup at Winnie's by Coron Town lunch at Winnie's with Greg, Lerma and SandCastles guest with Al Linsangan at his Calamianes Expeditions office in Coron Town chilling-out at Sea Dive's alfresco dining area
outdoor dining at SandCastles Palawan with the guests my home at SandCastles Palawan - beachfront cottage with dipping pool and hot-kawa bath jet ski on standby...low tide a stable of mountain bikes
the bridge which doubles up as dining/chill area typhoon-proof bungalows with indoor dipping pool at SandCastles Palawan for our mountain bike ride, Outback Greg gives me this full-suspension Giant bike...sweet! for support, there is the Land Rover and Hilux pick-up to take us around
tour guide and acting tour manager, Derek made my stay comfortable and pleasant. Thank you Derek! meals are served on the Bridge guests gather together during meals and get to interact 2 guests wading on the beach as the jet ski lays on stand-by
likewise, kayaks are there on stand-by low tide view of my cottage by the beach with Outback Greg on a beach-stop from mountain biking riding on single-tracks
at SandCastles Palawan beach beach combing as a guest gets lazy on a hammock it's rustic in the kitchen. Baguette is fire roasted hearty breakfast is served
nothings gets in between Outback Greg and his Vegemite laid-back breakfast with Greg, Lerma and guest chilling in the dipping pool...life is hard fresh spring water in the dipping pool and ocean salt water in the backdrop...great rinse after a beach bath
life's a beach! at Trattoria Altrove, a trendy Italian resto in Coron Town with Outback Greg at the Coron Town Market at the pier for the epic boat ride from Coron Town to Cheey
leaving Coron Town it was chill and laid back on the boat during the day in Calumbuyan Island the caretaker of Calumbuyan Island still remembers me from my previous visits
tree pose before leaving Calumbuyan Island sun was setting are we were still far from Cheey vigilant on deck coffee is ground the old-fashioned way...pestle and mortar!
lazy on the cottage back on the boat for Manila    

Tribal Adventures Palawan

Tribal Adventures Palawan

expedition | island tours | kayaking
Coron, Busuanga, Palawan, Philippines
tribaladventures@gmail.com
(63) 998 999 3049
SandCastles Palawan Beach Resort

Palawan SandCastles

beach house | cabanas | pavillon huts Coron, Busuanga, Palawan, Philippines
palawansandcastles@gmail.com
(63) 998 999 3049

Google Map Busuanga, Palawan, Philippines

tourist attractions in Busuanga tourist attractions hotels in Busuanga hotel, beach house and accommodation expedition in Busuanga tour and expedition
  • Tribal Adventures Tours Tribal Adventures Tours - multi-day kayak expedition, day tours, island tours, mountain biking, snorkeling, hiking
    +63 998.999.3049 | tribaladventures@gmail.com
  • Calamianes Expeditions & Ecotours Calamianes Expeditions & Ecotours - island tours, community based ecotourism experience
    +639193054363 / +639202546553 / +63 9152543246 / 02 984 7795 | corongaleri@yahoo.com

Great Things Going for Busuanga

  • beaches, islands, snorkeling, scuba diving, wreck diving
  • you want to add some more? please submit on the form below

Not So Great Things Going Against Busuanga

  • slow and unreliable internet
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Reader Comments:

Doris RodriguezDoris Rodriguez
(Jan 21, 2016) Wow! So, it was just last Tuesday with Dong Abay and Elwyn Zalamea and now in Coron

Bernadette Lagrimas HarveyBernadette Lagrimas Harvey
(Jan 21, 2016) Happy New Year's Cuz! Do you ever come to the States (Cali)? If you find it in your path...look me up! God bless!

VehmVehm
(Jan 21, 2016) You're back there? Wanna hang out here later? I'm just gonna rest for a bit

Jan 13-17, 2016

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JET SKI FOR SALE

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CORON ESSENTIALS:

Coron Tribal Adventures    SandCastles beach resort Coron Busuanga    Coron expedition    Coron hotel


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tribal adventures


Busuanga Essentials
Tribal Adventures Tours - multi-day kayak expedition, day tours, island tours, mountain biking, snorkeling, hiking
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Calamianes Expeditions & Ecotours - island tours, community based ecotourism experience
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