Coron

Coron is in the province of Palawan, Philippines on Busuanga Island. It is the largest town on the island and has the largest share of accommodations.

Background

Coron is both the name of the largest town on the island of Busuanga, and the name of a different, smaller island just offshore. The area is famous for its World War II wreck diving, and the site has been named in many lists of top dive spots in the world. In September 1944, a fleet of Japanese ships hiding in the harbor were sunk in a daring raid by the US navy. The result is around ten well preserved underwater shipwrecks surrounded with coral reef.

There are also attractions on Coron Island itself. There are many beautiful white sand beaches, mostly tiny and surrounded by large limestone cliffs and wildlife. Barracuda and Kayangan lakes are both stunning locations, and good for snorkeling, and the island is the ancestral domain of an indigenous tribe who are managing the island in a sustainable way and keeping outsiders at a distance and offshore at night.

History

The first inhabitants of Coron were the Tagbanuas who belong to the second wave of Indonesians who migrated to this area some 5,000 years ago. They were a nomadic, seafaring people, living mainly by fishing and subsistence agriculture. Although they are now sedentary (with the young using cell phones, etc.), they maintain many of their old customs, traditions and beliefs. Today, the Tagbanuas remain the dominant if not entire population of Coron.

In 1902 that Coron was registered as a town and the name of the town was officially changed from Penon de Coron to Coron.

From 1939 to the outbreak of World War II, the municipality experienced the mining boom. Labor shifted from farming to mining. In July 1942, the Japanese occupied the mining camps and resumed operation of the manganese mines. On September 24, 1944, a group of Japanese ships were sunk by American warplanes in Coron waters as the ships retreated from Manila Bay. To this day, about 10 or 12 of these World War II Japanese shipwrecks comprise what is considered one of the best dive sites in the world.

In 1947, large scale deep sea fishing was introduced to Coron, and the town experienced another boom, a fishing boom. The population increased, as many people from Luzon and the Visayas came to work either as fishermen or miners.

On June 17, 1950, Busuanga was officially created as a separate municipality from Coron and in 1954, Coron was further reduced by the official creation of the Municipality of Linapacan. On September 12, 1992, Coron was finally reduced by the official creation of the Municipality of Culion.

In the past, Coron was virtually unknown outside of Palawan. It remains a small, quaint fishing town with laid back charm but with increasing media exposure it is growing, slowly but steadily, Coron has taken an important position in the tourism industry. In the past decade, there has been a rapid influx of scuba divers and other tourists coming in, making tourism the major industry player in Coron today.

Get in

By plane

 Air Juan (75 min flight time) p3899:
 PP - Coron:    10:00AM Tues & Fri
 Coron - PP:     1:50PM Tues & Fri
 Boracay-Coron: 12:45PM Tues & Fri
 Coron-Boracay: 11:30AM Tues & Fri

By Boat

Get around

See

Do

Island hopping

Head down to the Market Pier and rent an authentic Filipino bangka and captain (standardized rental costs vary by destination) Boats generally handle around 6 passengers. It costs 1500 pesos to rent a bangka - irrespective of whether you rent it for half a day or full day. Click here for the current official boat rates. Grab a lunch before you head out, as food is rarely available on any of the outlying islands. You can also buy meat, fish, veggies from the wet market and request the boat captain to barbecue or cook them for you or your group.

Diving

Lots of wreck diving and some decent coral as well. Discovery Divers (on the beautiful 'Discovery Island') and Sea Dive are the big ones, and Coron Divers the cheapest one in the island. There are 6 big wrecks and 2 smaller gunboats, all bombed on 24 September 1944 by the Allied Forces, and they are well worth diving on!

Other activities

Buy

The Market Pier is home to shops, stalls, slaughter houses, diners, and karaoke. Great for hearing early morning karaoke and picking up supplies. The smell can get pretty bad close to the slaughter houses.

Eat

There is food available for purchase at Coron Market and numerous bake shops around town. It's also recommended to buy fruits from the town market and have them prepared at the lodge you stay at free of charge (feel generous to provide a tip). Recommended to try local fruits such as mango, watermelon, starapple, jackfruit, coconut, starfruit and cashew fruit but they are all seasonal.

This is an addition to the above review: May 26, 2012-Bruno's bistro is excellent and the staff are super friendly and work hard as the restaurant is so popular because of the wide selection of amazing food and cool vibe. Breakfasts, fresh baked baguettes, homemade jam, awesome fish and meat dishes with superb French sauces, great pizzas and salads, cannot rave enough about this gem in a one horse town. It is worth the steeper prices. Also, Bruno is a fun and hard working guy himself and is the extra spice to his restaurant.

Drink

Sleep

You can camp on some of the (somewhat) deserted islands. There are a couple of islands to check out. Ask around. Gunter at Discovery seems to know of a couple good spots. There aren't that many budget options in Coron town itself, but there are a few available I've listed here for those on a budget. Warning: 'Brown outs' (periods of no electricity) occur on a daily basis in Coron. The only way to avoid them is paying the extra money to stay at a place with it's own generator, such as Sea Dive. Otherwise, just get used to waiting around for the lights to work. :)

(Info updated July 2012)

Connect

Go next

Go to the incredibly beautiful El Nido! 'Tourist' banka boats (Jessabel, Overcomer and Princess Wellia) have scheduled trips that leave every day of the week at about 8AM for 1200,1400 peso one way. The trip takes roughly 8 hours and includes a local style meal (fried chicken, chicken adobo, rice, etc.). You can buy the tickets pretty much anywhere in town- you'll see signs up everywhere advertising them. The boats pick up and drop off at Seadive Resort. You can wait for your departure in the Seadive restaurant, free coffee and tea is provided. The sea can be rough in the Linapacan strait. The luggage is stowed either in the hull of the boat or on the roof of the cabin if they run out of room. To be safe, package important items in plastic to keep them dry.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, June 19, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.