Following El Nido we decided to head on to Coron Island. We caught the fast ferry across to Coron Town port from where we were able to catch a lift to our hotel the Coron Gateway which had huge rooms with awesome baths but the décor was slightly dated it was still very comfortable. We spent that evening wandering round the town, booking our boat tour for 2 days time and then we went for dinner at the Viewdeck Grill which was ok, nothing special to write home about.
On our first full day in Coron we started the day by grabbing a morning tea down in the port market behind our hotel and then set off to climb up Tapyas mountain. The top of here is marked by a Hollywood style “CORON” sign and this loomed above us for the whole walk. We had set off early to avoid the worst of the heat. Mount Tapyas is only 210m high (the second highest hill on the island) but in the sun the 721 steps do make it seem further up than that, there are plenty of benches and shady areas to stop and catch your breath on the way up though.
Once at the top the views of Coron and the surrounding islands are beautiful and there are little tracks around the area at the top that allow you to admire 360 degree vistas. I can imagine being at the peak for sunrise or sunset would be amazing. We spent a little while handing out at the top and taking loads of pictures before descending back down the steps into the town. If you have made the effort to reach Coron then this short walk is well worth doing to get gorgeous, panoramic views of the area.
In the afternoon we caught a tricycle out of the centre to a place we had spotted on the local map but that we knew very little about before arriving in Coron, the Kingfisher Mangroves in Malbato. It is about a 30 minute journey and we arrived without having booked anything officially. At the drop off point we were able to hire a guide and a 2 person kayak and we set off to paddle through the mangroves. Aside from the sporadic bickering between Fraser and myself, a common occurrence when we kayak together, the area was so peaceful and mysteriously alluring. There are supposed to be a large number of birds living in the area although we only briefly saw a couple but the scenery more than made up for this and it was something I had not been expecting to experience whilst on the island.
Once back in the town we changed into some dry clothes and then went out for dinner. We picked La Sirenetta restaurant. To reach here you have to walk out along a wooden pier over the sea. The food and drinks were great but the real draw of this place are the amazing sunsets visible from here. We sat and watched in awe before tucking into our meal.
When thinking of the Philippines and Coron in particular you may only think of beaches and stunning lagoons however our activities today showed us a different side of the islands and were a really cool addition to our trip.
Have you got any off the beaten track activities in the Philippines that you really enjoyed?