In February of this year, after my Bali trip, I went to the Philippines for 10 days. I went with my friends Tara (@luxe_tourista) and Aleisha (@eat.shop.travel) to Palawan (Coron and El Nido) as well as to Borocay.
Below I will share my recommendations of what we did, where we stayed and if there are any other particulars worth sharing.
3 Nights in Coron
We stayed in Coron mainly because of all the beaches and picturesque ocean views. It was a bit challenging to find a reasonably priced decent hotel, but we found “Blue Wave Hotel“. This hotel was in an ideal location close to the boats, it was clean, included breakfast, had a pool and the staff were super helpful with organizing boat tours and massages (highly recommend doing this while in the Philippines).
In Coron, we did two days back to back of private boat tours. It was approximately $70 Canadian per person for us to hire our own boat (for the 3 of us). It included several stops, hotel drop off and pick up, as well as lunch.
Boat tour 1:
Our first full day tour included the following stops:
- Kayangan Lake
- Twin Lagoon
- Skeleton Wreck
- Balinsasayaw Reef
- Banal Beach
While I had the most amazing day on the boat tour, I did make the mistake of eating fish cooked by our captain. I was the only one who devoured it, and sadly I got severe food poisoning (and not just GI issues, but virtigo, lethargy, and at one point blacking out). I struggled with the food on this island as it was tough to find healthy options- everything seemed to be processed or deep fried. But I suspect it was the area we were in. The fresh mangoes, however, were amazing!
Boat tour 2:
We rented another boat the second day. While I was still sick and spent most of it sleeping or laying low, I am super happy I got to experience these islands. We did several stop overs including:
- Malcapuyu Isand
- Coco Beach
- Waling Waling Sand Bar
- Ditaytayan Sandbar
This sandbar was the highlight of my trip to the Philippines. I was actually sleeping on the boat while Aleisha and Tara went ashore. The captain woke me up and convinced me not to miss out. I felt so sick but I am so happy I got the adrenaline to push through.
4 Nights in El Nido
We took a 4 hour ferry ride from Coron to El Nido. Be mindful that it can take up a chunk of your day. Had we known it would take that long (wait times of over an hour to board etc) , we probably would have taken a flight especially since I still wasn’t feeling well.
When we got to El Nido, we checked into Seda Hotel for 4 nights. This place was a new luxury hotel equipt with beach front access, a pool, a gym and a spa. I loved being able to work out again. I swear it was key to making me feel better again. And maybe a massage or two. The prices are significantly cheaper than Toronto (approximately $30 for full body massages or facials).
Our hotel was in walking distance to beach front stores and restaurants called Lio Beach. We had a variety of options to eat, but one of my favourites was a place called “Shaka, the Healthy Alternative”- a vegan healthy restaurant. I enjoyed dishes like pad Thai with tamarind jackfruit or a refreshing smoothie bowl.
The sunsets by Lio beach or in front of Seda Hotel were magical. They are certainly some of the best I’ve seen.
In El Nido we did another private boat tour, similar in price to Coron. This region consists of 45 islands so I really enjoyed the boat ride and multiple stops including:
- Small Lagoon
- Secret Lagoon
- 7 commando beach
- Entatula Island
- Papaya Bay
I will be sharing more photos on my Instagram from these islands over the next month so be sure to check out @scrubs2sweats.
3 Nights in Borocay
Tara and I flew from El Nido to Borocay. This last island stop was noticeably different from El Nido or Coron. It was more touristy and populated- a definite beach town.
I stayed at “Alta Vista Borocay”. It was a little larger than my typical preference for a boutique hotel. The hotel had an awesome infinity pool, and it was about 20 minutes to the main area “D’mall”.
I chose to spend some time relaxing by the pool and siping on their iced hibiscus tea (the best I’ve ever had). In the evenings Tara and I would head to D’Mall area for dinner, walking the beach stretch packed with a variety of stores, restaurants and hotels.
For all the foodies out there, this area is packed with lots of options including a variety of gelato flavours, roasted corn on the Cobb, flavoured ice flakes, to name a few.
I definitely didn’t exhaust the Philippines- there are more islands and more places to explore so I would definitely recommend longer than 10 days; however this time frame is sufficient for getting a taste of the region.
Thank you for reading along. Please feel free to comment below if you have anything to add or have any questions.