Two Seasons Coron Island Resort, Palawan Islands

Luxury Eco-Resort in the Palawan Islands

Contrasting with urban Manila, our island idyll was in the northern area of the Palawan Islands, reached via a short domestic flight from Manila to Busuanga Island and then a speed boat ride to Bulalacao Island, home of Two Seasons Coron Island Resort.

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This resort is amazing both for what it delivers and for being eco-conscious in the way it delivers it! As their website states, they provide “a haven in the middle ground of luxury and raw nature.” A 100% self-sustaining island resort, it has a desalination plant, a sewage treatment plant, and generators and solar panels for power – great to see such eco-ethics in a luxury resort.

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Our accommodation was the one-of-a-kind Sandbar Bungalow on the tip of the island’s small peninsula that provided us with both sunrise and sunset views over the water. Climbing down to our tiny private beach after breakfast for our morning snorkel was our daily routine. We became quite familiar with the ‘neighbourhood’: the black tipped reef shark who would skate past while we sat in the shallow water donning our fins; the baby Southern sting rays who darted off when their hiding places in the sandy ocean floor were discovered; the clown fish family defending their anemone home with gusto; and the gigantic schools of sardines darting, cavorting and pivoting just beyond the coral ledge. By the time we left Two Seasons Coron, our twice daily snorkel from our beach had provided us with views of pretty much all the fish local to The Philippines in the 15,000sqm where we swam.

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Coron Island Experience Tour

During our stay we made the most of the different tours and activities on offer at the resort. Our guide (Johnny), captain (Reymark) and crew (Aljon and Aldren) took us on a gorgeous day of exploring Coron Island, leisurely cruising on an outrigger, swimming in the Twin Lagoon and Barracuda and Kyangan Lakes, snorkelling at Siete Pecados Marine Park, and finishing with lunch at Atwayan Beach.

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This tour began with a relaxing sail for an hour in a private outrigger transfer to Coron Island. Our first stop was Twin Lagoon, where access was by swimming under a little archway in the limestone rock. Even though the water is ‘crystal clear’, due to the layers of salt and fresh water, there was a lack of clarity viewing when underwater – like someone had messed with the focus (or put Vaseline on the lens!).

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We moved on to the second stop – Barracuda Lake. Didn’t see any barracuda, which was NOT disappointing! This is a crater of blue clear water enclosed by dark limestone cliffs. Apparently named for a giant barracuda skeleton at the bottom (40m below). The thermocline made for an interesting swim (new word – layers of warm and hot water). Being someone who likes their swimming water warm, this was a huge win!

From there we sailed to Siete Pecados, a small, protected sanctuary of coral garden. Gorgeous colours and fish – including quite a few ‘Nemos’.

Our guide certainly knew in which order to visit these sites. We anchored near Kayangan Lake – the cleanest lake in The Philippines, swam to the beginning of the wooden staircase that takes you over the top of the thin limestone wall that divides the lake from the open water, and made the climb. We arrived right on lunch time and there was no one there…for about 15 minutes! So we made the most of the exclusivity! Swam into a cool cave and enjoyed looking at the patterned rock underwater covered in tiny sea snails. Then people arrived and it was time to leave!

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We sailed to Atwayan Beach for lunch. This was provided as part of our tour and it was a full set up of a whole grilled fish, salsa, salted egg (NOT a fan!), smoked eggplant, garlic rice and grilled prawns. Delicious!

After gorging ourselves at lunch we chose to walk along the small bit of beach near the sheltered lunch area. There was a child of about 10 who tried to sell us pearls, apparently “authentic and a very good price”, but we politely declined. He swiftly moved on to the Filipino women wading in the water nearby who quickly started to haggle. Missed opportunity?

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The final stop of the day was Skeleton Wreck. The bow of the wreck was only 5m deep with the rest going as low as 22m. As snorkellers we only got to see the bow and plenty of fish. A very big day, but so rewarding.

Culion Island Tour

We chose a less popular option for the following day – Culion Island, of which I knew nothing until this tour. In 1906 it was gazetted as a therapeutic community for those suffering from Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) and at one stage was the largest ‘leper colony’ in the world. But unlike other colonies throughout the world, this became a community that gave those living with the disease a life.

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Loved talking to John, the local guide on Culion, who showed us through the museum in the hospital and who was born on the island. There was a large mural as part of the museum made of paint and papier-mâché that portrayed the arrival of the afflicted and the welcome they received from the nuns. Our guide was the artist, who was rightfully proud of the fact that his work had been turned into a national postage stamp. It’s such a shame that this tour is rarely chosen by those visiting Two Seasons Coron, as it was an illuminating and enthralling history lesson.

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Dining and Leisure in the Pacific

The routine of our days usually began with a leisurely buffet breakfast in the Sulu Restaurant, pausing afterwards in the Bahura Bar for a couple of games of pool, going back to our room and relaxing for a bit before donning our stinger suits (no stingers here, just an easy way for the lazy to be sun-safe) and heading out from our small patch of private beach to splash about and watch the ‘fishies’.

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Emerging an hour or two later, very ‘prunie’ and ready for some relaxation of a different kind, we would head back to the Bahura Bar near the pool or one of the nearby cabanas and set up with our books, art materials and phones to edit pics, and hang, ordering snacks and cocktails, pausing to plunge into the pool, splash about, exit and drip dry as we returned to our hobbies and diversions. Spent most afternoons hanging here talking to other guests, usually much younger than us, but we all had a common love of this place and were keen to share our stories and travel tales, both of The Philippines and beyond.

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Our days in the sun at Two Seasons Coron were punctuated with fine food, cocktails, relaxation, snorkelling, paddle boarding, and massages in the Narra Spa, every aspect delivered with skill and thoughtfulness. On our last evening our stay was made even more memorable by a surprise romantic dinner on the beach at sunset, the setup of which was courtesy of the resort.

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The warm hospitality of the Filipino people with bowed heads, deep smiles and hands over hearts was encountered in every location we visited and is a big part of our desire to return to this shining spot in the Asia Pacific.

LINKED POSTS: The detailed account of our stay at The Manila Hotel can be found here. The detailed account of our stay in the city of Manila can be found here.

Accommodation: Two Seasons Coron Island Resort

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About bontaks

Nic is the the 'Bon' part of 'Bontaks.' Together we are Nic and John - two travel-addicted teachers who enjoy every opportunity to go places, meet people and experience life.

One Reply to “Two Seasons Coron Island Resort, Palawan Islands”

  1. Pingback: The Manila Hotel, Manila – bontaks travels

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