Coron, Philippines, Travel

Spring Break in The Philippines–Busuanga and Coron

My husband, daughter and I recently enjoyed almost 2 weeks in The Philippines.  I previously talked about how my daughter Chloe and I visited Ta’al volcano and went to Pagsanhan Falls.  You can read about those adventures here and here.

Our next stop was Busuanga and Coron Islands.  Busuanga is a populated island where everyone lives and stays if they’re visiting Coron Island.  Coron is basically a nature park controlled and inhabited by indigenous people.  It’s one of the northernmost islands in the Palawan province, located at letter “G” on the map shown below.

image from
Detail map of Palawan from

Busuanga is a short plane ride from Manila, and flights are relatively frequent between Manila and Busuanga.  We chose to go to Busuanga/Coron instead of the more well-known El Nido for a couple of reasons.  Namely, we had only 6 days for this part of the holiday, and getting to the resort from Busuanga airport was quick, easy and painless.  Getting to El Nido on the other hand, is a 6 hour van ride from the airport in Puerto Princessa, and it could take longer depending on the number of stops the van makes.  This long of a bus/van ride means you can’t (without some risk) depart back to Manila on the same day you check out of your hotel in El Nido.  So we would cut our trip short by a day at least.  The other reason is that resorts for Coron were significantly cheaper than El Nido for the times we were planning to be there.

Ok, so we hopped on a little jumper plane and were super excited to get to the resort.


Anyone play  That’s what I’m so excited about in this picture I guess….

After a short van ride we arrived at a dock and boarded a boat to our resort–El Rio Y Mar, in Busuanga.

We rode along the inlet for a few minutes

The inlet opened up, and our resort was located in a small cove.

We were all really surprised by the beautiful location of this resort in the cove, surrounded by hills and lush landscape.  Almost the entire cove is covered by a coral reef!  I don’t know how many of you have been scuba diving or snorkeled, but I have to say that one of the most disappointing things is just how much coral is dead or dying.  I’m not criticizing this place–it’s everywhere I’ve snorkeled in the past few years–from Hawaii to Florida, to Mexico to The Philippines, etc.  When I was in my twenties I dove quite a bit, and growing up in Florida, we went to the Keys often.  I remember such vivid colors and so many colorful fishes…Now it’s not so much that way.  OK, sorry for the digression….There was quite a bit of live coral in the cove, and we even saw a lion fish near the dock one afternoon!

There are several activities to choose from at El Rio Y Mar.  Kayaking was really nice in this cove.    I was a little freaked out by all the sea urchins in the water on the far side, and in shallow water.  One false move and I’d be pulling quills out of my butt for sure.  We paddled across the cove and back and then headed to the bar…duh.

My daughter and I treated ourselves to a massage on the floating pavilions just before sunset one evening.

I had a sunburn on my back from earlier in the day, and I really thought I was going to come out of my skin when she was giving me a therapeutic massage on my back…  that was just a poor choice on my part.  Anyway, the massage tables were placed above viewing holes in the floor of the pavilion, just above a really nice part of the reef.  It was super cool to watch the fish while she tortured me.

Volleyball was pretty much a daily occurrence for us.  The staff were really friendly and played with the guests before dinner.

One morning we dragged ourselves out of bed before sunrise to climb the hiking trail to the summit of the hill behind the resort.  We took the hard way cuz we were in a HURRY to catch the sunrise.  Let me say that it was really, really steep.  I mean really steep.  The rails next to the beginning of the trail should have given us some pause……I didn’t even take pictures because I was clutching my chest the whole way up there.  

The views were pretty spectacular once we reached the top.

Just a few minutes late for the sunrise over the horizon… time!

We took the easy way down, don’t you know.

What else did we do?  Paddle board, that’s what


And a lot of this:

It was a really memorable stay, and I would definitely return to this place and this resort.  Note:  I am not receiving anything in return for this review or post.  We just really enjoyed our stay.

If you check back soon, I take you on an island hopping trip to Coron Island.

Thanks for reading, and if you’re here from the top of the post, a really big thanks!