Once a sleepy fishing town, Coron is now among the most favorite tourist destinations in the world. Powdery white sands, rolling hills, Karst rock formations, and steep cliffs will more than fill your Instagram bucket. It is also often compared to El Nido but both places are beautiful on their own.
Fewer than 3,000 people live on this island that the Tagbanwa people claim to be a part of their ancestral domain. Local beaches, dive sites, and other natural tourist spots make tourism the top industry in Coron.
Suffice it to say, this paradise offers a vast array of interesting activities. In no particular order, here are 12 of the most interesting things to do in Coron, Palawan.
12 Interesting Things to Do in Coron Palawan, Philippines
1. Meet the Tagbanwa people in Coron
Known locally as the Calis, the Tagbanwa can be mainly found in the central and northern Palawan. This ethnic tribe is one of the oldest in the Philippines.
Today they manage and preserve the rich marine and land resources in and around Coron. Tagbanwa people also preserve their culture. Not only do they believe that other spirits inhabit the forests and environment, but the tribe also worships four major deities.
The Calis inhabiting Coron Island, however, has become predominantly Christian since the late 1960s and the `70s. They have their own native languages and writing system.
Modern clothing has found its way among the people, but many Tagbanwa today still wear their traditional costumes made from the bark of the plugin trees.
2. Wreck Diving in Coron
If you’re a diver, Coron is a piece of heaven in the middle of the sea. There’s plenty of dive sites to keep you busy and some of the favorites are the wrecks in Coron Bay.
Wreck diving sites include the Olympia Maru, Kyokuzan Maru, Nanshan Maru, Kogyo Maru, Okinawa Maru, Akitsushima, Lusong Gunboat, East Tangat Gunboat, and Skeleton Wreck.
The shipwrecks were Imperial Japanese Navy vessels strafed by the US Navy during World War II. These sunken ships are among the top-10 best scuba diving sites in the world, according to Forbes Traveler Magazine.
3. Hike Mt. Tapyas in Coron
Mt. Tapyas is an easy walk from the town center. Considered a ‘must’ when in Coron, this very prominent mountain is located behind Coron Town and highlighted by a giant cross at its summit.
You can get some decent views over the rolling hills and the Coron Bay. The views don’t come easy, however, because the 721-step climb is quite a challenge.
4. Take the Maquinit Hot Springs Plunge
Definitely a treat after the strenuous 721 steps at Mt. Tapyas! Maquinit Hot Springs is a nice place to relax with a stunning view of the sea and surrounding islands. Some locals claim that this natural hot spring is medicinal.
5. Swim in Kayangan Lake
Kayangan Lake is very popular, for a good reason. A volcanic lake where freshwater meets saltwater, beautiful waters just a few minutes from the main island, with interesting rock formations around it.
The quintessential image of the azure lakes adorns pretty much every travel brochure in the Philippines! Kayangan Lake is not for those who are looking for a relaxed quiet place to swim as it is a little crowded. Also, note the 376 steps up and down to get there.
6. Swim in the Twin Lagoon, Coron
The thermocline water makes Twin Lagoon a ‘cot/cold’ lake. During low tide, one must swim through the cave to get to the second lagoon.
Otherwise, you have to take the stairs to cross after passing the first lagoon. This is a unique swimming experience you definitely shouldn’t miss.
7. Snorkel in Barracuda Lake
Lake Barracuda is a quiet, hidden place between the rocky mountains. Crystal clear blue waters make it good for snorkeling.
The bottom of the lake is ash-like, which makes Barracuda Lake so unique. Don’t keep your hopes of seeing barracudas high, though.
8. Experience Traditional Massage (“Hilot”)
This ancient Filipino healing practice uses chiropractic-like manipulation and massage for the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal ailments. Locals believe it can reset sprained and dislocated joints in the knee, ankle, fingers and metacarpal bones.
This is a budget-friendly way to relax your tired muscles. Spa Nortia in Coron Town offers this and more. Also in the town proper is Kakiku, a less expensive alternative.
9. Feast on local delicacies in Coron
Indulge yourself in a gastronomic feast aboard a boat. It’s another ‘must’ to make your Coron tour particularly exciting. Fresh food can be bought at the market at very reasonable prices.
Have your boatmen blow you away with their cooking and presentation onboard. If you’re feeling intrepid, try the wormwood or locally known as tamilok. It’s a saltwater clam with a long body that’s too big for its shell. These mollusks live in mangroves and eat driftwood, thus the name ‘woodworm.’
You might also want to try the lato or sea grape salad and that very popular local spicy shellfish dish called the sikat-sikat.
10. Kayak around Coron Island
Experience Coron the tribal way—by paddling as the Tagbanwa people do. Explore less known destinations and paddle through mangroves and lagoons which can only be accessed on a sea kayak. In nice weather, you can rent a kayak and paddle to and around the island.
Kayaking is one of the most amazing activities around Coron but sadly overlooked. Take advantage of this opportunity to escape the tourist trap and get mesmerized by the beauty and tranquility of the island.
11. Rent a Motorcycle
Rent a motorcycle and get out of town! Because you can be missing out if you never escape the Coron Town. You can explore most of the beaches and attractions of Busuanga Island on a motorcycle.
It’s cheap and easy to drive. Don’t worry, the roads are safe and in great shape.
12. Shop for Souvenirs
Before your flight back home, grab some souvenirs or homecoming gifts at trinket shops around town.
We recommend bandi or caramelized cashews, danggit (dried fish), wood carvings, tapestries, woven bags and basket weavings.
But of course, there are good quality souvenir shirts and fridge magnets, too.