The Gutob-Bay is situated in the south of the western part of Busuanga. Here you will find some classical south seaislands with plenty of white sand beaches. Meanwhile it is also a good destination for snorkeling.
To visit the islands you have to pay a small entrance fee - this earning facility could be the reason, that the surrounding coral reefs been watched and the corals did developing back to a healthy and colorful underwaterlife (for example in Pamalican and Northcay).
Busuanga can be attained meanwhile very well with the airplane from Manila. At present Cebu Pacific, Airphil Express and Zest Airways offers the route.
The Superferryboat from Manila is not going anymore. Recently "Airphil Express" starts flights 2 times the week from Coron to Puerto Princesa and vice versa.
Just like in El Nido the tourism is increasing strongly the last years. Nowadays also many philippinos travel to the area. After my impressions in April 2010, 90% of all flight passengers were local tourists from Manila!
The small province capital Coron is the main tourist destination, meanwhile you can find there also 2 ATM machines! The most important reason, why tourists traveling to Busuanga, is wreck diving. One can find there approximately 10 japanese warships for discover, which were sunken during the IITH world war by the americans.
Very impressive is the original Island of Coron, which belongs to the native tribe of the Tagbanua people. You can find there many parts of inaccessible mountains covered with rainforest, inside the islands are some really wonderful natural lakes.
Swimming and snorkeling is possible on small parts of white sand beaches - surrounded by rocky mountains and cliffs. For entering you have to pay 100 to 200 Peso per person.
I had many times lots of fun, when I was discovering the coastline with an oceankayak.
Favorable accommodations in Coron (town):
- Seadive, they have also some cheaper fanrooms, american owner. Nice restaurant above the sea, maybe the center of tourist life in Coron and many times fully booked between December to April! Of course a good place for diving and information.
- L & M Pe Lodge, opposite east of Seadive, also above the sea, small restaurant with a view to the market, cheap fanrooms, maybe some renovation necessary.
- Krystallodge, native built bamboo bungalows above the sea, some 100 meters west. Pathway and boardwalk from the mainroad. Very pleasant during the hot season, because the cooling is coming from the sea, but be careful, that you are not loosing any small things (money, mobilephone), which can fall into the water between the gaps of the bamboo floor! They have fanrooms with common bath and more expensive cottages.
Bistro, for me the best restaurant in Coron, owner Bruno is a frenchman, very good steaks - you will not find them elsewhere in northern palawan. Not cheap, but worth its money!
Kawayanan Grill, pleasant, native style decoration, open air restaurant. Plenty of bbq`s and classical philippino food, and not expensive!
Very cheap philippine Eateries you will find: From Seadive the road to the market.
The rental of boats:
In Coron (town) is no beach and swimming wouldn`t make fun in the city, because the sea is very flat and polluted. For all the nice beaches and dream islands you have to take a boat.
It was never cheap to rent a boat in Coron, but nowadays they are really overprized. All the boats for rental belonging to a tourist society, you see their yellow flags all around!
If you are not a millionaire, maybe it`s a good idea going by trike to one of the outside fishing barangays (Tagumpay for example, orMakinit). Then looking for a fisherman and bargain with them to get a reasonable price, for going to the beaches of Coron Island or places further away.
The island of Coron belongs to the Tagbanua tribe, how I told you already. If you enter the beaches of Coron or if you like visiting the exciting Kayangan- or Baracuda-lake (linkto photos), you have to pay a fee. It`s okay for me! But if you rent a seakayak for paddling the coastline, it makes sense not to stop at all the places - or you will be a poor man/girl in the evening!
In April 2010 the cheapest occassion - for rent a kayak a 1/2 day - was Seadive.
In Makinit you can also have a nice swim a little south of the barangay, and if you have some power, you can swim also to the "7 Islands", there you will find good corals and underwaterlife for snorkeling. It is not dangerous to swim there, the water is not deep, you find places to rest.
Going to the Makinit hotsprings I recommend to do it only in the late afternoon or evening - or on rainy days. The other times they are for me personel to hot! Destinations in the Gutob-Bay you can reach from Conception or Salvacion with fishingboats. I will tell you later more.
In Coron (town) you can walk up to the Mount Tapyas, a bright cement staircase goes until the top, very nice view. Small boys selling you cold drinks, best time is sunrise and sunset (and then it`s also not to hot). In the morning also good for jogging (if you fit) - 5 to 10 pinoys will gives you company!
Busuanga is good place for off road motorbike cruising. Until now, only the road to the airport is cemented. 10 km outside from Coron you find almost no traffic. 2 motorbike-rentals are in the city. The off road bikes are good for discovering the island, in Conception, Salvacion and at the "Ocam Ocam beach" you will find very reasonable accommodations.
Going to Conception by jeepney needs around 2 hours, laid back barangay. From here you can looking for a fisherman to go to islands in the Gutob Bay. Calambuyan (Entrance: 150 Peso, very good place for snorkeling) South Cay, North Cay, Pamalican - "classic south sea islands" (Entrance: 100 Peso, good for snorkeling). Link to a very nice aerial photograph.
On North Cay you can stay also overnight in simple cottages, 700 Peso per person, but only cooking yourself - all food you have to bring!
On Tangat and Popotan you would find good resorts - but they are not for budget travelers - the resorts have information-offices in Coron.
Favorable accommodation in Conception: In older times in the pierhouse, since the built it to a palace, more expensive rates, cheapest fanroom starts at 1200 Peso. On the other side you find some simple cottages. Some meters in the backside you find also a new place from the danish "Tattoo-Mike", he offers 2 favorable cottages and a small restaurant.
At the western end of Conception, you find a path to a nearby waterfall, where you can have also a swim. Ask the locals for the way.
Ocam Ocam Beach, around 1 hour from Salvacion. The street from New Busuanga became ready in 2010. In Ocam Ocam and also further north you find a good sand beach. A canadian made a small resort for budget traveler (common bathroom), you can cooking yourself, but if you asking the staff, they also cooking for you. Around the resort you find a nice natural garden. They not yet have energy - but some solar lights! Because of the absolutely darkness, you have an excellent starlite sky in the night!
From here you can also arrange boattours to Black Island and Calauit Island.
Around 600 meter in front of the beach you find a coral reef, some parts are destroyed by dynamite fishing, but it is still interesting to snorkel there!
You can make also a trip to 2 islands some km in the north or you make a stopover there, if you coming back from calauit.
For going to Culion Island you can take daily a public boat from the pier in Tagumpay. 1905 the americans made the island to one of the biggest leper colonies all over the world. The island has still not many visitors, but nowadays leprosy is not a problem anymore, it is easy to heal the illness with medicine. An advantage of the not so easy history - is that today, you find here the best hospital in northern palawan.
North of Culion and also in front of the eastern coastline you can find plenty of nice and remote islands. In Culion town is a pleasant pension (Aplaya Lodging House) and 2 other accommodations.
For philippine circumstances you find here a very active and helpful small tourist office. They gives you lot of information and tips where you can go and they arrange also trips. If you like, they looking also for a motorbike for rental.
Besides the museum of the leprosy there is a nice picnic-area to discover, with beautiful views, eastside in the mountains, and of course in the town take a visit to the imposing church.
Simple philippine food-stalls you will find inside the small market - in front of the administration buildings, westside of the peer.
The barangays Botnongan, Binudao and Cabulihan at the western part of the island you can reach with a motorbike or a jeepney.
You find there fishing villages, where it seems, the time stopped 50 years ago. They have no regular accommodations.
Calauit Safari Park is not a budget tip. Beside of the entrance fee of 350 Peso (philippinos 250) you have to rent a jeep (1000 Peso) for the transport in the park area. The shortest way from the mainland goes from the barangay Calauit in the northeast of Busuanga, but from there you have also to pay 800 Peso for a boat.
Nice to see the giraffes, the zebras und the "palawan bearcat", it is allowed to feed the giraffes with leaves.
The northern coastline of Busuanga is not yet touristically developed. Exceptions are the expensive resorts of Dimakya Island and at the Maricaban Bay.
Doing the tour by an off road motorbike is a good adventure - but you should have some practice, because the road is sometimes quite sophisticated.
In the barangay Maricaban (north of San Jose) you can try again to rent a boat for going to the surrounding islands. It is also a good daytrip from Coron with the occassion for a swim and a picnic, take the road that is passing the airport.
Salvacion, around 45 minutes by jeepney from Conception, bigger village, very impressive sunsets on the peer. Here you can also looking for a fisherman to get reasonable prices to the islands of the Gutob Bay, of course you have to bargain! It is also a good starting point to get to the very beautiful island of Malajon(Black Island), Entrance: 100 Peso.
Favorable accommodation:Nipahuts, and 3 other simple pension houses with common bathrooms. They have also some cheap philippino restaurants.