With the impending closure of Boracay, I wanted to highlight a few resorts in the Busuanga-Culion-Coron area that are worth considering. I’ve added a map which shows the three islands beside one another.
The entire area is popularized as “Coron” but as we can see from the map, Coron is actually the smallest of the three islands and there are no resorts or towns to be found on the island itself. This is great for the long-term preservation of the island, which is a treasure of limestone cliffs and clear lakes.
Coron town is probably the only town in the country that is not situated in the island it is named for. Coron town is found on Busuanga island directly north of Coron island. It is on Busuanga where the airport and main port are found, as well as a number of superb resorts.
There are too many great resorts to mention but I’ll note five that I visited this summer, and I’ve numbered their locations on the map as well.
1 – El Rio y Mar Resort (www.elrioymar.com) is found in a sheltered cove on the north side of Busuanga. This reasonably priced resort features great food and a pier with an excellent bar for watching the sunset. It also has the excellent Dugong Dive Center in the resort, which is the best way to see the rare dugongs found in Calauit Island. A Japanese World War II wreck, the Kyokuzan Maru, is just 10 minutes away from the resort.
2 – Club Paradise Palawan (www.clubparadisepalawan.com) is one of the star attractions of the Discovery World Resort group. I can imagine that guests who cannot be accommodated in Discovery Shores Boracay will be shuttled to Club Paradise Palawan, and I am certain they will not feel aggrieved at the change. Club Paradise and El Rio y Mar are the gateways to a Calauit safari experience.
3 – Huma Island Resort & Spa (www.humaisland.com) features Maldives-style, over-water villas occupying the entire Horse Island on the western side of Busuanga. The reef dive right in front of the beach features a World War II Japanese plane so this is a good resort for scuba divers.
4 – Busuanga Bay Lodge (www.busuangabaylodge.com) is probably the top Busuanga Island-based resort at the moment, with its Ibiza-themed reception area and infinity pool overlooking the calm waters of D’Pearl Bay and the nearby yacht club. From the pool, on the opposite shore is upcoming Al Faro Palawan Hotel (www.alfaropalawan.com), which is currently upgrading its rooms and infinity pool. If you must have a sunset view, consider Al Faro. Huma, BBL and Al Faro are great options for divers interested to see the 14 famous World War II wrecks of Busuanga, many just minutes away from the trio of resorts.
5 – Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa (www.twoseasonsresorts.com/coron/) is a bit further from the rest, situated further south at the northern tip of Bulalacao Island. The resort is further from the wrecks but nearer the south tip of Coron, which features great swimming lakes and treks along the limestone cliffs. Bulalacao is also nearer Culion, the most overlooked and remote of the three main islands in the area.
Today the best way to start exploring Culion is probably via Tao Expeditions (www.taophilippines.com) which features five-day boat journeys along the islands of Culion and Busuanga. I’ve seen the Tao boat exploring the insides of Halsey Harbor, which is the extensive natural harbor that can be seen gouging a big cut on the western side of Culion, almost bisecting the island.
Tao also recently set up Camp Ngey! Ngey! on Manguengey Island, which is too small to be seen on the map but is found near Popototan Island on the north side of Culion.
These are among the many great properties in the Busuanga-Culion-Coron corridor, all of which offer superb alternatives to our tourists while they wait out the six-month closure of Boracay.