Coron Island Escapade Tour, Palawan

After a fun-filled day with lots of snorkeling on the Super Ultimate Tour, I thought it was time to take a break from snorkeling and enjoy more of the beaches Coron had to offer. And so I booked the Island Escapade Tour on my second full day in Coron, Palawan.

About the Coron Island Escapade Tour

The Island Escapade Tour explores some of smaller islands slightly further out (compared to Coron Island). There seems to be 2 different itineraries for the Island Escapade Tour, each having 3 stops. The first common itinerary included Malcapuya Island, Banana Island and Bulog Dos Island/ Sandbar. The second consists of Malcapuya Island, Coco Beach and Ditaytayan Island/ Sandbar. You may want to check with the tour company which itinerary they’re going on, as I signed up with a company listing the first itinerary but ended up on the second one. If you’re not particular it’s fine too as both are awesome itineraries.

Prices (as of July 2019) range between 1,200 PHP and 1,700 PHP, more towards 1,200 PHP but anything much more or less than that range is suspect. You won’t need to find these tour companies, they’ll find you the moment you step out of the airport. Take your time to shop around town to find a company you’re comfortable with. I booked with Wonderful Island through my guesthouse as I trusted my hosts and didn’t had time to look around. Was also easier to handle any changes or passing of information.

Inclusives and schedule

The tour includes pick up and drop off at your accommodation in Coron Town on Busuanga island, lunch, a small afternoon snack and drinking water from a dispenser on board (better to bring your bottle for convenience). It’s possible to go snorkeling at the stops too, but snorkeling gear rental is not included in the price (usually 150 PHP). If renting snorkeling gear remember to get it from the stall on Busuanga before setting off!

Pick up starts around 7.30/ 8.00 am and you’ll be dropped off around 5pm. You’ll have about an hour at each stop (one of them being lunch). While it is a one day tour, it takes a full hour and a half to two to reach the group of islands. Between them traveling time is about half an hour each.

That’s probably all the information you’ll need on the Island Escapade Tour, time to head in!

Heading to Malcapuya Island

We left just past 9 in the morning. Unlike the previous day, the weather looked threatening from the start. Already missing the blue skies of yesterday. But it has to be done, or rather I was already on board. Unlike the Super Ultimate Tour where everything was close by, it was almost two hours before we reached our first stop. Was nice too, since it was a holiday and things were supposed to slow a little.

Coron Island.
Onward and beyond.

Malcapuya Island

Fortunately, the skies were still holding up when we reached Malcapuya Island. The boats parked on one side of the island, and there’s a slight uphill to conquer before getting to the famed beaches of Malcapuya Island.

Malcapuya Island.
Where boats stopped, away from the action.

Over on the other side, a white sandy beach that stretched the length of the island. It’s possible to snorkel here. Locals were offering to pull groups further out for a short round to the coral for 100 PHP per person. There was rope attached perpendicularly across the floaters where you can hold on and he’ll just drive it out. Wasn’t prepared for snorkeling just yet so walked the length of the beach and hung out at one of the shelters chatting with other tourists.

Malcapuya Island, Island Escapade Tour Coron.
Heading out to snorkel.

In that weather it didn’t exactly feel like island paradise, but it was still a beautiful island, and I would happily spend a day there with a book and some coffee. Unfortunately or not amenities are very basic on Malcapuya Island. And if you’re wondering if it’s possible to stay overnight here, it does seem possible, as this blogger and this blogger had done.

Malcapuya Island, Island Escapade Tour Coron.
The beach on Malcapuya Island.
Malcapuya Island, Island Escapade Tour Coron.
White sandy beaches and shallow seas.
Malcapuya Island, Island Escapade Tour Coron.
Could have been the perfect beach holiday.
Malcapuya Island, Island Escapade Tour Coron.
Basketball court at Malcapuya Island.

After slightly over an hour we got back on the boat and headed to our next stop. We made a round around Malcapuya Island and here’s the view of the beach from further out at sea.

Malcapuya Island.
Malcapuya Island, on the way to our next stop.

Coco Beach/ Bulalacao Island

About half an hour later we arrived an almost empty beach of powdery sand fronted by a coconut trees, couple of swings and shelters. This was Coco Beach on Bulalacao Island. On another side of this island is the luxurious Two Seasons Coron Island and Spa. After the spectacular lunch spot on the previous day this was yet another stunning lunch stop in Coron.

Coco Beach, Island Escapade Tour Coron.
Coco Beach, Bulalacao Island.
Coco Beach, Island Escapade Tour Coron.
Swinging by.

The shelters below are where tour groups stop by for lunch.

Coco Beach, Island Escapade Tour Coron.
Neat line of coconut trees.
Lunch at Coco Beach on the Island Escapade Tour.
Time to tuck in!

By the time we were done many other groups had arrived and the beach was getting a little crowded. Glad to get away!

Coco Beach, Bulalacao Island.
Many more boats arrived for lunch. And so did the clouds.

Finally the clouds gave way while we were heading towards our last stop, Ditaytayan Sandbar. We could see the clouds melting into the sea in the distance, and we were heading right into it. Definitely looked terrifying.

Coron in a storm.
Heading into the eye of the storm.

Ditaytayan Sandbar/ Island

Another half an hour later, we arrived at Ditaytayan Sandbar, a narrow strip of sand stretching out from the island. The wind was blowing strong, and everyone on board was apprehensive to get off. The crew took the lead, jumped off and ran towards shore. Shortly afterwards everyone followed.

Ditaytayan Sandbar/ Ditaytayan Island, Coron Island Escapade Tour.
Ditaytayan Sandbar.

It was pretty crazy as the crew tried to get a group shot for everyone then individual shots, at the edge of the storm with the wind blowing harder by the minute. Not the perfect day for pictures, but I think everyone had fun trying to take them.

Ditaytayan Sandbar/ Ditaytayan Island, Coron Island Escapade Tour.
The umbrella wasn’t particularly useful that day.

There were two dogs on the sandbar too. It was cute to see them sitting together staring out into the sea. Occasionally one will get distracted but the other will follow pretty quickly and they stuck together for most of the time. It was quite adorable.

Dogs on Ditaytayan Sandbar.
The two dogs of Ditaytayan Sandbar.
Dogs on Ditaytayan Sandbar.
I’m leaving. Don’t go.
Dogs on Ditaytayan Sandbar.
All alone again.
Dogs on Ditaytayan Sandbar.
A larger, fancier looking boat anchored further out.

After the shots were done the drizzle started. Everyone either ran back to the boat to take shelter or headed out to snorkel. Which wasn’t a bad idea too. I was just chilling on the boat for awhile, then decided to check out the underwater scene.

Coral at Ditaytayan Sandbar, Coron Island Escapade Tour.
Underwater scenes near Ditaytayan Sandbar.

A little cloudy from the rain that day, but no less fascinating.

Coral at Ditaytayan Sandbar, Coron Island Escapade Tour.
More corals at Ditaytayan Sandbar.

Finally it was time to go. The rain was getting stronger anyway so I think everyone was fine calling it a day slightly earlier.

Ditaytayan Sandbar/ Ditaytayan Island, Coron Island Escapade Tour.
Last shot of Ditaytayan Sandbar.

Back to Busuanga Island

It was another hour and a half ride back to Busuanga Island. Wasn’t fun being on the boat when it was raining. While there was overhead shelter, the sides were open, and the movement of the boat made each raindrop feel like a pellet. An umbrella might have limited usefulness here. Maybe a full body raincoat would work better.

Coron Island in a storm.
Passing Coron Island.
Busuanga Island in a storm.
Approaching Busuanga Island. Mount Tapyas with the Coron sign at the summit.
On a Coron Tour, back towards Busuanga Island.
The crew navigating the shallower waters towards the pier.

End of the Island Escapade Tour Coron

While weather was less than ideal it was nonetheless a fun day out. I can only imagine how amazing a trip to these islands would be during the sunny season. If you’re planning a trip to Palawan do avoid the typhoon season between June and November as weather is predictably unpredictable. Turned out this was to be my last full day trip out to sea, as the storm descended on Coron the following day and ships and boats were barred from going out to sea. I missed that warning and found myself out at sea on a tiny wooden boat the next day, more on that in the next post!

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