In Search of the Perfect Island Eco-Tours
Getting to Palawan:
The first leg of any Philippine adventure begins in Manila were you can travel by air or by sea directly to the northern-most point of Palawan, the island of Busuanga. Your arrival in Busuanga marks the jumping-off point for a voyage into an unknown wilderness, the beginning of a journey of a lifetime as you pass through this remote island paradise, exploring and experiencing natures diversity and this regions primal nature.
-- By Air fly to Busuanga Island directly from Manila’s domestic airport daily; Asian Spirit (tel: [63-2] 851-1795, www.asianspirit.com) and South East Asian Airlines (or Se Air, tel: [63-2] 843-7308, www.flyseair.com) returning same day to Manila. Se Air also flies from Puerto Princesa, Tue-Fri and from Boracay, Thur.
-- By Sea board the Super Ferry (www.wgasuperferry.com) departing Manila every Friday evening at 4:00 PM arriving Coron Saturday morning at 7:30 AM and departing Coron Sunday evening at 10:00 PM for a return arriving Manila on Monday morning at 8:00 AM.
Your Voyage begins:
-- Six day adventure departs Coron every Monday morning at 10:00 AM returning the following Saturday evening -- Cost: $300.00/person.
-- Three day adventure depart from Coron every Monday morning at 10:00 AM and from El Nido on Thursday morning at 10:00 AM -- Cost: $200.00.
-- One day Coron Island exploration departs Sunday at 1:00 PM and includes the magnificent Blue Lake and Coron hot springs, returning the same day -- Cost: $30.00.
-- Monday - Board our traditional banca for a departure from Coron, Busuanga on Monday morning to begin your sea journey with a visit of Culion Town on Culion Island. Take a walking tour and visit the historic leper colony museum before lunch, then outward-bound into the island world of southern Busuanga. Hop islands and view limestone coastlines, snorkel a remote beach and explore inlets and coves en route to the pristine Bogor Marine Sanctuary and beautiful Banana Island. Enjoy your first evening with a beach fire, barbecue dinner and drinks beneath a star filled sky and find the magic of your first pearl-island paradise. Enjoy conversation and stories of history, geology, ecology and regional cultures before sleeping at the northern apex of the coral triangle, the last frontier of the Philippines.
-- Tuesday - After a traditional bonkaros breakfast of fish, eggs and rice, take a morning dip in an azure sea and immerse yourself into the tropics as we launch into the open seas to explore the myriad islands of the Calamiane, experiencing white sand beaches rimmed by palm trees and pristine reefs in search of an ideal tropical wonderland. Find yourselves at the center of a remote archipelago and with wide-eyed wonder settle into a second evening's camp on Nanga Island at the cusp of the South China and Sulu Sea. Meet aboriginal Tagbanua fisher-folk who frequently offer their bounty from the sea; fresh fish, giant shrimp, even lobster, can greet our evening meal on Nanga’s long sand spit.
-- Wednesday - Today we have the unique opportunity to explore firsthand the marine environments and sea cultures of northern Palawan. As we glide over seas with sixty feet visibility you can rest and dive into crystal clear water, experiencing a living rainbow bathed in aquamarine, drift through untouched reefs of hard and soft coral, swim among multicolored tropical fish of every shape and size parting like clouds with the swipe of a hand and enjoy the opportunity to learn spear fishing from local experts, paddle a village banca or sneak a rare sighting of dugong (sea cows), or possibly the endangered Calamayan deer while visiting an untouched jungle sanctuary. Set your course onward to the main island of Palawan to arrive in El Nido just in time for a shower, dinner and a taste of local night life.
(You can choose to break your six-day return journey to spend a week or two on the primal paradisiacal island of Palawan or continue north for a week in the diving wonderland of Busuanga. Northbound journeys include: paddling, climbing, diving and a visit to the fabled oyster fields of western Busuanga, southbound journeys include: (optional Blue Lake on Sunday) Culion, Banana and the many islands south of Coron.)
-- Thursday - From the cliffs of El Nido we head north exploring coastlines and islands en route to Busuanga. Try your hand at climbing island cliffs, visit barangay villages, explore a batcave and enjoy a formal dinner on a white sand beach with shellfish and fresh bread and find your island home between palm trees as we make our way north with adventure.
-- Friday - We cross Linapacan Strait along the west coast of Culion and duck into Halse Harbor to enjoy an onboard lunch and paddle dugout canoes, then continue into the pearl islands of western Busuanga, stopping at a pearl farm to examine and possibly collect these sought-after prizes before choosing the best island for the night and establishing our beach camp. Will our island be surrounded by white sand or have cliffs buffeted by the sea, will it adjoin a pearl farm or support an aboriginal barangay village? So many islands to choose from!
-- Saturday - After a hearty breakfast we continue exploring and island hopping toward Lamud Island preparing to snorkel or scuba dive one or two of the many World War II wrecks sunk by American forces. PADI scuba equipment and guide is available for two dives, and snorkeling equipment is available for your use. After diving we return to Coron in the late afternoon or evening.
-- Sunday - We meet at 1:00 PM allowing a leisurely visit to the many shops of Coron before boarding our banca destine for the best of seven world renown crystal clear lakes hidden among limestone cliffs for generations at the center of Coron Island. White sand beaches and extraordinary reefs mark this jagged-jewel and whether this is your introduction to Palawan or a jewel added to your adventurous crown, it is a must. End your Sunday worshiping nature by soaking in Makanit hot springs before return to Coron Town in the evening.
(All tours include: transportation from dock or beachside Coron-El Nido and El Nido-Coron; food and wilderness camping supplies provided; scuba diving and snorkel equipment additional. If you choose to break your journey either in El Nido or Coron we suggest pre-booking your hotel or guest house, as well as your return voyage as we cannot guarantee non-booked availability. Applicable local taxes apply. Student, PEMS membership and promotional discounts apply. Children 14 and under, half-price. Liability release required. All journeys subject to alterations based on weather, sea, and conditions beyond our control. Palawan Eco Adventure Tours support the Palawan Environmental and Marine Studies Center (PEMS) and projects of the Ecology-Repair Tourism Association.)
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