It was a fruitful birding trip we had in Coron except for an inauspicious start. Here are some tips and logistics should you plan on visiting this place:
Flight: Zest Air, Airphils and Cebu Pacific offer regular flights to Busuanga (the point of entry to Coron). We took Cebu Pacific and as mentioned in my earlier blog, we had to turn back to Manila because of "inclement weather". The following day, everything was just perfect and the 50 minute flight was pleasant.
Accommodations: We stayed at a place (known as Roger's House) that was practically unknown to visitors to Coron. They don't advertise nor have a website. Basically we just rented a room (with a private bathroom) of big house. I learned about this because the administrator was a cousin of my classmate in high school. The cost was P1500 per night. The room was just about right in terms of size. There were two beds, one queen and one twin. It has air conditioning which was OK but there had been brownouts at night sometimes lasting more than two hours. On the negative side, the bathroom shower was not working and there was no hot water.
Breakfast (and sometimes also lunch and dinner) were included in the price. Another plus was the sense of security. We know we can leave our laptop in our room without fearing that it won't be there anymore when we return. Bits, the administrator saw to it that we were really happy in our stay.
I'll give it 5 stars for the service and 3 stars for the facilities.
Having said that, there are many hotel options in Coron, from the high end Grand View and Sophia's to the budget places and everything in between. We recommend the Gran Vista not only because of its nice facilities (although no aircon and no hot water also) but because you can do great birding right on their premises!
Another one although not yet open already looks promising. La Natura will start business come December and again the area around it is quite birdy. The rooms are not airconditioned but it is cool in the evenings anyway, the owners assured me. Hot water is available though and breakfast is included in the price.
Transportation: Make arrangements with your hotel to pick you up at the airport - a good hour's drive away. We paid P150 per person for the van pick up (and for taking us to the airport on our date of departure). Some hotels offer free pick up and return to airport so you might want to consider that when choosing a place to stay.
Travel within the town of Coron is via tricycle. Haggle with the driver as to prices especially if you need to be picked up after birding. Short distances usually commands P10 per person fare. For our trip to Cabo Beach via Maquinit Hot Springs we paid P500 all in. The driver waited for us as we birded these places and even along the way.
For the trip to Capayas Creek (where bird guide Erwin also stays) we paid P150 to take us there and pick us up later. We paid the same price even when we had a side trip to Dipulao before proceeding to Capayas Creek.
Bird Guide: Erwin Edonga is the local guide and we recommend him highly. His rate is P1000 per day.
Birding Places: Capayas Creek is a sure place to see Black-naped Monarchs, Blue Paradise Flycatchers, Lovely Sunbirds, Palawan Flycatchers, White-vented Shamas, Ashy-fronted Bulbuls, Ashy Drongos and Ruddy Kingfishers. Possibly Blue-headed Racket-tail.
Maquinit Hot Springs: Collared Kingfishers and a strong possibility for Stork-billed Kingfisher.
Dipulao: Rufous-backed and Blue-eared Kingfishers
Grande Vista Hotel grounds: Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, White-bellied Munia and Spot-throated Flameback.
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