Airport – Busuanga
Our flight with Philippine Airlines was smooth from takeoff in Manila to landing Busuanga. Don’t run away too quickly once you’ve landed. Your suitcases are brought in manually and there’s no conveyor belt to show your luggage around. We were too excited about landing that we went straight out to look for our Club Paradise representative without even waiting for our bags first. It’s a pretty small airport but has all the basics.
Resort – Club Paradise ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Club Paradise was honestly the highlight of our total trip to the Philippines. Our experience from beginning to end was unforgettable.
Our experience started from airport pick up. A Club Paradise employee greeted us, introduced himself and carried our bags to the van. The van drove us from the airport to a water port. This was about a 20 minute drive and we were able to observe the farms we passed with bulls, chickens, dogs and ponies as well as locals doing some farm work including burning the land and managing the fire – I’m assuming this is to help with the health of the field. From the water port, we were taken to Club Paradise Resort. In the boat, the employee gave us Club Paradise bracelets, which was a cute gift. We sailed past mangroves, the coast full of fishermen houses, and eventually just past other islands. We arrived on the shore of the Club Paradise island and we had never seen water this clear before. Other staff help you off the boat and carry your luggage straight to your room. After they escort you to the main lobby, you’re greeted with the Club Paradise theme song (singing with guitars) and a complimentary Welcome to Club Paradise cocktail. The front desk were helpful and showed us to our room which was the cutest looking cabin with a hammock and a few seats on the front deck where we had our complimentary foot wash. We were certainly getting the royal treatment. However, only then we realised we were missing one of our bags. We went back the the front desk to advise them and they acted promptly with no issues to locating the missing bag and returning it to our room.
Dinner at the restaurant was amazing. You can feel the cool breeze on the deck and also taste the fine Filipino cuisine. In the first night, we decided to just use the a la carte menu. Buffet was also available – the food variety would alternate everyday on a 5 day cycle. One night we decided to try out the Moonlight dinner which is an extra cost for the set up on top of the a la carte menu item. If you want an intimate dinner with your partner or family, this is the way to go. A table is set on the beach with a cool blue light shining on a leafless tree. It’s a bit dark but one of the staff members is there with a flashlight to help you read the menu. If you’re thinking of proposing to the love of your life, this is definitely one way to do it.
Breakfast at the same restaurant was also amazing. They would serve Adobo Fish, Caldareta as well as the usual loved western food like bacon, eggs and hash brown. You can also help yourself to some pineapple, orange or calamansi juice. Like dinner, the food is different every morning.
If you’re not too full from the buffet breakfast, you can also have lunch at the same restaurant. We took up the option to have our lunch as a picnic at the Secret Beach. Cute benches with shade had been set up. The beach isn’t suitable for swimming but it’s always a nice view. You’ll have to preorder your lunch so I suggest going to the restaurant to check out the menu about an hour beforehand. We received a call in our room asking us what we’d like but it was too hard to understand over the phone when we didn’t exactly know what some of the Filipino dishes were, so we decided to just walk down to the restaurant and order.
Another attraction at Club Paradise is Eagle Point. One morning at 5.30am, we decided to hike up to the top of this hill called Eagles Point to watch the sunrise at 6am and it was phenomenal. Security had guided us all the way up because it was still so dark. He even waited for us to finish at 6.30am to escort us back down to our cabin. Eagle Point is a great place for photos whether you want to see the sunrise or sunset.
Glow Spa is another feature of the island worth trying. Even though there were some renovations happening here and close by, we were still able to enjoy the Filipino traditional Hilot massage. There were too many options on the menu such as hot stone massages, ear candling, couple wellness treatments, etc – and we couldn’t decide so they suggested Hilot, which we thoroughly enjoyed. At the end of the massage they kindly offered us some ginger and honey tea.
My partner and I aren’t strong swimmers but we were still able to enjoy snorkelling. You will not believe the view underwater. Clearest water and full of life, we got close to a school of fish, stingray, turtles and other colourful fish and corals. The staff offer you life jackets, a mask and flippers. We were about to go and swim around ourselves when he offered to guide us around and we happily accepted.
Overall, our experience with Club Paradise was exquisite. Staff were polite and willing to go above and beyond. Features of the island were amazing and there is so much to do, but also a great place to do nothing as well. The bar is open until the last guest sleeps and in the afternoons they even walk around the pool area, beach and bar area with finger food if you’re feeling a bit hungry from swimming or drinking. This is the best service we have very experienced and the environment is all you could ask for for some time away from the city.
Tour – Coron Island Tour
The Coron Island Tour that we joined is organised by Club Paradise. We have to give at least a day’s notice if we want to experience the tour and there had to be at least 4 guests in the total tour. On the day of the tour, our tour guide introduced himself at breakfast and requested for us to collect our snorkelling gear near the pool (mask, flippers and life jacket). We met at the front of the restaurant on the beach and boarded the boat.
The boat journey was 20 minutes and there was another 30 minute drive to Coron Town. From here we took another boat to our first stop at the Twin Lagoon. The boat stopped in front of these tall rocks and we were told to put our snorkelling gear on and the get in the water. At first we were a bit anxious because we aren’t strong swimmers at all, but the life jacket kept us afloat and the flippers helped us get around. From the boat, we swam through this cave-like entrance to the lagoon. As we swam through you can feel the different water temperatures, some parts were cold and some parts were warm. The tall rocks with little plant life provided us with a nice scenery. We just swam around and took some pictures with the GoPro for awhile before we swam back to our boat.
The boat then took us on another journey to Kayangan Lake where we saw a lot more tourists as well. Our tour guide gave us some great insights to the Coron Island including the different people who live there in different tribes and where Kayangan Lake sits on the 3D map at the entrance. After the introduction, we signed a guestbook and began our hike up. There are some steep stairs but it was well worth it when we reached the top to take some pictures of the view and down to Kayangan Lake where the water was again crystal clear surrounded by tall rocks and little plant life, similar to Twin Lagoon. However, this time we were able to see tiny fish swimming around. My partner was able to find a live prawn.
After we swam around for awhile, we hiked back up and down to where the boat was stationed. By that time we were starving and it was the perfect time for lunch. At the front of the destination, there was a picnic set up by our boat hosts where we were serviced rice, fish, pork, seaweed, crabs and a tomato and onion salad. This was all prepared on the boat as we were sailing around to different destinations and it was the most satisfying meal especially after swimming around all morning.
Our next stop was the Maquinit Hot Spring and was definitely hot so it was a bit difficult to stay in there for long. We still enjoyed our time there. It was a nice way to relax after all the swimming, hiking and eating. From there we headed our way back to Coron Town to say goodbye to our lovely boat men and look at some souvenirs. Everyone was super tired by then, we started our road then boat journey back to Club Paradise.
Our only regret for this tour was not bringing any PHP with us! We only brought a small bag with our phones and room key and that’s about it. We could have brought our backpack with a few more items and some money, but we didn’t think there was going to be any safe place to keep them. The boat men would have looked after them. We regret not having PHP to give to the boat men any tips because they took us everywhere and made us our lunch, and we also didn’t have any money for souvenirs either and there were some cute items to purchase as souvenirs.
The overall Coron Island Tour was amazing and is highly recommended. This was one of the highlights of our stay in Palawan.
Rosheen Delos Santos | March 2017
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