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Palawan Travel Guide

Travel Safely to Coron Under the New Normal

Guidelines, tips, what to expect, and list of DOT-accredited hotels and tour operators in Coron Palawan.

Guidelines, tips, what to expect, and list of DOT-accredited hotels and tour operators in Coron Palawan.

Palawan is one of my favorite places in the country and news of the destination slowly opening up excited me. It bids well for the tourism industry which was badly hit by the pandemic. Coron Palawan is now open to receive tourist albeit with safety protocols in place. Here’s a handy guide to help you travel safely and enjoy one of the world’s best island and destination.

Is it Safe to travel to Coron during the Pandemic?

As of this writing (January 21,2021) the municipality of Coron have NO ACTIVE COVID19 cases. They did have 88 recovered cases and 2 deaths. With how things can quickly change, it is always best to monitor the situation by following the Coron Public Information Office page in Facebook for updates.

Checking the boarding time at NAIA Terminal 3
Checking the boarding time at NAIA Terminal 3

Coron is currently under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) so tourism activities are allowed following IATF safety protocols of 50% capacity. Tour operators must be accredited and hotel establishments must have a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) to operate.

Travel to Coron is generally safe as protocols are in place. For me, I’d be more worried for visitors coming in. So to minimize the risk of bringing COVID19 in the region, observe minimum safety protocols of washing/sanitizing hands, wear face mask (and face shield if needed) and keep your distance.

Uploading the 4 document requirements and filling up the Health Declaration form to generate a QR Code
Uploading the 4 document requirements and filling up the Health Declaration form to generate a QR Code

What do I need to travel to Coron?

Firstly, only tourist within the age range of 15-65 years old are allowed.

To keep it simple and hassle-free, DOT and the LGU kept the requirements minimal. No quarantine (if entering by flight), no travel authority, no baranggay clearance and no medical certificates.

Taking an RT-PCR test 48-72 hours before flight
Taking an RT-PCR test 48-72 hours before flight

Here are four main requirements you need to prepare (Updated March 1, 2021):

  • Round-trip tickets to Busuanga (CEB, PAL and Sunlight Air now have regular flights to Coron)
  • Confirmed hotel booking during the stay with a DOT-accredited establishment with CAO (see list below)
  • Confirmed tour itinerary from a DOT-accredited tour operator (see list below)
  • A negative RT-PCR test 48-72 hours before flight with official receipt. Saliva-based RT-PCR test conducted by Philippine Red Cross are now accepted as of March 1, 2021.

Next step is to get a Coron QR Code though www.corontourism.ph.

Register and upload a 1-page soft copy for each of requirements in JPG file format. Make sure to fill in the Health Declaration form as well.

When everything’s accomplished, a QR Code will be generated. Download your copy of QR code and save it in your smartphone. This will be scanned upon arrival and departure at Francsico B. Reyes Airport in Coron.

Make sure to have both a soft and hard (printed) copy of the documents. These will be inspected when checking in. Declare that you’ll be coming in as a TOURIST, not an APOR, LSI or returning resident.

It is also possible to enter Coron by sea via 2GO. But there will be a 7-day quarantine period required upon arrival.

Francisco B Reyes Airport in Busuanga, Coron, Palawan
Francisco B Reyes Airport in Busuanga, Coron, Palawan

Getting in Coron

Make sure to download the DOT Traze app before coming into the airport.

Make sure you have the Traze App installed on your phones
Make sure you have the Traze App installed on your phones

By Air: Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines and Sunlight Air operates flights from Manila to Francisco B. Reyes Airport.

Sanitizing our hand carried bags on arrivals
Sanitizing our hand carried bags on arrivals

Upon arrival, expect your hand-carried items to be sanitized.

There’s a hand-washing station and temperature check before entering the baggage claim area. An arrivals booth for tourist and APOR is there where the Coron QR code will be scanned.

By Sea: 2Go sails to Coron Seaport. Coron QR Code will also be checked and a 7-day quarantine period will be required.

Keeping the group small
Keeping the group small

How are the tours like?

Having a pre-booked or pre-arranged tour itinerary is required. DIY and joiner tours are no longer allowed for safety reasons. All of the tours will be exclusive or private for the group or the individual. Group tours are more cost effective as the expense for the tours are shared. Solo travelers will have to pay more as they will solely cover the cost of transportation and other tour expenses.

If you’re a first-timer in Coron, the accredited tour operator can recommend an itinerary for you depending on how long you’ll stay. If you however have preferred places to see or activities to do, Coron is more flexible since tours are exclusive and private. Do coordinate with your tour operator as they can tailor-fit an itinerary for you.

To have an idea on what to see and do in Coron, check out the Coron post archives here.

Tourist registration at Calauit Island
Tourist registration at Calauit Island

What to Expect

Coron is still in MGCQ and follows IATF safety protocols. Establishments require both face mask and face shields. Curfew is still in place so expect most establishments to be close by 9-10 PM.

No more buffets in hotels

Guest are required to undergo temperature checks upon check-in. Some hotels even have automatic sanitation booths guest can pass through.

To minimize the risk of COVID19 infection, hotels no longer offer buffets. Ala carte meals are offered for breakfast and are recommended to be pre-ordered the night before.

Local Interaction

Tourist can still interact with locals as long as you wear face mask and observe social distance. Since Coron is COVID19-free you may occasionally see locals not wearing masks or being care free. As a visitor, we suggest you keep wearing your face masks when interacting. It is best to think of not infecting others instead of others infecting you.

While interactions are fine, try to keep within your group travel bubble.

Travel to Coron in the New Normal
Our Travel Bubble in Coron

Leaving Coron and Assessing Risk

When leaving Coron, the QR Code will be checked with the other requirements. Again, state that you are leaving as a tourist.

There’s no need to take a COVID19 test before leaving. The tourist are free to to do so if they are willing. If, however the test turned out positive, tourist will have to quarantine on the island for 21 days. Quarantine expense will be shouldered by the tourist.

My room at Sunlight Guest Hotel where we stayed for 3 nights
My room at Sunlight Guest Hotel where we stayed for 3 nights

DOT Accredited Hotels

Here are the DOT-accredited hotels with Certificate of Authority to Operate in Coron and Busuanga (updated January 23, 2021):

DOT Accredited Tour Operators

Here are the list of DOT-accredited tour operators (as of January 23, 2021). For this recent trip we used Coron Blue Lagoon Adventure Travel and Tours.

  • Blue Lagoon Adventure Travel and Tours
    (Globe: 09178581799 / 09567205690
    Smart: 09999983421 / 09994108807)
  • Calamian Island Travel and Tours
    (+63961 740 0586, +63926 628 1959, +63961 771 1007)
  • JY Travel and Tours
    (Smart: 09205532361, Globe: 09063370077 )
  • Nature’s Way Travel and Tours
    (0917-9652414, 0917-1869309)