Like all good plans, sometimes things don’t quite go quite as expected. Then you have to improvise and make it work.
So we arrived at the Port at 9:30pm on Wednesday to be turned away. The ferry hadn’t arrived due to a typhoon off the coast of Coron where we were headed.
So back to our hotel Floral Villarosa to see if they had a room for the night.
We have extended our stay here several times which has required us to move rooms and this time we were able to get another room upstairs.
We ended up booking it for two nights as we weren’t going to catch the ferry till late the next night with a 1:30 am Thursday sailing time.
The staff here are fantastic and have really looked after us, helping with phone calls etc whilst we find out what’s happening.
Anyway we arrived at port around 10pm the next night as requested and were pleased everything was going ahead.
It was interesting to watch all the shipping containers being loaded on. This is a goods ferry as well as for people .
We opted for a private cabin, there aren’t many on the ferry but seeing that the alternative is either share a cabin with 2 strangers or sleep in the main sleeping area with 100 or more others in bunks and little facilities we took the more expensive option.
At 5000 pesos around $130 Australian we decided it was great value.
We actually have our own bathroom and there is a set of bunks as well as the queen size bed.oh and a window! Or porthole I should say.
We were pleasantly surprised that they had a nice area at back of ship on top with a bar and live music, and the singers were fantastic. People were writing them requests with a little thank you money so it was very entertaining.
Back in our cabin, with a seasick pill just in case,I slept right through the night and the ferry is so smooth it’s only the engine vibration you can feel.
Just as we were going to sleep there was an announcement with a prayer for a safe trip. And at 6am we were woken with a prayer for the new day and there was a prayer when we arrived as well.
Our tickets include breakfast and lunch and as stateroom guests we went to the Horizon cafe for our breakfast early the next morning as it was served between 7-8 am. James had coffee and I tried one of the two options forgoing the hotdog sausage (now I know why there is so much refrigerated space allocated for them at the supermarket, it’s a staple breakfast item).
To be fair if the chicken and rice served had been hot it would have been quite an enjoyable meal, but cold and served so early I could only manage a few mouthfuls. Looking forward to see what lunch offers, there’s a little kiosk which sells noodle bowls, just add hot water and you’re laughing, so that’s our backup meal.
People have bought all sorts with them on the ferry and quite a few will be going onto Manila. There’s roosters,dogs and potted shrubs and massive boxes of goods.
Again we seem to be the only non Filipinos on board.
Most tourists do the van to ElNido and fast ferry onto Coron before flying back to Manila.
We decided on this option as we need to come back to Puerto Princesa for James tooth repair, but if the impression wasn’t any good and we weren’t going to come back, we were going to be able to fly out of ElNido for Manila. With the ferry only twice a week from Coron, making ElNido our last stop meant we can get a van back to dentist in Puerto Princesa any day of the week.
(Hope you can understand all that).
Anyway back to the travel log, we made it to Coron and hopped on a tricycle to our hotel. The tricycles here are a little different and also have a rear cabin so to speak with bench seats so easy for piling our luggage in and the two of us.
From the outside the hotel GMG looks like a fairly nice establishment in the hub.
But the reality is it’s Fawlty Towers Philippine style.
The pub over the road is called No name, but the GMG hotel should be called No idea.
It’s so farcical it would be funny if it just wasn’t soooo bad.
The free wifi, well you can connect but nothing happens. The included breakfast is practically nonexistent. The room would appear ok but has a bad damp smell, sheets that a too small for the bed, see through towels that seem to be made of Teflon, dust etc. then there’s the bathroom so manky, I had to insist on them cleaning the mound and mildew off the walls while we went out.
We would have left if we hadn’t booked ahead with a travel agent, paying in cash on non refundable booking. To be honest this is not how we normally book accommodation and we only did it as at short notice there wasn’t a lot available.
We certainly thought it sounded ok and the pictures looked ok and it wasn’t that cheap. Certainly more than our hotel in Puerto Princesa so thought it would be fine.
Well the good thing about bad accommodation is that it makes you go out A LOT! And we actually enjoyed all the tours we did immensely.
You come to Palawan for the scenery but mostly for the stunning waters. And Coron certainly delivered in spectacular days out on the water, this is really the place if you love snorkeling and diving and white beaches with tropical outlooks.
We had four days on the water tour A, tour B, reefs and wrecks, and an escapade trip. If you were here on a limited time we would suggest tour B.
We also did an afternoon town tour which was fun going with people and we had a few laughs, the highlights were climbing the 721 steps to the top of the hill behind the town where the big cross and sign for Coron are located, we caught the sunset there and then onto the hot springs which were very hot around 41 degrees and good for those muscles we just gave a workout on the hill climb.
The springs have a beautiful setting at night. We were in a van and I know our friends the Porters did it in a tricycle, I know why Mel said it was scary.
We’ve had some bad food here and some excellent food, check out “ buzz express”for good coffee, even do a flat white, big breakfast, and great meals at night. Its pricier than a lot of places around $30-$40 for two meals with a cocktail, but worth it. You can get fried rice for around $2 at some places.
Something we’ve discovered is Turon banana wrapped in spring roll wrapper and deep fried, delicious!.
Beer is cheap especially at happy hour $1.25 and cocktails too, around $4-$5.
What we have enjoyed is mixing with all the people on the tours. We are usually the oldest but we’ve met people from the Philippines, Taiwan, USA, Canada, Iran, Uzbekistan , Poland, Norway, Spain, England, Slovenia, Russia.
Our next adventure is the fast ferry to El Nido where we have 11 nights booked.