My last stop in incredible Palawan would be Coron town, located on far away Busuanga Island. I, along with five other passengers, would be taking a ferry there from El Nido.
It was a rough trip. The ferry was small; just an oversized bangka boat. The trip was supposed to only take six hours. But the seas were rough. The captain had to slow down every time a huge wave crashed into the front of the boat, which was frequently.
After a few hours of this, the crew started shouting excitedly at each other, and sprang into action. An excited crew is the last thing I want on a small boat far from land being buffeted by huge waves. They pulled all our bags from below deck.
Most of us didn’t know what was going on, because the crew didn’t speak English. But one of the passengers was a Filipo that spoke English, so he explained that the boat had a hole. We would be stopping to patch it.
We stopped at a remote island that people amazingly lived on. Two crew members went ashore to ask for tools. It took about an hour to get the tools, patch the hole, and return the tools.
Now the captain went even slower, which was understandable. The six hours passed, and we where still in the middle of nowhere. Dusk came and went, then it was dark.
There was a loud bang, as if we hit something in the dark. The crew started shouting excitedly again. I tried not to think about what might have happened. We soldiered on.
Eventually lights, and a glowing cross on a mountain came into view. We were finally near Coron town. It still took a long time to finally get there.
The captain never left the little cabin during the twelve hour trip. Not even to eat or use the bathroom.
The journey to Coron was rough, but it would prove to be worthwhile.
Is It Safe?
So should you take the ferry from El Nido to Coron? It’s not possible to book this in advance. You just have to show up and take what boat’s available. Flying between El Nido and Coron would be really expensive.
Despite the long, unpleasant ride, I never really felt like I was in serious danger. It’s the only real option to get between those places. Just bring some food and water. And wear your life jacket, with the straps fastened securely at all times!