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.

Our ferry was a bigger version of a banka boat like this.
Our ferry was a bigger version of a banka boat like this.


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.

Welcome to Coron!
Welcome to Coron!

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!

Coron Town, from the top of the hill.
Coron Town, from the top of the hill.
I'm Terry, former cubicle-dweller, and now traveler, photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. I quit my job in 2014 to travel to US national parks, then to South East Asia. I write about independent, flexible, long-term, budget travel. Sign up to my newsletter to get the latest news on what I'm up to. I hope you join me on my trek around the world.


  1. Oh my gulay! I would have panicked if I was on that boat. I have fear of deep waters eh. What is the camera you are using? Im very visual and I like your photos.

  2. Bela, I actually never felt like I was in danger. It was long and uncomfortable, but I still recommend the trip to others.

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