After having a bit of a mare getting to Busuanga Island, we finally arrived one day later than anticipated. (Note to self, travel planning is fun, but sometimes, especially during rainy season, you shouldn’t book everything in advance).
Check out this awesome video by Toast City Productions from our time there:
For more information on how to actually get to Busuanga Island, check out my other blog post coming soon.
To get to our accommodation was simple enough. We didn’t fancy staying in Coron Town itself, instead we stayed in Concepcion which is further up Busuanga Island. Had we arrived by boat, we could have easily got a private van (2000php) or tricycle (1200php) to take us the (approximately) one hour journey up to Concepcion. We also could have taken the pubic bus which costs just 50php per person!
Instead we arrived by plane, so our first option was to take a shared van to Coron Town and then proceed as above. The second more expensive but more convenient option was to take a van directly from the airport. We were told it should cost 2000php, but when we were at the airport the driver said it was 2500php. His excuse was it had been raining heavily, so the roads were in worse condition. Once we arrived I knew he was just ripping us off… and I don’t like getting ripped off. So a tip to you all, stick to your guns! Most prices from the airport are fixed.
In the end it was his loss. We didn’t use that driver for our return journey to the airport. We met a tricycle driver during our stay and arranged for him to take us back for about 1000php.
Choosing not to stay in Coron town, we booked to stay at two different places in Busuanga Island. The first was Busuanga Backpackers and the second was Sanctuaria Treehouses.
Both places were very good with communication before we arrived, especially the guys at Busuanga Backpackers as we ended up arriving a day late. Our accommodation at Busuanga Backpackers was, simple but more than enough. We had a little hut with a double bed and an all important mosquito net. There were shared bathrooms which were always very clean (bearing in mind we were the only guests staying at this time!). The owners were away during our stay, but the guys looking after the place while we were there were very friendly and looked after us. They were always happy to cook us food, show us around and even help us to rent a motorbike.
It was only the night before we were due to leave that we felt a little weird. When we were given the bike a price was said (but I guess never confirmed). Suddenly, the night before leaving, the price went from 500php per day to 800php day (because this covered keeping the bike overnight, too). We were unaware of this and were never previously told, so we only had enough money left to pay for what we had budgeted – 500php per night. We sorted it without any fuss but we definitely felt like they weren’t our number one fans afterwards.
Actually, for the price we paid to stay here, you’d be a fool to grumble about much!
Just up the road from Busuanga Backpackers is Sanctuaria Treehouses. Staying here was more expensive, but also a very special place to stay. Unlike the bamboo hut we stayed in in Sibaltan, the treehouses here are surrounded by lush jungle. The treehouse we stayed in could actually sleep four people. There was a double mattress on the floor and a double mattress up above – kind of like built in bunk beds! We also had a small outside area. Unfortunately, it was very windy when we stayed (in August) but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the amazing view!
The food and drinks there were delicious and the portions were very generous.
It was also very easy to arrange day trips and stuff through the guys working there.
What to do on and around Busuanga Island
Like a lot of places we went to in the Philippines, renting a bike and riding around is a great way to spend the day. We rode further north (until the road became pretty rough), and even rode south to Coron town.
There are waterfalls dotted around everywhere in the Philippines and Busuanga Island is no exception. We went to Concepcion waterfalls, very close to where we were staying. We actually went twice, once at the weekend when it was filled with locals and daring kids jumping off of rocks from dizzying height, and once during the week when we could swim in it without anyone else there.
From Sanctuaria we went on a day trip to Calambuyan Island. We went with a couple of other people staying at the treehouses meaning we all had complete control of the trip. We were sent off with a packed lunch and enough beer to last us the day. We actually spent the whole day here, snorkelling, sunbathing and just generally chilling out. Had the weather conditions been better we would have liked to have headed further afield to another island as well, but we’ll save that for another day!
Staying in Concepcion doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the day trips departing from Coron Town. We left Concepcion in the morning and arrived in Coron Town before 8am, booked a trip and were put on a boat before 9am! The trip we selected (Tour B) involved a lot of lagoons and snorkelling. It was amazing! And the absolute best way to spend our last full day in the Philippines.
Have you been to Coron or Busuanga? Where did you prefer to stay? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.