Palawans and Donsol in the same trip.
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Jul 28, 2012 12:45 PM Last Post By: Jagman
Jul 26, 2012 6:51 AM
Palawans and Donsol in the same trip.Hi!
My fiance and I are travelling to the Philippines in December this year (between the 6th and the 23rd) and we were trying to decide an itinerary.
We're young (28), both divers and we are looking for a holiday that would not be too tiring. We want to explore a few places, but explore them well. We are looking to stay at secluded beaches and we don't want to spend our time on over crowded touristy islands full of 18 year old partying till the wee hours of the morning.
A rudimentary itinerary we've drawn up includes a visit to Donsol to check out the whale sharks, (we'd like to spend 3-4 days here).
Once we're done with Donsol, we plan to head straight Puerto Princesa and spend the next 19-20 days travelling North, spending a few days at El Nido, Coron and Pandan island before making our way to Manila to fly out.
a) If we were to do a liveaboard for 2-3 nights, which is the best place to catch it from - Coron, El Nido, Puerto Princesa or Pandan island (http://www.pandan.com)? We would really like to see as much of the Apo reef, so keeping this in mind, what would you advise?
b) How does one travel between Bicol and Puerto Princesa? Similarly, which is the best way (cheap and fast) to get from Puerto Princesa to El Nido?
c) Is there a website where I can search for internal flights in the Philippines (all airlines)?
d) Is there anything to see on the journey between PP and el Nido?
e) Do you think it will be a better idea to cancel the plan of moving North of PP and head to the tubbataha reef instead? Is there accommodation around there or is it only accessible via liveaboards?
f) Any ideas on clean, comfortable accommodation in any of these cities? Our budget will be US$ 80 - 100 per night.
Any other inputs will be much appreciated!
Jul 26, 2012 7:00 AM
1Very busy itineray, think the main issue may be getting to Pandan, its on Mindoro and as far as I know there is no other way to get from Plawan to Mindoro other than flying back to Manila from Coron. Much easier to investigate the possibility og a liveaboard trip to Apo Reef from Coron.
"How does one travel between Bicol and Puerto Princesa"
Fly from Legaspi to Cebu to Puerto Princesa.
"Puerto Princesa to El Nido"
"anything to see on the journey between PP and el Nido"
Loads, Honda Bay, Underground River, Port Barton, Tayatay etc..
Jul 26, 2012 7:49 AM
2I would take a minivan form PP to El Nido, 6 hours inc. lunch break and not much more than the bus. Some of buses are ancient and slow.
Jul 26, 2012 8:01 AM
3I’ve never seen anyone partying till 3 in the morning in 7 trips to the Phils although I've avoided Boracay just for that reason. Matter of fact, you see hardly anyone in the 18-20 year old range. Philippines is sort of off the map for first time travelers.
For internal flights, check http://www.cebupacificair.com/Pages/default.aspx http://www.philippineairlines.com/home/home.jsp, http://www.airphilexpress.com/, http://www.airasia.com/ph/en/home.page
On Palawan I really enjoyed Sabang & the Underground river, lots to do besides the River tour and after 3pm the out of town tours clear out and you have a very quiet beach with a few good restaurants. Port Barton is super quiet also, very nice place to spend a few days.
If you are planning on US$ 80 - 100 per night for accommodation you will be staying in luxury, my budget has always been up to $25/nite for decent rooms.
Jul 26, 2012 8:07 AM
4Actually there are places that party all night, we had that experience once, load of students from Manila? partying all night, they brought their 6 foot high speakers with them. Some places don't have electric at night but have firecrackers going off in the early hours (that was in Port Barton) plus cockerels early morning of course.
Jul 26, 2012 8:23 AM
5Also just remembered there are Whaleshark daytrips from Puerto Princesa, so might make sense just to fly directly there and miss Donsol. Also think Tubbutaha trips run from there also, but check that. So make your way from PP slowly up to El Nido, take the ferry to Coron (dont forget awesome Wreck dives there) and fly back to Manila..
Jul 26, 2012 9:55 AM
Jul 27, 2012 1:36 AM
7Wow you guys are awesome!
I've been getting my advice from other peoples posts on the thorn tree forum for years, but never ventured out to register myself and post something. I had no idea that I'd get so many awesome replies SO FAST!!!
The advice is great! I'd rather spend my time visiting the Tubbataha reef rather than Donsol. It's just that I'd really really like to dive with the whale sharks and it'll be a real pity if we cancelled Donsol and didn't get and opporunity to see them. But, what the hell, I hear that boat owners off the coast of Donsol are feeding the whale sharks to get them to appear, and in those conditions, its neither right to encourage them nor fun to see them.
Maybe we can change our approach and land in Manila, go to Pandan (Mindoro), then to Coron, El Nido and lastly Puerto Princesa from where we can access Tubbataha.
@Jagman - Its a great relief to know that accommodation will be much cheaper than I've budgeted! More dives!!
@surfboy - Do you think we can get a liveaboard that takes us from Pandan to Coron or vice-versa. I mean, is it possible to embark at one point and disembark at the other? Btw the wreck dives sound awesome - just saw some pictures - definitely putting that on my dive time table. Thanks!
Thank you all once again! This really is an awesome community! Can't wait to contribute once I return from my travels!
Jul 27, 2012 2:36 AM
8"a liveaboard that takes us from Pandan to Coron or vice-versa. I mean, is it possible to embark at one point and disembark at the other?"
Would need to contact the dive centre at Pandan to see if its possible, but I doubt it. They normally just go to Apo Reef and back. Check with dive centres in Coron to see if they do trips to Apo Reef, as Im sure some do.
Whalesharks can be seen from Puerto Princesa, just google it.
Give yourself at 3 days diving Coron, its worth it!..
Jul 27, 2012 3:31 PM
9My Girlfriend and I went to Donsol in Feb/08. We really enjoyed the whale sharks. The locals take so much pride and passion for the whale sharks. If you decide to go, I don't know how many you will see in December but when we went we saw about 6 and told that wasn't many. Donsol is a small lovely place but 4 days might be to long.
Jul 27, 2012 9:34 PM
10I've been down to Donsol, great experience and I follow these forums as well as others regularly. Ive never heard of anyone feeding the whale sharks in Donsol. Sure your not thinking of Oslob regarding feeding them? There is some real controversy there, try searching Oslob on these forums.
Jul 27, 2012 10:23 PM
11BTW, Booking flights early is the best way to go, sign up for Cebu Pacific's price alerts, got a return trip today for an October flight, Butuan Mindanao to Manila,1350php each way, all taxes and fees included - about $64 CDN return! Wow!
Jul 28, 2012 4:15 AM
Jul 28, 2012 12:45 PM
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