The island paradise of Coron in northern Palawan reopened to local travelers on December 1, 2020. Coron is known for its World War II-era wreck diving sites, limestone cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and white-sand beaches waiting to be discovered among many small islands.
We’ve put together a short yet informative guide to traveling to Coron in the new normal. Here’s what you need to know:
Who can visit Coron?
Tourists aged 15 to 65 years old without preexisting health risks must secure a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) coronavirus test result 72 hours before arriving in Coron.
Do I need to book ahead?
Yes. Pre-arrange your Department of Tourism-certified accommodations and locally accredited tour packages, and fill out an online health declaration form on corontourism.ph. Once your registration has been approved, you will be given a quick response (QR) code that will serve as your pass.
Upon check-in at your hotel or resort, present your negative RT-PCR test, roundtrip ticket, and confirmed booking itinerary.
Where can I book my Coron stay?
Ten hotels and resorts are allowed to operate, subject to the regular monitoring of health and safety standards. You may find more information on this here.
Do health and safety standards apply?
Yes. While traveling to Coron, continue to wear a face mask and face shield, sanitize your hands regularly, and observe physical distancing.
At Francisco B. Reyes (Busuanga) Airport, you will have to undergo a health assessment. If you are found to have symptoms, you will need to go through antigen testing worth P3,500 at your personal expense.
What happens if I test positive?
You will be brought to your hotel’s isolation room. If you are tested negative, you can continue with your Coron itinerary. If you manifest mild to moderate symptoms, however, you will be assessed by the Coron Municipal Health Office. If you develop severe symptoms, you will be sent to the Culion General Sanitarium for treatment. Please keep in mind that you will be responsible for all medical and accommodations bills related to COVID-19 while in Coron.
How do we get around?
Since your tours are pre-booked, your movement around the town and nearby islands will be monitored. For contact tracing purposes, your hotel or resort’s front desk will coordinate with your tour operator to arrange for your transportation. Using your QR code pass, make sure to log or scan wherever you go. Sadly, wandering around the town and making stops before reaching the airport when you depart Coron are not allowed.
Will other Coron establishments be open?
Yes. All business establishments in the town, including tourist sites, restaurants, and boats, will operate at 50% capacity until 10:00 p.m.
Where can I get more information?
For more details, contact the Coron Tourism Office at +63 915 698 3991 or visit app.philippines.travel/articles/palawan-safety-advisory and facebook.com/turismong.coron.
Words by Carla Martinez-Tensuan
Photo by Phuong D. Nguyen on Shutterstock