Island Hopping in the Philippines

Island Hopping in the Philippines

Island Hopping in the Philippines
Scuba & Snorkelling • Surfing & Windsurfing • Boat Tours • Fishing Charters & Tours • Kayaking & Canoeing
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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25 reviews
Very good

Isabella G
1 contribution
Oct 2022 • Family
It was splendid because we were able to have the whole islands for ourselves and get to experience local island life. Travel agent was very helpful but not necessary as you can contact his primary boatman directly at
Written 27 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Thomas O
Volos, Greece32 contributions
Nov 2021 • Couples
The trip itself is magnificent. The coastal landscapes you visit, the waters you swim, the authentic rural places and the people u meet make it very original experience. All these with Benji who is as local as it gets. I had also the arrangement through Kerel, and everything went smoothly. But it is easy also to find and contact him on Facebook looking for Benji Linapacan.
Written 14 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Elk Grove, CA22 contributions
Jul 2022
Spent 3 days in Coron/Busuanga islands in Palawan, 2 of those days spent island hopping: Coron Island Tour A and the Island Escapade tour.
We booked our tour with Harold a member of the Calamianes Tourist Boat Association.
He and his crew were punctual, friendly, accomodating/flexible and even knowledgeable on some pertinent history of the area, including the odd geology of Coron island.
Part of the private boat tours was a prepared lunch and it was excellent, just tell him in advance what kind of local viand (if available at the local market)you want and how to prepare it the local way and voila.... you can expect a hearty meal.
2 of his crew members even volunteered to be 1 on 1 "lifeguards" for 2 of my family members that were very apprehensive in getting into the deep water of Barracuda lake and the offshore reefs even with their life vest and snorkels on. With their help and attention, both members calmed down and enjoyed the corals and sea life on the reefs and the amazing rock features that can only be seen from underwater in the lagoons of Coron island.
I would truly recommend Harold and his crew and would definitely contact him again on our return trip to Coron area.
Message me if you want to get his contact information
Written 23 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Melbourne, Australia203 contributions
Feb 2020 • Friends
Great way to enjoy the day and have good fun lots of things to see and enjoy good value for money I must try when you come to the Philippines
Written 15 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much, we are glad to have you and that you enjoyed it. We wish to see you again.
Written 2 November 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

London, UK2 contributions
Dec 2019
I was very excited about this trip and seeing all the beautiful islands. By reading Karel's description in his website, I decided to pick his company as i wanted to have something personalized and more in my control. We hired a private boat for 3 people to do a 4D/3N Silbatan to Coron trip. There were some pros and cos for the whole experience.

1- Karel was very responsive and his wife were very helpful with my questions before the trip. I wanted to make sure I was staying in clean and comfortable places during the trip. Mel, Karel's wife had some good recommendations (Busuanga Bay lodge)

2- Once we arrived in Philippines and we were assigned to Benji and Maileen his wife as our boat operator, we tried to reach out few times and they didn't reply promptly. we were not sure what we needed to bring into the boat, as this was not very detail in the itinerary. when she finally reply, she said bring water, bring your own alcohol and drinks.

3- there was a typhoon and the ports were closed. I reached out to the coast guard and they save it wasnt save to go. However, Karel and Maileen insisted it was okay as the Typhoon will be gone by the time we get on the boat. I didnt agree and decided to cut my trip short. Maileen was not very happy with our decision and was even less responsive after that. I am glad i made that decision, as it was raining and the winds were pretty strong. The first day of the boat, the weather was nice, however, the second and third date being on the boat was not enjoyable as the winds were super strong and we were just getting wet and super cold during the island hopping. i could only imagine how it would have been if we went when the typhoon was just leaving the islands. The winds on the second and third date were the remains of this storm.

4- Once, we got on the boat, our crew was different. Ronald, VIctor and Daniel . these three men were super nice, friendly and sweet. Daniel was the cook, and we made us some delicious meals. Them three was the only thing we like about this tour company.

5- Maileen asked for any food restrictions or anything we wanted specifically and I have asked her for seafood ( fish, lobster etc) Once we got to the boat, we had to pay for the ice, we only had fish the last day only because I kept asking Victor for it and we went to get it.

6- on the website, it tells you to pick the islands you want to go. I picked Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoons, Malcapuya Island, Banana island , No name island, Araw beach, Bolina Island, CalaCala Island, Takling Island and Pical. They only took us to two of these places (Araw beach and CalaCala). Ronald the captain had no idea about my picks and the first day they just took us to random places, these were all very pretty. However, when i asked Ronald about the islands i picked he couldnt understand me and would ask me to speck to Maileen, which never replied to us. I have asked Karel to talk to them as we really wanted to see Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoons as these are the most famous. He replied saying he would send them a msg. However, we still didnt go as the weather and the winds made it hard to go from island to island. the Last day, we only visit Araw beach and stopped for 3 minutes at Malcapuya around 4pm. We paid the beach fee and then Ronald said we had to leave right away as Coron was far and it was late and the winds were really bad.

7- while we were visiting the islands, we saw other boat tours and we talked to some of the people in it. for instance the big dream boat tour, the boat was way nicer, fully equipped (music, kayaks, paddle boarding, entertainment on the boat) all included on the price, which was 200 dollars cheaper than what we paid this company. I wouldn't have mind paying the extra as this was private and we had more control of the time etc. However, at the end we really didnt have control of what we were doing as Maileen didn't take into account our requests .

8 - the second night, i didnt know where we were staying. That day was cut short, we
docked at 4pm in some random town called San Miguel . Apparently, this is where Maileen is from and where the boat men live. There is noone in the at island. they put us in the BR hotel, which was dirty and smell really bad. i have asked Karel in all my emails and when i communicated with Maileen over Facebook that we wanted to stay in Huts on the beach. The first day, we stay in Linacapan Tourist camp, which was fabolous and super clean. She sent me pics of another similar camp for the second night, thus, i wasnt worried. However, when we got to this town, i refused to get out of the boat and i spoke to her on the phone and she sent us to an island infront and she said it was 2,400 PHP for the three of us. when we got there, the owner wanted 5,000 PHP and she stopped answering the phone. We ended up going to the dirty hotel and the town where there was nothing to do .not even a restaurant .

9 - the last day when we leave Malcapuya island after 3 minutes of being there, we get to Coron. We booked Busuanga Bay lodge as we were told the boat could have drop us there. However, when i asked Ronald, he wasnt aware and of course we called Maileen and she said that was not part of the Itinerary. I sent a whatsapp txt msg to Karel's wife and she was super lovely and agree that it was what they needed to do. However, 5 second later, Karel is yelling at me over whatsapp telling me to not contact his wife. i was very confused, since he specifically gave me her number so i could talk to her about accommodation and the specifics about the trip. at this point i just ignored Karel as i am not really sure what his role in this whole thing was.

10- we were withheld on the boat for 1 hour trying to figure out what to pay and what we needed to do. We emailed Karel , we are talking to Maileen and they are both saying different things. Per Karel's email we made an advance payment of 22,000 PHP which Maileen was saying it wasn't part of the boat fee and we needed to pay the total 52,000 PHP. We kept reading the email over and over and we couldnt understand how was the 22,000php we paid to Karel to reserve the boat not part of the total. At this point, i just showed the email to Victor one of the boat man, i wrote down all payments and he finally agree with us. However, Maileen and KArel were still emailing us and sending us msgs on FB.

We finally took a one hour taxi from Coron to Busuanga and deducted the taxi fare from the total boat fee. We also deducted 5,000 PHP as Karel instructed us on email for poor management. After the whole ordeal and discussion it was really dark and i fell coming out of the boat. i have my whole right leg bruise and my left leg with scratches. This was definitely not what i was dreaming of when I planned this boat tour.

11- the next day i am still getting emails from Karel trying to figure out the payment. I wrote a very detail email and he finally got my calculations and all he said was sorry for the disturbance, local Philippinos can be quite difficult. I was so over it the whole thing as the poor three boat men were just doing what they were told. Maileen gave them instructions, they barely spoke English. however, they tried really hard to made the best out of it and serve us with a smile. Ronald, Victor and Daniel were the best part of this trip.

Karel and Maileen need be more organize and whoever books a trip with this company , PLEASE PLEASE make sure you understand everything you sign up for and i totally recommend taking one of the other boat companies, as i said before they were more organized and their boats were more equipped than the one we got.
Written 6 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
I wasnt yelling at you Alessandra, we were texting via whatsapp. My role in this organisation is that I started it and manage it. We offer private custom tours. The holidays were busy, our resources were stretched thin, and the typhoon passing through made things worse. Customers are now instructed to print out the info I send them, which includes the places they want to see. They can show this to their boatman. I handle the internet end of things and once the advance payment is made I connect the customer directly with the boatman, so that they can arrange such things as dietary restrictions, where and when to meet and so forth. Seems that Alessandra was not communicating much with her crew and automatically assumed that all the places she chose and comments she made on our website will automatically be forwarded to her crew. All these are automatically included in the final report sent to her and it is impractical to forward such details by text message to the various boatmen. We are not disorganised but simply some customers dont bother reading too many instructions. Moving forward all reports have written in capital letters at the top to print it out and show to their boatman, while the boatmen have been instructed to read this over with them on meeting to make sure everything is clear. If you want a custom tour, you need to get a bit more proactive with your crew, or join the herd of the competition who blow trumpets to sound when it is time to go to the next place, which you have no influence over.
Written 4 February 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

4 contributions
Dec 2019 • Couples
We did a 3D2N tour which was great, because you see wonderfull coral reefs, white beaches and remote islands. Everything worked out quite good. I can recommend a tour like that because you see wonderfull places with hardly any other tourits around you.

One thing I could complain would be the communication with the boatman. We were told that we would meet our boatman before we would leave to discuss what we want to see and which islands we would like to visit. It was a bit tricky to communicate with the captain via messenger, we didn't meet in advance and he was not interested in talking to us about the tour. We wanted to visit one special spot which was not possible. You need to buy tickets in advance to go there, which of course they could not organize as we could not discuss our plans. The spot we saw were great, of course, but felt a bit like they did not care about our wishes.
Written 5 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Yah, it's a beautiful area, and nice to see as a private custom tour so that you can avoid the crowds. Generally the boatmen can meet the night before, depending on their schedule. In any case, customers are instructed now to print out the report I send them so they can simply show their boatmen the places they want to see. It is not mandatory to meet the night before to discuss matters to accomplish this, since all the sites are generally along the route. One problem though is that near the end of the December of 2019 the authorities in Coron implemented a new bizarre rule whereby the tickets to the most popular sites there must be bought in Coron and are only valid for one day. Therefore it is no longer possible to buy these tickets in advance when coming up from the south (El Nido), and if our guests really want to see these hotspots (many of our guests complain they are too overridden by tourists and therefore are not so attractive as advertised on the net), we can either organise a Coron only tour for them, or if they want to include it in our multiday tours, to start their tour in Coron.
Written 4 February 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Melbourne, Australia137 contributions
Oct 2019 • Solo
I snorkelled a number of areas around Palawan including El Nido. I think this area was the best to snorkel with healthier coral and more fish varieties.

The WW2 wrecks also help which is better seen by scuba diving.

I really enjoyed the snorkelling here and would recommend this place for anyone wanting to see what’s below the surface.
Written 2 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Taiwan3 contributions
Apr 2019 • Couples
We booked a 3 days private tour from Coron to Sibaltan through the website. Karel responded quickly and arranged Benjie as our boat operator. Benjie and Sonny helped us a lot on our tour guidance and accommodation arrangement. We met one day before to confirm the schedule and details. The crews are nice and easy going as well. The food was great. We were happy to have some times to interact or play basketball with local people. Those islands and beaches in Linapacan were amazing! We really love this experience and hope to come back again:)
Written 28 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

The Brown Trout
Cartersville, GA95 contributions
Mar 2019
We booked a 5-day tour from Coron to Sibaltan through the IHP website. As has been mentioned elsewhere, all the IHP website did was to take a booking fee of PHP6000 and then provide the contact details of the operator. You can get hold of Maileen via email or on Facebook and book yourself if you want to.

We had an exceptional 5 days. The Filipino people are gracious, friendly and welcoming, the crew of 5 were brilliant and the islands are achingly beautiful.

Some tips for getting your boat tour right:
- Don’t stress too much about the details. We’re used to having everything worked out in advance for our travels and we just had to let some of it go ahead of this. Trust and you will be rewarded!
- Be clear about what sort of experiences you want. We had 2 nights on the beach and 2 nights in villages.
- Let the crew do their job - they know the area like the back of their hand and cook really well.
- if you have specific dietary requirements then be prepared to bring some of your own food - this is rural Philippines and the supplies are limited.
- Bring alcohol gel and hand wipes plus spare toilet roll and some Imodium tablets. You’re on a boat in the back of beyond!
- Get a Smart SIM card - Globe wasn’t disastrous. You will be in one bar and no data territory at times.
- Bring plenty of sun screen and remember that UV reflects off the water so even when you are under cover on the boat you will be exposed.
- Snorkel - there are some stunning reefs.
- Bring your own ground coffee and a cafetière (or similar) or you are going to be surviving on powdered stuff......sorry, I like my coffee!

We enjoyed this so much that we are seriously considering doing it all again.....and we never do that
Written 24 March 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Seattle, WA601 contributions
Mar 2019 • Couples
We booked a private tour for 2 people to pick us up from our small ship to take us to the best sights in the area: Kayangan Lake, Siete Pecados, Malawey Coral Gardens and Twin Lagoons, etc. We left it up to them to them to plan the best itinerary in the short time we had, and our guide was excellent. He made the best use of time, served us an excellent lunch on beautiful, pristine beach and we saw an incredible many georgeous places we’ve never dreamed of. He was personable, knowledgeable, experienced and made sure to take some great photos of us. It was our best day of the trip through the Philippines. We booked though, owned by Naturalis Expedition inc.
Written 14 March 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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