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Island Hopping in the Philippines

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Coron, Philippines
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About Island Hopping in the Philippines
Your one stop for travel and tours within the Philippines. Includes day boat tours around Coron and El Nido, multi-day boat tours and expeditions between the two, and other parts of the country.
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Island Hopping in the Philippines
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Hammer13 wrote a review Mar 2020
Melbourne, Australia203 contributions103 helpful votes
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
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Date of experience: February 2020
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Response from kenax, Public Relations Manager at Island Hopping in the Philippines
Responded 2 Nov 2020
Thank you so much, we are glad to have you and that you enjoyed it. We wish to see you again.
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Alejita8412 wrote a review Jan 2020
London, United Kingdom2 contributions4 helpful votes
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.
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Date of experience: December 2019
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Response from kenax, Owner at Island Hopping in the Philippines
Responded 4 Feb 2020
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.
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Elisabeth wrote a review Jan 2020
4 contributions1 helpful vote
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.
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Date of experience: December 2019
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Response from kenax, Owner at Island Hopping in the Philippines
Responded 4 Feb 2020
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.
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Frank154 wrote a review Nov 2019
Melbourne, Australia137 contributions58 helpful votes
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.
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Date of experience: October 2019
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Alison wrote a review Apr 2019
Taiwan3 contributions
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:)
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Date of experience: April 2019
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