Coral Bay Beach & Dive Resort: A calming retreat in a tropical island paradise

14 November 2016 Popototan Island, Busuanga, Palawan, Philippines

Picture this, stranded on an island without any electricity, far from civilization, no noise pollution, and you can only hear the sound of nature... Read on to know what does it feel like to be stranded on an island?

But let me tell you this, don’t let that put you off. Whilst Coral Bay Beach and Dive Resort is situated in a remote private tropical island and pristine Marine Park conservation area, the resort is nestled among a beautiful archipelago of tropical islands, pearl farms and reefs.


A WORLD AWAY


After a whole night spent on an 6-hour night bus from Baguio, a 3-hour layover in Manila Domestic Airport (where I met my companions on the trip), and finally another hour of flight bound to Busuanga (Coron); we arrived in Busuanga Airport slightly dazed and dishevelled. We received a warm welcome from the City Tourism of Coron and we are just in time on schedule. From Busuanga Airport we boarded our van transfer for an hour drive to a small dock that serves as a drop point to the resort. The resort is only accessible by water via a 45 minute to 1 hour boat ride from mainland Busuanga. This transfer service includes a round-trip van pick up service from Busuanga Airport and island transfer. We were in much need of some rest, which felt like it began from the moment we rode the boat.

Smoothly gliding towards the Popototan Island as the resort’s boat gradually comes into view is a moment to remember. Arriving by boat gives you the perspective of how private and secluded the resort really is.


After avidly stalking Coral Bay's official website for days before the trip, I thought I had a picture of what the property may look like. But like most incredible sights, photos can never quite do it justice. No amount of researching could have prepared me for how I would feel about our arrival in Coron; speechless, ecstatic and simply in awe of my surroundings. Coral Bay Beach and Dive Resort is a place of tranquility, and unfathomable natural beauty.

CHECKING IN


We were met by the 2 owners on the resort's private dock who welcomed us and gave a brief info about Coral Bay. As we walk to the reception villa to check in, we were welcomed by the beautiful staffs of the resort who served us glasses of a cold delicious juice and I instantly felt much more relaxed after only a first sip. We were given keys to our room and I was so excited to see what would be our room look like.


OUR BEACH COTTAGE


Coral Bay has 19 guest rooms and cottages, all situated on a beautiful white sand with direct access to the sea, a pristine reef and calm waters. Our night was spent in a Garden View Beach Cottage. I was blown away by the size of our villa, it was actually pretty huger than on the outside. Our villa was made up of bamboo. We got our own porch overlooking the garden with a partial view of the bay. We got a rattan hammock too, which was draped with cloth.


Ascending, the villa consisted of a large queen sized bed in the center and a single bed on the side, adorned with white cascading mosquito nets on each. There was even a bamboo dining table, bamboo chairs, and bamboo shelf which we placed our luggage. We got an electric fan and a ceiling fan too, which we used during only night time.


The shower room is embellished with shells and corals, even the soap dishes are real shells.


Price: Bay View Beach Cottage start at around $60 during lean season. You may check the latest price in: Booking.com | Agoda | Hotels.com | Expedia | Travelbook.ph or read reviews on TripAdvisor. For inquiries and other information, you may visit their official website. For other hotel reviews, click here.

THE FOOD


The resort has only one bar and restaurant with a magnificent view of the sea. Located on the edge of the shore, the restaurant here is by far the most atmospheric and romantic place to dine.


For a treat in the afternoon one of our companions ordered the Coral Bay Pizza and we shared it all together. It was an absolute delight. In the evening, we opted the Sizzling Spicy Squid from the menu. It is a sauteed squid strips served with onions, garlic, tomato, and rice. I have a high tolerance for spicy foods, and have sampled many hot dishes but this one is a bomb!

For our breakfast the next day, I had a Filipino Breakfast. I’ve sampled many a breakfast buffet in my time, but nothing could have prepared me for the magnitude of Coral Bay's restaurant offering. From a famous American, Filipino, to continental classics, the incredible spread caters to almost every breakfast preference around the world. Pancakes, crepes, and omelettes are skillfully made to order, and you can custom-design what you want for breakfast. I had a hard time choosing what to put on my plate first was the hardest decision I had to make that day.


The food, service and setting at any time of the day is something special and definitely worth trying at least once during a stay here. I also loved the relaxed dining ambiance at Coral Bay's Restaurant and Bar, which serves a selection of fresh local grilled seafood, fresh baking, Philippine dishes and Western food. I remember sitting down on the gazebo eating breakfast at the table in front of the calm bay. I felt a warm ocean breeze and heard only the splashing of waves in the background.


MORE OF CORAL BAY

Coral bay is completely a hushed resort, free from the noise pollution, and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can only hear the waves kissing the white shores roughly, birds singing melodiously, the wind sweeping behind your ears - yes, the sound of nature. Trust me, the silence is all worth it as it feels like your ears are being massaged.


I also mentioned earlier that there was no electricity in this resort. Not entirely, Coral Bay runs electricity during night time from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am only, so make sure you charge your gadgets during those hours. Who needs electricity anyway, if you got an amazing view like this and there's more to see and do during daytime here.


Coral Bay offers a wonderful variety of half day to full day activities, including kayaking, nature walks, jungle trekking, scuba diving, snorkelling and island hopping. The resort is certified PADI Dive Resort and 100 % AWARE (Aquatic World Awareness Responsibility and Education). We didn't get a chance to try these activities, but it would be awesome if we did. The water was perfectly clear and the bay’s coral barrier meant that marine life could be discovered a short swim from the beach.


There is a fair warning to everyone, since the resort stands on a marine-protected area, be careful not to stand on the bottom of the reef, even if it is a sandy bottom, there are also baby corals trying to grow and that they don't like to be trampled on. Access to all of diving activities are available via the Dive Center, where I also learnt about the fantastic eco-friendly and sustainability programmes within the resort.


THE VERDICT


It was my first time to stay in a private island resort where only silence is tolerated and I am now so intrigued to discover more. The location is far, away from civilization, but it is all worth it. The food and the staff to the breathtaking views, my expectations were exceeded with every element of this resort stay. We only got to stay here for a night, so I can only imagine how relaxed, content, and well rested you would feel by being here a week or so. If you want a loud party, huge and noisy crowd, then Coral Bay is not for you. Coral Bay is a place for romantic couples and for family who wants to have a quality moment with their children. It is for the weary soul who wants to escape and find inner peace.


Disclaimer: Our stay at Coral Bay Beach and Dive Resort was complimentary as part of a press stay. All views are my own.

3 comments

  1. Hey, Char Char :p As usual, I'm in love with the photos you take!! What camera do you use? It's so exquisitely detailed :) I like the feel of Coral Bay Beach Dive Resort. It's comfortable and luxurious enough, but it also preserve the feel that you're in the beach. Its amazing views are a plus!!! :)

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    1. Awww... Thank you ate Sam! I only use po may cellphone. It really is magnificent here! Although, may kamahalan nga lang kasi remote talaga sya, pero worth it po talaga. :)

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  2. I love the simplicity and uniqueness of this place. The view is actually really stunning in the photos! It's like a modernized bahay kubo? Haha but it's very pretty, though. Definitely adding this to my list of places to visit there! :)

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