"Coron, Palawan: Wreck Divers' Haven" Coron by moonlighting
Coron Travel Guide: 194 reviews and 486 photos
Who doesn't know Palawan? To some it is known as the LAST FRONTIER. For wreck divers, it's haven. Then there's the famous Tubbataha Reefs. Let me give you some backgrounder as stated in the Palawan government website.
GEOGRAPHY: Palawan, originally part of Southern Luzon, about 586 kilometers southwest of Manila, between Mindoro Island on the north, Borneo on the south, China Sea on the west, and Sulu Sea on the east. Puerto Princesa, the capital city, is the chief seaport and the center of trade and commerce.
A chain of mountain ranges cut down the length of the main island. The mountain heights average 3,500 feet in altitude, with the highest peak rising to 6,800 feet at Mount Matalingahan. The vast mountain areas are the source of valuable timber. The terrain is a mix of coastal plain, craggy foothills, valley deltas, and heavy forest interspersed with riverine artries that serve as irrigation.
POPULACE: Palawan's total population is 737,000 based on the May 1, 2000 National Statistics Survey. This figure includes native Palawenos and migrants from the various provinces within and outside Region IV.
Palawan is a melting pot of 81 different cultural groups and races who live together in peace and harmony. Generally, the people are Malay in origin, but there is a strong influence from Borneo, China, and the Middle East.
18% of the populace is composed of the following cultural minority groups: Tagbanua, Palawan, Batak, Ken-uy or Tao-t Bato. The Muslim group is represented by the Jama-Mapuns, Molbog, Tausug, and Samal-Bangingi tribes. The native-born Palawenos still predominate the populace. They are characterized as very religious, with a highly developed community spirit. They place a high value in education, and are influential in shaping the political, cultural, social, and economic life of the province. The other groups are the Muslims and the Bataks.
CLIMATE: The province has two types of climate: the first type which occurs in the northern and southern extremities and the entire western coast has two distinct seasons-six months dry and six months wet. The other type, which prevails in the eastern coast, has a short dry season of one to three months and no pronounced rainy period during the rest of the year. The southern part of the province is virtually free from tropical depressions, but northern Palawan experiences torrential rains during the months of July and August. Summer months serve as peak season for Palawan. Sea voyage is most favorable from March to early June when the seas are calm.
DIALECTS: There are 52 dialects in the province, with Tagalog being spoken by 28 percent of the people. Other major dialects are Cayunin Pinalwan and Ilongo.
BRIEF HISTORY: Coron is one of the 4 municipalities in Calamianes Group, 2nd nethermost municipality of Palawan. Covers half of Busuanga, whole of Coron Island & nearby small islands as far as Tara & Canipo Islands. Composed of around 50 islands big and small, Coron is about 1 hour and 20 mins. by air SE of Mla, 12 hrs by ferry.(cont)
First inhabitants were the Tagbanuas forming part of the 2nd wave of Indonesians who migrated to this country some 5000 years ago. Nomadic & sea-faring people, living manly by fishing and crude agriculture or kaingin farming. Today, their ways are greatly influenced by their old customs, traditions and superstitious beliefs. The 2nd tribe to inhabit the place was the Calamianes descendatants of the 1st wave of Malay immigrants who came to the Phils. (bet.200 B.C. & 100 A.D.) They are the ancestors of Igorots and Bontocs.
From 1939 outbreak of World War II, the municipality experienced the mining boom. Labor shifted from farming to mining. Employment was easy to secure as new job opportunities were opened incidental to mining operations. In July 1942, the Japanese occupied mining camps and resumed the operation of the manganese mines. On September 24, 1944, eighty nine (89) Japanese ships were sunk by American warplanes at Coron waters. In March 1945, Coron was liberated. In 1947, large scale deep sea fishing was introduced and operated in Coron. The town experienced another boom, fishing. People from Luzon and Visayas came to work as fishermen & miners.
A lot of first time:
1. First time to ride a super ferry and travel more than two hours
2. First time to set foot on Palawan (Palawan is one of my wish list destination)
3. Fisrt time to dive out of Anilao, Batangas
4. First time to dive wrecks
5. First time to see sea turtle (pawikan)
My Coron Trip was months in the making. Had to really save up for this. I was with my dive group. We left Manila Friday, March 10, reached Coron Port the following day. We had two diving days and Sunday night we were back in the ferry to Manila. It was strictly a diving trip. Upon reaching port of Coron, a dive boat picked us up to transfer us to the resort. After a short breakfast, our room were handed out to us for a quick change. After some briefing on the dives we were off to our first wreck. We did three wrecks on our first day, on the next day we dove Barracuda Lake and Alcatraz (a reef). We were not able to see Coron town itself and other sites. Maybe next time.**
Here are some info on the wrecks we visited and penetrated. We got to see 3 wrecks out of 14
TANGAT WRECK: Jap. freighter sitting upright with a length of approx. 140 meters.
A very good dive spot ,variety of marine life. Large shoals of Banana fishes, Giant Bat fishes and giant puffer fishes, especially around the mast, bow and stern. Easy penetration at the cargo rooms. It offers a good opportunity to discover wreck diving.
Max. depth: 28-30 m, Deck level 18-24 m. Recommended. education level: Advanced Open Water, Wreck specialty
OLYMPIA MARU: Jap. freighter about 120 meter long, lying on its starboard side.
A beautiful wreck dive site where you can observe big Groupers (Lapu Lapu's), Sweet lips, many times turtles and even sea snakes. Hard corals cover the port side which is only 14-18 meters below the surface. ATTENTION !!, many scorpion fish around the wreck area. Keep your eyes open and be well buoyant !! The big cargo rooms and the engine room allows an easy penetration of this wreck.
Max. depth : 25 meters, average about 15 meters. Recommended education level: Advance, specialty Wreck
EAST TANGAT WRECK: Small gunboat or submarine Hunter. Approximately 35 meter long.
This dive site is good for wreck dive beginners and underwater photographer. A lovely dive between deeper wreck sites. The wreck starts at only 3 meters down so even snorkeling can see the shape and explore the bow of the ship.
Max. depth: 18 meters. Recommended education level: Open Water .
(Source: Discovery Divers Website)
: Photos in this page were taken by another VTer, Boljakool.
To fully understand & love the diving here, one has to know history these wrecks had gone through. Our divemaster (Ron Edmond) explained that these were sunken there for a different reason, & for the viewing pleasure of future divers was not one of the reasons. And as most of the ships were merchant ships commissioned only for service, the men who were sunken together with the ships were unfortunate souls who were in some place at a wrong time. They were not even battlemen. A backgrounder on the Coron wrecks.
Between The Battle of the Philippine Sea, June 19 and 20 1944, & The Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 23rd to 26th 1944, the Japanese attempted to reinforce their forces occupying the Phils.
For divers, Coron's history started on 24 Sept. 1944 when a US Navy strike force of fighters and dive bombers attacked a Japanese supply fleet of up to 24 ships, at anchor, in Coron Bay and around Busuanga Island.
Whether the Japanese fleet was spotted by aerial photo reconnaissance interpreters who noticed that some camouflaged ships had moved, or whether Japanese radio transmissions were intercepted is still debated. The consequence of detection was a surprise aerial attack by US Navy carrier based aircraft that sank the fleet at anchor. Many of the ships arrived in Coron Bay on Sept. 23. The raid on Coron was a long distance carrier based air strike and would only allow the aircraft a brief time over the Japanese fleet.
The strike force reached Busuanga Island & found 12 large enemy ships anchored in Coron Bay and around Busuanga Island. After a 15 min. attack they left behind a carnage of burning and sinking ships. At least 8 ships were closely packed in Coron Bay, a beautiful place bordered by pristine beaches and countless coconut palm trees.
The big vessel Kogyo Maru carrying vital aircraft spare parts damaged during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the freighter Olympia Maru, the oiler Kamoi, other cargo ships and one destroyer tried to conceal their presence in the narrow sound between Tangat island and Lusong island. Located about 170 nautical miles SW of Manila, Coron Bay was a supposedly safe assembly area for Japanese shipping.
In the early morning of 24 Sept 1944, 22 American carrier-based dive bombers and 96 fighter escorts (some carrying bombs) surprisingly appeared. A squadron of Curtiss Helldivers took on Akitsushima and Okikawa Maru. Although the seaplane tender was heavily armed and opened fire with all her guns, she was no match for the skilled dive bomber crews. A bomb hit the hull at the port side, causing a severe explosion. Wracked by fire and explosion from other impacts, Akitsushima went down. Fully laden with fuel oil, Okikawa Maru was fatally bombed and caught fire. However, she remained afloat and slowly began to drift to the north. Finally sank on by a second air attack on 9 Oct.
(For full account, turn on to http://coronwrecks.com/ )
THE PAGE: This will not be a normal page. As I have mentioned it was strictly diving we did there so not much restaurant tips, or shopping tips, etc. Instead, let me just share with you my Coron experience by way of pictures and some quotes. I do not even have underwater photos to show as our UW camera became flooded the last minute.
- Pros:Less touristy, laid back
- In a nutshell:Even without diving... I'd always chose Palawan!
Sunsets are beautiful in Coron. Photographers will be happy. One can never get enough. more travel advice
A resort in a secluded island but not very far from Coron town. A diver's paradise. Cottage type houses. The whole of... more travel advice
moonlighting's Related Pages
Coron Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Wreck Diving Capital of the Philippines"
- "Visiting Coron - another slice of paradise"
- "WEEKEND IN CORON, PALAWAN"
- "The Mini-Venice of Philippines"
- "Coron, Palawan"
- "I held my breath seeing this plACE .."
- "Coron, Palawan: Wreck Divers' Haven"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Coron
- Hotels in Coron
- Transportation in Coron
- Nightlife in Coron
- Restaurants in Coron
- Shopping in Coron
- Warnings and Dangers in Coron
- See All...
Badges & Stats in Coron
- 8 Reviews
- 20 Photos
- 13 Forum posts
- 12 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (7)
Have you been to Coron?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Coron
Top 10 Pages
- Bicol National Park Intro, 15 reviews, 34 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Province of Bohol Intro, 18 reviews, 19 photos
- Coron Intro, 8 reviews, 20 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Candelaria Intro, 9 reviews, 15 photos, 1 travelogue
- Manila Intro, 9 reviews, 11 photos
- Samal Island Intro, 5 reviews, 15 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Province of Laguna Intro, 6 reviews, 8 photos
- Puerto Galera Intro, 5 reviews, 7 photos
- Dumaguete City Intro, 4 reviews, 8 photos, 1 travelogue
- Tagaytay Intro, 2 reviews, 5 photos
Latest Coron hotel reviews
- Busuanga Island Paradise
- 46 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 8, 2013
- Darayonan Lodge
- 61 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 22, 2013
- Mt. Tapyas Hotel
- 45 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 16, 2013
- Princess of Coron
- 43 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 5, 2013
- Coron Hilltop View Resort
- 30 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 21, 2013
- Coron Village Lodge
- 109 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 10, 2013
- Majika's Island Resort
- 124 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 31, 2013
- Mangenguey Island Hotel
- 100 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 11, 2013
- Coral Bay Beach & Dive Resort
- 72 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 10, 2013
- Sea Dive Resort
- 84 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 6, 2013
- Coron Gateway Hotel
- 58 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 10, 2013
- Dive Link Resort
- 43 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 21, 2013
- Sangat Island Reserve
- 127 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 1, 2013
- Kokosnuss Garden Resort
- 46 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 11, 2013