has anyone been on this trip?
3500 pesos per day, looks amazing.
looking at doing it Mid January.
#1 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180
Did it in December 2008. It truly is amazing. Though i wouldn't advertise it loudly, or it will spoil the reason why it is amazing :)
We did the El Nido-Coron direction. They also included some typical island-hopping destinations near el nido as some of us hadn't had the chance to see those yet.
The price seems a bit steep, but in all honesty - it is worth it - fresh seafood, kayaking, snorkeling, deserted beaches, fresh buko juice, interaction with local villagers, an inside look into the local life, clear blue "tourist-free" waters, islands and beaches, sleeping under the stars, oh memories :)
Ok, now i did all the advertising. Sorry, guys...
Oh, much of the sucess of the trip also depends on the gang you are going with. But not much you can do about that in advance...
#2 Lodestar has been a member since 7/9/2009. Posts: 19
Yeah to be honest i didn't wanna say too much but i'm desperate to find out more information...It looks like there current schedule (and mine) wont allow me to go from coron to El Nido. However, i should be able to make my way up from Puerto to Port Baron and then to El Nido, However, i only have 15 days total and wanted to get back to Manila the day before i leave cuz im leaving from clark....
So really that leaves 14 days...All of a sudden this has become the most anticipated part of my SEA trip!
#3 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180
Is Taophilippines based in Coron or El Nido?
It looks like a travel agency place I saw in Coron but I'm not sure.
If you haven't got time to do the Taophilippines tour, there are loads of boats for hire. Just hook up with a few other people and charter a boat ... it might even be cheaper, I don't think I ever paid over 1000P when I did any day trips though it does depend on where you go.
Are the "landing fees" included in the price of the trip? Every deserted island around Coron seemed to have people collecting fees if you wanted to step foot on it... usually 100 pesos.
eg. There were people collecting money on this small beach.
Tao has offices in both El Nido and Coron.
You are missing an important point - Tao is not your typical island hopping boat. It's a three day expedition. After you leave the tourist-filled El Nido, there are no tourists in sight. Nobody asking for any landing fees, nobody hassling you (except for the things you are supposed to pay for no matter who you are - like one of the fresh-salt water lakes in Coron, which yes, you pay for additionally). Tao actually has a mission - they help out all the villages where we stopped (when i was there in December 2008 they organised a Christmas party eg., they also bring things like toothbrushes for the kids etc.). The organisers are ocals, and in good relations with the villagers on the islands where you stop, so get to interact with the villagers, get to know about their way of life, sit by the fire on the beach, sleep under the stars or in he villages, trek around the islands, etc.
The price is higher because it includes three meals a day and sleeping for two nights. Not suitable for people after 5-star comfort, people who are not open-minded and expect to be serviced 24/7.
#5 Lodestar has been a member since 7/9/2009. Posts: 19
Ah right, I know the place, opposite Seadivers, the main dive resort in Coron. The fresh-salt water lake is one of the standard tours offered everywhere in Coron.
Taophilippines looked just looked like an ordinary tourist tour shop to me ... I'm sure you can book a tour with them when you get there. I wandered in a couple of times to ask about trips but there were never enough other people interested in going. They have a board where you sign up and when there are enough people they arrange a trip. Their ordinary daytrips were rather expensive compared to other agencies and you can arrange things directly with the local boat captains as well. Sure, Taophilippines is run by Filippinos but then so are almost all the businesses in Coron! My Filipino GH owner invited me to parties for family and friends twice when I was there...both times involved a whole roast pig and booze ... as much food and drink as you like and all for free. Here is the roast pig.
It's not exactly hard to interact with the locals!
As for getting away from other tourists... well a tour with other tourists isn't how I did it. I just hopped on a local jeepney to see where it went.
I ended up finding a beautiful unspoilt beach an hour's walk from the nearest road. Stayed there a week in a really nice hut @200 Pesos the night and a local lady provided my food. I didn't see any other foreign tourists there at all and you could ask locals with boats to take you island hopping. The only time I got "hassled" was when the pasteur and his wife invited me to join them for a church service which turned out to be quite interesting... the nearest thing to karaoke they have there and the whole village was there. I was the only tourist in attendance.
Anyway, just wanted to point out that Taophilippines is not the ONLY option if you want to get off the tourist trail. Nothing to stop you buying some toothbrushes or pens for local kids on your own either.
Thanks for the help both of you. But SBE did you actually have a look at their website?
You seem to be kinda putting a negative spin on it...
They go from el-nido to coron (and vice versa) and everywhere in between...As far as i know the places they stop are their own accomodations or villages that they have relations with...
I think the typical is 5 days not 3...
#7 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180
Whether or not Tao is the only or even best option of getting off the beaten track was not the question!
And i'm not gonna bother arguing about it, as i am not trying to say that's even the case. the question was, if anyone has ever done their el nido - coron trip and how was it. that to me signaled, that furnerburner was looking for actual experiences from that particular trip (pretty hard to do on a jeepney ;), which i tried to provide. that's it. as far as i understand, you have never used any of their services. so...
As for touring around el nido or for making the route to coron, it seems to be the best option for those looking for something even a little bit different. My opinion. you can always rent a boat on your own and do it just yourself, if you can cough up the cash. otherwise be prepared to swim in the same lagoon/cave with at least a dozen boat-fulls of other tourists. and by the way - the salt/freshwater lagoon was only one of the places we visited and just cause the guys were nice enough to accommodate our wish to see it.
p.s. hate to point it out, but you are seriously wrong about most tourist-related businesses (especially travel agents, dive shops, guesthouses etc) being owned by filipinos, especially in palawan or coron.
and the toothbrush-example (just like christmas dinner and many others) was just brought out, cause i like the added value it gives to Tao, in my eyes at least. i like the eco friendly approach they have. i liked their attitude to the islands, the sea and the world with the people in it. i just liked the trip and the people a lot. that's my reason for suggesting them. and for contributing. what's yours?
#8 Lodestar has been a member since 7/9/2009. Posts: 19
Pardon me for breathing! I was just pointing out some alternatives if the Tao thing doesn't gel and pointing out that whether or not the Tao trips happen depends on numbers more than anything else. Just see if there's a group going when you get there furnerburner.
What I did is a better and cheaper alternative IMO. It is not mentioned in any guidebook AFAIK and no agency in Coron will tell you about it.
@ Lodestar. FYI all the money I spent on my home made trip went straight into the hands of local villagers, not one cent went to any tour operator (or even the owner) and it was one of the most ecologically sensitive resorts I've ever stayed in.... if you can call two small bungalows for rent in several hectares of totally unspoilt beach front a resort.
However, I'm not going to say another word about it on TF after getting slagged off for adding my point of view. Anyone else who is interested will just have to find it themselves or stick to Taophilippines, one of the most visible tour operators in Coron, you can't miss it.
I'm sure you'll have a great time anyway furnerburner.
Furneburner, check out the pics, if you want a better idea of what it's all about: http://www.flickr.com/photos/liis_parre/sets/72157622195035019/
We did the 3 day trip, but would do 5 days, now that i know what it's like. so, if you have the time and money, it's gonna be time and money well spent, in my opinion.
SBE - what's the point in arguing? i was just pointing out, that there is no reason being so negative, if you actually haven't done the trip. and after all furneburner was just looking for info on that specific trip. which, as far as i know, is the most "off the beaten track" way of doing it in that specific place, as there is no public transportation between the islands, and most travelers probably aren't loaded enough to charter a boat all to themselves.
No hard feelings, just wanted to stick to the topic.
#10 Lodestar has been a member since 7/9/2009. Posts: 19
Thankyou BOTH for your inputs...
If Lodestar is so passionate about Tao, it must be awesome!
#11 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180
By the way, That boat looks awfully small compared to the boat on their website...how much did u pay per day?
#12 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180
The bigger boat may have been the open banca that they use as a ferry to El Nido @2200 Pesos which is a lot more expensive than the Superferry to Peurta Princessa.
Another poster called hokasch did that open banca trip and said it was one of the worst experiences in his life on another thread. Post #8 here.
I've met people who have said the same thing. However presumably the trip you are talking about will be much better as it's just short hops, not straight from A to B.
They actually have two boats, as far as i know, but they prefer the smaller one nowadays as it is easier to navigate. before, with the bigger boat they needed a separate smaller one to get to shore, but now the one you saw on the pics get everywhere on its own.
plus, in my opinion, for such trip, the less people, the better.
you shouldn't be too worried, as the trips will be short as SBE said, not more than 1-2 at a time. you won't have to sleep or eat there or anything.
admittedly, the bigger boat looks much better on pictures than the small one, but just wanted to reassure you, that the small one was perfectly fine. and the price was 3000 per day as far as i remember.
you can always e-mail them and check, which boat is going where and when.
oh, and sorry if i came off too intense, i did really like the trip, but i'm not trying to convince anyone of anything, just sharing my experience :)
#15 Lodestar has been a member since 7/9/2009. Posts: 19
will do...its just such a ***** to organise when im going going for 15 days!
#18 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180
we are going for a 3-day expedition leaving Coron on 1-Oct & there are still places left on the Bespoke Aurora. anyone interested to join?
their Coron office number is 63-0920-6116158
#19 aloalo has been a member since 29/9/2009. Posts: 1
wow this is really interesting..i have visited their website and I'm very excited now..my mom was looking for package deals to Palawan for a few months now for the family and I think I've found what we've been looking for!
@aloalo..how was your trip?it would be nice to hear about your experience..
We went on a Tao Expedition almost exactly a year ago and it was great! It's run by a guy named Eddie (I think he's half Filipino and half British).
It was a four-day trip from Coron to El Nido. First night - we camped out on an island (you can choose to stay on the boat), and another night in a small hut in an island village (can't remember where we stayed the one other night). The best thing about the trip is that it's well-paced, and you've got lounge chairs that you can just relax in while traveling from one island to the next. Eddie knew the islands very well, so we've been able to avoid the crowded/touristy ones. Most of the islands we went to were deserted. There were lots of snorkelling opportunities and you also get to mingle with villagers.
So yeah, you can rent a boat anytime, but for the price of 3,500 inclusive of meals and accommodations and a great guide/itinerary, it would probably be next to impossible to beat it.
P.S.We've snorkelled/dived in the Great Barrier Reef on the Whitsundays last August, and my boyfriend (born and bred in the UK so there's no bias here ;-) ) even says he enjoyed snorkelling in Palawan more than the Great Barrier Reef!
Have anyone been on this tour end of june? We wonder if weather conditions will allow to take the tour from El Nido to Coron at that time - And is is a lot of open sea distances on this tour - meaning that we could have rough sea. I expect the boats to be relatively stable but could be nice to hear if the tour is mostly inbetween islands or?
Thank you for good information
#23 eivind3 has been a member since 13/4/2011. Posts: 2