Best island hopping tour in the Philippines!

Community Highlights Asia Best island hopping tour in the Philippines!

I saw a juvenile sea turtle here while snorkeling but as soon as he saw me he took off like Usain Bolt; I've never seen a turtle swim that fast!

I saw a juvenile sea turtle here while snorkeling but as soon as he saw me he took off like Usain Bolt; I've never seen a turtle swim that fast!

The blue-spotted stingray was frolicking with a friend and moving so fast that I was lucky to get a photo; they were the only two stingrays I've seen so far on the trip

The blue-spotted stingray was frolicking with a friend and moving so fast that I was lucky to get a photo; they were the only two stingrays I've seen so far on the trip

I had the hardest time figuring out what this was!; it's actually the egg ribbon from a Spanish Dancer nudibranch which is a relatively large, nocturnal sea slug

I had the hardest time figuring out what this was!; it's actually the egg ribbon from a Spanish Dancer nudibranch which is a relatively large, nocturnal sea slug

We visited many places where the sea floor was just covered in colorful, pristine coral; of the 4 airports I visited in the Philippines, only Manila had a luggage carousel (the others all distributed luggage manually)

We visited many places where the sea floor was just covered in colorful, pristine coral; of the 4 airports I visited in the Philippines, only Manila had a luggage carousel (the others all distributed luggage manually)

The Philippines is part of a region called the Coral Triangle, which is a marine area that has the highest biodiversity of coral species in the world

The Philippines is part of a region called the Coral Triangle, which is a marine area that has the highest biodiversity of coral species in the world

This juvenile black-tip reef shark was the only one I saw in Coron; on the boat we had been told that juveniles were sometimes spotted here but never adults

This juvenile black-tip reef shark was the only one I saw in Coron; on the boat we had been told that juveniles were sometimes spotted here but never adults

Titan triggerfish; in more than 2 weeks in the Philippines I have yet to see another American (and this is peak season)

Titan triggerfish; in more than 2 weeks in the Philippines I have yet to see another American (and this is peak season)

My first attempt at Escapade Tour D failed since it was too windy so we went to random islands closer to Coron; I'm so glad I booked the tour again for my final day in Coron since it was easily my best excursion thus far on the trip

My first attempt at Escapade Tour D failed since it was too windy so we went to random islands closer to Coron; I'm so glad I booked the tour again for my final day in Coron since it was easily my best excursion thus far on the trip

Huge porcupine fish; this was easily the largest porcupine fish I've ever seen but he was super shy and would only come out when he thought I'd left

Huge porcupine fish; this was easily the largest porcupine fish I've ever seen but he was super shy and would only come out when he thought I'd left

I just love the many bright colors of Christmas tree worms; you can't get too close photographing them since they'll quickly close up and withdraw into their holes

I just love the many bright colors of Christmas tree worms; you can't get too close photographing them since they'll quickly close up and withdraw into their holes

Finding Nemo made almost a billion dollars at the worldwide box office; since the film more than a million clownfish annually are taken from reefs for aquaria (400,000 shipped to the US)

Finding Nemo made almost a billion dollars at the worldwide box office; since the film more than a million clownfish annually are taken from reefs for aquaria (400,000 shipped to the US)

Scarlet sea lily; on the bangkas the front seats on one side are reserved for disabled guests and the other side for senior citizens; I laid down on the floor between the two!

Scarlet sea lily; on the bangkas the front seats on one side are reserved for disabled guests and the other side for senior citizens; I laid down on the floor between the two!

School of porkfish; there are roosters everywhere in Coron as they are raised for cockfighting which is a huge event here; they could be heard at all hours

School of porkfish; there are roosters everywhere in Coron as they are raised for cockfighting which is a huge event here; they could be heard at all hours

Crescent wrasse; the beaches are seldom sandy, but composed typically of rocks and/or coral debris; there are very few shells

Crescent wrasse; the beaches are seldom sandy, but composed typically of rocks and/or coral debris; there are very few shells

This was an interesting book set in Depression-era Boston and Tampa during Prohibition; the characters are well-developed and there is plenty of action and plot twists

This was an interesting book set in Depression-era Boston and Tampa during Prohibition; the characters are well-developed and there is plenty of action and plot twists

Yellow boxfish; when juvenile, it is bright yellow in color but as it ages the brightness fades and very old specimens will have blue-grey to black coloration

Yellow boxfish; when juvenile, it is bright yellow in color but as it ages the brightness fades and very old specimens will have blue-grey to black coloration

I was surprised to see so many Europeans here since I expected to see mostly Chinese, Japanese and other tourists from Asia; there haven't even been many Aussie tourists

I was surprised to see so many Europeans here since I expected to see mostly Chinese, Japanese and other tourists from Asia; there haven't even been many Aussie tourists

This clam decided to make its home right in the middle of coral; it is essential to wear watershoes here since there are vicious sea urchins and lots of sharp coral rubble

This clam decided to make its home right in the middle of coral; it is essential to wear watershoes here since there are vicious sea urchins and lots of sharp coral rubble

Colorful clams cuddling; locals take off their shoes and leave them at the door before entering a home which is easy enough since most wear flip-flops

Colorful clams cuddling; locals take off their shoes and leave them at the door before entering a home which is easy enough since most wear flip-flops

There are a few primitive cabins on Banana Island where you can spend the night but you'd have to be pretty self-sufficient; you'd have the island virtually to yourself except for the few afternoon hours with daytrippers

There are a few primitive cabins on Banana Island where you can spend the night but you'd have to be pretty self-sufficient; you'd have the island virtually to yourself except for the few afternoon hours with daytrippers

It is estimated that the Philippines has lost a third of its coral in the last 20 years; the Philippines has the world's third largest coral reef system after Australia and Indonesia

It is estimated that the Philippines has lost a third of its coral in the last 20 years; the Philippines has the world's third largest coral reef system after Australia and Indonesia

Brain coral; the roads here are primarily used by motorcycles and trikes while there are a few vans but no passenger cars

Brain coral; the roads here are primarily used by motorcycles and trikes while there are a few vans but no passenger cars

A ferry runs once a day from El Nido to Coron; the journey takes 4 hours but was fully booked every day when I was there since one of the two ferries was out of service

A ferry runs once a day from El Nido to Coron; the journey takes 4 hours but was fully booked every day when I was there since one of the two ferries was out of service

This tour was definitely the best from Coron!; it goes to three islands 1 1/2-2 hours away by boat but that also means the sights aren't crowded and the sea life is in better condition

This tour was definitely the best from Coron!; it goes to three islands 1 1/2-2 hours away by boat but that also means the sights aren't crowded and the sea life is in better condition

Mustard sponge; among the hundreds of trike drivers in Coron I saw not one female

Mustard sponge; among the hundreds of trike drivers in Coron I saw not one female

Porous star coral; despite reading several books and eating 2 weeks worth of PowerBars, my luggage is still over my allowance; luckily the airlines here don't charge a fortune for the excess weight

Porous star coral; despite reading several books and eating 2 weeks worth of PowerBars, my luggage is still over my allowance; luckily the airlines here don't charge a fortune for the excess weight

The only lodging on this gorgeous island was just a few primitive cabins; the fine, white sand was ideal and very unusual for a beach in the Philippines

The only lodging on this gorgeous island was just a few primitive cabins; the fine, white sand was ideal and very unusual for a beach in the Philippines

Between the rough boat trips and the horrible roads my back is in even worse shape; most of the roads are not paved and full of huge potholes

Between the rough boat trips and the horrible roads my back is in even worse shape; most of the roads are not paved and full of huge potholes

School of porkfish; locals all seemed to have cell phones but most of the ones I observed were not smartphones (they must have figured out how to get service where I struggled)

School of porkfish; locals all seemed to have cell phones but most of the ones I observed were not smartphones (they must have figured out how to get service where I struggled)

It was surprising that there wasn't any trash in the water when there was trash everywhere on land; empty lots were just informal dumps

It was surprising that there wasn't any trash in the water when there was trash everywhere on land; empty lots were just informal dumps

The attractive colors of the small giant clam are the result of crystalline pigment cells; these are thought to protect the clam from the effects of intense sunlight or bundle light to enhance algae's photosynthesis

The attractive colors of the small giant clam are the result of crystalline pigment cells; these are thought to protect the clam from the effects of intense sunlight or bundle light to enhance algae's photosynthesis

While the group was eating I went snorkeling and saw my one and only shark in the Philippines; there was a nice coral area I found that tourists never visit

While the group was eating I went snorkeling and saw my one and only shark in the Philippines; there was a nice coral area I found that tourists never visit

A common misperception is that there are bananas growing on Banana Island or that the island is in the shape of a banana; actually the island got its name because it is shaped like the leaf of a banana plant

A common misperception is that there are bananas growing on Banana Island or that the island is in the shape of a banana; actually the island got its name because it is shaped like the leaf of a banana plant

Batfish; my basic hotel was clean, had great AC and a comfy bed with a price of only $200 for 5 nights (breakfast was included although I stuck with PowerBars)

Batfish; my basic hotel was clean, had great AC and a comfy bed with a price of only $200 for 5 nights (breakfast was included although I stuck with PowerBars)

Crown of Thorns sea star; most locals wear second hand clothes which, for the guys, usually means a t-shirt or sports jersey with shorts and flip-flops

Crown of Thorns sea star; most locals wear second hand clothes which, for the guys, usually means a t-shirt or sports jersey with shorts and flip-flops

It's hard to imagine but these Christmas tree worms have a central brain, complete digestive system and a well-developed closed circulatory system

It's hard to imagine but these Christmas tree worms have a central brain, complete digestive system and a well-developed closed circulatory system

This featured blog entry was written by RNRiggins from the blog The frugal travels of a vagabond.
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By RNRiggins

Posted Sun, Feb 24, 2019 | Comments