Thankfully, getting settle in Coron, post boat ride, was a breeze. Ian and I walked part of the way to town, eventually flagged down a tricycle and soon arrived at the Sea Dive resort, where I had a room booked. There was a kitschy bar, conveniently located about 10 feet from my room so Ian and I decided to grab a drink before calling it a night. The next morning I was up early thanks to the combination of roosters, construction and the dive office being directly next to my room, there really is no sleeping in with budget accommodation. I made my way into the dive office planning to figure out an island hopping tour for the day; different than El Nido, where you pay per person/per tour, in Coron you pay 1,500 for the boat, but can share it with up to four people. I didn't really want to hire my own boat so I was looking to tag along with a group of two or three. It was my lucky day because a Chinese couple were just preparing to leave and said it was no problem if I join.
I could have stayed in El Nido forever, but my flight back was from Coron, so eventually I had to leave. I still had some doubts about the day ahead of me but there was really no turning back at this point. I was told to arrive at the pier at 7 o'clock (an hour before we were due to depart) but knew there would be a lot of waiting. Slowing a variety of other travelers gathered, but I kept quiet and enjoyed my morning of observance, seeing who I'd be spending the next 8+ hours with. I knew an 8 o'clock departure meant we'd be lucky to leave by 8:30, but many others seemed annoyed at the lack of urgency on getting us aboard. Finally, closer to 9 o'clock they brought us to our boat, loaded our luggage and then gave us the go ahead to get on the boat, "one by one" to which no one paid much attention and stormed the boat like a pack of wild animals. I hung back and laughed at the idiocy with two others, as the rest of them made their best attempts at sinking the ship before we even left the port, great I was about to be stuck on a boat with 30 morons.
After our, thankfully, uneventful bus ride to El Nido, we decided to get a trike to the El Nido Art Cafe to get recommendations on where to stay in town, since we hadn't prearranged anything. The cafe is basically the central 'go to' spot in town for all of your needs - clothes, snacks, tour bookings, boat and plane tickets, as well as a good meal/drink. They were helpful in providing us with a list of accommodation (including price range) so we decided the best method would be to start knocking on doors. We originally wanted a beach side cottage but upon realizing the 'non-beach' properties were literally 10 ft across the street we settled on a cute room at the El Nido Plaza Inn for only 500php per night, such a steal. Once we were settled in our room it was time to explore the town, get to the beach and find something to eat!
Over 7,500 islands of pure bliss. I've been twice, both times arriving with a "what am I doing here" hesitation, but weeks later resisting my departure. Forget about being on time, or eating lots of vegetables, but welcome beautiful sunsets, gorgeous beaches, and welcoming, friendly locals.