Yugi, our 6-year old syoti, excited knowing that we were going to Palawan, exclaimed, “Yehey, our first trip during Covid!” He would always express his desire to go to a hotel or to a resort because he wanted to play in the swimming pool and the beach if possible.
We were also curious about the famed Sunlight Ecotourism Island Resort located in Culion, Palawan. Pre-pandemic, it was popular with Chinese tourists. During our trip, I would say occupancy was 50% Filipino and 50% locally-based Chinese.
Sharing with you our review of our Sunlight experience during the Chinese New Year and Valentines 2021 long weekend…
First Things First
The entire family had to take the COVID-19 RT-PCR Test provided by Kairos that provides home service testing within Metro Manila.
It was the boys’ first time to do the swab test, and we all agreed it was a bit painful and uncomfortable. It was also tedious filling up the form for each member of the family (6 times). We got the results 24 hours after.
One cool thing about Sunlight is that they also have their own Sunlight Air so you are guaranteed that the travel bubble trip from Manila to Palawan is safe from point to point.
(No quarantine is needed because you can’t even go down and wander around Coron town.)
You can book an all-in package at Klook: Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort Coron Exclusive Travel Bubble Package (Fly + Stay + Dine)
• Flight, accommodation, food and dining vouchers (IMPORTANT: Displayed prices are on a per person basis.)
• 3D2N Duplex Villa accommodation at Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort (SETIR)
• Roundtrip flight transfers from Manila to Busuanga and vice versa
• Roundtrip land and boat transfers from Busuanga Airport to SETIR and vice versa
• Use of private lounge in Metro Manila terminal
• Daily breakfast at Sun Café
• PHP6,500 food and beverage voucher per villa
• One-time spa treatment at the Sanctuary Spa (for every adult package booked)
• One-time lunch or dinner by the beach
Sirakan Villa is for honeymooners and comes with a glass flooring and jacuzzi overlooking the sea. There are 9 villas. Best to choose the one facing the sunset or choose the sunrise side for added privacy.
We stayed in a duplex villa with two side by side rooms connected by the balcony facing the sea. Each room is good for 2 adults and you can add an extra bed for a fee. The toilet amenities are eco-friendly and the room is sanitized well each day.
(Tip: You can book the 2 Bedroom Villa with a living room connecting the two rooms.)
There are 99 villas and 9 honeymoon villas in the entire island operating at 50% capacity to make sure that your stay is safe. Choose the water villas facing the sunset to have a good vantage point of the magic hour from your room.
There are two beaches to enjoy with enough social distancing from other guests. Beach 1 is the sunrise beach with wider white sand area, and it’s also the jump off point for the water activities. Best to hang out here after breakfast.
Our favorite is Beach 2 because of the sunset but it has lesser quality sand—not as white and smooth as that in Beach 1. The pool is conveniently located between Beaches 1 and 2 so that you can literally hop from one beach to another and avoid the crowd whenever possible.
Manila ✈️ Busuanga 🚐 Coron ⛴ Culion
(Palawan 6 hours Travel Bubble Trip)
Sunlight Air has a private terminal at INAEC D gate and you’ll feel safe because of the strict safety protocols from check in to boarding and the thin crowd.
Here are some reminders for your flight…
Before you travel, keep the following documents handy at all times:
• Health Declaration Form for Sunlight Air
• Negative RT PCR test (2 printed copies) with Official Receipts
• Booking Confirmation
• Traze Contact Tracing Mobile App
• Coron QR Code
Please also be reminded to fill out the health declaration of Coron Tourism. You may click this link https://travel.corontourism.ph/register to create an account, upload the file in screenshot and get the QR Code. (Strictly No QR Code No Entry in Busuanga)
Guide for QR:
• RT-PCR – screenshot of rt pcr result only.
• Confirm accommodation – screenshot of booking confirmation
• Confirmed itinerary – screenshot of booking confirmation (1st page only)
• Roundtrip ticket – screenshot of booking confirmation (1st page only)
DOT accredited hotels and Tours -> please select TRANSIT TO CULION
Make sure to be there 2 hours before the flight. So if the flight to Busuanga is scheduled at 11:45am, make sure to be there at 9:45am and leave your house an hour before in anticipation of the traffic.
The flight usually departs on time and arrives in Busuanga after 1 hour and 15 minutes. Make sure to teach your kids to wear their masks and face shields properly during the flight. There’s no snack, and only bottled water is served during the flight.
It takes another hour to check out of the airport and travel via van to Sunlight Hotel in Coron town. Remember you are not allowed to go around the town. Make sure that the van can only accommodate 6-7 people for social distancing. This setup was perfect for our family.
From Sunlight Hotel in Coron, we had a 20-minute breather for restroom or snack break before boarding the speed boat for a 45-minute cruise going to the island.
In total, it takes 6 hours to go from your house to the island with a combination of plane, van and speed boat rides. You spend half of the day traveling across the travel bubble tunnel wholly operated by the Sunlight group. Our family felt very safe because all the safety protocols were in place.
Beach, Pool and Sunsets
We loved hanging out at the beach during sunset and playing around with the water guns and the water bed at Beach 2.
When we asked the kids what they loved the most, the little ones said it was sitting in front of the buggy going around the resort.
This was our favorite private lunch spot near the mezzanine area, with access to the kiddie pool, where we can order a la carte from the menu.
We also loved hanging out at the beach 1 area after breakfast because of the wider beach area and better sand quality, perfect for getting lots of Vitamin D in the morning.
We tried to avoid other guests, taking advantage of the swimming pool when it was empty and using the place to hop between the two beach areas.
Sunset time offers a good photo opportunity in the infinity pool.
Palawan sunsets are memorable. Don’t miss enjoying every moment.
Yes, there is a decent 9Mbps internet provided by Globe so you can enjoy working from anywhere in the comforts of your water villa.
Baon for the half-day trip. The 6-hour travel was quite long for the little ones. Make sure to eat a good breakfast, pack some snacks and bring your own water for the half-day trip.
Arrival Buffet Lunch. We arrived at around 3pm. You would be forced to eat at the buffet, getting so hungry from the trip. It was a bit expensive especially when you’re with kids and only the nilagang beef ribs and pizza were good.
(Tip: If I will have to do it again, I’ll pre-order our a la carte lunch so that it will be ready when we arrive or we will pre-order from Poco Deli.)
Avoid the Outdoor Buffet. There are no acrylic dividers to protect the buffet food from people’s saliva when they talk or, on some occasions, when they sneeze or cough near the buffet. Order a la carte when possible, and try to eat away from the crowds.
Order the Pizza. The kids loved their pizza but it was sold out on the first night. So pre-order all the pizza you want during your stay.
Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort A La Carte Menu:
Mains – Chicken Dishes, Pork Dishes, Beef dishes, Vegetable, Fresh Catch Appetizer, Salad, Soup, Sizzling Plate, Sandwiches, Pizza, Pasta, Noodles.
We tried most of the items in the a la carte menu and the only thing we liked was the Beef Salpicao. Lower your expectations when it comes to food at the island resort.
Buffet breakfast was decent with a selection of appetizers, bread, meats, noodle soup and egg and waffle service. We felt safe eating with all the necessary safety protocols in place like the acrylic barriers and the service team serving the food.
We enjoyed our Sunlight Eco Tourism Resort experience and we felt safe bringing all our boys because most of the safety protocols were in place throughout the travel bubble from Manila to Culion, Palawan. Always be alert, watch out for other guests who are coughing or showing symptoms and avoid crowded venues like lounges.
The water villas were clean, using eco-friendly water bottles and toiletries. Plus, there’s an amazing sunset each day, taking all your worries away. Get the Sirakan Villas if you are going on a honeymoon escape from the kids, or the Duplex or 2-Bedroom Villas if you are going with the entire family. The internet works and you can safely work from Sunlight if you need to.
Best to lower your expectations on the food and enjoy the outdoors and sunsets. I wish they would improve the health protocols in the outdoor buffets.
Budget about Php25,000/head for a 3D/2N stay with the kids inclusive of flight, accommodation and food.
Book via Klook for the best travel deal:
Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort Coron Exclusive Travel Bubble Package (Fly + Stay + Dine)
Live an Awesome Life with Christ,
Disclosure: Our package trip was courtesy of Klook Philippines, and we paid for our meals during the trip.
Did you know that Poco Deli serves the best food in the Coron, Palawan area? Yes, they have a Coron branch and I wished their food is served at Sunlight.
Tip: Pre-order some pizzas and lunch food from Poco Deli before you leave the resort and ask them to deliver the food to Sunlight hotel in Coron town so that the kids can enjoy a good lunch while waiting at the airport.
POCO DELI CORON
Calle Real, Coron Town Proper
Coron Island, Busuanga
Open daily 11AM-6PM
Telephone: +63 906 276 5943