How to Be A Millionaire for US $35.32

By Mark Wiens 60 Comments

Step 1: Flight from Manila to Busuanga

Board a Zest Air flight from the congested city of Manila, Luzon to Busuanga, Palawan in the Philippines for PHP 488 (Philippine Pesos).

Note: Cebu Pacific Airlines also offers affordable flights and some might say they are a bit safer.

Total- PHP 488 (US $10.13)

coron island

Step 2: Rent a Boat and Crew

Once you arrive in the town of Coron (a 30 minute comfortable mini-bus ride from the Busuanga airport), gather a group of friends and arrange to rent a boat for the day or next few days.

Should cost anywhere from PHP 500-1500 per person depending on how many people you can arrange in the boat.

Total- PHP 1000 (US $20.76)

Step 3: Island/Lake Hop

Gently float in the crystal clear waters, admiring the razor sharp limestone cliffs caressed in greenery and the isolated turquoise coves.

Visit various amazing sights around Coron Island like Twin Lagoon, Kayangan Lake, Twin Rocks, and Banol Beach.

All have PHP 100-200 entrance charges.

coron island cliffs

coron island palawan

coron island palawan village

coron kagayan bay

Total- PHP 1400 (US $29.07)

Step 4: Eat Crab and Fish

Before departure in the morning ask the boatmen to purchase fresh caught seafood, rice, vegetables, and fruit for the daily intake.

Stop on an isolated serene private beach (we chose Speed Beach) and really save your calories as the boatmen fix a perfect millionaires lunch.

The people on my particular boat went straight in the direction of engorgement, feasting on whole grilled fish, boiled succulent crabs, rice, and everything garnished with a lemon, soy, tomato, onion, and hot chili sauce.

If that wasn’t enough we had a huge supply of fresh mangoes, bananas, and pineapples.

This all out buffet of tasty items from the sea and land cost approximately PHP 300 per person (and I ate an absurd amount of fish and crab).

coron seafood

Total- PHP 1700 (US $35.32)

Step 5: Relax on a Private Beach

Take the afternoon lazy, sprawling out on a perfectly white sand private beach, floating in the clear bath water, grab occasional fist fulls of ripened pineapple, and really take a mental picture of paradise.

coron palawan beach boat

Step 6: Recline on the Bow of the Boat

When the sun starts to make its way downwards, re-board the vessel and start slicing through the water back towards Coron town.

palawan island philippines

Total Cost- PHP 1700 = US $35.32

Sitting on the front bow of the boat, turquoise ocean spray misting in my face, limestone cliffs passing, warm waters lapping across 10 meter picturesque beaches, I was  thinking, “even if I was a millionaire, I wouldn’t have loved this day anymore than I did as a traveler in the same outfit for the last month.”

It’s beautiful times like this that I am a millionaire for being able to travel.

60 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Al Bona

    5 years ago

    Wow! The pictures are awesome! i’m interested in going there for a vacation. How do I get started?

  • Jeff | Planet Bell

    8 years ago

    This is a great, original post. I can’t wait to live large in Palawan.

  • Daniel

    8 years ago

    Mark, this incredible post has inspired me to travel there PRONTO. I will be heading to Thailand and Philippines in a few months’ time – I wouldn’t miss those amazing clear waters and fine sandy beaches for the world! Thanks for the inspirational post, it really helped push me to embrace the adventure outside my safe haven here in Singapore 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hey Daniel, great to hear that you’ll be traveling around – Palawan still has the best beaches I’ve ever seen. I know you’ll enjoy it!

      • Daniel

        8 years ago

        Thanks Mark, I know I certainly will! May I know how did you arrange for the whole package, or was it in parts?

        • Mark Wiens

          8 years ago

          Hey Daniel, yah I actually went with a few Filipino friends who arranged everything, but they just arranged as we went – I just flew there, stayed in the guest house and then they just talked to a boat man to figure out our daily activities.

          • Daniel

            8 years ago

            I see – would you recommend booking beforehand, or just going down to arrange everything on the spot?

          • Mark Wiens

            8 years ago

            I think arranging on spot would be fine!

  • Joel Tillman

    9 years ago

    We (gf and I) did this off the coast of Cebu and it was AMAZING! We didn’t go to a private beach but we did snorkel on some natural reefs and have fresh cut coconut with a straw in it brought to us in the water.

    Have you ever seen water that clear and blue anywhere else?

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Joel and glad to hear that you have also visited the Philippines. Palawan was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, I think it really is the most amazing clear water in the world!

      • Lori G.

        9 years ago

        Thanks for this Mark and great pics.

        I am planning to travel to Palawan after a medical mission in south Philippines in March 2012 for one week by myself. would love to plan a day trip to Coron. Any other suggestions on where to stay in Palawan? I’m looking for a semi-quiet week surrounded by water and beauty. I’m not the bar hopping party type.Thanks Mark!

        • Mark Wiens

          9 years ago

          Hey Lori,

          Awesome that you will have a chance to visit Coron. Here is a bit of info: I stayed at a small little guest house called Darayonan Lodge – nothing fancy but it was affordable. I can’t remember how much it cost, but I think I was in a room with 3 others for about $10 each. This was about 3 years ago when I went, so not sure how things have changed…

  • The Travel Chica

    10 years ago

    I love days like this!

  • Michael Figueiredo

    10 years ago

    These are the most beautiful photos that I’ve ever seen! I definitely want to experience this for myself!

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Wow, really appreciate your comment Michael! I would really recommend the Philippines as an incredible destination to visit.

  • ayan

    10 years ago

    palawan is really beautiful. favorite place though is El Nido(7hr boatride from coron). my first time to bump into your blog. really nice man.

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Thanks so much Ayan!
      I didn’t have a chance when I was there last, but I would love to visit El Nido next time! The pictures I’ve seen from there are incredible.
      Hope to get back to visit the Philippines again soon.
      Thanks for checking out my site.

      • mary

        9 years ago

        Hi Mark
        I was in El Nido a year and a half ago. It is even more fantastic than you can imagine. I stayed in a budget place called the Alternative. The people were the nicest you will ever meet. I went on a four night five day camping expedition from El Nido to Coron. We traveled by boat and camped on a different Island every night. The are called Tao expeditions and are very good. I would do it again. The beaches are second to none and I am dying to go back. I hope you make it over there, because it is well worth it….I have been all over the place and the Philippines is my favorite place on Earth.

        • Mark Wiens

          9 years ago

          Thanks so much for sharing this information Mary! Wow, that expedition from El Nido to Coron must be absolutely breathtaking. I only visited Coron and it’s one of the most incredible places I’ve seen. I agree about the beauty of the Philippines! I’ll definitely contact you for some more information if I can get back to the Philippines in the future! Thanks again!

  • flip

    10 years ago

    coron for me is the most beautiful place in the philippines…. i was really amazed with how beautiful the place is…

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      I agree Flip! 1 of the most beautiful places I’ve been, and combined with some amazing fresh seafood!

  • AdventureRob

    10 years ago

    What a great place for a quick and pleasant trip.

  • Cam

    10 years ago

    Wow – that looks incredible. Definitely on the list!

  • Claire

    11 years ago

    Great feature on Coron! This is my favorite place! I wouldn’t think twice going back there. Glad you toured our beautiful country, the Philippines, and found this wonderful paradise.

  • tchibo gutschein

    11 years ago

    cool 🙂

  • paulo

    11 years ago

    What amazing beauty.

  • Marnie Alvez

    11 years ago

    I love Palawan!! It is just unfortunate a lot of tourists skip the Philippines and head out to the usual mainland South East Asia backpacker route. Those who are adventurous enough are always pleasantly rewarded. I am glad you also went to Batad and Sagada. Both are places that I would definitely visit again. More amazing travels for you!

    • Mark Wiens

      11 years ago

      True to that Marnie. Philippines has some of the most amazing places I have ever been. I am with you in wanting to re visit Batad and Sagada. Sagada is a place I could stay for a month in solitude and just relax, read, and think. Hope you have great travels!

  • marta

    11 years ago

    that’s excatly the place i was looking for, so bad that we are already in the cook island and with $35 you barely find a place to sleep. i will make sure i would include the philippines on our next trip, it’s look just so beautiful!

    • Mark Wiens

      11 years ago

      Yah, you should definitely check out Palawan, I would highly recommend it. Cook Islands are probably beautiful too. Have great travels!

  • GotPassport

    11 years ago

    what a great way to put things into perspective, Mark. Really enjoy reading this post as this is how we look at travel – we don’t have to break the bank to feel like a millionaire eh? awesome! 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      11 years ago

      Thanks for the input. I absolutely agree that there is no need to break the bank or even have the bank to feel like a millionaire!

  • Sunny

    11 years ago

    Oh, my! It’s so beautiful. I practice migrationology, myself – and yep, I think I’m going pack up all four of my kiddos and head to Coron. A family of five can live like millionares for <$200, right ?! 😉

    • Mark Wiens

      11 years ago

      So awesome you are a fellow migrationologist! You can definitely live like a millionaire with your family in Coron for $200, enjoy!!!

  • charles

    12 years ago

    wow that is great. i haven’t been there myself despite it being in my own home country. i should head there soon!

  • Jason

    12 years ago

    unbelievably*

  • Jason

    12 years ago

    so unbelievable jealous

    • Mark Wiens

      12 years ago

      Yah, you should have stuck with migrationology instead of getting the job with Boeing…ha.

  • Mark Wiens

    12 years ago

    Thanks for the input Cody, I agree, it’s not about the money, it’s about the things that can be done with the money. However what so many don’t understand is that to have millionaire experiences doesn’t always take very much money.

  • Mark Wiens

    12 years ago

    San Blas look great man. Hope to get there sometime. If you are ever in the Asian area let me know!

  • Cody McKibben

    12 years ago

    Awesome Mark! This is a great example that illustrates Tim Ferriss’ point that we don’t want money; we don’t want to be millionaires—what we really want is to be able to live the lifestyle that millions would buy. And it’s actually a lot easier than some people realize if you look in the right places. Cheers!

  • Josh Johnson

    12 years ago

    Absolutely gorgeous photos. Looks and sounds a lot like the San Blas Islands in Panama.. also unbelievably cheap. See my blog for details.
    Thanks for sharing!