AirBNB Vacation Rental REVIEW: Coron, Palawan, Philippines as low as $14 per night – Lily’s Guesthouse

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UPDATED: Feb 4, 2024

Hard to imagine that our three-week vacation to the Philippines came and went, it popped just like a bubble, and now it’s all ingrained in history. One of the most anticipated excursions during our vacation was our getaway to Coron, Palawan. Although Nancy and I have visited Palawan in the past, we didn’t get to go to Coron, we went to El Nido back in 2007.

We grew from a party of 6 to 13

As you all know, we have 4 kids, so for my family alone, there were 6 travelers. Word got out that we booked Coron, and suddenly within a few days, our number grew from 6 to 13. That’s right 13. It’s a group of all extended family members. The youngest ones in our group were our two kids who were 13 and 16. Everyone else were full grown adults.

Geez, we needed a place for all 13 of us

This was the challenge – if finding accommodations for 6 was difficult enough, and we thought of challenging ourselves by finding a place for 13 of us. While we had our flights to Coron booked since September, it wasn’t until December when we began looking for accommodations (just a few weeks before our visit to Coron). I had tasked my brother-in-law and niece to search for accommodations, and just left the decision with them. They found an AirBNB that will accommodate:

  • All 13 of us
  • 5 bedrooms
  • Two beds in each room
  • private bathrooms
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Breakfast included

Our AirBNB Vacation Rental in Coron, Palawan Philippines – Lily’s Guesthouse

This AirBNB is called Lilys Guesthouse (formerly known as Rudy’s Place). What surprised us all was the value. For 4 days, 3 nights, for all 13 of us, we were able to book 5 separate rooms for $523 total. Yes, that’s $523 total, $104.60 per room or $40.23 per person for 4 days and 3 nights. Oh and that’s with full breakfast included….I know! Insane.

So you might be wondering, “Wait, weren’t you concerned that it might be a scam?” We read the reviews and went with our gut. We also knew that we had an option to exercise our right to fully cancel in case we find another property.

NOTE: The rates may vary depending on your booking (dates, the travel season, party size, etc).

Kayangan Lake Coron, Palawan Philippines

 

Thumbs up to Property Managers who keep in touch

Shortly after booking Lilys Guesthouse we heard from Jomel from Lilys Guesthouse . He was easy to work with. Provided clear communication as far as what to expect.

Thank you for choosing us. Please be advised that the address is Rudy’s Place, National Highway, Barangay 6. The old name of Lily’s is Rudy’s Place and is more known to drivers. If you are coming from the airport, we can help you arrange your airport transfer. Van fare from the airport to the town is at PhP250 per person. From the port, tricycle fare is at PhP150 for the entire tricycle. You may also opt to get a tricycle other than those in line for a cheaper fare at PhP20.00 per person. Just a heads up, the place is old but very functional and clean. Each room has private bath and AC. For your group, we will provide 5 triple sharing rooms. Thank you once again.

Once we began our communication with Jomel, we felt comfortable that this would suit us. And we also knew that if anything were to go wrong, we could still look around the island for other types of accommodation.

Plan B

Yes, there’s always a Plan B. Since we had access to travel portals from Chase (where we could use our $50 hotel statement credit), and our $300 travel credit using Capital One Venture X, Nancy and I gave it a cursory look and found something that would work for us for around $300 per room for 3 nights – bringing our total for the entire family to $1500 (up from $523 – a thousand dollar difference). We just kept the 2nd location as a possible back up. We decided that we could use the extra $1000 to treat ourselves to hearty dinners on the island, and go on more island hopping tours.

Flying to Coron

Since our home base was in Manila, we booked a trip with Philippine Airlines that flew out of Manila (MNL) to Busuanga (USU). For this particular booking, we chose the earliest flight out of Manila at 6am, and for or return flight, we booked a 4:25pm flight. Why did we choose those times? I didn’t want us to feel rushed or feel that we needed to pack all the activities within one to two days. So for this trip, we left on a Tuesday, and flew back on a Friday afternoon – a total of 4 days, 3 nights. The cost for this roundtrip flight was around $150 USD. I think that’s on the high end. Why high? We went during high season – early January.

What to expect when you arrive in Busuanga Airport

Some members of the family had checked their luggage prior to leaving Manila. Upon getting to baggage claim in Busuanga, we were able to quickly get the luggage upon arrival. It didn’t take too long for the luggage to come to baggage claim. Note, there’s also an environmental fee that travelers need to pay upon arrival. The fee is for 200 pesos per person (or approx $4 USD). Those with kids 10 years and younger paid 100 pesos.

Busuanga Airport (USU) in Coron, Palawan

Arrange your transportation ahead of time

We had this notion that the airport would be filled with public transportation such as tricycles that could easily take us to the AirBNB. That wasn’t the case. When we arrived in Coron, there were quite a few minivans (private transport) and it’s best to get your transportation to the hotel or AirBNB arranged beforehand. All it took was a quick message to Jomel, we informed him that we needed transportation, and within a few minutes, we were advised that a private minivan was on its way to take us Lily’s Guesthouse.

The road from the airport to AirBNB

You have to remember that this was my first visit to Coron. So I’m looking at this as a tourist, a foreigner, and someone who grew up in the Philippines during his early childhood days. Once we got in the minivan, we began driving towards the AirBNB and I noticed the farms, the little homes, everything was green. What impressed me most was the paved roads. That meant a lot to me. I’ve been to “tourist locations” where the roads were not even paved leading to the world-renowned tourist destinations. So to be able to have a smooth drive was a big plus for me. Good job, Coron.

Lily’s Guesthouse

Old, functional, clean 

We arrived at the guesthouse around 8:30am. It was about a half hour ride from the airport. I will try to be very fair, honest, and descriptive so you know what to expect. Once we were dropped off, upon entering the “compound” we noticed a pool further in, while off to the right and left side were 3-4 homes. Two of the other homes within the compound were for lodging type of accommodations as well.

Once we got past those homes, we talked towards Lily’s Guesthouse and we were greeted by Jomel who expected our early arrival. Jomel has been our contact  this entire time. There were probably over 8 units at the property. Our party of 13 were given our own separate wing of 5 private bedrooms and bathrooms. There was also a place for us to sit outside our bedrooms – it was an outdoor living room area with a ceiling fan, and places for us to sit and relax.

We checked our rooms. They were clean, with their own bathrooms, electric water heater. Not gonna lie to you…it’s not exactly the fanciest of all places. I like exactly how Jomel described the place – “It’s old but functional” – that’s the perfect way to describe the place. There was a dining area across from our rooms. There’s a room for the staff, and a place where they did the laundry off to the side. We were simply happy that it was a place that we could stay over the next three nights. I’d like to think of this AirBNB as more of a backpacker type of AirBNB. There were other non-Filipinos, and smaller families who stayed there during our visit.

 

The private bathrooms

This might come to a shock for many non-Filipinos, or those who never visited the Philippines. The bathrooms were not exactly boasting in size. There was a toilet, a little sink with a faucet, and off to the side was another faucet, bucket, and the shower.  Everything you needed were within reach. Depending on your perspective, for me, this was a unique experience. Most of us in our party grew up in the Philippines. Our 4 kids who were all born in the United States have also been to the Philippines quite a few times and have experienced different types of bathrooms in the Philippines.

How else to describe our little bathroom? It had a toilet that was sooooo very close to the shower, that when we showered, the entire bathroom (including the toilet) got all wet. Do you get the picture? Yes, I don’t know how else to describe it. How about this? It was a private bathroom where you could take care of your business while sitting on the toilet AND you could shower at the same time. HA! That’s exactly a perfect description. Again, we had to remind ourselves that this was a functional accommodation. So for us, as long as there was running water, access to water heater, air conditioner, toilets that flushed – consider us happy.

The beds

Most of the rooms had full size beds and twin beds with pillows and sheets. The mattress was not the thickest mattress, but it worked. Trust me, I’ve had other beds from other hotels where I could feel the mattress spring. Thankfully there were no issues like that at Lily’s Guesthouse. These mattresses were just fine. The AC worked perfectly and kept us very nice and cold when we used it during the day. At night, we really had to take cover and go under the sheets since the AC was very cold, and frankly, I got too lazy to get up in the middle of the night to turn down the AC.

FREE breakfast

I woke up early every day we were in Coron. The staff was already awake preparing breakfast for the guests. I found myself working from where the kitchen and dining tables were located.

Coffee was always ready and the Wi-Fi signal was great from the dining room. Make no mistake – Lily’s Guesthouse knows how to treat you well with excellent breakfast. There was rice, meat, seafood, dessert….I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Boat tour contacts

Since we arrived at Lily’s Guesthouse quite early around 9am, we still had the entire day to begin exploring Coron. However, we weren’t exactly prepared. But, not to worry. We explained to Jomel that we wanted to do an island hopping excursion for our group. And since there were 13 of us, it was best for us to have our own private tour. Within minutes, Jomel was able to arrange a boat tour for us. That was extremely convenient. It took away all of the worries of having to find a reputable touring company on our own.

Laundry Service

The guesthouse also offered laundry service which made it easier for us to get our clothes washed during our trip. We left the laundry with the staff, and by the time we returned from our island hopping tour, our clothes were washed and were air-drying.

Distance from Lily’s Guesthouse to city center

Using a local tricycle, I’d say it took about 5 minutes ride to get to the local stores and restaurants. There is a McDonald’s which was just a few minutes walk away from Lily’s Guest House. There was a spa that was also walking distance, and another restaurant just across the street. But most of the more popular restaurants were a quick tricycle ride away. Each ride was around 15-20 pesos per person.

How much does it cost to stay Lily’s Guesthouse

I would imagine that this rate will vary. But I chose a random date in March 2023 for 1 person, and was floored to see $14 per person per night + $2 service fee = $16. It gets better. I entered 4 adults, and with service fees = $50.63 (as low as $12.65 per person). And that includes FREE breakfast. Again, rates are subject to change, and as you can see, it’s truly budget friendly. While it may not be the fanciest of all accommodations, the saying is true – you get what you pay for….and we surely didn’t mind staying at this budget-friendly AirBNB.

AirBNB for up to 4 guests (random date in March 2023)

Final thoughts

I’ve been to many 4-star and 5-star properties around the world. I needed to set that thought aside when we booked Lily’s Guesthouse. I needed to look at what our entire party needed – which was a place to sleep, shower, and rest. We did not need a swanky property. Lily’s Guesthouse offered all of those to us. We felt very safe, and never once had any concern for our safety.

I was actually glad to be “away” from the city center. While it would’ve been nice to be a short walking distance to all the action, it meant that it could also be pricey and guaranteed to be very busy. If your goal is to get to Coron and island hop like we did, this guest house might just work for you. You could use your other funds towards your excursions and other necessities for your trip.

Thank you, Jomel + Lily’s Guesthouse staff

I would be remiss if I didn’t say anything about Jomel and the staff. They were very engaged, they were also doing something – cooking, cleaning, painting, gardening….something to keep Lily’s Guesthouse in great shape. I would not mind returning to Lily’s Guesthouse if ever I return to Coron. Thank you, Jomel and staff.

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