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“Everything you read is true” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mangenguey Island

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Mangenguey Island
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   Mangenguey Island, Palawan Island, Philippines   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 16 Hotels in Coron
Singapore, Singapore
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Everything you read is true”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2013

My wife and I made Mangenguey part of our May honeymoon in the Philippines, and as the final stop on a brilliant holiday, it was seven wonderful and very peaceful nights in paradise.

We stayed in the pink suite of the main cabin - and it was brilliant. The outdoor bathroom/shower was great with a real feeling of being at one with nature. We woke up naturally with the sunrise in the morning and had a magnificent view over the small dining area and in the distance the sea. The room has a lot of character - and that is what makes the whole experience unique. Perhaps a small bit of upkeep is required in the room as e.g. the water in the bathroom is taking its toll on the flooring in there as the floor boards are coming up or showing signs of fatique. However, that's just small little things that can be easily fixed.

In terms of meals - they were almost consistently excellent (some misses - but they were few and far between). What I think deserves recognition is that there were a lot of comments on the meals (esp. breakfasts) and the management has clearly listened to that and taken action. The breakfast spread is now very hearty - so you absolutely won't go hungry. If I were to give my two cents - I would keep to that but offer a small breakfast choice. It's not hard to whip up some eggs on order or cereals or pancakes. The ingredients wouldn't spoil and with a maximum guest capacity of six rooms - it wouldn't be hard to make breakfast to order from a small menu of e.g. 3 or 4 choices. For the rest of the meals - keep it exactly as is and people will sample things they might not otherwise choose. I think that is great. Also - with respect to the dining - I would comprise that in the room rate and just make one full price. If you don't have any other choices, why not just make one rate that includes full pension - and then you don't have to hear people evaluating whether meals are worth the 75 that is added on per day. Just a thought.

For the rest of the facilities - they are fine - although maybe some of the water equipment is now starting to tire. New masks and fins are probably in order. In addition, in terms of the trip from the mainland to the island (2.5 hrs by boat) - going to a place where you are paying in excess of $400 per night it might be nice to have a water bottle and someone welcome you have a little chat etc. They 2 boat guys came across as more frustrated with your presence than anything else.

Overall - the island is incredibly pretty, and very much private and exclusive. You escape the crowds of the other main Philippine tourist islands and for anyone wanting some needed R&R and some privacy - this is the place to be. Very cool indeed.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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119 reviews from our community

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  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
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English first
Vicenza, Veneto, Italy
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013

It was our fourth trip to the Philippines and this time we visited the most beautiful of the 7000 islands that make up the arcipelago. The sea was exquisite with its clean, sparkling water and we swam with the many fish that looked up at us, from the colourful corals. Our 'mimosa' house was located on a white beach and there we would spend hours relaxing or reading under the coconut trees. Coming from Italy we are used to good food but Helena' s varied and scrumptious kitchen was competition for any Italian chef. And so much food!
Richard, the dynamic and friendly owner always found time for us and entertained us with his interesting stories and was our guide around the island. We were honored to inaugurate his new boat! Thank you to both of them for their kindness.
Now in Europe we are approaching autumn and on the grey and cold days we will close our eyes and think of the times on Mangenguey Island!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Bangkok, Krung Thep, Thailand
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

We were at Mangenguey as a family in August 2013. We stayed at the Crimson and Mimosa. The accommodations were great and for the first time in decades we slept with open doors and no aircon! The food was delightful,in particular the seafood dishes Elena concocted, and the fresh buko juice at breakfast. (On our return to Manila, Busuanga airport authorities weighed each one of us, and we were overweight!). Richard took us around and explained how they converted a jungle in Mangenguey to a tropical paradise. He had a knack for bonding and was especially helpful in things like special plants I wanted to photograph and getting me up the hill to see the next dream house project. The swimming and snorkeling were wonderful including views of the protected corals. We missed the dugong and the dolphins which give us further reason to return to walk barefoot in Utopia!

Room Tip: Mimosa is good for an extended family, while Crimson is a couples room. Both have incredibly soothin...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

We stayed at the Crimson cottage,a romantic cottage (well every cottage here faces the beach).It had a huge balcony and nice clean bathroom with great hot water.

All the meals at the resort are personally cooked by Helena. Well I may say people from India may find it difficult to develop a taste for Helena’s food creations but if you are ready to experiment and approach your food with an open mind you ll be pleasantly surprised.

Mangenguey is a unique place- a taste of luxury and peace! paradise, eden, utopia…call it whatever you want it is unlike any place and yet you had your comforts! The island did give us memories for a lifetime, which I would love to revisit again.

Please also check my blog for complete review


Room Tip: Choose Crimzon ! On the First Floor, Privacy :)
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ingolstadt, Germany
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

We spent 4 nights in Crimson (green cottage), which has a balcony and warm shower. We would recomment to 3-4 days for the ideal stay.
+ stunning remote island and cute huts like at the website
+ excellent food
+ exploring tours, snorkeling gear, water shoes and kanu rental for free
+ lots of coral life and colourful fish for snorkelling
+ free drinking water provided
+ large generator (21hours/day)
- if weather is bad/windy, be prepared to sit together with 10 other people at a large table for dinner
- plan your arrival and departure well - will there be a boat available? Is there enough time to catch further connections? Boat takes approx. 2,5 hours to Coron

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

If you are looking for a remote and paradisiac island with a boutique alike small number of bungalows (4 bungalows & 2 more rooms in the main house), then this is the place !
You will be enchanted by the resort’s style & refined interior decoration, which is imprinted by the owner’s great taste : Helena, a true cosmopolite with spaniard roots, a multitalented artist & entrepreneur.
Knowing that the island is quite remote (2h boat ride from the tinny town of Coron) and that most part of the food needs to be flown in from Manila, you would not expect croissants, pain au chocolat for breakfast, eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce for lunch or filet mignon for dinner... but the Mangenguey resort make it happen! The chef knows to vary the menu each day (from pork, seafood to beef) and serves great meals you would not expect in such a remote place.
Nature and snorkeling lovers will be delighted by the coral house reef just in front of the main beach, which is btw a clean white sanded semi-sphere. You can also take a local canoe and paddle around the island and stop for sunset on the south beach, or you can also get there by walking up the hill for a breathtaking view toward the China Sea.
The staff is friendly and attentive. Candle light dinner is elegantly served next to the main house where you have also a very nice lounge area with the possibility to play billiard, chess or backgammon while zipping a delicious cocktail!
We (couple) stayed 4 nights at Mangenguey resort and it was a very relaxing and enchanting sojourn! We stayed in the pink duplex-bungalow, which is a bit more isolated, in a small creek, where you can enjoy the sea-view and the sunrise from your little balcony!
In a (coco)nutshell : we loved the place, the atmosphere and the spirit on this very special island! We will come back for sure!!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ludlow, United Kingdom
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

We spent 7 nights on Mangenguey - some parts of the stay were good, others less so. The best way I could think of structuring this review was to take each key element and list positives and negatives in order to give as balanced a review as possible…

1) Transfer
* The boat ride over to the island from Coron town was charming.
* Since we were already in Coron, we were able to meet the boat directly at the Sea Dive restaurant, from where it sails, rather than the airport.
* Sailing was on a traditional 'bangka', which we found to be very authentic and enjoyable.
* The transfer took approx. 2 hours through some stunning island scenery.
* Seating on the boat was on wooden slatted benches with no cushions, so got a little uncomfortable after a while.
* No refreshments were provided - we expected water at the very least but there was nothing, so make sure you take your own with you.

2) Arriving
* The boat came right up onto the beach so it was easy to just hop out into the shallows, straight in front of the beach houses, just a few steps away from the shore.
* Bags were whisked away from the boat straight into the cottage.
* We arrived at around 2.45pm and were invited to take lunch (usually served at 2pm), which was very welcome.
* No welcome drinks were offered on arrival – not even water, which we found to be very unusual and rather disappointing.
* We were shown briefly around the room, then were immediately read a list of the 'house rules' and asked to sign a waiver, as though this were the most important thing. We asked if we could read the information and sign over lunch, which was agreed to. More on the waiver under ‘rules’.

3) The island
* The island itself and the surrounding environment are stunningly beautiful.
* Good sized beach with sand like sugar, turquoise waters, natural shade provided by tropical trees and a pretty good, if small, 'house reef' that runs along the beach.
* There are a couple of trails that can be walked to explore the island, which were nice to do - though would recommend doing them on a cloudy or windy day as it gets pretty sticky once up in the 'jungle'.
* Sand in all areas of the beach and main house were meticulously swept of leaves every day, which made walking around barefoot in most areas easy and comfortable.
* Path to Rosa cottages was rocky and full of broken coral, rather than sand, so not possible to walk there barefoot.
* Hammocks in front of each of the 3 beach cottages were pretty comfortable, but the only other seating or loungers were a number of very basic and uncomfortable wooden deck chairs. * No proper sun loungers or anywhere to lie down meant that the hammocks were like gold dust.

4) The cottages
* We stayed in two different cottages during our stay - Mimosa and Rosa 1. All the cottages are built in a similar style, using traditional materials such as mud, stone and bamboo, which felt very rustic and authentic.
* All had an outside deck and large sliding windows / fly screens to allow as much light and air into the room as possible.
* You could hear the sounds of the ocean lapping against the shore from all rooms.
* Mimosa cottage was fine – in a good location right on the beach and very spacious and airy, if a little tired in places.
* We had booked into Mimosa for the first five nights of our stay, but it was booked by another party on the final two nights, so we decided to take Rosa 2 for those two nights. We had looked at the island on google maps before booking to try to get a sense of the island layout, since there is no island plan on the website. We could make out three buildings on the beach so assumed that these would be the three main guest accommodations - Crimson/Azur, which share the same building as a duplex; Mimosa, which is a larger footprint as it's a two-room cottage, about 10 feet away from the duplex, and, we assumed, Rosa 1 and 2, which also share the same building but are semi-detached. We were surprised and very disappointed to discover on arrival that the building we thought was Rosa was in fact the owners' house, and Rosa was across the lagoon, past the pumphouse and staff quarters and quite a distance from the beach.
* Rosa 2 takes up the right hand side of the building and is next to what can only be described as a building site – piles of rubble and rubbish from the recent completion of these two cottages.
* The view over the lagoon is also partially blocked by a large tree, so we asked to take Rosa 1 instead since it was empty.
* Rosa 1, on the left, is slightly better located, although it is next to the staff’s houses, but does have a good view over the lagoon and surrounding ocean and islands.
* Sadly, because the building is built into the hill, there is very little air circulating so the cottage got extremely hot and sticky, even with the fan running. Also, there is no adjustment dial on the ceiling fan so it only runs at one speed – fast. We didn’t need (and preferred not) to use the a/c in Mimosa, but here it was essential.
* Over dinner, staff would take a bottle of water and leave it in each room, but both nights we stayed in Rosa, we were forgotten and had to return to reception to get our own. Sadly, out of sight is most definitely out of mind in relation to these cottages.
* Rosa 1 and 2 are the same price as Mimosa and are most definitely NOT worth the money.
If we had known that Rosa was located where it was, we wouldn’t have booked it and would have left the island after 5 nights.
* In our opinion, Helena and Richard, the owners of the island, should base themselves in Rosa and use their own house (which has the best location on the island) as guest accommodation.

5) The food
* Lunches were better than dinners on the whole.
* The second half of the week was better than the first - we assume due to a change of chef.
* Portion sizes were generous.
* Very over-priced.
* Drinks, except water, cost extra – even tea & coffee, soft drinks and local spirits and beer.
* Very disappointed to discover that no local cuisine was served – the menu is very much Spanish, which is fine in Europe but not what we traveled to The Philippines for.
* Absolutely no choice or flexibility. Each meal was a fixed menu, which was not communicated in advance, so we had no idea what we were getting until we sat down at the table and it was served.
* On one occasion we asked what was on the menu for dinner and were told 'it's a surprise', so we couldn't even find out when we tried!
* Food itself was very hit and miss. Some pretty good dishes - eg. Gambas in garlic, reasonable paella; others were terrible - eg. boulliabaise with the most overcooked seafood I've ever tasted, very tough and dry pork chops and salmon (beautifully cooked) in what appeared to be Heinz tomato soup.
* The last night was the best meal we had all week, but it was too little too late.
* They could put up a small notice each day advising what was ion the menu so you could at least see if there was anything you didn’t like – for example I would have been happier with a couple of the meals if I’d known they were going to be served with a particular sauce, which I could have simply asked to be left off as for me they spoiled the whole dish, but even this level of flexibility was absent.
* Breakfasts were okay for the first couple of days then got incredibly boring as it was the same thing every day – fresh fruit and croissants/pain au chocolat. I’ve never been more in need of a piece of toast or bowl of cereals!
* One morning one of the other guests asked if they could have toast instead of croissants but they were told ‘no’.
* Overall the food was incredibly disappointing and the way in which it was served was too much like school dinners – ie. you get what you’re given. People don’t pay $75 a day for no choice and average food.

6) The team
* Richard was fine. A little over-enthusiastic sometimes but he never seemed to stop working and regularly came around to ask if things were okay, could he arrange any activities for us, etc. etc. He even got my partner playing the guitar again, which was great (despite the blisters in his fingers as a result :o)). We got the feeling he was over-compensating for the lack of service and friendliness from his wife.
* The rest of the team were terrific – special shout-outs to Rhona and Ronald who were great and genuinely seemed to care if guests were happy and having a good time.
* Helena was not a happy lady, apparently. Our first encounter with her was when we amended the waiver before signing it and she marched over to ask if we were lawyers (we’re not, just savvy travellers). She then proceeded to explain what the waiver was for but didn’t listen to our point of view or concerns at all. We saw Helena once a day for about a minute when she walked from their house to the reception area to collect paperwork and walk back again. If you made eye contact, she would say hello but we never got a smile from her all week. The only other time we saw her was when all the guests were leaving the island on the same boat and she came to say goodbye. We got the feeling that she wants the island to herself (understandable - I would too!) but as a result she seems to see her guests as an inconvenience or irritation.

7) House rules
* Never have we paid so much to stay on such a beautiful island but had so many rules and constraints imposed on us.
* Meal times are completely inflexible – breakfast is served at 8am, lunch at 2pm and dinner at 8pm. Not ‘from’ 8pm but AT 8pm. The last thing we want to do on this type of holiday is clock-watch, but on Mangenguey you have no choice because meals are served promptly at these times, again with no flexibility. In fact, if you’re 2 minutes late for dinner, the staff come to your room and get you! Meal times felt like we were in boarding school.
* The waiver we were asked to sign on arrival was worded in such a way that absolves Mangenguey or any of its staff of any responsibility for anything. We have signed waivers in other places we’ve visited and completely understand the need for them, and have never had a problem signing them in the past as generally the hosts accept some form of responsibility if anything happens that is the result of their negligence etc. This one doesn’t include any such wording and asks you to sign to say that anything that happens to you at all on the island, is your fault. We were not happy with that so added our own wording to one of the paragraphs to cover that. We think this waiver should be re-worded and also sent to guests at the time of booking to give people the chance to ask questions, rather than waiting until you arrive, when it’s potentially too late to disagree.
* There are guard dogs that are released at 11pm to wander the island freely overnight. We weren’t told anything more than that on arrival so were a little concerned and unsure about what that meant for us. When we asked, we were told that they are there to ward off unwanted visitors who come to the island for shells and turtle eggs – fair enough. We were told that the dogs were not too vicious and If we encountered them we should stand still and let them sniff us. I am comfortable with dogs, but my partner less so and the fact that these dogs were wandering free meant that we were pretty much confined to our cottage from 11pm, which meant no midnight walks along the beach or getting up for early morning swims. We were told that if we wanted to do anything like that, we could tell Richard in advance and he would lock the dogs up, but that didn’t leave much room for spontaneity!

* Mangenguey is marketed as a ‘barefoot luxury’ destination but doesn’t quite hit the mark. We think it is trying to be too many things to appeal to different markets and is missing the point. We think they should decide on a target market and stick to it.
* If they want to be 5 star luxury, then they need to get rid of the house rules and be much more flexible, especially with regard to food menus and meal times. They should also include local alcoholic and soft drinks in the cost and improve the service to offer a butler type of arrangement. They also need to stop charging for tea and coffee and get rid of the ridiculous charges for ‘room service’ and snacks.
For this market, the rooms also need attention as they are very basic and pretty tired in some places. Insect spraying would also be good as I don’t think people who pay for 5 star luxury expect to be chasing cockroaches around the room every night before they go to bed!
* Alternatively, they should market themselves as a ‘barefoot’ option to appeal to the more relaxed traveller. For this market, they still need to relax their rules as ‘barefoot’ shouldn’t include having to watch the clock etc. They also need to reduce food costs if this is the way to go.
* Mangenguey is a truly beautiful island in a unique position and for that reason, deserves to be successful.
* For us, the lack of flexibility spoilt what would otherwise have been a great experience and relaxing island escape. Sadly, unless things were to change dramatically, we would not return to Mangenguey.

Room Tip: The beach cottages (Crimson/Azur and Mimosa) are the best located. Rooms in the main house are nice...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mangenguey Island

Address: Mangenguey Island, Palawan Island, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island > Coron
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
#3 Luxury Hotel in Coron
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Coron
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Coron
Hotel Class:4 star — Mangenguey Island 4*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mangenguey is truly like no other place in the world. It is intimate and private, a destination that blends the incredible beauty of untouched Nature with culture and art. The island is a perfect location to create a new vision of Utopian living and redefined luxury for the twenty-first century. Mangenguey is an exquisite and remote Virgin Island comparable in natural beauty to the best in the world; it is located in the Calamianes archipelago in Northern Palawan, Philippines. It is right at the center of the Coral Triangle, one of the world's richest marine biodiversity zones. Getting There. Mangenguey is 45 minutes away from Manila, Philippines by plane. There are regular daily flights to Busuanga airport via Air Phil Express, Cebu Pacific, or SKYJET.Upon arrival at Busuanga Airport, guests take a thirty-minute drive in an air-conditioned van or private car (with additional charge) that takes them to Coron Town. In Coron, guests board our native banka for an approximately 1-1/2 hour (depending on sea conditions) beautiful scenic journey to the island. Airport transfers are $65/ trip and include land and sea transport. We recommend a minimum stay of three (3) nights for guests traveling from not so distant locations, and a week for guests coming from far away. Food and Beverage: The dining experience on Mangenguey is like no other: fresh sea air to stimulate the appetite, gorgeous views of the ocean, superb cuisine, warm and friendly service, and interesting conversation. Helena's simple and approachable Catalan-inspired cuisine is definitely one of the highlights of the Mangenguey experience. Gathered around the gracious table for communal dining or "al fresco" in the garden, meals in Mangenguey reflect the distinctive character of Helena. Shaped by her Spanish childhood and her years of travelling throughout different continents, combined with her knack for using local ingredients, each meal on Mangenguey is a unique epicurean adventure and pleasure for the senses. All guests are served 3 gourmet meals a day for a fee per person, per day. We accommodate "Special diets" provided advance notice and at an additional charge per day per person. Guests can also enjoy a variety of classic cocktails and a selection of wines, spirits, and beers. A truly luxurious moment on the island is the pre-dinner drinks at the Big House: sip the house champagne or our Signature Cocktails as tantalizing aromas waft from the open-style kitchen while Helena's cooks. Entertainment. Guests can swim and snorkel in the reef, paddle around the island in native bankas, bird watch, or trek through the forest. They can read on the veranda facing the sea, play pool in the Big House, or watch the sunset while sipping champagne and listening to Maria Callas. The adventurous can dive or snorkel in the magnificent house reef or in the turquoise waters surrounding the island. We customize island hoping and diving tours on our comfortable bankas to fit your desires and interests that come complete with gourmet picnics and butler service. Our private diving trips must be booked in advance with our Dive Master. Experience the beautiful reefs and the Japanese wrecks. We can plan a perfect diving experience based on your skills and desires. Private diving courses may also be arranged. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mangenguey Island Hotel Coron
Mangenguey Island Coron, Palawan Island

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