Mount Tapyas, Coron, Palawan, Philippines, Mountains

Coron: No coercion needed

Philippines, Wanders

It was a quiet afternoon. I was typing away through reports and replying to tons of emails. Suddenly my work mate, which is also my “unnie”, told me that seats to Coron is on sale. Coron; pristine waters and green specked lime stones. That Coron!

I was unsure if I can go because of the schedule. However, I need to give them a confirmation as soon as possible, else it will all be sold out. My work mate did sort of forced me to say yes. But who needs to get coerced if it is the Coron.

After six months of booking our flight, finally that fateful day has come. It would have been enough time for me to slim down and fit into my bikini but unfortunately I just got bigger. Nah! who cares I am going to step into Coron whether my bikini fits or not. The destination that I loved looking on my instagram feeds. The place where I signed for an online petition so that an underwater amusement park will not push through with their construction.

We took a direct flight from Mactan to Busuanga on a gloomy day. Well, it has been raining in Cebu for a week. Thankfully, it was just dark clouds. Also, the flight was right on schedule. It took us an hour to land in Busuanga. A van took us from the airport to our accomodations, K-heights. It’s no wonder, we really need to book a ride. Stretch and stretch of green grass with lots of cows grazing was all we could see. It took us thirty minutes to reach our accommodations. We had an early check in and lunch at Kaiso, a Chinese restaurant. Just as we reached the corner of the restaurant, rain started to pour. We  chattered on how we wish the rain would stopped after we cleared out our bulalo (beef broth), pancit and buffalo wings. Heaven heard our prayers and so it did.

The city tour cost around five hundred pesos per head so instead of booking the travel tour we asked a tricycle to take us around town which only costs us two hundred fifty pesos per head. Lualhati park and Coron town hall were just a breeze. We took the liberty of buying pasalubong at the Coron souvenir shop on the first day since it will be quite hectic from then on. We really took our sweet time in picking out pasalubong for family, friends and colleagues; from cashew nuts (roasted or baked), cashew tarts, pastillas to fridge magnets and wallets. My eyes caught the attention of the Gopro for rent at the shop. I guess you really need it since Coron is all about island hopping. It will be great if you can document the under waters too.

On to Mt. Tapyas, we were quite surprised that the path to the said mountain was just right at our doorstep. We climbed stairs and stairs until we reached the view deck. Every once in a while we had to catch our breath. We also breathed  in the magnificent view of Coron as we filled our lungs with oxygen. At the summit, we could see islands and islands of beauty. My eyes reached far and wide to waters and foliage. Damn!

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Breathing in Coron’s view while catching our breaths.

The road to Maquinit hot springs was quite rough and I was enjoying most of it. With my usual, “woooh” and “waaah”. We got there at around five in the afternoon. The place has its share of foreigners and locals. The first dip was accompanied with a mild shriek. Yes, it was hot but so good. The water washes away the tiredness after that trek to Mt. Tapyas. Ah! this and the view. Perfect. We left at around six and as we went out, bunch of tourists has came down from Mt. Tapyas. Good thing we were early. We had a quick shower and went out for a walk to a nearby grill house and had dinner. We had an early light-out since we will have a full day tomorrow, the highlight of the tour.

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This and some hot springs after some trek. Nice!

Before eight we were already on our toes. In our swimsuits; packed on dry bags and tote bags are our sunblock, cameras and what nots. Yes! I packed my snorkel too. We booked an exclusive tour for just the five of us and also customized our destinations. We had Kayagan Lake, Twin Lagoon, Siete Pecados, Barracuda Lake, Blue/Green Lagoon, Coral Garden and Banol/Smith Point Beach for the entire day. Our guide, Joy, knows how to speak bisaya, so it was a joy to talk to him freely in our native language. Just before departing, we were briefed on the do’ and don’ts and jokes thrown in between. Then it started to rain but on to adventure. No rain can stop these “Last Marias” (heard Joy talking to another guide and named our group as such). I wonder why!

First on our itinerary, Siete Pecados. We donned our snorkel and jumped right in with our life vests. Joy provided us with buoy. All of us who went snorkeling did not even know how to swim. He then towed us as we dipped our heads into the water. I was too occupied on the amazing view of the depths. The corals, the fishes, the irregularities of the sea floor. Also I was taking pictures and videos while trying to hold onto one of my friend’s foot. Talk about multitasking. There were neon green corals, lavender cylinders and golden sponges. It was breathtaking. My friends started yelling if I was ok since I did not took a break nor speak even once. Yes, I was just too speechless with the beauty that Coron has offered and that is just item number one in our itinerary.

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I am in love.

Kayagan lake! This is the probably the place that signifies you have been to Coron. We climbed stairs and took took pictures at the deck.  We finally went down to the lake after a photo each at the deck. There were too many tourists, it was quite difficult to take that IG goal picture but hey, we brought our IG pose game in every click. We were having a great time swimming and laughing like we were the only people in the lake. We decided to leave the lake and as we were getting our stuff, our guide approached me and pointed out my left hip, turned out my bikini came undone. Thank you Joy, I might have indecent exposure if you have not noticed. Next time no string bikinis for me because I played too much in the water.

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No need to fret, life vests are available. It is also required.

The crowd in Barracuda lake were not that much as in Kayagan lake. I could count them with just my fingers. Joy mentioned that the lake were mostly visited by scuba divers because of its sea floors. Currently the path to the lake was undergoing renovation. We also met this funny guy from Davao, who was quite devastated by the weather but still enjoyed the waters in Coron. Just like our group.

It was already one in the afternoon when we were reminded that we still need to take our lunch. Wow! I must have really enjoyed that much because my brain did not even recognize the signal my stomach was sending that it was already past lunch time. It is disastrous if I can’t take my meals on time. Mr. Sun joined us from then on. We were the last to arrive at Banol Point beach for our lunch. Most of the tourists had already finished their meals and were packing up. We feasted on fried fish, lato (sea caviar), eggplant salad, grilled pork and garlic shrimps. I finished plates of rice, not caring how I would look in the pictures after. The food is sumptuous and the conversations over it made it even more satisfying.

Our last stop was at Twin Lagoon, the water is like Katy Perry’s song, Hot and cold. It was cold in the surface and beneath was hot. It was really interesting. The lime stone were exquisite. I wonder if some people did rappelling or wall climbing on these rocks. It would really look breathtaking from above.

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My foot making a come back on my photos.

We bid goodbye to our guide and wished him well. Dinner was at a grill restaurant, we were looking for  a cake shop since one of our friend will be celebrating her birthday. Unfortunately, there was none. We just had sumptuous meal and wished her over leche flan. It was such an exciting day and downed it with a cold beer.

Our last day in Coron was a slow one. Our pick-up time was at eleven. We had the whole morning to pack and get ready. By nine, we were just lounging and watching TV. My unnie then asked if we could go see the town. So we went out despite the rain and explored the market. I was hoping I could taste some street snacks, but that did not happen. We toured for a bit and took more pictures and went back to our accommodations just in time for our ride.

This Coron trip made me realize two things. One, it made me gain two new friends which I am pretty sure I will be seeing more of (out of the four persons I am with, it was the first time meeting the two). It is not bad to travel with new people. If anything it would make you closer for just a short amount of time. Two, for someone who loves the sea so much but does not know how to swim, it was definitely heartbreaking. So I am upping my travel next time by taking swimming lessons (and upping my life skill). I am pretty sure this will up my travel posts too.

 

 

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