My Coron Experience

It’s been a long time since I last made my presence felt here, and it’s good to be back! I’ve been dying to post but I just can’t find time. Now I’ve got plenty! :)

So anyway, last weekend my family and I went to Coron, Palawan to get some R & R. We left on Sunday noon, then we came back to Manila on Tuesday night.

How do I describe Coron? Hmm. Let me start with a little trivia. During the trip, we learned that Coron means palayok in Tagalog or clay pot in English. According to our tour guide, the island of Coron looks like a giant clay pot in an aerial point of view. That explains the clay pot keychains we saw back at the souvenir shop.

What to expect when in Coron?

Coron, for me, is a perfect place for relaxation, especially if you want to just take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

First and foremost, let me warn you that you won’t find any fast food chains in town. Apparently, there’s a population requirement before such establishments enter a certain city. Coron only has 40k++ residents, which is a low number compared to other places. You won’t find malls nor big mansions. Coron locals are definitely used to living a simple life.

Second, expect power outages every single day. In the past, the town only has 12 hours of electricity everyday, from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Now, locals (and tourists) are lucky enough to experience longer hours of electricity, however each barangay experiences loss of electricity at least one hour a day.

You also have to hire a tour guide for your trip, because you will need a van and a boat to go around. There are tricycles that you can ride, but it’s still better if someone can arrange the tour for you.

We availed of a 3D/2N tour which was comprised of:

Day 1: Coron Town

* Coron Town Tour (souvenir shops, Coron Bay, factory of Cashew nuts)

* Mt Tapyas trekking (700++ even steps, I stopped when I reached 300 haha)

* Maquinit Hot Spring (water temp is 38-40 degrees celsius, hot!)

Day 2: Island Hopping

* Kayangan Lake

* Twin Peaks Coral Garden

* Beach 91

* Skeleton Wreck

* Twin Lagoons

My favorite part of the tour was of course, island hopping. Describing the view as breathtaking would be an understatement. One can only admire the discipline of the locals when it comes to maintaining the ocean and the beaches clean and virgin.

Our first destination was Kayangan Lake, where we sailed to an island first, then we had to climb 130++ uneven steps then another 170++ uneven steps going down. It was very tiring, my tank top was soaked with sweat even before we reached halfway. I didn’t want to go on anymore, just thinking about climbing up again then going down again was exhausting…until I got a glimpse of the lake:

The lake is surrounded by limestone mountains, and you can also find limestone formations under the water itself. The lake water is a mixture of both salt water and fresh water. The water is also deep, but we brought our life vests with us.

After the lake, we proceeded to the Twin Peaks Coral Garden, my personal favorite. The corals under the water are very, very, very beautiful. There were lots of fishes and other sea creatures, and they were all very colorful. Just like in Puerto Princesa, we were given bread to feed the fishes.

I’m usually scared of going into deep water because I can’t swim, but I’m glad I wasn’t scared this time, I even snorkeled. Who would be scared of such beauty?

The beaches are so pristine, and the waters are clear that you could almost see what’s down there.

We had our lunch at Beach 91. People don’t normally go there but our tour guide decided to bring us because it’s much quieter and less crowded. And when she said it was less crowded, it really was. There were only three nipa huts to accommodate tourists.

We swam for I don’t remember how long, then afterwards we went to the Skeleton Wreck. We didn’t go to the shore, our boat stopped in the middle and we just plunged right into the water. Deep under, you would see a sunken Japanese battleship. It was creepy, alright. The ship is already covered with corals and other thingamajigs because it has been there since World War II (1942). I couldn’t stand to look at it much longer because I was pretty sure something would come out of the ship and drag me down. (Paranoid.)

I wish I had pictures but I still haven’t had the chance to have the films of my underwater LOMO developed.

Our last destination was the Twin Lagoons. The first lagoon is where you park all the boats, then you have to swim under a rock in order for you to reach the second lagoon. It’s quite hard work, especially if you don’t swim, but once you reach the second lagoon…it’s like paradise. One amazing thing about the lagoon is that the water temperature shifts form warm to cold to warm to cold to warm (you get my point) in just a matter of minutes. Or not even.

According to our tour guide, there are still a lot of virgin beaches in Coron that are not open to public. Some are home to a lot of Balinsasayaw birds, rare species that shouldn’t be disturbed. Their saliva is also used to make the expensive Bird’s Nest soup. Also, some natives still believe that some of these lakes and beaches are still surrounded by bad spirits, so they do not allow tourists to visit. An example is the largest lake in Coron, they do not allow tourists to go there because the natives believe that there is a gigantic octopus living underwater.

If you’re planning to visit Coron in the near future, I recommend Calamian Islands Travel and Tours. To give you an estimate, our tour package cost Php3,850/pax inclusive of breakfast for 3D/2N, for 8 adults and 1 child.

Website: http://www.coron-travel.com

E-mail address: coron_islandstravel@yahoo.com

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