Saturday, April 7, 2012

Destination: Coron, Palawan (Day 2)

~ a photo travelogue ~

Woke up at 5:30 in the morning to see the sun rise and embrace the beauty of Coron.  We were supposed to trek up the mountain for a better view but I didn't pushed through due to anxiety attack because it was very dark and steep.

I went on the dock instead and see the beauty surrounding us, and took shots of it.

if you want to purchase a photo, shoot me an e-mail.  original, no watermark. 

Buffet breakfast opens at 7:30AM, but since almost all guests were up and hungry, dining staff opened their buffet table at 7.  Unlimited juice and coffee were served.

toast, marmalade, fried rice, scrambled eggs, sunny side up, hotdog, longganisa, danggit, fresh fruits for breakfast

my breakfast plate :)

We have 30 minutes to spare, so we went back to our room, had a quick shower, changed to swimming clothes and packed our bags.  Then we headed to the receiving area and asked for towels for the trip.

If you don't have snorkeling gear with you, you can rent it for only Php 150.  Text Cherry (0929.795.9819) or Divine (0929.595.2921) or whoever takes over the tour the day before the trip so that they would be able to bring those for you.  But goggles are fine, just practice holding your breath.

The boat came in late, around 9, and it was just okay with me, though other guests were furious, which I find funny.  Stressing themselves instead of relaxing..geesh..  Spend your time taking photos if waiting bothers you.

As soon as we all hopped in the boat, Divine, our lead tour guide, told us that we're going to five different locations on the day-long trip which will last till, approximately, 4PM.

For our first destination, we went to Twin Peaks for snorkeling.  Unfortunately, I had my period (yes, too much information here lol), so I wasn't able to experience snorkeling in Sulu water!  I hadn't had the chance looking at those magnificent coral reefs.  But I was able to capture the beauty right in front of us.

Twin Peaks

snorkeling at Twin Peaks

After 30-45 minutes of snorkeling, we moved to another location.  As we were moving, amazement showered us all with the extreme beauty of Coron Island.  Wonderful!

I'm happy to see local tourists :)
Twin Lagoon

Twin Lagoon

Limestone cliffs at Twin Lagoon

One of Dive Link's boatmen.  I forgot kuya's name.  He's with other batch of tourists.

I can't remember if kuya is a native who takes care of the place or a boatman.  But he's got a great smile.

Kuya Ricky, our boatman and chef, preparing our lunch while everyone's at the other side of the lagoon.

Because I was too jealous of the rest of the tourists who were having fun on the other side, neglecting my condition, I crossed the bridge, swam in the water, climbed up to get to the other side of the lagoon--and left my mom on the boat since she's not that adventurous kind of a person.

There are two ways to get into the other side of the lagoon.  If the tide is low, you can ride a balsa or raft and push your way under the open cliff towards the other side of the lagoon.  When the tide is high, after reaching the end of the bridge, swim towards the wooden ladder and climb yourself up, cross the tiny space between cliffs and go down the slippery wooden ladder so you can dive/swim to the other side of the lagoon.  It was worth the effort.  Beautiful place.  The water is somewhat sticky due to the mix of saltwater and freshwater.

I took some pics using an underwater camera.  Will be posting it some other time.  I'd be updating this post from time to time.  :)

Kuya Allan informed us that the lagoon is hidden on the so-called Sleeping Giant.  The said giant can be seen from Mt. Tapyas.  Going up Mt. Tapyas then is a must!

After an hour of fun at the lagoon, we all headed to our next destination at Smith Beach to have lunch.

Smith Beach

Kuya Allan, our boatman/tour guide

Kuya Allan told us that there are a huge number of locals who are from the metro.  He's one of them and was originally from Navotas.  Most of them found solace and jobs at Palawan that's why they decided to stay there.  I, too, want to live there.  It's beautiful and living a simple life is what I really want.

I wasn't able to get ate's name who owns the beach.

I wasn't able to get ate's name, who owns the beachfront.  She's a native of the ancestral land.  There were people/companies who wanted to buy the entire stretch for millions of pesos, but she turned them down.  I would also turn down all offers if I were on her shoes.  Having this kind of paradise is a great gift that shouldn't be given or sold to anyone outside the immediate family.

feast prepared by our tour guides

my lunch plate :D

Bring wet wipes so that after eating with your hands and cleaning it at the shore, you could wipe off the fishy smell from your precious hands.

Just by looking at my plate above makes me crave big time!!!  The crab tastes great, far different from what I usually have at home.  The mango-cucumber ensalada balances all dishes.  The grilled fish and pork was delish!  Now, I'm hungry.

Right after lunch, we moved to CYC beach to burn calories.  Kuya Allan said that the beach got smaller because of those people who dug the sands out to other beach locations, you know, those big-name businessmen are the culprits.  He didn't name names.  Mahirap na..

Thirty minutes after swimming, we moved to our last destination, Kayangan Lake.

right behind these cliffs is Kayangan Lake

I looked back, took a shot, before trekking up
There's a restroom at Kayangan Lake.  It's just behind the sari-sari store.

At the foot of the stone flights up.
my mom, in full battle gear.

It'll take you 5-10 minutes going up and get to the scenic spot where all tourists take their pictures of themselves.  Then another five minutes or so going down the lake, depends on your pace.  If there were no handle bars on the trek, it would take me hours to get to the lake as my knees will wobble every single step. Hehe.  Wear aqua shoes instead of flip-flops.  I wasn't able to buy one so I took risk wearing my flops.  Buti na lang makapit hehe.

the famous spot

Right behind this spot is a cave.  Be sure to apply insect repellent lotion especially when going inside the cave.

the cave

Kayangan Lake

right in the middle is a tiny cave.  it is lit naturally by the sunlight coming from the small hole above.
Be careful of sharp stones in the area whether you're swimming or not.  It's around 20 or more feet deep, it's freshwater so better wear vests as you won't float naturally (you know, the more salt the water has, the more chance you float and less paddling).

Half an hour or so passed, it's time to get back to our boat, thus, the end of our Coron Island tour.  Bitin sobra!  The group we're with had other plans like going to Mt. Tapyas and Maquinit Hot Spring.  Since there's a lot of time to spare, we decided to have a town tour as well but we dropped off Dive Link first to take a shower and unload stuff before heading to Coron town.

Ms. Divine of J2 Travel & Tours, our lead tour guide :)

Mom was too exhausted to go out so we left her at the resort as we continue our adventure.  We coordinated with Ms. Divine through text as we wanted to have our town tour.  She gave us the tricycle's number (not the driver's mobile number, just to clarify) and informed us that it'll cost Php350 for the ride.  So it's Php 350 per trike and NOT per person, okay?

As soon as we docked at the port, we looked for the said trike and met kuya Jun, our tour guide/driver.  Since we're not sure where to go at 5 o'clock, we opted to visit Maquinit Hot Spring just to take pictures of the place instead of trekking up Mt. Tapyas because I might not be able to capture the sunset when we get to the summit.

The ride to Maquinit Hot Spring will take around 15-20 minutes.

I think everyone knows everyone in the island and  Kuya Jun is one of them.  He told us that we can get inside Maquinit Hot Spring without paying the entrance fee of Php 150 mainly because we don't plan to go on dipping and just want to take pictures of the place, only if the boss isn't around.  Luckily, we got inside and were only given five minutes to explore the place.

the hot spring comes out on the hole (lower right). it's quite difficult to take a snapshot of it. hehe

Don't ever use your underwater camera in any hot springs.

Kuya Jun, originally from Pampanga

bumpy ride.  dirt road.

By the way, the trike allows three to four people only because of the bumpy road and hills.  Hold on tight.  :)  Too bad the local government left the road undeveloped, knowing that their town is now a tourist hot spot.

Our next stop, Coron Souvenir & Gift Shop along the main road near Harbour Center.

I only bought a pair of earrings, starfish magnet and a bracelet.  I don't buy souvenirs for people back home, I'm not obligated anyway.  Hehe.  I don't like that kind of tradition.

took this photo the next day. 

After buying stuff from the souvenir shop, we scouted for a place to eat.  Then we decided to go to Lolo Nonoy's per Kuya Jun's advice since we're looking for a cheap-but-good-food-kind-of-a-place.  I wasn't able to take photos of the place since our hut doesn't have lights, and I'm too hungry.  We invited Kuya Jun to eat with us, of course he's kind of shy but we pursued him to dine with us instead of waiting right outside.  We ordered calamari, blue marlin steak, kaldereta, rice, buko shake, mango shake, and banana shake.  It took them a long while serving our orders.  We waited like half an hour even if the place wasn't that packed.

We spent our time waiting by having great conversation with Kuya Jun.  He just moved in Coron two years ago because of personal reasons (that I won't mention ever in this blog).  Let's just say he found solace here.  He has four kids, two of his youngest kids are with him while the other two are in Pampanga, where he is from.  We even talked about interesting stuff like us coming back and we'll hire him as our tour guide as we explore the other hidden wonders of Coron.  Did you know that there are two waterfalls in the area?  That I have to see.  We can even stay at his place with a minimum fee.  Backpacking trip is next on our list :D  And did you  know that if you happen to know someone from the place and you wanted to give something, give them a sack of rice.  Rice, chicken, beef, pork and vegetables are expensive in Coron.  Seafood are cheap.  NPA rice costs Php 42 or up in Coron..that's NPA rice!  Imagine!

Finally, our food arrived.  Even though they served late, the food tastes great!  Though the serving was too small, so I think the price range (Php70 up) are somewhat pricey.

We then ended our night waiting for our boat to Dive Link.  It was past 7PM so we have to pay for the ride (which will be paid upon checking out), which is just a-okay :)   Kuya Jun hadn't left not until we hopped in our boat ride.  He surely is a good man, huh?  Definitely, we're coming back to tour with Kuya Jun.  :D

If you wish to have a backpacking trip in Coron with Kuya Jun, feel free to contact him on this number:

  • Kuya Jun - 0929.199.2549

By the way, don't forget to give tips to our dear tour guides.  They work hard for us to enjoy our stay in Busuanga.

On a side note, riding a boat in the dark gives me the creeps.  Eerie.  :p

Day 3 after the jump :)

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