Coron: Predep

When in Coron…

After asian spirit called me at noon on friday that the plane for busuanga met some mechanical problems, it was an “uh-oh” moment for me. i had to smile and blurt out loud, “what else is new?” wala ngang storm signal but here it is again. another entry to add on my list of “reasons why i should not plan a vacation 3 months earlier.”

i had to inform owen, the organizer of the diycoron tour, that we couldn’t join the group. just when i was fully prep with all the gizmos i acquired for this trip, hmp! he was too accommodating that he even fed us information where we can secure the fastest flight for busuanga. to end the predep story short, we got hold of an early morning flight c/o asian spirirt on sunday. we were at the airport as early as 4AM. yep, that excited plus the bad experience during the boracay vacay in march, we really tried to wake up early and commute for the old domestic airport. my golly, the airport was uber quiet with the transfer of cebu pacific to naia terminal 3. it was like a ghost town with empty seats in the departure area.

(Old domestic at 4AM; The bored look)

and then, it was announced that our flight to busuanga was on hold. looks like we’re not that lucky. probably, the sky cleared after an hour since it was announced that we are boarding in so-so minutes! yippee! time to celebrate that we are actually leaving manila for busuanga. the trip was uneventful since i slept most of the time. and in a few minutes, i can see patches of small islands when i looked outside the window. OMG…this is it! as we scrambled with the ahjussis and ahjummas and fellow pinoys for our tiny bags, we can’t believe that we arrived in palawan safe and sound given that it was a pretty turbulent ride up there. we learned that it was raining in the island since saturday.

since we dunno a soul in busuanga…even where to get a jeep to take us to coron town – we lined up on a jeep which we thought is a puj. maybe shirl and i don’t look like we can afford club paradise that the manong on the other jeep called us that his jeep is going to the town. it was a bumpy ride. make that a 30 minute rough ride to coron town. kulang na lang magkapalitan ng mukha with fellow passengers. but the future seemed bright. there is an ongoing road construction that will pave the way for a smooth ride from coron town to busuanga airport and vice versa.

View from the top

the road so far
we got off at coastal road and met richel who is owen’s contact. richel takes care of patrik’s guesthouse (our lodging place for our overnight stay). we decided to take the coron island tour—more like island hopping – 8 sites to visit! damage was P1,800 with us paying the entrance fees to the different sites. not bad…but it could have been great if we were able to join owen’s group since 2500/head for more that 8 sites with overnight at banana island (entrance fees are included) plus free food and meeting fellow lakwatseros and lakwatseras.

Coron: 7 Sins, 2 Lakes and a Beach

Into the Blue

After a blah breakfast at one of the carinderias and buying something for lunch at the nearest bakery, off we went to our first destination – Siete Pecados.

Siete Pecados
Seven Sins, right? There were 7 small islands scattered around the area. I heard, Dyesebel shot some scenes here. Well, move over Dyesebel ’cause we are here. The view below was a sight to behold. Walang sinabi ang Coral Garden in PG nor the one off the island of Boracay. The fish were in a feeding frenzy when Ponpon (our guide) threw some bread. Of course, I had to test the newly bought underwater case for my p&s. it did work! walang pumasok na tubig. So, while the fish were scrambling for bread, i was busy taking pictures of nemo’s relatives.
Next stop was Kayangan Lake. The ride to the island was peaceful. As we were passing by large rock formations and cliffs along the way, I can’t stop gushing “wow, ang ganda!” It was like you’re trap in another world with the magnificent view one can see. It was a feast to the eyes, definitely.

And we reached the entrance of the lake…we have to pay 200/person for the entrance but I am not complaining. The ride to the area is already worth more than 200 bucks. That is my willingness-to-pay. The water is clear, the place is clean but this is not yet the lake. We have to climb up to the island slash rock formation to enjoy the lake. Well, we gotta stop by the small cave on top for that photo-op with the most famous view of coron daw. But we can’t wait for that photo-op so I actually used the gorillapod and attached it to one of the make-shift handrails…tada! me souvenir na!

And our climb started – with us stepping on muds and muddy rocks as we go up and down the trail. the climb is really a piece of cake…when it is not raining, that is. as we get near the lake, we hear voices, not of diwatas and engkantadas playing in the water but with fellow byaheras that we saw in the jeep on the way to town earlier. after a little chika, off we went with our own business—that’s swimming in the lake and playing with the tiny fish that look like swordfish. and then it rained hard. now, how can i take pictures of these cute fish? bad timing. shirl and i just wade through like ducks in the pond. well, we’re like two giant ducks in a ginormous pond.

The serene lake
Famous Coron view

Not Swimming with the Barracudas
A short distance from Kayangan is Barracuda Lake. The view on the way to the lake is as spectacular as the one in Kayangan but this time, you see limestone cliffs instead of large rock formations. The Tagbanua manning the area assured us that the lake is a short climb compared to Kayangan. “Dyan lang sa kabila ng malaking bato,” he assured us. Oh yeah, the other side of the cliff looks really near but you have to climb those almost-sharp edged limestones. It was not a walk in the park, not even a walk in the treadmill with 15 degrees incline. You gotta hold on tight and carefully study your next step of you’ll slide your way down to the large stones. Hats off to my besty for braving the climb. And many thanks to manong to helping us out.

Entrance to Barracuda Lake
After a not-so-easy climb and descent, we were greeted by a jaw dropping view. It is a small lake with towering limestones and rock formations surrounding it. The water is so dark blue that you can imagine there is actually a barracuda swimming around (nah, no barracudas in the area, just that sword looking tiny fish again). The lake is so serene and the water not so cold. It was peaceful you can float there all day to relax your tensed muscles from all the climbing done earlier.
Welcome to Barracuda Lake

The Beaching Part

Next destination is a beach. No more snorkeling or floating in the lake. It is now swimming on the beach. Time to head to CYC beach.

It was a bit of a long trip to CYC but who is complaining. As we were approaching the beach, I can smell uling and inihaw. Looks like there are a lot of people on a Sunday noon at CYC. The island has a small patch of white sand with a number of bakawan nearby. Reminiscent of Casa Rica in Surigao but with finer white sand. We didn’t anchor near the shore since our banca is too big but it’s fine with us since it was low tide. Anywhere you go, it seems that the water is just waist deep! We spent a couple of minutes swimming and giggling and chatting. It was refreshing to actually swim in literally tubig alat.
No entrance fee at CYC Beach
It was sad to note, however, that some people actually abused the island. We learned that there is actually uneven “floor” near the shore due to people getting large amounts of sand for their own resorts. tsk tsk tsk…I bet, there could have been a sandbar somewhere. Maybe CYC should start asking for entrance fees and let the natives protect it.

Shirl and I decided to forego Gunboat Wreck and Twin Peaks. Our last stop was Twin Lagoon. Like the name implied, there are two lagoons connected by a tiny opening one can swim or kayak through. We anchored at lagoon no. 1 and I set myself to some floating around the area.

Shirl decided to stay on the banca, OTOH. There is really nothing to see underwater. The water is so dark blue and if your imagination’s wild…just think that some monster or undercurrent can pull you down. Hehehe, of course, that didn’t happen.

Floating in the twin lagoon has a great view—not from below but from above. The blue sky cut by giant rock formation then deep blue water, who could ask for more? You can stay there forever until your skin is wrinkled like prunes for prolong exposure to water. 🙂

Main entrance to the Twin Lagoons