Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sweet Escape: Coron, Palawan

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After a year of madness brought about by working in a land far away from home, I believe I deserve the sweetest escape.  My chosen destination was unfamiliar, as a kid I grew up hearing wonderful stories about this reserved community.  My dad repeatedly came around this place as he was tasked to conduct regular inspections for several government projects in the area.  I vividly remember him  constantly coming home with heaps of seafood fresh from Busuanga.  So when I was scouting for a landing place, Coron was lounging on the top of my list.  I checked on the list of activities available and when I found out it was somehow daring, I just knew the perfect person I'll tag along - the most unadventurous person I've ever known, my brother JM. 

So I booked the package about a month before my desired date.  I've found this highly considerate travel agency that conveniently booked our flight, accommodation and arranged travel itinerary at a favorable rate.  Since I was outside the country, I made all transactions online and the travel agent promptly responded to all my queries.  So for all those interested, I entrusted my journey to this agency:

8 Wonders Travel and Tours
527-8 Celeridad Street. Tramo
Pasay City 1300
Telefax no. (632) 552-1623
Mobile no. (63) 909-7396391
E-mail add: info@Swonderstravel.com

Day 1
We arrived around 10 am in Busuanga.  We met with the person in charge of taking care of our transfer to the hotel.  She was waving my name up high, so I think half the airport's population knew my name.  

FBR Airport
Who's that girl? Embarassing. 
Welcome lei

We took a 30 minute drive to our hotel, Islands View Inn.  the place was new and based on the construction going on, it looked like they were expanding.  I got a chance to talk to the manager and somehow we found out we both knew several people.  She said she was very familiar with people whose last names were similar with mine.
Our room was very neat and homey.  I'm a bathroom neat freak, so scrutinizing the bathroom was the first thing I did.  It was a relief to have found it very spic and span. It was also a good thing the hotel was located within the city proper, we could just easily walk around and explore the place.
Islands View Inn

After settling in, we were starving.  We took a walk and just a few steps from our hotel was one of the rocking seafood place in town, the Kawayanan Grill Station.  Everything on the menu was just a piece of heaven.  We ordered Octopus, Squids, Clams, Fish, Veggies, etc. (takaw mata talaga ako).  I just couldn't get up my seat after having that tempting lunch. 
Kawayanan Grill

We took a nap after lunch (piggy moves) since eating took up most of our energy (ano daw?).  At exactly 4:00 pm, Kuya Fred (our guide) picked us up.  We started with the City Tour, we passed by interesting places and stopped by the biggest souvenir store for shopping.
City Hall
Souvenir Shop

One of my favorite spots was this Reclamation area similar to the Baywalk in Manila.  The breeze was fresh, the view was relaxing and the people were warm.  It was an instant photo opp for me and JM.  Kuya Fred was also very kind to take some of our pictures together.  

I made him do this. Ahahahaha!

Fooling around with Kuya Fred
Kunin mo na ang lahat sa akin, huwag lang si Gerald Anderson! LOL!
Story telling?
Hollywood ang peg!

After the relaxing walk at Reclamation Area, my patience was severely tested.  We climbed about 740 steps just to reach the top of Mt. Tapyas, about 210 meters above sea level.  Climbing the steps was really a great challenge for me.  So after several stops, an empty bottle of water and a multitude of curses, we've finally reached the top of the summit.  The stunning panoramic view of Coron town and Calamianes group of islands wiped my weariness away.
At the top
Kaya pa?
BFFs :)
Ang babae sa damuhan.
CELEBRITY! ahahahaha!

After a tiresome trek, you'd feel the need to freshen up, because of this the last leg of our journey that day came in conveniently.  Kuya Fred told us we were going to take a dip at the Maquinit Hot Spring.  This is the only known saltwater hot spring in the Philippines.  The shore is crowded by Mangrove trees.  They say taking a dip in this body of water is therapeutic.  Since the temperature is about 40 degrees Celcius, our dear guide advised us to slowly submerge into the water so our bodies can carefully adjust to the warmth.  It was such a relaxing feeling having my entire body soaked in the water.  It felt like the heat absorbed all discomfort and soreness I had climbing Mt. Tapyas earlier.  

The hot spring
The drama
The trees

The climb and the night swim were a bit unfriendly to our stomachs.  We were so hungry, I swear I could eat a live octopus.  Kuya Fred recommended Sea Dive Restaurant.  Such a convenience that it was just about 3 cartwheels from our hotel.  We got overexcited again and ate just about everything.  The food was good, reggae music was playing and the place was so laid back since it was situated by the shore. And it's a wrap, we slept early that night as we need tons of energy for the activities the next day.

Day 2
I call this my ultimate nature day.  I'm not really the nature tripper kind so the stuff I did this day was overly extreme for me.  We explored several islands and ironically neither me and my brother can swim.  JM was always known to be the scaredy cat between us both.  He said having a sister like me was quite rough on his part because of the pressure to try things that he doesn't really want undertake.  He avoids hearing things like "talo ka ng ate mo, kababaeng tao".  But now, he takes the situation to his advantage since he gets to increase his attempts in life grade.  So on this day, there's this brother and sister tandem with 0% swimming skills taking a shot at conquering diverse water habitats.  It was an absolute day for emancipation.

So remember, in island hopping, use sunscreen and insect repellent lotions.  We certainly need protection from the sun and from the unknown elements of the animal kingdom waiting for you in the wild. Hahahaha, it's funny how I call islands "the wild", it's obvious that I'm a newbie when it comes to nature trips.  Our guides that day is Kuya Ferdie, Kuya Super galing magswim, and Kuya Captain.  They were all so friendly, informative and PATIENT with me and JM.  

Wear Sunscreen!
GA shot. naks.
Not so grumpy morning

Twin Lagoons - This place is just adorable.  Water is a combination of salt and fresh.. Temperature is both hot and cold.  We of course have life vests on because the water seemed bottomless.  Kuya super galing mag-swim started to teach us how to waddle and to snorkel.  It was surprisingly easy, for me it's a matter of setting the mind.  At that time I was thought to trust the equipment and let go.  It actually worked, everything appeared to be a walk in the park after that.  
Twin Lagoons entrance
The famous hole
Floating, Snorkeling, Waddling, Breathing, Surviving 101
What  a face! Scaredy cat JM!
Fighting fear.

Skeleton Wreck - After passing by one more island for more snorkeling classes, we felt like pro's and ready to conquer the shipwreck area.  We just felt so proud and boastful (hahahaha!).  So Kuya super galing mag-swim took us to the stretch and it was fascinating to catch a sight of the wreckage.  It was a mystical view.

Star + Fish
Poser! LOL!
I can get used to this. Hahaha.

Banol Beach - Lunch at Banol Beach was a breeze.  The beach was a short stretch of white sand with several  "kubo".  I think it was really for lunch stopovers.  The inihaw fest our kuyas prepared for lunch was such a delish that we felt so sleepy after having eaten.  So instead of giving in to temptation we just explored the small island and took loads of photos.  

Our Titanic!
Is there a problem? LOL!
Kuya Ferdie and Kuya super galing mag-swim!
GA shot no. 5,467
Happy. Happy.

After lunch we passed by Twin Peaks and another island.  We ventured into fish feeding and believe me it was a huge struggle on my part.   I don't hate fish, in fact I love looking at them but them coming near me is another thing.  I was freaking out the whole time and the boys were all laughing at me.  Obviously I didn't enjoy that activity.  After that, we went to another island where we dived into a coral garden, and my goodness it was such a magical scene.  

At ease.

Kayangan Lake - Our last stop.  It was yet another trail to soar before you could admire the beauty of this brackish water (fresh water with a bit of salt water).  Several steep and slimy steps after, we finally reached the lake they also call the Blue Lagoon.  It was breathtaking.  It's like looking at a post card.  The entire backdrop was picture perfect.  Underneath the clear water was like ghost town, no colorful corals and fish.  Kayangan lake gives you this feeling of peace of quietness.  

Rules and Regulations
A fake smile
Profile picture area according to Kuya Ferdie
Clear water
Discovering shrimps
WTF! ahahahaha!
Picture perfect!

Until finally our adventuresome day was over.  We had to bid our goodbyes to our 3 new friends who made our journey that day momentous. We felt beat but our spirits still felt like warriors.  We did a quick touch up at the hotel and made our way to the market for some last minute souvenir shopping and food trip!  I ate almost everything my eyes laid on (isaw, dugo, atay, bbq, tenga, scramble, jologs popcorn, etc).  

Bistro Coron - We had pizza and pasta for dinner on our final night.  We could have ordered more but we weren't really that hungry after food tripping in the plaza.  
Bistro Coron

It was a morning flight back to Manila.  It was sad to say farewell to something I've come to adore for the past 2 days.  I mean, who wouldn't fall in love with Coron?  It was definitely worth coming back to.
FBR airport

“I want to turn the whole thing upside down 
I'll find the things they say just can't be found I'll share the love I find with everyone, we'll sing and dance to Mother Nature's song I don't want this feeling to go away.” 
― Jack Johnson


ReiMei said...


Thanks for your post! I was searching if 8 wonders travel and tours is a legit travel agency. Good thing I found your post. ^_^
Nice vacation bytheway :)


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