Coron, Palawan, Philippines

Posted: January 19, 2012 in Blog, Travel
Tags: , , , , , ,

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Coron, Palawan, Philippines
Part1
ITLog No. 14
(15-18 January, 2011)

I am a nature lover, being born and raised in the City of Pines (Baguio), I always liked being surrounded by nature, hearing the sounds of birds chirping, the cool breeze of the wind, the fresh smelling air and most specially the quiet and serene surroundings. That’s why my dream destinations would be Batanes and Palawan, namely Coron. And to celebrate our anniversary together with my travel buddy, we booked ourselves for a trip to Coron, searching the web for cool places to see and visit, and to try to experience all those things we have read and heard.

Coron Island Palawan is a wedge-shaped limestone island, with few of its coastal areas being covered by mangrove forests. It has seven lakes, famous of which is the nationally-acclaimed-cleanest-lake in the Philippines, the Kayangan Lake. It also has a number of islands with white beaches and clear blue waters perfect for snorkeling, deep-sea fishing and shipwreck diving.

Coron is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Palawan, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 32,243 people in 6,264 households. Municipality of Coron from the Mount Tapyas view deck to Coron PUV Terminal. The municipality covers part of Busuanga Island and all of the nearby Coron Island. Both islands are part of the Calamian Group of Islands in northern Palawan. The main industries of Coron are fishing and tourism, being a popular diving location. The aquatic views from the sunken Japanese warships off Coron Island are listed in Forbes Traveler Magazine’s top 10 best scuba diving sites in the world.

They say that the gods must have been in a good mood when he created Coron, with its calm waters, majestic lagoons, and breath-taking views.

We booked our flight months ago with Zest Airways and left Manila at around 1400hrs on a Sunday afternoon (being bump-off from our earlier flight, and waiting at the tarmac to for ages to be allowed to taxi off the runway), with the sound of the turboprop filling the cabin, and the excitement of seeing Coron for the first time, the stewardess announced at the intercom that we are approaching Busuanga and would be landing in a short while. Landing at Busuanga airport around 1530hrs, we claimed our check-in baggage and was led to a van which would take us to our lodge (we paid Php150/pax for the trip to Coron Town), passing thru fields where here were lots of cows and was told that this was a ranch owned by the government where they sell the cows coming from Australia.

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Arriving at GLC lodging house (near Rudy’s Place), where two of our friends were waiting (they took the earlier flight out of Manila to Coron), leaving our bags in our room and fixing up our schedule for our stay in Coron and resting a bit, then riding the tricycle we headed for Mount Tapyas.

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Attracting all kinds of tourists in Coron Palawan, the big metal cross sitting on top of the Mt. Tapyas is a popular landmark for the surrounding area of the island. Mt. Tapyas, which literally translates to “Mt. Slice” in Filipino, is the second-highest peak in the whole province of Palawan. Its summit measures up to 656 feet while the cross structure stands over 2,000 feet above the sea level. It is located about 10 minutes away on foot from the town proper or about 5 minutes from the pier, and the modernized trail starts just beside a public basketball court in Busuanga Island, part of the Coron municipality.

Mt. Tapyas is not your typical mountain with difficult trails up its rocky terrains. In fact, it’s unlikely that hardened mountaineers will ever have it on their list of must-climb-mountains in Palawan. Besides comfortable shoes and bottled water for refreshment, there’s not much you need to climb on top of this mountain. Part of the land surface of the mountain was structured into a flight of steps cemented and paved such that even small kids and frail adults can climb it.

The 700-plus (723 to be exact) steps up the peak of the mountain will take no more than an hour, even less if you are physically fit. There are also many shaded areas where you can rest or catch your breath. In addition, there are guardrails installed from the base up to the last step of the concrete stairs. At the top, some area have been flattened and surrounded with metal handrails. On the other side, there are gazebos and benches for climbers to rest and savor the moment of reaching and being at the top. It’s the perfect time to take pictures and exult at having scaled the mountain. Most have declared the (minor) hardship of going up the stairs is all worth it for the view at the top.

At the top of the mountain, a panoramic vista of the town and the surrounding islands offers a breathtaking sight to your eyes. In the evening, the light bulbs on the cross also provide a magical experience as you survey the land below. Light posts dot the stairs and the rails around the viewing deck, but it’s not only when night time approaches that visitors can enjoy the peak of the mountain, but also early morning when the sun rises. The local tourism department advertises the mountain as an ideal viewing place for the sunrise and sunset. And indeed, lovers of sunrise and sunset will appreciate and marvel at the sight from the top.

So, if you’re one of those who want to experience being on the top of a mountain but do not have the skill or the inclination to climb up a dangerous trail, Mt. Tapyas might just be the mountain for you. And if you want to watch the rising and setting of the sun from the highest peak of the land, catch the sunrise and the sunset atop this mountain. It might just be your easy slice of heaven on an otherwise rugged terrain.
With our gears ready including our water bottles, we started climbing up the steps around 1700hrs, with brief stops along the way, we reached the top with-in 30 minutes to see the breath-taking view of the whole Coron town and its surroundings. Making sure I take lots of pictures so as not to miss anything and even waited for the sun to set. Walking down by 1800hrs was easy and took us less than 15 minutes, with our tricycle waiting for us at the bottom, we then rode it and headed back to the lodge, but going down the road we almost had an accident because we were all seated in front and no weight was at the back and the brakes of the tricycle did not bite, so the driver had to jam his bike at the sides of the road. Picking-up our friends at the lodge (they tried going up Mt. Tapyas earlier in the day), we headed for Maquinit Hot Spring to rest our aching muscles from the fast climb up Mt. Tapyas and dip in the pool.

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Maquinit Salt Water Hot Spring is the only known saltwater hot spring in the Philippines, if not in the world. Located at the east side of the town, this Palawan wonder lies between a mountain and the blue sea whose shores are lined with mangrove trees. The place is accessible by sea or by land, thanks to the new road network initiated by Gov. Joel Reyes.

In Maquinit, your skin toning begins. With its 40 degree Celsius water temperature, a dip into a huge pool is considered therapeutic. Tension is eased from your nerves and muscles, while the mildly hot saltwater cleanses the skin. Skin pores are opened to rid them of trapped dirt.

Sanitization and cleansing make the skin more responsive. A longer soak helps remove muscle pains and discomfort in the joints.

Arriving at Maquinit Hot Spring at 1900hrs, with a Php150/pax entrance fee, we entered and looked for a spot to leave out things. After selecting a spot, the girls went to the pool and took a dip while I stayed and watched our things and took some photos, after about 20 minutes, they said they were hungry so we headed back and changed and then rode our tricycle and headed to Lolo Nonoy’s place for dinner, with our tricycle driver eating with us, we ordered grilled liempo, barbeque, bicol express and dinuguan. Heading back to the lodge and paying our ride for the day, we rested and I edited some photos taken during the day, with another exciting day ahead tomorrow.

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Waking up around 0500hrs and then headed to Coron market to buy some food to cook for breakfast and lunch. We went around Lualhati Park and taking picture of the boats and the scenery. There were no fish around to be bought because all of it was reserved for someone else, so we bought liempo and eggs plus eggplant and tomatoes, then headed for the bakery to buy bread, then headed back to cook breakfast. After breakfast we headed for Coron Harvest, where they sell cashew nuts, and we ordered Cashew nuts cooked in Molasses or Panucha called “Bandi”. We then headed to Coron Souvenir Shop to buy souvenirs after which we headed back to our lodge and waited for two other friends flying in from Manila. We were scheduled to go to Culion Island but since we missed half of the day waiting for our friends and would be paying the boat for the whole day, we decided to just go to Cabu Beach, which is located further down the road from Maquinit Hot Springs.

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After eating lunch, we were picked-up by the owner of the lodge and was toured first around town then headed to Cabu Beach where we stayed till 15300hrs, this beach was so quiet with only a few people around and you could see the Islands of Siete Picados plus other Islands. Paying the entrance fee of Php20/pax, we headed back to town and passed by Coron Harvest to get our orders of Cashew nuts, heading to the market we bought food to be cooked for our island hopping the next day, but came the downpour of rain and was stranded, we had to wait till the rain stopped and then took the tricycle back to the lodge and cooked dinner including the food for tomorrow.

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Continued…

All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

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Comments
  1. Tina says:

    Hi,

    by any chance, did you get any contact details of Coron Harvest?

    or would you know any place here in manila that sells the same quality of cashew as the one there?

    would apppreciate a reply! 🙂

    thanks

    Tina

  2. Seafarers says:

    The best and safest way to go to Coron is to coordinate with Tour operators/travel and tours accredited by the Local Government of Coron. They will provide what you need from the All-in tour package and Day tour trips. You may also create your own itinerary and coordinate it with them. A good air conditioned airport-town transfer is also included. There are lots of hotels and resorts to stay in Coron. You may ask the tour operators to recommend the best. The Coron Licensed Tour Guides Association (CLTGA) can be a great access if you want to look for a tour guide (contact 09998826043-President) or simply leave a message to facebook account Coron Licensed Tour Guides.
    Secure your payments/deposits. Always ask confirmation or official receipt for every payments made.

    Please be informed that Coron is now under the Municipal Ordinance # 81-A. An ordinance regulating the use of plastic bags and styrofoam in business establishments in the Municipality of Coron, Palawan and prescribing penalty thereof.

    A reminder from Sea Farers Tours (0999-8826043/09178384661) and Coron Licensed Tour Guides Association (CLTGA).

    • alienscream says:

      yes this would be the safest way! by going on coordinated tours but to off the beaten track is to meet local people and ley them take you to where no other tourist would go, and experience more the place

      thanks

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