Coron, Palawan, Philippines (Part 2)

Posted: January 22, 2012 in Blog, Travel
Tags: , , , , , ,

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Coron, Palawan, Philippines
Part2
ITLog No. 14
(15-18 January, 2011)

The blue-green waters around this pristine paradise of sheer limestone cliffs, white sand beaches, and virgin forests of Coron, Palawan, have always been part of the ancestral domain of the indigenous Tagbanua people.
But it was only in June that the tribe obtained legal claim on the land and waters they had nurtured and lived on for generations in this island, located in Palawan province in central Philippines.
And while the Philippines’ environment department has awarded 132 Certificates of Ancestral Domain Claim (CADC) since 1994, the document given to the Tagbanua is so far the only one that includes ancestral waters. The ancestral domain certificate covers more than 22,000 hectares of land and sea.
For the Tagbanua, it is a means to protect their island and waters from the destructive methods of migrant fishermen and a government plan to make northern Palawan, more than hour by plane southwest from Manila, a prime tourist area.
But the Tagbanua’s victory is also being watched by other island tribes across the Philippine archipelago – and even the Australia’s aborigines – who are reclaiming the waters that have sustained generations.

The Tagbanua tribe, one of the oldest tribes in the Philippines, can be mainly found in the central and northern Palawan. Research has shown that the Tagbanua are possible descendants of the Tabon Man; thus, making them one of the original inhabitants of the Philippines. They are brown-skinned, slim and straight-haired ethnic group.
The tribe has two major classifications based on the geographical location where they can be found. Central Tagbanuas are found in the western and eastern coastal areas of central Palawan. They are concentrated in the municipalities of Aborlan, Quezon, and Puerto Princesa. Calamian Tagbanua, on the other hand, are found in Baras coast, Busuanga Island, Coron Island and in some parts of El Nido. These two Tagbanua sub-groups speak different languages and do not exactly have the same custom.

Waking up around 0700hrs and prepared for the days itinerary which was the island hopping around the nearby islands of Coron. With our lunch prepared, we headed out to where the boats are docked which was called “Gateway” by 0800hrs, and after looking for the boat we were going to ride and boarding it, we headed for our first destination which was Siete Pecados.

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Siete Pecados is composed of 7 small islands bunched together, with its clear water and one of the many marine reserves in Coron, this is the most famous snorkeling spot. When the tide is low, you could see the corals from above the water. Since cyanide fishing was wildly practiced before, now it is managed and protected by the local tribes, the corals were practically damaged, and since then, corals are growing back and so are the abundance of colorful fishes. Feeding the fishes with bread brings them near the boat and they even eat from your hands, its like being in a different world. The entrance fee or once you go in the water and snorkel here, is Php100 pesos.

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With a little conversation about all the boats in Siete Pecados, and was told that later in the day, lots of boats would be around and would hop from boat to boat if you would dock in Kayangan lake, so we decided, while it was still early, to head for Kayangan Lake.

Lake Kayangan, one of Coron’s primary attractions. The most photographed place in Coron, accessible by a steep 10-minute climb, reaching the top, you could see where the boats are docked, plus the picturesque view of the cliffs and water and a glimpse of Coron town, the crystal-clear waters of Lake Kayangan are nestled into the mountain walls; underwater is like a moonscape. Known as the cleanest lake in the Philippnes, is a mixture of 30% salt water and 70% fresh water. There’s a little wooden walkway and platform to stash your things if you go for a swim, you could spend the whole day lazing and swimming in the lake, but have other islands to see.

After paying the entrance fee, which is Php200/pax, we climbed our way up the cliff and upon reaching the top, took as much photos as I can of the lagoon (there were already lots of people here and had to wait my turn to take photos). Heading down the other side to the lake, we were greeted by its beautiful bluish-green waters, while our friends were swimming, this was my opportunity to take photos of the lake, but felt the heat coming from the reflection of the water and decided to head back up.

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Our next destination was Barracuda Lake, which is just a short climb over the rocks, is a haven for Barracudas, seen when one dives deep into its bluish-green brackish waters. But since we just came and see the place and would not swim in it, we decided to move on to our next destination, which was Twin Lagoon.

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Twin Lagoons, are two lagoons divided by a huge wall of limestone karst, the only way to get to the other lagoon was, to either to swim through the hole or climb a wooden stairs. Our friends then put on their life-vests and swam to the other side of the other lagoon, while we stayed in the boat and grew hungry that we ate our lunch . Here, the entrance fee was Php100/pax

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Banol Beach was our next stop, which was once ignored, but its white sands gave it an intimate appeal and since it was hot, I decided to take a dip in its cool waters. We wanted to stay longer, but we had one more stop to see and this was the Skeleton Wreck.

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Upon reaching the Skeleton Wreck, our boatman tied the boat to the buoy, and our friends started snorkeling around, while feeding the fish some bread, I’m not a water person so did not get a chance to see the wreck which I really love to see but in a different means.

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Heading back to Coron town, and buying food for our dinner at the market, I decided to take a nap and woke up around 1700hrs and helped prepare for dinner. With nothing to do after dinner we decided to have a bottle of beer and chat till we were all sleepy and decided to rest for the day.

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The next day, we decided to climb up Mt. Tapyas again, waking up around 0430hrs and preparing my gears, and by 0500hrs we took the tricycle and by 0515hrs started climbing the up Mt. Tapyas. Upon reaching the top, which was still dark, I took some photos of the cross plus the view of the town of Coron and waited for the sun to rise. The sun rose beside what they call sleeping giant (because its shapes looks like a man sleeping) and took photos of it till around 0640hrs, when we decided to head back down and prepare for lunch.

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Reaching the lodge, we packed our things and decided to head out back to town and walk around. Buying rice pearls for a gift, passing thru The Old House, which has a Drink-All-You-Can rum and cola for only Php100. Then saw Villa Hermosa, and remembered a website saying about her unique house built from sandbags, and decided to meet her. We met Susan de la Rosa, and showed up a video of how her she built her house for her mother, a three-level house made with mostly recycled materials and the unique way of coming up with ideas to make her house really unique, but since we were pressed with time we decided to visit her house on our return trip this February, instead she showed us the rooms of her guest house and the materials she used. For this, we thank her for accommodating us and how warm and pleasant she is.

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Heading back out we passed by a bakery where they were selling freshly baked bread and bought some, which was as soft as cotton candy when eaten. Heading to Kookie Lodge to eat our lunch but was told that they open at 1500hrs, so we decided to just eat our lunch again at Lolo Nonoy’s.

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At Lolo Nonoy’s, we ordered grilled fish which they called “sapatos” and sinigang na baka with fresh coconut juice and for dessert Leche Flan. Rested at the lodge till 1300hrs, and was picked up by a van to take us to the airport, after other stops and picking up other passengers form different lodges and hotels, we headed for Busuanga Airport where we checked in our bags and waited at the departure area, out plane landed and after a while was told that we could board it and took of at 1430hrs heading to Manila.

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With the pilot announcing some traffic the airport in Manila, we were to hold and circled around (which we did three times) and finally was told that we could land. Upon landing, we were told that there are lots of plane on hold, and waited and directed to where the plane would be told to park. Deplaning, we picked up our check in bags at the carousel. We then ate dinner at Ha Yuan and had dessert at a newly opened cupcake shop.

Like they say “God must have been in a good mood when he created Coron”, because everywhere you look, you would be awed by its beauty, everywhere you go, you would be greeted by a picturesque view and everywhere you stay, is like paradise. There are a lot more places to go where we did not had the chance to visit and we keep learning of more places we must visit, but we will get a chance again this coming February. I can’t wait for our return to Coron and see once again the wonderful place.

Till our next trip…

Thanks to:

GCL Lodging house
Leyelito and Gemma Corullo
Mang Jerry (Alamid)

– for accommodating us on this trip

Susan de la Rosa
Villa Hermosa Guest House
San Agustin St., Barangay Poblacion 2
Coron, Palawan

– for letting us in and explaining to us on how she made her house and showing us around her guest house and hopefully on our return, her house.

And to the warm people of Coron specially the Tagbanuans
– thank you for your hospitality and taking care of your beautiful paradise.

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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