Thursday, June 14, 2012

Coron, you're the man!

SIX DAYS is not enough to explore and enjoy Coron.  The place is replete with adventures with nature.  This place is for the toughies, for those who do not mind getting  dark and dry skin and matted hair after so much exposure to the sun and the saltwater.  Oh, not to mention that it's inevitable to get some bruises and scrapes, too.  But it's all worth it.

Islands that look like sleeping animals or gigantic rocks? Giant clams with blue or lavender lips?  Sea creatures of various kinds and colors?  Wow, it's all too magical!  Indeed, under the sea there's a fantastic world too beautiful to ever imagine.  Words cannot capture the exhilaration I feel about the place. If Coron were a human being, I'd say: Coron, you're the man!

If you wanna satisfy your curiosity about this wonderful place, then come, but  be ready  physically, and financially, of course. Emotionally? Don't worry, Coron will take care of that!

Where to stay in Coron.  We stayed in GMG hotel. It's fairly new, or newly renovated, and offers bed and breakfast accommodation.  There are many other places to stay: Seadive, Kokus Nuss, Asian View Hotel, EcoLodge, and Crystal Lodge, among others.

New places spring up, old places close down. So it's best to check recent information in the internet.  There's a BPI  ATM near GMG, and most hotels accept major credit cards.

What to do in Coron.   Don't miss the 700 plus steps up Mt. Tapyas.  There's  a view deck up in the hill with a giant cross as landmark.  We missed Mt. Tandalara; they say it's higher by 200 steps.

Left: The giant cross on top of Mt. Tapyas.
Right: The wharf, as seen from the top.
The Calauit Island boasts of a safari built during the Marcos regime.  You can spend an hour or so, or even the whole the night here.  Overnight accommodations are available.You get to  meet up-close and feed those adorable doe-eyed giraffes.  There are zebras and deer as well. Caged animals include porcupines, a Malayan civet cat, a monkey, an eagle.  These are for tourist viewing only.  The rest of the animals are in in the wild.

Bottom right: Why are they called "umbrella trees" again?

Call me Durian.

Keep off.  No ifs and butts.
Island hopping is the main activity in Coron.  You must try  Banana Island; that's where the giant clams are, and it's a very good place for swimming.  You can also stay overnight here, arrangements can be made.

Banana Island

Malcapuya Island:  White sand, pristine waters!
Day tours will take  you to Kayangan Lake, Malcapuya Islands, Cuyo Island, Banol Beach, CYC Beach (under reform, currently) Twin Lagoons, Barracuda Lake, Siete Pecados, and many more.

Some beach resorts are in small pockets, some are partly hidden in coves.

Interesting rock formations can be seen along the way.

And you also meet people traveling between islands either from home or from work.
Aside from sightseeing and island hopping, you can do hiking, swimming, kayaking, fishing and scuba diving.   The WW2 shipwreck sites are a must, especially for divers!

You can also spend quiet time sitting in a pool in Maquinit Hot Springs. Hot, as in hot!

Or you can take a walk in the park, sit back and relax on one of these benches. 

Or watch the sunset and contemplate.

Although there are night spots and videoke houses, too, don't expect to party in Coron because this place is quite timid.  It's purely for nature tripping.  A real getaway from the chaotic city life. Most tourists stay up for quiet beers and languid chats. After that they retire and get up early for the next day trip.

Day tours are organized, and different operators offer comparable prices.  It's okay to give small tips to tour guides and boatmen after the tour.  They'll easily win your hearts because they're helpful, courteous and kind.

What to bring in Coron.   Since most tour packages require you to get wet, put on your swimwear under something light, like dri-fit shirts and shorts, tanks and tubes.   It's okay to wear these the whole day, people don't mind.  But for ladies, if you aren't  too comfortable with just the said get-ups,  then you may bring along some wrap-arounds. Those colorful sarongs are good protection against the sun, the cool winds or the admiring stares.  Board shorts are popular, too, for men. (PS: Hey, I didn't mean it's ok to go around town in flimsy swimwear, keep them under covers! I meant shorts and sexy tops are okay, nothing vulgar... :-))

Next, comfortable footwear.  Aqua shoes are good.  Flipflops are okay,  but some steps to climb may be slippery.

Snorkels are available for rent, but bring along your own pair of goggles for swimming because, of course, the salty water will surely get into your eyes. And snorkels aren't great for swimming, but without them you will never get to enjoy the corals and everything in its habitat.

Don't forget your sunblock. If you've just peeled your face, be very afraid of the sun. Told you, this place isn't cosmetic-friendly.

Bring a pair of good dark sunglasses. Your eyes will need protection while your boat is sailing, and from the glare of the sun.  A wide-brimmed hat will add style to your summer look but be sure you can secure it from the wind. Otherwise, forget it.  Some hotels will let you bring their towels to the tours for a fee.

Be ready with your antihistamines.  Just to quell any allergies, if you have.  You might not be able to resist seafoods, which are great, especially the crabs! And the fish, so fresh!  Meals are included in tour packages; of course, the operators will provide you with their specialty. Yes, you can choose dishes from the menu.

Prepare a mini-first aid kit in a small waterproof tote.  Throw in some motion sickness meds and pain killers, too.  The waves aren't really too strong, though. Just be ready for rough places.

Waterproof you camera; bring extra batteries.  If you can bring an underwater camera, that would be great.

Where to eat in Coron.  There are lots of places to dine in Coron.  Kokus Nuss looks so homey even from outside.  Seadive offers European dishes, among others.  Delectable, worth the price.  Everly Garden offers native dishes. Bistro Coron, Serenita,  Kokie....these are the ones near our hotel, and these are decent places offering yummies where you won't feel you've been ripped off.   Plus, you don't have to dress up for fine dining. Casual or sporty will do.  And, patience is a virtue. :-)

What to take home from Coron.    Souvenir shops  abound. They sell handicrafts with shell embellishments, wood crafts, and clothes.  Some shops sell packed cashew nuts and dried fish, too!

And of course, the memories.  Priceless.


lynette g pinaytravelogue said...

nice! can't wait to go to Coron! keep on blogging espie!

Gilbert Yap Tan said...

Wonderful post, Espie! :)

Gilbert Yap Tan said...

Coron on my bucketlist. Thanks Espie for this wonderful post! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Coron! Ang ganda!

Spranzee said...

So sad that this place I instantly fell in love with was ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan...but its people will not be fallen...the beautiful place will soon get back on its feet and claim its place again as one of the Philippines' premier tourist destination.

Read about Coron after Yolanda: