– by ChiChai@Empire –
Back in the days of Filipino family parties, I remember being awestruck by a photo montage during a karaoke session. The photographs featured pristine shores and the bluest waters I’ve ever seen. I just knew I had to be there.
They were photographs of Palawan.
Last week, my dream of seeing Palawan beyond a karaoke screen came true!
We made it! We made it! Christopher and I made our way to Coron, Palawan and look how beautiful it is upon landing!
We visited Coron for 3 days and 2 nights– the perfect amount of time to get some hiking in, swim in the lake and lagoons, and snorkel in open water.
My mother recommended that we stay at Busuanga Island Paradise resort and I would recommend to others to do so too! A hotel package includes airport pick-up/drop-off, all of your meals during your stay (they even pack up lunch for you if you’re out on a tour), a private tour around Coron, and a private island-hopping tour. With Palawan’s tourism rising rapidly, I’m happy that our exploration of Coron was intimate.
Also, what’s great about this resort is that it is isolated from town. Each room is a cozy island cabin within the area’s forestry. It was the right fresh-air and peacefully quiet break we needed from Manila’s hustle and bustle.
Once we got settled at BIP (as the locals called it), we spent our first day exploring the main island.
First we hiked Mount Tapyas’ 700+ stairs to get a 360 view of this paradise.
We then visited Maquinit hot springs…. which we definitely should have waited to do towards sunset, but hey! We were curious. It did feel good for the first ten minutes then we were profusely sweating. (Hot springs in 80F weather? Yea…)
Although the temperature wasn’t quite complementary to our hot springs experience, we did get to enjoy the open-water view. Gosh, Coron is even more beautiful in person than in the karaoke screen.
Now for the super good stuff from our day of island hopping!
The main sites of Coron island-hopping include: Twin Lagoon, a WWII shipwreck, and Kayangan Lake. Happily, our tour guide assured we stopped at all the above before the influx of more tourists came in.
The Twin Lagoon was full of surprises. For one, we were hella confused by the warm and cold spots within the lagoon. Chris kept wondering if he swam into someone’s pee lol. It turns out that the lagoon is a mixture of freshwater and seawater, hence the pockets of different temperatures.
Also, as we walked from the shallows to reach the lagoon, we wondered why we kept feeling a scraping sensation. After hearing me exclaim “Ow!” for the millionth time, our guide laughingly explained that the fish in the shallows were very territorial. They’ll nibble on you (hence the “ow!”) but they’re completely harmless.
Twin Lagoons was full of surprises and it’s beauty was one of them. Just look!
Japanese shipwreck from WWII
In the depths of Coron’s water lays a ginormous wreckage from World War II. A Japanese ship sunk down to the ocean’s floor and transformed into a part of the seascape.
This shipwreck became a snorkeling destination for the brave. It’s hella deep. Those with scuba diving licenses can further explore its remains inside and discover the wildlife that live there. We took the safe route and enjoyed its view close to the surface.
I asked our guide “May mumu sa loob?” or “Are there ghosts inside?” He replied that they all left a long time ago.
Kayangan Lake was my favorite of the three. Its serenity was a blessing to partake in. The guide explained that Kayangan Lake was rated the cleanest body of water in the Philippines. However, it is questionable now because (as he joked) it is “70% freshwater, 20% saltwater, 10% tourists’ urine.” I don’t doubt at all that tourists robbed the lake of some of its purity but, nonetheless, it was still beautiful.
Finally visiting Palawan was everything I wanted and more. If you’re ever in the Philippines, be sure to add this on your itinerary. I just ask of you to help maintain its pristine nature by cleaning up after yourself, respecting locals, and watch your eco-footprint.
Oh! And one more exciting event happened in Palawan:
I think Chris@Empire likes me or something.
Stay tuned for more Asia adventures! I got posts lined up for you about a farm, a bunch of caves, and more!
P.s. Fun side story: a group of Vietnamese tourists passed by singing a song in Vietnamese. Chris laughed bc he knew the song. The tour guide told me he doesn’t understand anything they’re saying. I told him that chris does because he’s Vietnamese. The guide then told me in, “No wonder he doesn’t understand anything I’m saying! I thought how come this pinoy doesn’t understand Tagalog?”