“Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough.”
The muscles were already relaxed after dipping in the hot waters of Maquinit Hotspring but the day wasn’t over yet. It was our last full day in Coron and we haven’t seen Mt. Tapyas. Time was ticking fast. It was already 5pm and in just a few minutes, the sun would find its way in its resting place.
Fortunately, we got a tricycle that would take us to the foot of the mountain. The trike passed by Mt. Tapyas Road. One can walk but we chose to ride a trike to conserve our energy. I already warned Mama and Papa that it would take 724 steps before we get to the top of the mountain where a huge white cross stands. They agreed.
As much as I wanted to climb with them, I have to rush to catch the sunset. Papa was having a hard time so they took each step slowly. I ran and stopped to take a picture of the 100th step.
As I ascended, I noticed a construction site near the shores. Commercialization is starting in Coron. There are good and bad effects. I just hope that they take the environment into consideration.
The light was fading but I continued while catching my breath. And after 20 minutes, I stepped on the summit of Mt. Tapyas. Ahhh…the view of the islands with the sun hiding in its cradle was breathtaking.
I was a bit late but nonetheless, it was worth the sweat.
Darkness has started to cover the sky. Papa and Mama finally reached the top. They said that they stopped for awhile to drink some water. Thanks to Benjie and Erwin, young locals of Coron, who sold the bottled drinks. We then called it a day as the stars appeared in the sky.
Tricycle fare: Php 10.00/ person
You can walk from Coron Town to the foot of Mount Tapyas. Just look for the sign, Mount Tapyas Road, and walk straight.
You can choose to climb early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Ideally, we should have climbed the mountain first before going to Maquinit Hotspring but we did the opposite since the hotspring was part of the DIY Coron tour.
For my Coron island birthday adventure in 2010, the 4 Days/3 Nights summed up to Php 8,679.67/ person. It’s not really a budget trip since we splurged on food. It’s my birthday anyway. The memories were priceless.
But if we subtract the food (since this is a personal choice) and just compute the tour cost (via DIY CORON), accommodation and airfare, it would be Php 5,670/person.
Please see the breakdown below:
CORON DAY 1
CORON DAY 2
CORON Day 3
CORON Day 4
Fly high and reach for your dreams We only have one life to live. Live it to the fullest!
So, you have booked that plane ticket to Coron. It would be your first time to visit the amazing island
and you’re clueless on what to do, where to eat etc. Planning an itinerary would save you time and make your experience worthwhile.
Here are itineraries which you can follow:
Coron in 4 days/ 3Nights
Day 1: Beach bumming /camping at Malcapuya Island /Banana Island
*It’s best to go to these islands early in the morning to avoid the huge waves. We were there during the Amihan Season so waves were really huge.
Head to Gateway Port. The boat operators’ standard rate for these islands (Malcapuya/Banana): Php 3,500. You can haggle up to Php 3,000 (based on our experience). It’s also ideal to stay overnight at Malcapuya Island if you want to experience the quiet life in this virgin island.
You may inquire for the rates of the overnight accommodation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Day 2: Coron Island Hopping
*Head to Gateway Port to start your island hopping tour. Boat operators have standard rates. For the Coron Island Hopping tour, they usually charge Php 1,500.00. If you’re 6 in a group, then you’ll have to pay Php 250/each.
Before leaving the port, buy seafoods at the market (just beside the port). Your boatman may cook for you. But you have to pay them a separate fee for that. They’re friendly so you just need your PR skills to negotiate with them.
8:00 am-9:00- Departure from Gateway Port
9:00-10:00 am- Snorkel at Siete Pecados (Entrance Fee: Php 100.00)
10:00am-12:00pm- Kayangan Lake (Entrance Fee: Php 200.00)
Lunch at the Boat
1:00pm-2:00pm Barracuda Lake (Php 100.00)
2:00pm-2:30 pm Twin Lagoon (Php 100.00)
2:30pm-3:00 pm Snorkel at Skeleton Wreck (Php 100.00)
Expenses per person (based on DIY Coron): Php 1,270.00 (If 7 pax).
Day 3: Calauit Safari Adventure
*Calauit is about two hours away from Coron town. It’s best to hire a van to go there and would be affordable if you’re many in a group. In any case, you can check DIY Coron and join group tours. In this way, you can lessen the cost.
*We did avail of their service for easier arrangements/ travel.
“The continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is important to the quality of life of humans.”- Jim Fowler
Definitely, Fowler! Running in the wild with giraffes and zebras seems to be a dream or a movie scene in Indiana Jones or George in the jungle.
But our Calauit Safari adventure on Nov. 18 was no dream. It was a reality.
The sun was still sleeping when we left Coron Town at 4 am for our first itinerary of the day: Calauit Island, which is located on the northern tip of Busuanga Island, Palawan.
After an hour and 50 minute-ride, our van driver Noel woke us up. It’s breakfast time at Karaenan (Cuyonin word for Kainan or Eating place in English) in Brgy. Salvacion, Busuanga. They served us hot pandesal, rice, hotdog and egg, and hot choco. The breakfast meal for each person costs Php 100.00.
We proceeded with our journey and reached Brgy. Buluang, where our boat to Calauit Island was waiting. It was a 45-minute ride along the uneven and cemented roads of Busuanga Town.
Going to the boat was challenging. It took us about five minutes to go down to where the boat was and another five minutes to walk on stilts and reach the end of the wooden bridge. You need to take extra care with every step. It was a bit scary. Thank God for the guides who willingly assisted us.
We then sailed in the calm waters of Biniktikan River, which separates Calauit Island from Busuanga Island, for 10 minutes and finally stepped foot on the 3,700-hectare game preserve and wildlife sanctuary.
The tour guide and pier guard Florante Salvacion welcomed us in the island which was surrounded by lush mangrove forest.
Mang Florante, who has been working at Calauit since 1985, began telling us about its history. In March 1977, eighteen impalas, fifteen giraffes, fifteen zebras, twelve bushbucks, twelve waterbucks, eleven gazelles, eleven elands, and ten topis arrived in Calauit from Kenya, Africa.
Couple: Calamian Deer
The Calauit Game preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary was the response of the then President Ferdinand Marcos to the appeal of the International Union of Conservation of Nature to save endangered animals in Africa.
“We have 32 employees here in the island. At night, we only have the caretaker and security guard living with the animals,” said Mang Florante.
At present, there are 20 giraffes and 40 zebras living with the endemic Calamian deer, according to Mang Florante.
“Lahat sila (giraffes and zebras) island-born na. The original imported animals from Kenya died already,” added Mang Florante, while we were walking to the area where the animals were.
The zebras were a little bit aloof so we were about 10 steps away from them. Mang Florante said that we were lucky since both the zebras and giraffes were present.
Mang Florante then gave us twigs of Maluandit or Bakhawang Gubat, which were the food of the giraffes.
As soon as I extended my hand, a young giraffe named Ted approached me and started munching the leaves. They were very friendly. But Mang Florante warned us: “Don’t go near their backs because they can kick like horses.”
The other giraffes have names too. I asked, “How do you know who’s who?”
He said, “Just by looking at their spots.”
They also have a hospital for injured animals but there’s no in-house veterinarian. The vet is on call. During our visit, there was one injured giraffe in the hospital. Mang Florante said that the wounds were caused by the branches of trees.
Aside from the zebras and the giraffes, the island is also home to the alamid, porcupine, monkeys and the Philippine crocodile. Don’t worry, the crocs are in a cage.
If you want to spend the night in the wild, there’s a guest house and a gazebo in the island, which you can rent for Php 200/night.
There’s an entrance fee of Php 250.00 for Filipino Adults and Php 350.00 for Foreigners.
Run wild and free! It was nice seeing the animals as free as they are. But I do hope that their population would still grow. We must protect them for the future generation.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ” ~Albert Einstein
Nature is magical! That’s what I understood, Einstein. There’s more to explore and discover. This was what I realized when we continued our island hopping to the Twin Lagoon. Read part 1 of the Island hopping here.
As our boatman Kuya Eli threw the anchor, he told us that we need to pass through a hole, which disappears when it’s high tide.
Since it was low tide when we arrived, the hole was passable. The limestone wall, where the hole is, divides the two lagoons.
For those who are afraid to swim through the hole, they can use the makeshift stairs, which connects one lagoon to the other.
But since adventure tickled me, I chose to swim through the hole. Our guides gladly assisted us too. One should take extra care though when swimming. One wrong move and you might get a bump on the head. While swimming, I felt the difference in temperature. The upper surface of the water was cold while the deeper part of the water was warm.
Our guides explained that the upper layer is fresh water (thus, cold) while the deeper layer is salt water (thus, warm). The Twin Lagoon is another basin where salt meets fresh water.
The inner lagoon’s view was very relaxing. I even saw a native nipa hut built on stilts near the lagoon. It’s a house of one of the Tagbanuas, the indigenous people of Coron Island.
To get a picture perfect souvenir in the Twin Lagoon, sit on a balsa or a makeshift raft made of bamboo.
After the photo-op, I learned that the purpose of the raft/balsa was to save those who were afraid to swim. The ladies whom we met said that they’re scared to swim through the hole. Hence, their boatmen let them use the raft.
Our next stop was Banol Beach. The water’s clear. The sky’s blue. One can sit on the sand, read a book and just be a bum. But since everything seems picturesque, I chose to capture the scenery.
Kuya Eli told another story. This time, it was about Banol beach. He said that before, they didn’t bring tourists/ travellers in this beach. It was not as famous as the CYC Island. I thought, but why? Banol was such a beauty.
I looked at the time. We need to chase the sun before it sets or else we wouldn’t get a glimpse of the skeleton wreck. No, not the skeleton of the human body but a skeleton of a fishing boat.
The Skeleton Wreck is one of the shallowest shipwreck sites in Coron. Just by snorkeling, one can see the upper part of the boat. It was called as such because the only parts left were the stringers of steel-hulled boat, ribs and keel.
The Skeleton Wreck has a maximum depth of 22 meters. Since our boatman is a diver, I lent my camera for him to take a closer shot of the wreck.
If we’ve visited the place earlier when the sun was up, we could have seen the whole wreck.
Anyhow, we just stayed a little time here and sailed to CYC Island, our last itinerary for the day.
When I saw CYC Island, which stands for Coron Youth Club according to our boatmen, I thought of Survivor, the TV series.
CYC Island, was once a paradise, according to our boatman, Kuya Eli. But some people took advantage of its beauty. Since no one looks after the place, they stole the white sand from the area, leaving it bare. Among the islands that we’ve visited, this was the only island with no entrance fee.
With the island’s rough look surrounded with mangroves, I felt like one of the Survivor castaways. haha. another photoshoot galore.
It’s not good to walk barefoot here since there were lots of sharp objects in the sand.
We bade the island goodbye as the sun approached its resting place.
It was indeed one great day! Even though my 22nd year was a rough ride in the waves of life, God still showered me with blessings. At the end of the storm was rainbow. Thank you Lord!
Looking forward to my 23rd year of adventure! Don’t stop believing! Cheers to life filled with love and happiness.