I wasn’t able to properly sleep last night either because I am too excited or because I am too nervous sleeping alone in a room good for four people in a place I visited for the first time. The gecko’s cacophonous sounds didn’t help either to make me have a good night’s sleep.
A bit irritable upon waking up, the sight that greeted me didn’t make things any better. The dark clouds were hovering above and an early shower drenched me when I went to the sari-sari store to buy my breakfast – instant coffee and biscuits. My lodging doesn’t serve any meals so I had to scrape by with a modest breakfast. Anyway I’m used to having coffee and biscuits for breakfast.
Fortunately, the skies started clearing up. Mr. Sun is peeking amidst those dark clouds. Furthermore, I didn’t receive any prior notice on the cancellation of our scheduled tour. Around 8 AM, I was picked up at my lodging and was brought to the docking area. Yet again, I am caught in a curious group comprised heavily of foreigners, mostly Belgian. Fortunately, there were Filipinos in the mix.
Our first stop for the day is Siete Pecados, which when translated from Spanish means Seven Sins (I initially thought it was Seven Sails). Siete Pecados is a group of seven islets and is a famous snorkeling spot because of the abundance of corals and fishes in the area. Sadly, I wasn’t equipped with any underwater cameras and my cellphone is too new for me to test its waterproof capabilities.
We swam around one of the islets to check the coral reefs. The corals were badly battered by Typhoon Haiyan back in November 2013. However, the corals are being restored to their original state. When we had our swim, the corals are nearly rehabilitated. The explosion of colors is a feast for the eyes.
After an hour, we departed to our next destination, the renowned Kayangan Lake. Getting to the lake requires a 10 to 15 minutes trek. The trek itself isn’t as challenging but the abundance of mosquitoes is enough to derail the most seasoned of travelers. Luckily we were already warned to apply mosquito repellents before trekking. Take note, however, that this mosquito kamikaze-like attack is seasonal. It’s just our luck that it is the rainy season.
Before going to Kayangan Lake, we first dropped by the viewpoint to the iconic Coron landmark. The picture of this spot has graced the cover of several travel magazines and up to this day is one of the most photographed spot. Not to shy away from this opportunity, we immediately had our pictures taken individually.
After the photo-ops, we trekked down to the lake. One can already see glimpses of the lake upon going down. Kayangan lake is a primary attraction in Coron but is just one of the numerous lakes in the island of Coron (disambiguation, Coron is an island found in the town with the same name).
Stepping into Kayangan lake is like stepping into a painting, or something greater because the beauty of Kayangan Lake is something that can never be properly captured even by the most practiced of eyes. One can just stare and be in awe of the beauty. At least it is something that can be etched in one’s memory.
After being struck in awe of this otherworldly place, we immediately went on for a dip. The water tastes slightly salty but is crystal clear. Another unique feature of the lake are the rock formations on the sides. One can climb the formations and cliff dive though it is not advisable for visitors.
Our short dip in Kayangan lake was followed by lunch time. We will have our lunch in small patch of beach privately owned by the tour operators, Beach 91. Our lunch was expertly cooked and prepared by the crew of our boat. It includes huge crabs, inihaw na baboy, and inihaw na manok. The lunch is part of our tour package.
After having our sumptuous lunch, we took a quick dip on the beach. Beach 91, like most of the area, is flanked by crystal clear waters. It is also a great site for kayaking, just like what my travel mates did. The pictures they took are stunning to say the least.
After a restful stay at Beach 91, we went to one of the numerous shipwreck sites in Coron bay. We got a glimpse of the shipwreck but it was too deep for us to explore. Near the shipwreck is another coral garden, the Malwawey Reef and Coral Garden. It is a great place to snorkel, with numerous corals and fishes living in perfect harmony. Again, I was limited by my lack of underwater camera.
The next stop was CYC Beach which can only be reached by swimming from the boat because the waters are too shallow. I skipped this one because the say that the area is swarmed by stone fishes, one of the most venomous fishes in the world. I didn’t want to take the chance so I just stayed in the boat and talked with one of the Filipino passengers, a Boholana who married a Belgian. Her family is living in Belgium but she brought along her daughter and their friends to tour the Philippines. They’ve also been to Baguio prior to their Coron escapade.
Our last stop for the day is the Twin Lagoons, another famous attraction known for the limestone formations surrounding it. The limestone formations give the Twin Lagoons a unique Middle Earth-ish feel. Another unique feature is its dynamic temperature. On the surface, the water is cold but as you get deeper, the water gets hotter. This is because of the convergence of the hot salt water and the cold fresh water
The first lagoon is for the docking of the boats. The second lagoon can be accessed through a ladder at the middle of the lagoons. On low tide, one can also access the second lagoon through a small crevice in the rocks where the two lagoons meet. As it was high tide, we used the ladder to get to the other side but used the crevice on our return.
The second lagoon is wide enough to accommodate a lot of travelers at any given time. One can also just relax and float on one side. The water is just too relaxing to even try moving around too much.
At around 5 PM, I was already back at my lodging where I settled down before getting out again for dinner. Just like my first day, I shared dinner with my new found friends, capped by a couple of drinks at the Balinsasayaw Restaurant. I’ll never forget this day because I was nearly locked out of my accommodation. Curfew was at 10 PM, but I was back at 12 midnight. Luckily I was able to call and wake the gatekeeper.
Another great day in Coron drew to a close. Filipinos really are hospitable at heart, even if it is in places that are not theirs. My first two days in Coron are testaments to that. Look at it another way, maybe I am too blessed. Either way I am grateful to Him and to those who are making this trip memorable. I am not alone in a foreign land after all.
Day Two Highlights:
1) Coral gardens of Siete Pecados
2) Picture taking at the iconic Coron landmark
3) Dipping in Kayangan Lake
4) Lunch at Beach 91
5) Glimpse of a shipwreck
6) Coral gardens of Malwawey Reef and Coral Garden
7) Relaxing at the Twin Lagoons