In this part of my series of posts, we will now tackle (in this one of two parter) Coron Island proper visiting its most famous attraction and its surrounding areas that we visited during our Calamian Islands Trip last December 2017.
During vacations, we would like to think that we can sleep up to whatever time especially if we were tired from our flight and yesterday’s activities and that we will do our things later but not during this trip: We have to wake up early so that we can catch our first excursion into Coron Island. After eating our breakfast and preparing our things, we were picked up by our tour van going to Lualhati Park but unlike yesterday, we were the first ones there and they actually picked up a couple more persons that are much nearer to the park (I guess this is how they do it). The weather was exceptional when we board the tour’s boat and after signing to the Coast Guard log, our guide for today Ronnie started explaining today’s activities.
The boat ride to our destination was a curious one whereas you can never feel the winds inland, on the sea you could feel it (Amihan maybe?) blowing from the east and it can get really strong sometimes. Our first destination was an area called Blue Lagoon of the coast of Coron Island (other tours and sources will call this area Green Lagoon). In the grand scheme of this trip the area is just a shallow area on the side of cliffs that you can see corals from (and if tall enough, you can touch it with your feet) but none the less we enjoined our time here swimming and taking pictures. The good thing about the whole trip is that life vests are mandatory so even non-swimmers (like me!) can enjoy dipping in the water.
We have to leave Coron Island for now and head to an island called CYC Beach. It is one of the only two beaches on the itinerary for this trip. The winds are strong and that we have a large fleet that we actually have to dock farther from the beach and have to swan quite a distance (poor Ronnie as he have to assist all of us that went down!). The white sand beach is especially exciting for me (as more of a beach bum myself) and we actually took A LOT of pictures but unfortunately…(for another post)
It was nearing lunch when we head back to Coron Island and stopped on Atwayan Beach (Atwayan means seashells in Cuyonin). It was second beach that we went for today but this area actually serves as a lunch eating area. The tour actually provides us with set lunch consists of fish, meat, veggies, rice, water, juice plus a banana. We spend about an hour and a half there and I even tried to doze off for a few minutes while some of us decided to dip on the beach while others drank beer they bought from the local sellers.
Our next destination is the big one. It is arguably the most photographed tourist spot in the Philippines today (I mean it is one of the first one that will pop up when you type Philippines on Google Images). It is…Kayangan Lake! The lake has an interesting history and it is an mystery in itself (we will not talk about that thing that happened in 2017). Upon landing though I found a misnomer: The much photographed picture is not the lake itself but it is the lagoon entrance to the lake! I always wonder in the pictures how come the lake is classified as brackish when boats could park in it. Nonetheless, the view though from that vantage point after climbing more than 300 uneven steps was spectacular.
Our tour guide Ronnie and his cohorts were smart enough to know that most tourists are going to the lake so they actually decided to take us there on an afternoon where there are few persons going there (It is good if you prefer fewer people but not good for pictures). After taking obligatory pictures of the famous site (albeit silhouetted), we descended down to the lake itself and boy oh boy, it was majestic! The waters are so clear that if you are afraid of the water you don’t want to look down as you could see the limestone spikes below (The swimming area is actually a small fraction of the lake itself and life vests are obligatory). I tell you now that you have to see it as pictures does not do it any justice. We of course took a dip but some of us are not used to brackish waters so there are unintentionally funny pictures produced (that will never see the light of day).
After spending about an hour on Kayangan, we headed to our last destination for today: Siete Picados. It is a collection of seven limestone islets (akin to Hundred Islands) that has beautiful corals below. The wind was actually so strong here that none of us on the tour brave to swim around these islands but there was this boat nearby with a glass bottom where you can view the corals around the islets (you have to ‘donate’ Php 25 per person to ride the boat). While there are some usual and interesting corals, some of them are unfortunately have already been damaged.
After resting a few minutes, we headed back to Lualhati Park and I’m pondering that the day passed could already be the highlight of the trip with all of the wonderful things and experience we did. But our day is not yet finished as in a few hours we are going on a night tour…