Thursday, June 18, 2015

Lived to Discover Coron, Palawan


Are you one of those who sit around stewing in their own juices when the Lord says, “Get up, my child, and do the work I have called you to do.” I stumbled upon this verse in Haggai chapter 2 of the Bible. If you'll notice BE STRONG is repeated three times for emphasis' sake. Haggai seems to suggest comfort in the thought that such admonition was needed at such a time as well as now when the people he was speaking to were so depressed. 
Three times in verse 4 God says, “Be strong.” Rise up and do the work of God. Be strong in the face of difficult and do the work of God. Don’t let anything stop you. Be strong and work!  

You see, I was back there again, on that phase in my life where I would dwell in the past seeing how I failed on my own terms, not being able to have a grasp of what I had dreamt of when I was young. With that, I almost lost track of blogging from the heart and I still have a bunch of articles yet to be finished. To add to that are disappointments and more unfinished tasks.

Nevertheless, because there was Someone far greater than any disappointments and failures and problems combined, who always (without falter) lights my path and guides me back the right track, I was able to pull myself through and found strength, in spite of having a heavy heart.

Case in point, I was invited by a friend to a tour in Coron.  You could have imagined how my face have lighted up when I received the invitation.  I could finally get away from stress for a while and get back on track, a much needed R and R can surely boost up my morale and find more time to live my life.  But then, on the day of flight to Busuanga, our trip got cancelled.  Then, a project where I had put my best foot forward somehow did not really materialize, not in the way I was hoping for, blah, blah, blah, blah.

At the peak/view deck of Kayangan Lake (raw photo taken with my Samsung K Zoom)
Then, came two weeks after, I saw myself taking a deep breath of fresh air and marveling at the beauty beyond life's toxicity.  There I was checking out another entry in my bucket list - Coron.

Coron offers an array of activities both for the local and foreign tourists.  I have not read any blogs on it yet, but having heard from friends of their experiences, I expected to be bathe in nature's abounding presence.  Thanks to Pete Dacuycuy for organizing a splendid three-day/two-nights tour at Coron and Culion, Palawan. This wouldn't be possible without Skyjet Airlines and Asia Grand Hotel accommodations.

So I took God's word for it!  When He said "Be strong," I just had to leave my kids behind for two days and worry not about them while I discover one of Palawan's many jewels.  With this I can plan better ahead our family's next Palawan adventure.  Also, to literally be strong, I made sure that my body can handle any challenges that awaits me.  One major example is reaching the iconic peak of Kayangan Lake and be able to seat on a cliff rock making the breath-taking blue lagoon as my backdrop.

I'm so overwhelmed by this tour, so I'll be sharing different features of our flight with Skyjet and my uber relaxing RnR at Asia Grand View Hotel.  For this particular blog post I will be sharing our itinerary and some photos of our island tours.

First Day:

11:30 am                   Manila - Coron via Skyjet
12:30 pm                  Arrival to Busuanga Airport
1:00 pm                    Arrival to Coron
                                  Lunch @Asia Grand View Hotel/Check in
2:00pm                     Start of Coron Island tour
                                 CORON ISLAND TOUR
                                 Kayangan Lake
                                 Maquinit Hotspring
7:30pm                     Buffet Dinner at hotel

The island tour can cost at about P 2000 per pax for a min of 6 pax.  This may include Lunch, Private boat, private van or tricycle, entrance fees, mask and snorkel, snacks and drinks and a very reliable tour guide from the hotel.

Second Day

6:00 - 8:00 am         Buffet Breakfast
8:30am                     Culion Tour
                                 Culion Spanish Church
                                 Culion Museum
12:00noon                Lunch and Snorkeling at Pass Island
3:00 pm                    CYC Coral Garden Snorkeling
4:00 pm                    Lusong Gunboat Snorkeling
5:00 pm                    Visit to Sangat Resort
7:00 pm                    Head back to AGVH
8:00 pm                    Buffet Dinner with Tribal Show
10:00pm                   Massage at the Spa

Third Day

5:30am                   Sunset Viewing and trek to Mt. Tapyas
7:00am                   Buffet Breakfast at AGVH
8:30am                   Visit Kasuy Factory and Souvenir Shop
10:30am                 Depart to Busuanga Airport
12:00noon              Flight Busuanga - Manila

Infinity pool and a view of the garden rooms of Asia Grand View Hotel
My first day in Coron was with a  warm welcome from the staff of Asia Grand View Hotel headed by Ms. Rohanne Bolohabo. 

Accommodation starts at P6,600 nett up to P 7,700 nett.  Will talk more about this and their cool amenities on my next blog posts.  

The suggested itinerary above was carefully curated by the staff of the hotel and they made sure that everything was well taken care of.  From the first ride to the hotel from the airport up to our last hour at Coron.  

So I would suggest that getting a reliable tour agent is still a better idea than doing a DIY tour specially if your time-constrained, traveling with kids, and you can't afford to get into any hassle.   

PORT OF CORON

Every Island tour begins and ends here at Coron sea port.  The Port is at Bgy. Tagumpay, about 1.5 kms. from the town proper.  Causeway is connected to a single two-way asphalt road going to town proper.  Hotels such as Coron Gateway Hotel, Divine Castle Travelers Inn and a few more are situated near the wharf along with the commercial center and market.

KAYANGAN LAKE


The closer you get to this famous Coron island destination, more and more towering limestone formations and underwater rock formations will greet you.  The crystal clear waters are just as inviting.  Getting here will take you 20 minutes of motorized boat ride from the port.  We came a little late when it was already low tide so docking became a bit of a problem, since our boat has to stay meters away from the docking area not to damage any corals, so we got out of the boat with the water that's above my knee level and walked towards the gateway to the uphill trek.



Here's moi all excited to see what's behind the cliff.  We were told that we needed to go up 300 steps to reach what had been said as Southeast Asia's cleanest saltwater lake.  It was actually 150 uneven steps made of stones and 150 descending steps to the lake. 


I took this shot, while catching my breath and resting my legs, some steps were a bit high for me and having to carry a waterproof bag with some gadgets is not that easy.  This spot probably is halfway to the famous viewing area, where you can get that postcard-ready photo.


TADAH!   I know, this photo doesn't do justice to it's splendor.  I reached this spot at around 4 pm, not the best hour to shoot this beauty.  I suggest that you have your tour here scheduled in the morning.  But still, nothing like it anywhere else!



Here is the lake. Kayangan Lake is mostly freshwater and slightly brackishwater underneath.  There is an entrance fee of 100 pesos (included in the tour price) of which you can swim and snorkel at the lake or ride the bancas (for an additional fee), we were only given less than 30 minutes to enjoy the lake and we then have to climb back and down again to the gateway.  Below are photos takn from my action camera.


Aside from swimming and snorkeling, you can also explore a cave where you needed to swim below the water to get inside.  Above photo shows the inside of the cave with the opening on the middle.


This was outside the cave and with Aylin of thedailyposh.net and Gem, our tour guide, we were seating at a huge rock.


The rocks below where we were seating.  Sorry for this shot!  I may be an eye sore cause at this point, I was just getting to it.  Need a little more practice with the SJ25.


Underwater shot of some of the volcanic stone formations below the water.


Underwater shots with Aylin outside the cave.


GREEN LAGOON


If you can't get enough of the huge limestone formations, and emerald green waters, Green Lagoon is another top of list suggestion.  




MAQUINIT Hot Springs


The people in Coron have believed since time immemorial how warm sea salt dip can be beneficial to health.  So the team of AGVH made sure we visited and tried Maquinit Hot Springs.  Aside form the fact that Maquinit is one of the very few saltwater hot springs in the world, it is also one of the top tour destination in Coron Island.  

Some of the benefits of hot salt-water dips are natural water sanitation, treat swelling and edemaand helps relieve muscle tightness. Salt water has a natural sanitizing effect that fresh water does not. The sanitizing effect of salt means that a salt water hot tub needs less chlorine for disinfection than a fresh water tub. Less chlorine means fewer irritations to the skin and eyes. With fewer chemicals, a salt water hot tub also has a more natural smell.

Salt water, by contrast, has a softening effect on skin. Salt is a common ingredient in many skincare products.  Lastly, According to the Arthritis Foundation, heat therapy methods like hot tubs can be used to relieve joint pain. In addition to the pain relief from the heat, the water provides an almost weightless environment that relieves stress and pressure on joints.

After our island hopping tour, we took a 30-min ride, a bit bumpy, towards Sitio Maquinit, Barangay Tagumpay, which is south of Coron.  You can either go there with a tricycle ride or hire a van from the town proper of Coron.  The entrance for an unlimited stay at the resort is only P 150.  Though I couldn't say if you can last 3 more hours dipping in the hot pools, I would suggest you bring food and arrange a picnic, huts and tables and chairs are well arranged all over for your convenience.  

Make sure to bring your own towels, and plenty of cold bottled water to cool down your body's temp after the dip.













4 comments:

  1. Very inspiring story Joy. I haven't been to Coron praying our plan trip next month would push through. Kasama mo pla my dear friend & bride's maid, Aylin. I hope we could travel together. :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Marjorie, thanks for dropping by. I'm glad you got inspired:) I'm sure you will also love Coron. And yes, traveled with Aylin. Hoping we could tour next time.

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