Friday, March 8, 2013

Coron 2013

My mom and step dad came home from the states and to really enjoy the tropical offerings of the Philippines (they live in a Michigan --in the upper peninsula! brrrr!!!) we decided to have a triple date at the beach. As there are so many beautiful beaches in the Philippines, we really had a hard time trying to decide where. 

None of us has ever been to Coron before and we've heard so many great things about it --so we packed our bags, lathered on sun screen, and prepared ourselves for a breathtaking vacation to one of the most beautiful places in the Philippine's Final Frontier: Coron, Palawan!

Day 1:

At the airport killing time before our flight. I came straight from work here, but my body knew not the word "tired", for I looked at pictures of Coron and I was too excited!

From the airplane, this was the view that greeted us. I swear, I wanted to jump right out of the plane!! Too beautiful! hello Paradise!!

RANT. On the third picture, clockwise, notice the smoke coming off the island. That is smoke from kaingin, which is the illegal burning of trees. This really made me mad because from the sky, you could not NOT notice the bald patches on the island, which was a total eyesore. And prior to coming to Palawan, I've researched on their flora and fauna and learned that there are already so many endangered and even extinct species --species that are (or were) endemic to the island!! Okay, rant over. Let's just enjoy the rest of the pictures.

I booked our holiday through a travel agency and it was the first time that I did so --it was pretty cool since they took care of everything; plane tickets, accommodations, transfers and tours. Additionally, this greeted us from the Busuanga airport:

Yeah, that's right, that's my name on the sign. Pretty cool, huh.

Our flight was delayed for 3 hours so we arrived pretty late. From Busuanga Airport to Coron Town Proper was about an hour drive. It was twilight when we got there.

We stayed at this really adorable budget place called Ralph's Pension. The owner, Jun, was really very accommodating --though I cannot say the same for the staff, but I think they were all pretty new so I'll give them a break. -__-

All the rooms at Ralph's had a name, like Patrick, Babydoll, Jun's suite, etc and everything felt very homey. Ralph, as it turned out, was also a UST graduate (same batch as I am, 2009! cool!) and funnily enough, he looked just like one Ralph that I know! Ralph "Rinn" Zulueta! Amazeballs!

After settling down at Ralph's, we decided to head out for dinner. One thing to note when going to Coron though is that power supply is worst than Boracay and Guimaras --they have blackouts everyday for long periods of time, and when I say long periods I mean hours. The poor power supply is one of the main reasons why services are expensive (not super expensive, but pricier than most anyway) in Coron.

We had dinner in this al fresco restaurant near our place. The restaurant was called Lolo Nonoy's and they had these really cute nipa huts. The food was okay, nothing spectacular, except for maybe the super black Adobong squiddies! yummy! 

And although the staff (and I'm referring to the wait staff) was really very good, they were all smiles and very helpful, the kitchen wasnt very organized. We waited 30 minutes for our food, which were all just grilled stuff and our Sinigang na Salmon Head came an hour later! We ended up just taking it out and giving it to the staff at Ralph's. Boo.

at Lolo Nonoy's. left to right: My mom, myself, Princess Karlie Mionette Thermopolis of Genovia, My brother bear and his bodyguard, I mean, girlfriend.

After dinner, we headed out into the balmy Coron night to see what Coron's night life had to offer. Turns out, they had none to offer! 

Of course, I really didnt expect Coron to have a very happening night life, as my friend and cousin already told me --but I didnt expect it to be so dead. (After our tour, my brother said that everyone would be pretty pooped from exploring the the island in the day that most would be too tired to go out at night anyway)

As per Jun's recommendation, we went to Subasco Disco Bar. When we got there, this was around 9pm, the staff was already having dinner and cleaning up. Subasco is behind Kamayan Grill. Im not too sure if Subasco is still operational as a bar/disco or if its now just a restaurant , I forgot to ask. 

Kamayan Grill (subasco disco bar at the back of the restaurant)

I crossed the street and asked a tricycle driver where we could get a nice cold beer, maybe there's a place he'd like to recommend. The driver proudly told me that there is a Hardrock in the town proper and I was like "Yeahay! Hardrock cafe!!"

We took a tricycle to Hardrock and it was not what we expected. LOLOLOL!!!

It wasnt Hardrock Cafe at all! it was a sleazy beer house with GROs (guest relations officers or just a fancy name for prostitutes). Most of its clientele were local workers and dirty old foreigners looking for a "love you long time me sucky sucky only $5"

Hardrock Disco Bar. the most happening place in Coron. I immediately texted my cousin, Cenla, who lived in Coron up until a few months ago, about the tricycle driver recommending Hardrock. She found this reallly funny and said perma-vacationers called this place the "no choice bar".

In a desperate quest for something cold to drink, we walked around the town proper and ended up hereat Bistro, which was a very nice place just across Ralph's.

Bistro i think is owned by a diver. 

They have this wreck dive porn picture on the wall. This gave me a diver boner so bad -- i thinked I jizzed myself. Unfortunately, we didnt have enough time to take the 5 hour trip to the dive sites so I promised myself that I will comeback this year, 2013, and diiiiiiive!!

Day 2:

Here comes the real Coron experience! 

Coron Port waiting for our outrigger!

First stop: CYC island! its a small island with a real shoreline and lots of mangroves (most islands in Palawan, not just Coron, are quite unfriendly and don't have a shore as they are mostly big rock formations. So if you are shipwrecked and washed along the waters of Palawan, you'd most likely just die -__- ).

We snorkeled there and I was quite disappointed at first because it was super shallow and all i could see were schools of really small fishies and lots of sea weeds but as it turns out, just a couple of meters off the shore is a deep drop and there you will find nice corals and more colorful and bigger fishes like different species of parrot fishes including a humphead, clown fish, different species of puffer fishes, I think I saw a blue tang (Dory, finding nemo) and many more.

Most epic jumpshot in the island. Look at Dada's face. Cracks me up everytime! hahahaha

Next stop: Calachuchi Coral Garden and I think this is Twin Peaks as well... not too sure! Sorry, no underwater pictures!

 The waters are so beautiful!
 ehem ehem.. and so am I!! hahaha :problem?:

 Around this rock (this is the Calachuchi Coral Eden) are soooooooo many small jellyfishes. I got stung so many times. Gah!

After snorkeling at Coral Garden was lunch at Bulungan Beach. Our lunch was being grilled in the boat itself!!

Bulungan is a small island with, I think, 3 nipa huts, if i remember correctly.

Our lunch, c/o the tour company:

Yes, that's right, that's lato-lato (seaweed)

After a very, very filling lunch we headed to the spectacular Hidden Lagoon. No words can describe this place accurately. I felt like I was in a movie, The Beach or Blue Lagoon or some other movie set in paradise, a paradise hidden behind formidable looking rocks.

And just when I thought nothing can top off this place, they bring us to Kayangan Lake. Oh lord Jesus sweet son of Mary. i can't even.. it's just... gaaaaaah T_T SO.BEAUTIFUL.I.DIED.

70% fresh water, 30% salt water. Yup, it's true --I tasted it. Hopefully the 30% salt is not from wee-wee. 


 Let the pictures speak for themselves.

We were pretty pooped after the island hopping. We were supposed to go out with Rodney, my cousins's boyfriend who lived in Coron (he used to have a bar and souvenir shop called Kuweba) but we were too tired.

That night we had dinner at Kamayan Grill.

Day 3: Town Proper tour and souvenir shopping

 My mom buying souvenirs from Rodney at Coron Backpackers Guesthouse. All of Rodney's souvenirs are handcrafted by him --too bad he didn't have his hand painted t-shirts. boo!

TJ, owner of Coron Backpackers Guesthouse, my stepdad Art, my mom Pinky, myself, Rodney and Karlita Joy Zaragoza viuda de Ayala

The heat was scorching and the air was so humid that we were dying for something really cold. But, since Coron's power supply is really bad, ice cream, fruit shakes or anything cold is not so easy to find. (there was a small cafe in front of Ralph's but I didnt know about it until before we had to leave --bought watermelon shakes and it took them 30 minutes to have it ready)

But despite the heat, little miss Fasyown felt the need to wear leather boots. Kill me now.

This is a highly recommended eatery in Coron but we were not yet hungry so we just ordered halo-halo. They were the only place that served halo-halo.

Forgot to take a picture. I'm not sure if their halo-halo was really good or I was just really craving for something cold. Dada and Karl said it was good --I guess I should take it from them, theyre halo-halo connoisseurs after all.

 Seeing this made us realize that Coron means Cauldron (kulon in ilonggo) it was really an "aaaaah" moment.

We got ourselves some ref magnets, of course trinkets from Rodney, and Dada and I got matching wreck diver shirts although we didnt get a chance to dive. (soon, Coron, soon!)

So that's it for our Coron Adventure. 3 days 2 nights really wasn't enough --there are so many things to do and most of them are in different islands. There's the wreck dives, number one; Kulion Leper Colony; the Calauit Safari, Malcapuya island and many more. So till next time, Coron, till next time. 

I'm planning to go back on November! :D

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