Monday, July 27, 2009

Coron Island Hopping During Typhoon


Day 4 My Birthday! 

A sad surprise, it was raining mad outside. We weren't able to hike Mt. Tapyas. It was really raining hard & I remembered the calm sea the night before, "it's the calm before the storm". The flights were cancelled. Thinking of what to do that gloomy morning, we just enjoyed a breakfast of pancakes. I didn't intend to spend the whole day in the hotel room, so even the weather is weird, Ma'am Cinch and I pushed through with the island hopping. Besides we are already used to that activity.


We first went to CYC Island; we weren't the only crazy people there. There's also another group. It's nice to bathe in the sea with rough rain but they say it causes allergies. The sea water is warm but the raindrops are harsh when they hit sun burnt skin. 



We went to Beach 91, a small beach cove. It's a beautiful one, like your own personal beach & it is more beautiful during summer time. We bathe for a long time. The bottom half of the water is warm and the upper half is totally freezing due to the non-stop rain. It’s our first time to experience that.

 For lunch, we enjoyed a very simple birthday buffet of bread, liver spread, polvoron & Coke. I always wanted to do new stuff on my birthday, so I can't just sit around. Ma'am Cinch told me that my addiction to beaches has gone deeper, but still she's supports me with it. Our hands are all wrinkled up.






The next beach is Atwayan Beach, it is not under your typical Coron Island hopping list. It's a nice spot, secretly located behind some islets. All day we were drenched cold so we wanted to go to the hot spring again. Our boatman Rodel is also fun to talk with; he told us some information on Coron. 
Atwayan Beach

Before heading to the hot spring, he took us to Siete Picados again. There they harvested some sea urchins for us to taste. The other boatman just dived right in with his net. Rodel shook the net to get rid of the sharp spikes. They peeled of the cover & threw it to the sea where fish came to surface to feed on the shells. But before we got the urchins, we first got permission from the caretaker. It's ok because sea urchins damage parts of the marine life there & posts danger to the divers.  They took the Urchins’ meat and put some vinegar on it. Again it was a first for both of us. It tasted ok having a creamy & sandy texture at the same time. It was also a good thing that we were tucked in the between the islets, a sudden storm came and it was unsafe if we were in the open water. We had to wait for it to subside.







The boatmen took us again to Maquinit Hot Spring. All day we looked forward to it, because it was so cold, the rain never stopped. I wish we could stay there longer. It's warm and comfy. We can even see the hot spring steaming. On our way back, the sea was really rough & looks scary but I didn't feel scared at all. Maybe it was the addiction kicking in. At least we reached Seadive safely.


Bye Coron, July 28

The next day, good thing our flight wasn’t cancelled. The almost 5 days of vacation was too long for me. I missed working. Hehe. I need to get back to reality.



I enjoyed traveling with my friends, I love sharing with them the beautiful places. I remember, we were always laughing at Teff because from time to time she would burst out saying, “ Ang ganda talaga ng Pilipinas”(The Philippines is really beautiful). I can’t blame her. When you are in the places like this, you won’t hesitate to voice out your feelings with such admiration. I also remember on my first time here, I described the place to be enchanting. And I think it’s true, anyone who visits this group of islands will forever be enchanted by it’s natural beauty.



Next time, when we’ll visit Calamianes, it would be in the hot summer days, & we will be venturing out further North, but we won’t forget Culion, my friends weren’t lucky to see the historical island. It’s a case of too many islands, so little time.  

DIY CORON: Owen can help you see the beauty of the Calamianes. Visit: http://diycoron.wordpress.com

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Banana Island & Malcapuya Island


Day 3 Gracey's Birthday! 

I woke up early and to my horror it was raining. I never got to see the sunrise. After breakfast, we took a dip in the sea. The rain stopped for some time. But on mid day, it rained hard and the wind picked up. The island owner told us that it wasn't safe to go to Culion so we just continued  to visit the nearby islands. The girls enjoyed sipping fresh coconut juice while at the island.
Banana Island only uses generator & solar power for electricity. Even the fresh water is scarce. Rain water is filtered and used to flush the toilets. In our huts we were provided with mosquito nets.









Banana Island
 We went to Malcapuya Island; it has a vast beige beach. What's common with the sand in Coron is that there are bits of pink/red corals. 

Malcapuya Island
 

 We dropped by Bulog Dos, which is a very small island with marble formations. A sad thing is that the islands are already owned by several resort , so in due time they won't be as pristine as they are now. We headed back to Coron Town that afternoon, the bay is very calm. That night we celebrated Grace's birthday at Bistro Coron, enjoyed pizza & Carbonara. 
Bulog Dos
 



Saturday, July 25, 2009

Coron Island Hopping Banana Loop


Day 2

We were up early that morning, met up with DIY group who were the ones who took us to a 2 Days trip-Coron-Banana Island Loop. We met Judith, the coordinator & Tommy & two boatmen. Our first hop is at Siete Picados. The 7 Islets serve as a marine sanctuary. Teff & Ma'am Cinch enjoyed snorkeling but they didn't see much fish or corals that time. 


The second hop is at Kayangan Lake, once had the title of the cleanest lake in the Philippines. There are so many boats then even if it wasn't peak season. Major impact on tourism was brought by the new flights from several airlines. Our boat was interlinked to the other boats in front of us, and we had to pass through them to reach the dock. It was high tide, the water reached mid-calf. The trek to the lake has always been an ordeal for some, but it's rewarding when you reached the Emerald lake. Teff & Judith immediately swam across. But we stayed on the sides upon the sharp rocks. The water is very clear and the school of fish didn't shy away.











At lunch, we ate in the picnic hut with our feet submerged in water. We enjoyed a yummy lunch of grilled small Tuna, liempo & enselada as side dish. From time to time, we would squirm or shriek a bit because crablets & shrimps kept on pinching our toes.  


 On our third hop, we went to Barracuda Lake. The three of us really don't know how to swim, so we had a hard time on the water. A boatman helped me reach the other portion of the lake. I sat on the sharp rocks. The lake water is brackish and shrimps kept on following us. The lake is so serene, tourist seldom go to that place. We had it all to ourselves. We also passed by the Twin Lakes but we weren't able to pass through because the cave entrance was filled with water due to the high tide.










On the 4th hop, we went to Banol Beach, one of my favorite places in Coron. It's protected by the Tagbanuas, it's a part of their ancestral land. 




Our last hop for the day is at Skeleton Wreck. Coron Bay is known for wreck diving, because during the World War2. Several Japanese Ships sank here. The girls snorkeled and there are so many fish gathering around them. Teff even saw a part of the ship, but it’s unrecognizable.






It’s already late afternoon when our big boat journeyed to Banana Island. We reached it through the rough seas just before sunset. The island is found at the southern part of the Calamianes. It has a vast span of white/ light beige beach with several huts. There were also tourists there from a cruise ship from Puerto Galera. I was watching the sunset while munching on honey-dipped cashew nuts, when Grace & Ma'am Cinch joined me. I lie down for a while staring at the sky, and wishing for the clear skies the next day.