Sunday, April 11, 2010

Coron Day 1 - Coron Town Tour

Hey guys! I'm back from Coron. Here's my story:

Our semi-annual family vacation trip this year was in Coron. As always, I am the trip director and organizer thus I made some research. 1 month prior we had decided on going to the town. It had been for several years that Boyet wanted to visit Kayangan Lake and we had chosen between going to Batanes and Busuanga. The Batanes trip had been too expensive for us. So, we opted for Busuanga instead.

After the decision had been made, I did further research and we booked our flight. We flew via Cebu Pacific because at that time they offered the lowest fare. However, 2 weeks after, my cousin Ria decided to join us in that trip and booked with PAL whose price was way lower than ours. It turned out that both airlines would be delayed at some point. Our flight was delayed for 2 hours going to Coron while Ria's flight was delayed for about 3 hours going back to manila.

Day 1.

Our flight left NAIA 3 at almost 12 noon and an hour after we landed on the tiny airstrip of Busuanga. Like all the other times, Cebu Pacific was late for a little over 2 hours. When it finally landed, the plane bounced off the ground once before it did finally touchdown. Scary eh? It wasn't my first time to experience that with them so I wasn't scared anymore. The worst I gave was a shrug and a squirk. I left out on the arrangement for the airport transfers for this trip. Apparently, though, the lodge we were booked with arranged it for us. We had to pay 150 pesos per person. Quite expensive for approximately a 20 kilometer trip from the airport to Coron town but we didn't have a choice. There was no other means of transportation. I was just happy that the van was there.

We got to the Coron Village Lodge at almost 2 pm. Our first lunch was right there at the lodge since it was late and we were all starved from that dreadful trip. Sadly, there's very little vegetable choices at the resto. Lunch consisted of just tuna with lemon butter sauce and sinigang na baboy for soup and veggies. I can't say food was good but it wasn't really bad either.

We decided to stay at the lodge till Ria arrived. Anyway, we wanted to take some nap after lunch. When finally my cousin came at about 4 pm, we took a tricyle to a local resto to reserve for some barbecued pork and rice so they can cook for us while we were at Mt. Tapyas. after that, we grabbed some mineral water and took off the the Mountain.

The fee for going up Mt. Tapyas was 100 pesos per guest. Nearly all places in Coron had fees. Some say it is really to help maintain the place. There were 724 steps going up to the top of Mount Tapyas. At the 500th plus step, I stopped and told my family to go ahead. I didn't want to risk having any pain on my knee because I was afraid that if it ever happens, it might not go away until after our trip. At first, they didn't want to leave me behind probably thinking that I was just too scared or too tired to walk up any further. But then, I was determined not to leave the spot where I was. They said there was a huge cross at the top. This was supposedly the mark of Coron from afar. All that 724 steps were quite steep. Fortunately for the visitors there were landings after every 10 or 15 and there were shades spread out through the stretch. From where I was a panoramic view of the Coron Bay could be seen. I was told it was quite beautiful up there.

It was almost 5:30 when we got down from Mt. Tapyas. From there, we just picked up the food that we had ordered and went our way to Maquinit Hot Spring. The road was half good and half really, really dusty and rough.

There are 4 pools at Maquinit. Despite the 50 pesos entrance fee, there were more visitors than I had expected but there was enough space for everyone. The water was hot at 40 degrees centigrade and stung at first. But as soon as we were immersed in the pool, it became pleasantly cooler and relaxing. The trick is not to get intimated by the warmth at the start because the body does acclimatize.

Although the water was really pleasant, I didn't really like the feel of the slimy moss on the stones and walls. These guys are thermophilic and could withstand the heat. Also, I didn't like how the pool was under illuminated. on the topmost pool, it was a bit eerie because it was underlit and the pool appeared dark in that area probably because of the growth on the walls and ground.

We stayed there for an hour. There were some huts that lined the side of the park all the way to the entrance. The great thing is that there was a sari-sari store inside that sold a lot of things including soft drinks, chips and noodles - enough to feed the hungry guests after a dip at the warm pool. It did make some back and leg aches go away. After all it was like a hot compress.

On the way back to the lodge, we stopped by Manang Lita's Cashew Store. I figured there wouldn't be any time to do that in the next few days so it was an opportunity to do it then. After that we went back to the lodge, and retired early. It was going to be an early start for us the following day.

To be continued...

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