Coron Island Tour Review Part 2 - Coron Island Tour

Friday, September 07, 2012

Just so there's no confusion, the Coron Island Tour is a tour package that involves attractions around Coron Bay. It's different from the Island Hop Tour, which involves islands that are further away. We will cover the Island Hop tour in the next part. Both tours are covered by the Calamian Group Tours or Tour Group. I can't remember. That said, on with the article!

The tour group pickup van arrived on time, picked us up, and sent us off to the docks where a boat with other tourists was waiting for us. The sucky part is that we weren't supposed to be the ones picked up on the hotel that day because some guy in the tours agency forgot to put our names in the manifest. Two other people, people who were sitting beside us in the lobby were the ones supposed to be picked up. So the van had to go back. Let's just say many an awkward stare was thrown that morning. In any case, we were already on the boat and there was no way in hell they are going to pull us out without me threatening to sink the boat with our gigantic hotel room key keychain. Nobody asked us to leave so I let the boatmen use it as an anchor instead.

The sun was definitely much better than the previous day. We traveled together with a large family with three kids and two other couples, including, you know, the ones we left behind. I told myself that those two were drug smugglers and they're just getting a bit of karma. It made dealing with them a lot easier for the rest of the day.

Our first stop was the Kayangan Lake. The boat entered a cove and docked near a set of really steep steps along a mountain path. Whatever stress we avoided with Mt. Tapyas the day before came back to haunt us here instead. We signed a log book before climbing up, probably so that they'd know whose body it is that gets recovered in case one of us gets eaten by mountain bears (hint: I cannot confirm or deny the existence of mountain bears in the island). The path up was steep and slippery, and I got to wonder a bit how in the world the people in Coron manage to hide the accidents that probably happen there on a weekly basis. (disclosure: I'm a pussy and I may exaggerate facts like this) Mosquitos were around, and for some reason the sunblock that I applied was like marijuana for these bloodsuckers, giving them a bad case of munchies they gladly satisfied by sucking on my cholesterol-laden blood. I hope they get a heart attack. After a hundred steps up, you get to take pictures on an iconic cliff overlooking the cove from where we entered. It was breathtaking, and judging from the height, if I fell from the vantage, that'd be the last breath I'd be taking as well. We went down another hundred steps and finally got to the lake. The steps were slippery, but one of the guys in our group told us that a few years back, the steps didn't even exist yet. Well what exactly did they do back then? Slide down in an avalanche of death and broken hope?

The lake looked like it was generated using 90s era PlayStation engine - but in a beautiful way. The water was ridiculously clear and the sharp triangular rocks underwater made it look like a death trap in tomb raider 2. I got excited, jumped in and realized too late that the water was actually at least 25 feet deep. Luckily, water dampens the sound when you scream like a bitch so nobody knew how scared I was when I realized that after two seconds I was still sinking with the surface slowly drifting away from me. I recovered, rose for air and pretended it was all good. Anna got to test her underwater camera with mostly shots of me diving, or to be more specific, of what my butt and legs look like while diving. The water was brackish, but it was mostly freshwater so it kind of tasted like soup. I didn't want to incur any illness that will cause involuntary shitting so I happily spit the rest out.

Anna's waterproof camera's batteries conked out at this point, much to our disappointment, and probably to yours too if you're expecting pictures of the next few paragraphs.

The next stop of our tour was the Twin Lagoons. To enter the twin lagoon, we went into a similar cove as with Kayangan Lake. We were told that the entrance of that lagoon got really shallow during low tide so it would be best if we kept our visit short. Worst case scenario, we'd have to get off the boat and push it over a wall of corals. That'd be the boat equivalent of having to push start a car with a dead battery. Realizing that getting marooned in a lagoon is bad and getting marooned in that lagoon with a pair of drug smugglers was worse, I was more than glad to agree.  We docked in a wooden port that was four kawayans wide, proped on the side of a cliff wall by four more rickety bamboos. Then we dove into the water through a slippery ladder at the end of it. Anna had a hard time crossing this area due to her knee. When I found out later on that our boat had its own ladder that we couldve used to hop off and then just swim to the entrance of the other lagoon, I secretly wanted to punch somebody in the nuts. I didn't know who. I just wanted to.


The crossing between the two lagoons was nice. It reminded me of that time we'd play on the beach as a kid, dig two parallel trenches and try to dig a connecting tunnel between them. The water was brackish as well, but this time it was saltier. I told myself I should really stop trying to taste the water everywhere I went because dysentery is not funny. Other than that there wasn't really anything else to the twin lagoons.

After Twin Lagoons, we headed for Beach 19. They named the beach that, I assume, because they just ran out of names in the Shitty Names Department that day. Honestly though, it's because Coron has so many white sand beaches that after a while they just stopped bothering putting in tourist-catchy names on them, slapped a number on each of them, and went for the "Come to Coron, we got more beaches than all the bars of Ermita combined!" Lunch was served consisting of Grilled squid, fish, chopped pork loins, rice and assorted fruits. After eating a carpenter's fill, I proceeded to give that appendicitis myth a punch in the guts by swimming right after. It's been half a day already and I had yet found a decent place to go watch fish. Of course I was pissed. Thankfully you did not have to go far to see fish. They were five steps away from the shore. The best part about this beach? We didn't have to climb a mountain, or mount a rickety old kawayan bridge. It's just the beach, the water, the fish, and the occasional sea urchin that seems to taunt you saying "I have spikes. Your move, fucker."

After everybody's had their fill, we headed for a nearby shoal five minutes away from the beach. We were told that there was a sunken ship underneath. The ship being Japanese, of WW2 era, and deep enough for snorkeling, I got excited. I threw my vest in the water and jumped after it. I landed right above the wreck, and it was a very eerie, somber sight. The sunlight piercing the water formed beams that highlighted the ghostly bow of the ship rising from the darkened deep water. Sometime seventy years ago, some American pulled a trigger on his plane that dropped a bomb that sunk this ship, killing some of its crew, and dooming the ship to its permanent shallow grave. Knowing the weight of the scenario before me, we did the only thing that we could at the time.

We started feeding fish with pieces of bread.

Well, what exactly do you do? The place teemed of sealife and large fish. It was kind of a circle of life thing. After feeding on fish for lunch, we proceeded feeding fish. That'd be like a TRex eating a human being and then giving his companion burgers in return.

The water was itchy because SCUBA divers in the area were causing some of the plankton from the bottom to rise up and irritate my skin, and the sunken boat was at least 18 feet deep so I could only do so much to try and reach it without drowning and accidentally joining its lost crew in the afterlife. Still, it was a pretty awesome experience.

The last stop of the boat was the twin peaks, which rose in the middle of Coron bay. The current in the water was a bit strong and for some reason the boat we were riding on just had to stop far from the shallow parts. The waters were a bit murky since it was raining the night before. Other than that, I have no complaints. The only real reason I couldn't enjoy most of the experience was that I needed to pee because of the copious  amounts of soft drinks that I drank during lunchtime - and for some reason I couldn't bring myself to pee on the water. Call it years of breeding and not getting piss drunk. After a while I convinced myself it's okay. I traced the currents and did it where I was sure no people would accidentally swallow it. Moving oooooooooooon.

Our boat was huge and low tide has set in, so when we returned to Coron town, we couldn't really dock at the same place where we got on the boat during the morning. Instead, we were taken to the industrial dock. Unfortunately, the docks were also full, so the boatmen lashed our boat into another boat, which was attached to the dock (and barely) with a wooden plank that wobbled with the waves. IT. WAS. CRAZY. Thankfully the boatmen supported us along the way so nobody had to make an accidental dive in the shallow but semi-polluted water.

It was still a bit early when we got back at the lodge so after rinsing ourselves of saltwater and partial piss, we took a stroll in town to buy batteries for Anna's camera and find food. After a few rounds, we decided to eat at the tourist trap place again. I ordered sisig while Anna got Sultana De Coron, which is basically assorted seafoods with Squid Ink sauce on a sizzling plate. It was actually very delicious and I wanted to go back and eat it again if I could.

We returned to the promenade and took some more pictures. The weather was definitely clearer so we got better shots. The zipline attraction was kind enough to actually show to us what we missed yesterday by having another pair of zipliners stuck in the middle of the two zipline towers.

Coron can be so accommodating sometimes. 

1 comment:

infiniti said...

I'm gonna return again someday to Coron and touch the bow(?) of that sunken ship.

Beautiful place by the way.

 

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