Malcapuya/Banana Island Hop - Coron Island Tour Review Part 3

Monday, September 10, 2012

Day 3

Since the day before we almost missed the frigging boat, I triple confirmed my name on the tour manifest. We rode a boat manned by a guy named EDI (eeh-dee). There's a Mass Effect joke there somewhere. The group we joined was a lot smaller this time consisting of a chummy older caucasian guy, his filipina wife, a Bisaya-speaking Croatian woman (totall caught me offguard. good thing I didn't speak too loudly when I said she was cute) and her timid pinoy husband. Also joining us was a solo backpacker named Kai, who for all intents and purposes, looked and spoke like a poor man's Ruffa Guttierrez.

Our first stop was Malcapuya Beach. I was surprised at the distance we had to cover to get there, since the Coron Island tour destinations the day before were mere minutes apart. This time, the first trip took an hour. Thankfully, the American guy was being typically American and was entertaining everybody by asking the living daylights out of the tourguide.

Malcapuya isn't exactly big. It's probably less than a kilometer wide in a crescent arc. The beach is made of fine white sand, and since we didn't really get a lot of chance to beach bum the day before, this was a welcome sight. Our tourguide, Isay, told us that some dude bought the island back in the 70s for a measly 3,000 pesos, who then built a house in the middle of the island and then lived off the entrance fees of the island and incessant gloating for the last 40 years. I didn't really get to catch the owners name, but I assume it's Lucky Asshole McBastard III. About 200 meters away from the beach, there was a buoy that marked the coral reefs. Isay told us that we should swim there to get a good view. Everybody except the Bisaya guy and the Ruffa clone went. I wandered around the crags of the island a bit more at the opposite end. The rocks made the fish look like they're in an aquarium and I personally just wanted to stay there, seeing as I'm now even further away from the buoy. But since I'll probably never hear the end of it if I didn't go, I told myself the 300 meter swim is probably worth it. It damn well should. It took me a while to get there, since I was dragging a vest tethered to me by a rope. The corals were not as colorful as I imagined, but there were lots of Giant Clams with shells that'll probably be used by the Little Mermaid if she happened to start having obesity problems. After I got there, the Croat approached me and asked me in Tagalog if she could borrow my goggles. I lent it to her, because as it turns out she lost her diving mask AND snorkel fastener. I honestly don't know how you can do that in the middle of the sea. By the time she found it, I only had a few minutes left to enjoy the reef before we had to swim back, which was kind of a bitch. But what the heck? it was worth it.

Our next stop was Banana Island which was right across Malcapuya. Isay told us that Banana Island was purchased at a more expensive 50k pesos (compared to Malcapuya anyway). On disembarking, she gave us bread to feed the fish. I was hungrier, so I ate one of mine instead. Banana Island sat very closely to a coral ridge, filled with, yes you guessed it - corals. Feeding the fish with bread was fun, at least until we saw dart-like fishes and longer swordfishes lingering about. I had no intention of being skewered by the very fish I'm trying to feed so we disposed of the bread as soon and as far from my genitals as possible. Our guide later pointed out a viewing deck which required you to climb a pretty steep semi-cliff. Naturally, I declined and opted to just pick shells and various mineral rocks with Anna instead. No laborious climbing. Yay.

Lunch was a treat. There were fewer people on the boat this time, but the amount of food was still aplenty. And since half of the people on the boat were women, us men had to step up to the role of turning the feast into a barren wasteland of leftovers and chewed up bones. Much later that day, I was really glad that I ate a lot.

On a minor sidenote, Banana Island did not have Bananas. The owner probably realized that everybody who goes to the island starts looking for Bananas so he planted some, probably weeks earlier, by the entrance of his lodge. But that's just making excuses if you ask me.

The weather during our stay in Banana Island started to turn a bit sour but it was still mostly manageable. It was already partially raining when we left so it wasn't too big a surprise.

Our next stop was a sandbar close to one of the classier resorts. We were told that the place had lots of jellyfish about so swimming isn't exactly the best idea. I kind of felt bad since apart from the forced swim that I did in Malcapuya earlier, I haven't really gotten my fill yet of seawater fun. We did photoops, and Anna happily collected sand dollars, which I said belonged to mermaids, and they'd come looking for it if she didn't return it. The sandbar disappeared shortly before we left, which was a bit disappointing.

I didn't even get to order drinks.

On the way home, that was when the weather started getting really foul. And by foul, I don't mean ten foot waves. Coron's too gentle for that. The wind did pick up, and the rain dropped the visibility to about five meters around the boat. Captain Edi told us to put our stuff inside the boat's locker. We put our stuff in but kept our towel, figuring it might be useful in keeping warm. Kai, who at the time was just wearing her bikini top and bottom, was in for the washing down of her life. Now there really wasn't any danger of getting destroyed by waves, but the wind was so strong, the canopy above us offered no protection from the rain that went in sideways. I changed places with Kai since she was up front and since I have no appetite for having somebody die of hypothermia in my vacation. My towel instantly became a makeshift windbreaker so Anna and Kai at the back didn't have to absorb too much rain. On the other side of the boat, the Croatian's wife didnt have a towel and resorted to using the lid of the trashbin. Anna shared her towel with Kai, who was visibly shaking and whose lips was turning not-so-sexy purple. I told Anna it's probably got something to do with the Sand Dollars not being returned to the mermaids. It was funny for a while, until I started thinking if my own bullshit had some nugget of truth in it. Rain slapping your face repeatedly makes you think of such things.

The trip lasted for about an hour. It felt like being in an open-top convertible on a five kilometer drive-in carwash. The old man from Minessota looked like he was enjoying it. I suppose given the frigid, forbidding temperatures of their lakes back home, this rain might as well be a warm shower at the gym. Edi told us that in the event that the boat sinks, it wont completely sink, and we can still climb on top of the canvas roof. Needless to say, Edi would have made a bad psychiatrist.

After getting lost once (and intentionally, as Edi quipped), we finally reached Coron's bay. It was actually interesting because despite the fact that it was raining hardcore outside the mountainous enclosure of the bay, inside, the weather was somewhat sunny. The blast of warm air as we entered the bay felt like the best kind of non-sexual bukakke anybody would ever ask for.

Disembarking this time was not as hard, although we had to cross two boats chainlinked together just to be able to reach the dock. I nearly fell again, but I figured even if I did, at least the water this time was somewhat cleaner. We rode the van straight home where we proceeded to squeeze about six liters of water from our towels and swimwear.

Later in the evening we tried the seafood resto named Kawayanan. We ordered the seafood platter. I won't go to lengths. The food was disappointing. Portions were small. Even the platter was undersized. I had a feeling the mosquitos in that place got more from us than us from our food. 

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