A week after my Puerto Princesa- El Nido trip, I found myself (found talaga, parang di sinadya. ahahaha) back to the airport, this time with friends and now bound to the another island in Palawan.
We were all a little nervous about the weather, since it was raining heavily for several days before the trip. Thankfully the sky cleared up a bit on the day we were bound for Coron-- just little drizzles here and there. Our nervousness went back with full force when we saw the plane we'd be riding in:
|Yep, that tiny propeller plane. Dear Lord, the turbulence.|
But it wasn't so bad: just a sudden, tiny dip a few minutes before we landed. It left me and Al clenching our hands due to the sensation of having left our guts in mid-air, but aside from that, nothing really gut-wrenching. The landing was reminiscent of our Naga trip. It felt like that the giant baby who had been toying with our plane has suddenly lost interest and dropped our plane in mid-landing to pursue of other interests. Jarring, but not really frightening.
After filling up visitor forms in the arrival area of Busuanga airport, we went outside and found Kuya Jayjay, the DIY Coron van driver that Al contacted beforehand (fare: Php150 each one-way), waiting for us with his Alyssa-labeled signboard. And how cool is it that all van drivers in the waiting area were all wearing pink polo-shirts? Cool.
|Al blends just right in.|
We didn't leave immediately, as there are some fellow passengers still inside the airport, waiting for their baggage. That's one reason why I don't like checking-in my bag: it sometimes takes a very long time for them to be sorted out and claimed.
But anyway, the waiting time was a time well-spent, as I've finally understood how filters work, and maybe even improvise one. That is, if I can find a tiny bit of the material they used in that van's window. The pictures I took from inside the van looked much brighter and crispier, even though the window looked slightly tinted.
Coron Reef Pension House
Our accommodation sits beside the sea (not on the sea, as I've previously thought), and can accommodate ten people. It had an adequately-sized bathroom (just one, so bath schedules can be a bit of a hassle if nobody wants to share bath times), an air-conditioning, seven beds, and a fan. The room also came with bath towels. As an added bonus, there was a talking bird just outside the door that was so smart, it was able to mimic Jomai calling Guillard, and had been calling him ever since. All for Php 1500 a night (less than Php350 for each of us for the two nights already-- cheap-o!). And oh, I forgot, but there was also free coffee. Wow.
Coron One Pay System (or whatever they call that)
We were scheduled to climb the 700+ steps of Mt. Tapyas that day, but before we did so, we passed by the Kayangan Management Office to settle our island hopping entrance fees. They have this system where in you pay a lump sum per person for island entrance fees, instead of the previously per island entrance fee system. I'm not sure which is more convenient, but I wasn't able to wrap my head around the new system. Thankfully, there was Al to handle the financial stuff. I'm not sure, but I think we paid Php 400 each and we were given this paper where all the name of the places that we were allowed to go to were stamped.
The breathtaking climb
So, with the island entrance fee issue aside, we commenced our Mt. Tapyas climb. I nearly caused all of us to be lost, since I led them to the wrong direction (that pesky left and right thing). But needless to say, we found our way, and this knee-buckling sight welcomed us:
|That doggie became one of our guides, not that we could get lost. But still. <3|
Jumpshots and all that
The view at the top (and even along the way) was worth all the wooziness and the queasiness that I've felt. The calm waters of the sea surrounding the area was a very soothing sight. The mountain formations were also very interesting (hello, sleeping giant!). And the rolling hills looked very inviting. The whole scenery and the majestic cross were a perfect backdrop to our jump and group shots. Our self-appointed guide, Brando,was very skilled with our cameras, and he was able to snap fun-looking jump shots.
Uber Maquinit Hotspring
After the pictorials and soaking in the scenery at Mt. Tapyas, we went and soaked our still-trembling legs in the warm waters of Maquinit's saltwater hot spring (entrance fee: Php 150, fare from Mt Tapyas: Php 300/tricycle). This is probably the hottest hot spring that I've been to. It took us sometime to fully submerge ourselves into the waters, as the temperature was only a few Fahrenheit short of scalding.
We finally got used to the heat and even managed to swim around or sat under the mini-waterfall. But then it rained, making the temperature disparity between our bodies' lower and upper half greater. We decided to get out of the hotspring because we were all getting dizzy. We asked the trike driver to recommend a place for dinner, and he told us to eat at Macario's. Since he vouched for the food's yumminess, we all agreed to eat there.
Dinner at Macario's
We arrived at a modestly decorated but quiet pleasing restaurant. We were presented with the menu, and we ordered pork sisig, shrimp sinigang, bulalo, gambas and grilled squid (wow, that was a lot). Unfortunately, they didn't have grilled squid, so we consoled ourselves with adobong pusit and the thought that we might have grilled squid the next day.
|Dinner. With rice.|
The dinner was indeed yummy and very, very satisfying. I'm not exactly sure how much, but if I remember correctly, we paid less than Php200 each for the whole dinner. Sulit! They also deliver breakfast (free delivery!), so we all ordered breakfast for the next day. Each meal costs Php 95, I think.
...and before sleep
We paid additional Php10 each to the trike driver for bringing us from Macario's to Coron Reef Pension.
We somehow managed to shower in much lesser time than what it normally takes for 9 people to shower. All our eyes were heavy with sleep, weighed down with the fatigue of this day's activities, but I'm pretty sure we slept with hearts lightened by the wonderful scenery we strived to witness with our own eyes.
Island hopping tomorrow!