Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Calamianes Group of Islands: Coron Escape

Coron rests as one of my most favorite places in the Philippines. I still consider it to be very different from El Nido, even though most people think they are the same. El Nido may win in rock formations and beautiful lagoons but Coron wins in island escapes. 

Coron town is where the action is. Most people stay here, as accommodations are cheap. A lot of restaurants are found here also.

Since Coron town doesn't have a decent beach, you have to get out of town to reach paradise. And paradise can be found in the white sandy beaches of the virgin islands of Calamianes. But don't worry. Renting a boat to the islands of Calamianes is easy.

A boat to Coron island (the one with Kayangan Lake) will set you back P1,500 for a small one for the entire day already. If you plan to head out further to the beach islands, it will cost you minimum of P3,000. Not bad, since the journey is almost 2 hours one way!

And believe me. It's really worth going island hopping. As we moved out to the open sea, leaving behind Coron island, the water got choppy. But it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be.

There will be nothing much to see for an hour after seeing Banol Beach, so better take a good nap from here. It's such a pleasure to wake up to a place like this.

We started our island hop tour in Bulog Island, which is actually an islet just beside Two Seasons Coron. I haven't stayed in Two Seasons, which looked like a typical island resort stereotype. I wasn't interested, because I had this island to myself that morning.

Bulog Island had white sand all over. It was small enough to be navigated in 15 minutes. I loved the castaway feel of this island.

A short climb up its hill and you can see Two Seasons and its sandbar. 

The sandbar can actually make you walk (cross) to the island where Two Seasons is. See the picture above? The top left portion is actually a villa at the end of Two Seasons already. So near!

We then moved on to the star island of the day, one of my favorites in the country as well - Malcapuya Island. Here, we had our typical grilled fish and pork lunch served with grilled eggplant salad and tomatoes on the side. YUM!

After lunch, we usually doze off in one of the hammocks or on the powder white sand itself. But now, I decided to trek to the end of the beach, just to burn all those calories as well. It was my first time to do so. 

I was so glad I decided to explore. This is what Malcapuya looked like on the other side. The rock formations were amazing. They weren't massive, but they gave so much texture to the shoreline.

After basking under the hot sun, we decided to move to Banana Island, where we would chill out with some drinks and snacks. Banana Island is another popular island for picnics especially for those on tour.  I like the garden area of Banana Island - very relaxing.

It was already past 3 in the afternoon, and the sun was beginning to hide under a dark cloud. We already were on our last round of drinks as 4 came, so we began to head back to Coron.

There are more islands around the area, but most of them were private. I kept asking our boatman to dock in islands that I pointed to, but he said we needed to get permission first. I was irritated, since some of the islands looked more beautiful that the ones we already visited. 

We charged back to Coron as the sun began to set overt the horizon. The islands slowly faded into the radiance of the sun. But the dark clouds were also getting heavier, and the wind, stronger. We knew a thunderstorm was fast brewing. We arrived safely back in Coron town, as the rain pour down like it was the end of the world.

1 comment:

  1. Hello ! I'm a spanish who are going to do a tour of Mindanao, I have found your blog and we are still very useful, give great advices!
    I'll make the route next december/january in Mindanao with a good friend (also Spanish). We've already bought the flight Manila Dumaguete. The plan is to spend a few days in Dumaguete and Siquijor. After that take the ferry to Dipolog, and from there go by road to Davao (making stops in some areas).

    The plan is to make the route by road, bus and/or jeepneys, stopping at different places, We take the trip very prepared, but at the same time we let's go improvising. In principle we want to stop in OZAMIZ, PAGADIAN, ILIGAN, CAGAYAN DE ORO and CAMIGUIN (cities and surrounding areas, We would like to rent a bike or motorbike in these areas to explore). We have also been recommended to visit Surigao, but I think we'll go to that area another time.
    From Cagayan de Oro would go to Davao, perhaps stopping in the city of Valencia and visit the Province of Bukidnon.

    Someone who knows these places can give us some opinion or advice on the route?
    We have doubts about going to Ozamiz and from there maybe we can take a ferry to Kolambugan, or to Iligan.
    We don't know if do that, or make the journey by land, from Ozamiz buses stopping in Pagadian and elsewhere. From what we have said may be some danger going on buses and stopping for these areas being foreigners, but I think it exaggerates the danger, and the real risk of theft or kidnapping must be very very small.

    We asked some people in the Philippines and they have told us that may not be good idea to do this route by road, perhaps because it was so recent conflict with the Moro National Liberation Front. I know it is a conflict that goes back many years, but it seems that it has now gone to more. Do you know if there is conflict and danger of kidnappings of foreigners is only Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi... or maybe in some areas of the province of Zamboanga?

    We were also told that Pagadian may not be a good place to stop being foreigners, because there have been problems. We were surprised to be told this, can be true?

    Thank you very much in advance!



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