Our long awaited Coron Trip has finally came. After months of preparation and negotiation for our package tour, we are ready to conquer another place in the Philippines.
We were originally scheduled to depart Manila at 10am on April 28 and depart Coron 4 days after, April 28, at 1pm but there was a schedule change and our departure from Manila was scheduled at 7am and the departure from Coron was also scheduled 7am. Because we don’t want to wake up early and wanted to enjoy our last day, we talked to PAL to change it to 3pm in the afternoon. After several attempts on contacting their ticketing office, we decided to go directly to them and they granted our request for the flight change.
We arrived at NAIA Terminal 2 at about 6am on April 25. We waited there until we were informed that there were no flights going to Busuanga there and we must go to Terminal 3. We hurriedly hailed a cab and the drivers there are really annoying because they wanted to charge us 150 for a trip to Termina 3. He doesn’t want to use his meter. we negotiated and we wanted to pay him P70 but decided to agree on P100. He almost ruined our morning so beware of these cabs.
We arrived just in time and got our boarding pass. The others went to the smoking lounge when they called us to board the bus that will take us to the plane. Since the others are away, Marjun and I were left with the bags and couldn’t board the bus because we were waiting for the others. Finally, they came back and the bus took us to our plane. It was small compared to the other planes we have ridden. We understood why the plane that size when we arrived Busuanga Airport at about past 8am. The airport was small and the baggage were manually brought by the airport personnel from the plane. The plane that arrived is the same plane that will take the waiting passengers at the departure area back to where it came from.
After we got our stuff, a staff from Darayonan Lodge was waiting for us. This is where we will stay for the next couple of days in Coron. They have a van that takes their guests to Coron Town proper. The trip from Busuanga to Coron took about 30 minutes and at about a couple of minutes past 9am, we arrive at the Lodge. We rested there while we wait for Rich and Marky, who will arrive at 11am.
Darayonan Lodge is one of the many places you can opt to stay in Coron. There are a lot more others to choose from if you are in town. They have a pool which was newly built and a cafe where you can order food and even play darts or chess. The room that they gave us is 4, 3 and 2 in a room. These rooms are located near the receiving area and is part of the main house. They have other rooms which is newly built. Our room has creaking bamboo floor with banig that serves as carpet. The walls are made of sawali and so is the ceiling. There is a bathroom in each room, television, fan and air condition. We didn’t like the rooms so much but it was good enough. Our only problem was the bathroom that floods on the toilet area because they don’t have a drain there. The other room’s bathroom has this weird entrance that you need to walk sideways to pass through.
When the two arrived, I contacted Ate Leidy de Ocampo, who arranged our tour there, to inform her that we have arrived. We told her that our tour around town will start at 2:30pm after we have taken our lunch and she agreed.
At about 12pm, we went to Trining Bacsa and Restaurant, just a tricycle ride from the lodge, for our lunch. It is a carinderia near the public market. Irish suggested it since Noel said that they also ate there on their stay.
The food there were just okay, typical carinderia food, nothing really special about this place. It was filling and was just right for the activities we have for the rest of the day. It is also cheap place to eat if you don’t want those fancy restaurants who serve over priced dishes.
We went back to Darayonan to rest while waiting for Ate Leidy to fetch us. At about 2:30pm, we finally met Ate Leidy. It was the first time we met her since all the conversations we had was through emails and phone.
A van was waiting for us and as soon as we are all ready, we boarded the van and went to our first destination. We went to the Municipal Hall where there is a big sign saying “Coron“. This place was just for photo taking.
We were dropped off next to Coron Souvenir and Gift Shop for us to shop for pasalubong. The store has a lot of things ranging from magnets, key chains, wallets, shirts, shot glass, etc. There are a lot to choose from. I bought a shot glass since I collect them.
We decided not to go to Kingfisher Park because Ate Leidy told us that there are only a few things to see there. Our next stop is the Mabentangen Forest Park. The place was like a public pool. There are a lot of people swimming and taking picnic. I don’t think that the water there is clean because of all the trash people leave there. We just looked at the place and soon, went on with our next stop.
The challenge begins when we arrived at Mt. Tapyas. Our goal is to conquer the 700+ steps to the top where we can see the whole Coron bay. Before we climb, we bought water to the kids selling them at the start of the stairs. We really need it on the way up. We started climbing the steps and the beautiful scenery slowly unfolds to us. Each level up, a pretty sight is seen. We were counting every hundred steps but soon got tired. We had a lot of breaks and photo taking along the way. We asked our guide why it was called that way, he said because the steps before was not cemented and was just cut our of the side of the mountain. In Tagalog, tapyas means cutting off on something. This is where it got its name. In less than an hour, we successfully reached the top. All drenched with sweat, we enjoyed the beautiful view of Coron. All our tiredness were gone with the refreshing breeze up there. We stayed for a while to rest and take pictures. We enjoyed the view and appreciated the beauty of Coron. We realized that Philippines is really a beautiful country. If only Filipinos would learn to love their county, these places would be preserved for the next generation.
We went down after about half an hour because there are other people already climbing up there. The climb down was much easy. We only had one stop before finally reaching back the bottom of the stairs. It was fulfilling to have conquered this mountain!
Our next stop is the Coron Cashew Harvest. Ate Leidy brought us to a place where they sell cheap cashew nuts, Coron‘s top pasalubong. They gave us a lot of free tastes and so we bought their products, the adobong kasoy and minatamis na kasoy. It was really yummy and we are munching on it as we go to our final stop that day.
Maquinit Hot Spring is a hot spring with almost 40 degrees water. They have a P100 entrance fee but Ate Leidy took care of it since we already paid for it in advance. The water in the spring is brackish and it was the first time I bathed in a hot spring which is quite salty. The water is flowing from the mountain and meets with the sea. There is a viewing deck where you cans see the sea but since we enjoyed the time in the hot springs, we didn’t get to go there. The water is relaxing and is just right for our tired feet from the Mt. Tapyas climb. It was already getting dark and so we decided to go back to the lodge. The van driver covered his seats so that we need not to change for dry clothes. The trip around town was good and we enjoyed it. We thanked Ate Leidy and scheduled our next day activity as she left us that night.
We planned to swim on the Lodge’s pool after dinner so we didn’t take a bath. We just washed up and waited for Noel’s group to setup a place for dinner.
We originally wanted to eat at Bistro but there were no room for us. The people there didn’t even accommodate us and didn’t tell us that there are no place for us all. They just let us roam there looking for a place without anyone accommodating us. The reviews here are great but the service was not that good. It was the worst we had in this trip.
We transferred to a nearby restaurant, La Sirenetta. The place is near the port and it is surrounded by water. They have a billiards table which is free to use. We ordered food as soon as we are complete but the dishes came ages after. Our hopes of swimming at the lodge’s pool vanished and rescheduled for the next day.
When the food finally arrived, it tasted bland and when we asked for extra Parmesan cheese they wanted to charge us an extra P50. We just canceled it and went on eating just for the sake of eating it. The service was not good because of the long wait and the food itself was not that yummy to brag about. Also the price is so expensive for that kind of service. Just be cautious if dining in here as we don’t really recommend it.
After long hours of waiting and eating, our first day is almost over and we just decided to walk to Darayonan because tricycles are few and the damage from the expensive restaurant was too much.
As we got to our rooms, we took a bath and finally take a rest from the long and tiring day of our first day in Coron.