After getting our flight booked at a Travel Expo, we were more than excited to get our feet landed in the very beautiful Coron Island. Full with a heavy breakfast, we eagerly waited for our flight. To our huge disappointment, our flight got delayed. It was only after two hours of waiting that we were able to finally board our plane.
Travel time from Manila to Busuanga is around an hour. We immediately headed inside Busuanga’s Francisco B. Reyes airport. The place is quite small. There is no baggage handling system and baggage x-ray machine. There is an area with designated personnel where all baggage are collected and placed to be picked up. A few seats are provided in the waiting area. There are few shops where you can buy souvenir and some food. The airport is clean. Terminal fee is P20.
Exiting the airport, we saw few people waiting outside. We approached someone holding a paper with our names in it. Leading us to a van nearby, we headed our way to Coron Village Lodge where we stayed for three days. After almost an hour, we finally reached the place.
Day 1 – Delayed Flight Aftermath
It was raining a bit when we arrived at Coron Village Lodge around 7PM. We were already starving for we only had light snacks after we had breakfast as we did not expect our flight to be so delayed. We were supposed to arrive at around 4PM. Scheduled activities for the afternoon included seeing the town, going up Mt. Tapyas and relaxing in Makinit hot spring. As we arrived late, we were not able to do any of these activities. After leaving our things in our room, we headed to the lodge’s restaurant to eat dinner. We were served with a lot of food as they also served the food that we were supposed to have in the afternoon if we only arrived in time. With nothing to do for the rest of the night, we opted to rest in preparation for our activities for the next day. Indeed, our first day was a bit of failure.
Day 2 – Siete Pecados, Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoons and Makinit Hot Spring
We woke up early to get things started. It was still raining. Good thing after we ate breakfast, the rain stopped. Probably the clouds took pity on our day one failure. At the reception area of the lodge, we met our beautiful tour guide, Cristine. She had us rent snorkeling gear from the lodge for P200. A tricycle was waiting for us outside. With a helper, she loaded stuffs in the tricycle and off we went to the port. Two young boys were waiting for us as we arrived. We then boarded to a boat that is not too big but spacious enough for eight people. The boat also has a very small comfort room. After everything was ready, off we went to see what the island has to offer.
Siete Pecados Marine Park
Our boat first stopped at Siete Pecados which means seven deadly sins referring to seven small limestone rocks in a certain area of the sea. Within this said area is a snorkeling site where you can sight lovely corals and various kinds of fish. With our gears ready, we jump off to the water and swam with different schools of fish. Coral formation was stunning. We were the only group snorkeling in our location that time and we were able to greatly swim around. It was such a pleasant experience. After noticing that the water current was getting wilder than normal, Cristine concluded our snorkeling activity which was just a good timing because we already had so much fun. We then headed to Kayangan Lake.
There were already a number of boats when we arrived at the docking area beside the hill that must be climbed to reach Kayangan Lake. Getting off the boat, we had to walk a little bit in the waters going to the hill. After only a few steps, one of my slippers gave up. I wore this pair of slippers that I thought was comfy and stylish (with a nice, big flower in it) but was not really intended for some more intense stuff. Better make sure to use sturdy footwear especially if you don’t exactly know the nature of activities you will engage yourself with. I then had no choice but to climb the hill barefooted.
The trail going up is rough, narrow and slippery. Barefooted, I was extra careful not to get wounded with the sharp edges of the rocks making up the path we were traversing. It was not an easy climb as the hill is also a little high. At a certain point along the way, there was this cave situated at the left side (if you’re going up) which was very dark. They said that this spot is the most photographed in Coron. Standing in front of the cave, you’ll get a very attractive view of islets surrounded by splendid waters.
A breathtaking view confronted us when we finally reached the lake. It was really very captivating. I can fairly say that it was worth a hill climb, even if I was barefooted. According to Cristine (our tour guide), Kayangan Lake was awarded more than once for being the cleanest lake in the country which was not really surprising with its very clear waters revealing the rock formations underneath. There was a narrow platform made of wood beside the lake where tourists can sit and walk. It was a short one and it can easily be fully occupied. If you’re not a good swimmer, make sure to bring life vest with you as the lake is seriously deep. You will not find a shallow part in the waters. After swimming in the lake’s fresh waters, we walked our way back to the dock for our next destination, the Twin Lagoon.
As it name implies, Twin Lagoon is composed of two lagoons divided by a limestone wall. Boats were docked at the outer lagoon. To be able to go to the inner lagoon, you’ll pass through a narrow opening in the limestone wall. You can swim through it during low tide or you can opt to dive or climb a ladder to get through the inner lagoon during high tide as the narrow opening will be completely submerged in the water. Luckily during our visit, we did not had to dive or climb in the ladder.
We then swam through the narrow entrance to get to the inner lagoon. Water was very still and deep. Some parts of it were extremely dark underneath and I felt a little eerie swimming through it. Good thing there were a lot of other tourists when we visited that gave some noise that broke the silent and strange atmosphere. Unlike in Kayangan lake where there is a wooden platform where you can sit or walk, there’s nothing inside the inner lagoon but water. If you wanted to take pictures in the inner lagoon, you need a waterproof or underwater camera. Finishing a slightly peculiar swim, we rode our boat and headed back to the town and went to Makinit hot spring.
Makinit Hot Spring
After an exhausting but really fascinating time of snorkeling, hiking, swimming and island hopping, we had a soothing and therapeutic finale to wrap the day up – in the forty-three-degrees water temperature of Makinit hot spring. Situated almost 30 minutes away from the town proper, they said Makinit hot spring is the only saltwater hot spring in the Philippines. Circular pools contain the waters which then flow into the sea. Surrounded by mangrove trees, there were few wooden cottages where you can place your things. The place is open from 8AM to 8PM.
If you’re not used to soaking in hot springs, you might find the water awkwardly warm. To get a good feel of it, dip some parts of your body first like your feet. After a few minutes, you’ll get more comfortable with it. We were advised by our tour guide to get off of the water every now and then and not to continuously stay long immersed in the water. While plunging and relaxing ourselves in the pool, we got a serene view of the sea. There is actually a wooden bridge from the pool that leads to the sea.
We were lucky that there were not too many tourists during our visit. Since there was only one huge pool and two very small ones, the springs can be easily fully occupied. Even the cottages were few. After about an hour and a half, we decided to leave. There is a dressing room near the entrance where you can change clothing. Outside were tricycles waiting and offering a ride. With a very minimal entrance fee (around PHP 30), you’ll get that rejuvenating and stimulating break Makinit hot spring provides.
Day 3 – Mt. Tapyas
With a little more than 700 steps, climbing Mt. Tapyas offers a great panoramic view of Coron. Just a ten-minute walk from the town proper, Mt. Tapyas was recommended to be visited early in the morning to catch the sunrise or late in the afternoon to view the sunset. You can reach the peak in less than an hour where a steel cross is located and you can get a glimpse of it from Coron pier. The trail to the summit is smooth and safe as it was already made with concrete steps.
We woke up early to climb our way to Mt. Tapyas but it’s slightly late to catch the sunrise. Since it’s just near the town, we chose to walk and we were able to see more what the town was like. The cool morning temperature made our walk better. Good thing we bought bottled water on our way as the climb was a little dehydrating. There were benches in some parts of the trail where you can take a break. From time to time, we stopped and rested on these benches. Finally arriving at the peak, we were greeted with a captivating view of Coron and its surrounding islands. Situated on top is a spacious viewing deck with few benches and a steel cross at the center. There was no entrance fee. After delighting ourselves with a great sight, we decided to return to our lodge and prepare for our flight back to Manila.