The Dutch lady in my dive group asks me where I am from, I tell her I am from Manila. She replies “you are lucky to be so close to paradise. I have traveled so far to get here”. She is right! It took me only an hour by plane to get to Coron. And after diving two awesome shipwrecks I feel like I am in “heaven” and literary am in “paradise”.
Coron town is located in an island called Busuanga. To get there I took a flight to Busuanga Island from Manila for less than a $100. The plane landed in a cattle farm called Yulo King Ranch. At the airport I paid P150 (USD$3) to ride a van to take me to Coron town. The airport is new and the roads are still being constructed.
We passed by a dirt road from YKR. Funny on the plane I was reading Thomas Friedman’s new book “Hot, Flat, and Crowded”. Coron reminded me of Boracay 20 years ago before the rest of the world discovered it. With the direct flights now, I’m glad I came before the “crowding”. And being “flat” it now has strong telecommunication sites and internet to keep one connected to the rest of the world.
Most Pinoys stay in Darayonan or Village Lodge but I decide to stay in Sea Dive Resort by the ocean. Not bad for P700 ($14) a night! Aircon rooms go for P1100($22) but I’d rather spend on diving. Based on the websites and not having been there it was difficult for me to choose which resort in town. Sea Dive has less amenities compared to the other resorts but it has a dive shop. Also the staff are friendly, the bathrooms are clean and have water heaters. It was so easy to make new friends with other divers, so I’m really happy I stayed there. I have done only two of the fourteen shipwrecks ALL located in Coron. I still need to come back and do the other twelve as part of my bucket list.
Island hopping is P1,500 per boat not per person. The islands that should not be missed are Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, and Barracuda lake. Being there is like a scene from the movie “Blue Lagoon”. For snorkeling Siete Pecados and Banol for the beach. They can all be covered in one day as these islands are close to each other. I had to pay entrance fees averaging P100 per island in total around P500 pesos per person. The island caretakers are the different Tagbanau cultural minority families and the islands are their ancestral land so entrance fees had to be paid separately. In a way it is helping the natives survive. What a wonderful and beautiful experience!
The people of Coron are very warm and are the most trusting I have ever met. It appears as though money is not a main issue because the locals just ask us to pay later for their services. Being a city girl this is unthinkable as they do this without even knowing your name, where you are from, or asking a guarantee. It was truly a humbling experience. I also did not encounter any annoying peddlers that destroy serenity by trying to sell stuff unlike in other famous beaches. Tourism is not the island’s main source of livelihood so they just let you be.
The waters surrounding Coron are the calmest I have ever seen in any part of the world and until now it still amazes me that there are hardly any waves.The calming effect makes one relax…yes relax! Time slows down and life just becomes so simple.