Category Archives: nature

A Cool Respite

After doing a lot of running and racing lately, which culminated during the QCIM race, a good break was all I needed, away from the bustle of city life to commune with nature. How lucky our group was, the Fishers of Men Choir, to get a pretty good package to Coron, Palawan. Airfare was availed six months ago when Cebu Pacific offered its famous 1-peso seat sale. For roundtrip ticket, each only spent more or less a thousand pesos. Super cheap!

Travel time to Busuanga took only an hour and a half minutes flight from Manila. From the airport in Busuanga, we were met by an airline ground service representative and a van going to Coron town which is 28 kilometers (hhhmm .. not bad for a practice run, eh?) and about 45 minutes by road.

When choirmate, Gladys (alto), recommended this place to the group for my first trip to Palawan, I didn’t know what to expect. As soon as we hit the town, we had a tasty Filipino lunch and an hour later boarded a pump boat. And the adventure began.

The sky went dark a bit with heavy rains looming ahead then it started to rain heavily while we were in the middle of the sea. Good thing the water was not choppy. Since it was a bit windy, all of us had to huddle in the center of the boat. We arrived safely after an hour to Majika Island Resort.

We arrived a little bit late in the afternoon and spent a good time enjoying the sea with the help of our boatman guide. We learned how to paddle a smaller boat that afternoon. With choirmate, Lito (tenor).

On our second day, we first went to Maynuno Beach, a delightful mixture of white sand beach and limestone cliffs where we took some photos and practiced throwing a disc.

It was on our way back to the boat when the boatman caught a puffer fish. We watched in awe when it grew so big. Of course, we had to put it back to where it should be. Our next stop was at the Twin Lagoon nestled in the largest limestone formation where we had a great time swimming.

The Twin Lagoon is divided by limestone wall and is connected by a narrow passage. The inner lagoon is only visible and can be easily accessed during low tide. One has to swim or dive to get to the inner lagoon during high tide.

The outer lagoon has a number of sea urchins but it was while swimming in the inner lagoon where I got stung by a sea urchin. It was painful but after a few minutes it was gone. (Oh well, Gladys had to pee on the affected part of my foot to lessen the pain). Way to go Fishers!

Swimming through the inner lagoon was like moving into another world. You would be met by a deafening silence. The water was so calm, and blue, there were lots of trees which added color to the environment. It was so relaxing to just float and enjoy the scene. The high cliffs and crystal clear water were amazingly beautiful. Indeed, an awesome experience!

We had our lunch at Kayangan Coron where we had another taste of paradise. Kayangan lake is considered the cleanest lake of the Philippines and in Asia. It is managed and protected by the natives of the island called Tagbanuans. You can see the bottom as far as 15 to 20 ft. deep! A fresh water lake hidden behind limestone rocks amidst small mountains. It is where I saw a school of small swordfish and shrimps. You can reach the lake by taking 125 steps of stairs going up and see a panoramic view of the sea below then you need to go down by taking another 192 steps to see it. For runners, it will just be a short hike. We spent some time swimming, rafting, and exploring. Here with choirmate, Tristan (bass).

After a tiring day of swimming and snorkeling, we headed back to the resort where we were served by the staff with great meals. We had a lot of seafood, all of which were locally caught as well as rice, fried danggit, eggs, pasta, and veggies.

Our third day included swimming, snorkeling, looking down at fishes, corals, sunken Japanese ships from WWII, a trip to a hot spring hidden behind mangrove trees, and a hike to the top of the island for a panoramic view of the island.

Photo 1 ~ On second day, Rodel, the boatman, had to use the smaller boat to be transport us to the bigger boat as it was usually low tide in the morning. We saw a starfish as big as my disc. Of course, we had to put it back to the sea.

Photo 2 ~ The altos Gladys, Joyce, and Decee with Running Diva as the lone soprano.

Photo 3 ~ One of our wacky poses before leaving the island. From L to R are Fishers Christian (tenor), Running Diva, Gladys, Lito, Joyce, Decee, and Tristan.

Photo 4 ~ That was me running for the boat ride. Going up the hill and running this very short distance were my only mileage during my stay in the island.

Photo 5 ~ The last photo taken with our tour guide, Lanie and boatmen, Rodel and Aljun. These boatmen are excellent divers and swimmers.

Our rooms were simple, comfortable, and clean. The bathroom was big enough and the spring water and the shower were welcome amenities after a day out in the ocean. At night we were greeted by some fireflies. We also enjoyed other amenities such as table tennis, billiards, and of course, the videoke. The resort is powered only by a generator. Though we only had fans at night, our stay was still comfortable. There was no Internet, you only got a bar of signal for your mobile phone, no telephone, and no TV. For groceries, you need to take a boat ride to go to the town to buy your stuff.

Throughout our stay, the kitchen staff and boatmen, Aljun and Rodel, treated us like family. They became our friends during our short stay in the island. I would definitely go back in the future and may be for a longer stay.

(Photos Courtesy of Joyce, Gladys, Christian and Decee)