The third day October 23, 2009 was all about lazying around white beaches. Our team of five were up early because our scheduled adventure for this day starts at 8am. Our group has enlisted the services of one of Ramil’s distant relative who was living near Lambingan Bridge, who fortunately owns a boat for hire. Breakfast at Darayonan composed mainly of danggit (lamau that’s how the Coronians would call it) with fried rice and egg. Majority of us chose this for breakfast because of it’s popularity. And I liked it! The danggit or lamau was something that I was looking for after the one I had in Bohol, both of them are comparable in consistency, taste and texture.
After breakfast, we set off to Coron Public Market again to hunt for good deals as far as food is concerned. We planned to have picnic lunch in one of the white beaches. And so Ian and Mona set off to work and later on found some crabs, prawns and a big fish again. This time we bought porkchops instead of liempo. We were then fetched by Ramil’s relative at the public market and headed off to the Lambingan Bridge where we were welcomed by the boat that would take us yet to another piece of heaven on earth.
We then set out further to the other islands off Coron town proper. The first stop was the Banana Island, named not because of the abundance of banana plants (actually, coconut trees were abundant in that island), but because the island’s shape resembled that of a banana leaf. Banana Island, also known as Dicalabuan Island, is a more popularly known place. We reached this island after about 1 hour boat ride. This private island offers simple overnight accommodations – somewhat like having your own private island for a day. It relies on solar energy and has cable TV! Entrance fee to the island is Php200 per head. This island have more cottages. The travel from Coron town to the island would seem long but it is worth it!! Banana Island could give Boracay a run for its money. The island is rustic that would surely give the visitors a simple but genuine taste of relaxation. The powdery white sand and small coral reefs around the island are almost pristine that you would wish the island was yours.
Our boys and the boatmen has set off to cooking lunch while I did what I do best, picture taking! I remembered from one of the forums that Banana Island was previously owned by a Tagbanua who sold the island for about Php20,000 to the now owners. That was way back in the 60’s or 70’s I suppose. The Tagbanua who sold the island did not made a mistake on selling the island otherwise I wouldn’t have gone this far. Moreso, I wouldn’t have had my slice of heaven.
A brief lunch at the island and then we set off for some siesta. We actually lost track of time and realized that it was already a couple of minutes past the hour of 3PM. Oh no! How are we supposed to enjoy Malcapuya Island then? Ramil’s relatives told us that we can actually just drop by the island and enjoy the scenery without having to explore the entire island. It made me again realize that by God’s grace, Coron is indeed anointed with vast tourist potentials, both land and underwater resources. It ranks among the best in the country’s potential tourism playgrounds that merit the support for full development of the government. The Coron Islands can be transformed into a key player in largely improving the status of Philippine tourism. In a place, which potentials can surpass that of our neighbors, particularly Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam in attracting foreign visitors, Coron shall be in its rightful place in the global tourism map in the coming years. Indeed rare and valuable natural resources seem to converge in the islands of Coron.
Malcapuya Island is just across Banana Island. Mr. Councilor told me that we can actually reach Malcapuya from Banana by kayak however it takes a lot of effort in doing so. He was actually right. Took us about 10-15 minutes by boat to reach the other side. Malcapuya island has a better fine sand I think. Exploring and enjoying the whole island would already take about a day. For me, it would be best to stay overnight here. Entrance fee here is Php200. The owner of this island also owns another nearby island (although it looks far). It may be possible to go to that island free when you have paid the entrance fee at Malcapuya Island.
After Malcapuya Island, we had the liberty of going back to CYC Island to show Allan and Ramil how remarkable the place is. It is not surprising to know that the two of them did enjoyed dropping by the area. We swam, snorkeled to hearts’ content. Realizing that it’s about time to go home (because we wanted to experience Coron sunset by Mt. Tapyas), our crew decided to call it a day at the islands. Little did we know that we’re going to experience a boat ride of a lifetime. The ride home was exremely bumpy. The waves are totally unforgiving. Even the boatman admitted that he had a hard time trying to snatch the boat’s rhythm from the force of the waves thrown back to our boat. Luckily, the boatman was experienced enough to know what to do in situations like this. Everyone was still, silently hoping that the waves would settle down. From Coron Islands’ demography, I can tell that we can only have smooth sail once we reach the cliffs and mountains because by then the powerful winds would have been blocked by them. I remembered Ramil and I huddled close together because we were already cold and chilling at that. And it was true. We endured about an hour of bumpy ride and the salty water hitting mercilessly on our already wet bodies. I thought this ride would never end. I heaved a sigh of relief upon seeing Lambingan Bridge. I am again safe I said to myself. We embarked the boat one by one, gave the payment to the boatman and thanked them for bringing us back to land safely. It was an unforgettable ride in all honesty!
Ramil and Allan went straight to Mt. Tapyas. I haven’t recovered from the boat experience yet so I didn’t have enough strength to muster climbing up the stairs to see the Mt. Tapyas cross. So Mona, Ian and I went back to Darayonan to change clothes and sleep for a while. Because at the back of my mind, I know that tonight’s gonna be a good good night!
Around 9pm, I started bugging everyone and yelling dinner at their ears. Everyone seemed to have dozed off already and forgot that it’s our last night in Coron. Only Mona responded with gusto, perhaps she’s as hungry as I was at that time. The two of us wasted no time and off we went to the nearest restaurant, The Coron Village Lodge Bar and Resto. This time we were served with the menu list. We were also lucky to have witnessed the performance of Tribu Calamianen, who sang one of their original compositions. Mona had grilled tanigue with lemon-butter sauce and I had calamares with veggies, we both ordered rice as well. When our food was served after about 10 minutes of wait time, we’re surprised to know that Mona’s dish was composed of 2 slices of tanigue! She did ate one slice and had the other slice take out for Ian though. From that point on, we both know where we would find ourselves at after dinner.
It’s our last night in Coron and the destination: no doubt still at Kawayanan Grill! Woooh! Three nights in a row, imagine? That’s how we love this restaurant! Or should I say the people that we will be meeting here for a good time. Looks like we were bitten by the kambak-kambak at this place, LOL! But anyways, Ramil and I as usual were met by our good friends Cliff and Jake at the bar. Tribu Calamianen is performing for the customers upon our arrival and the people are actually having a good time. I think it’s about the last leg of the Oktoberfest for this resto. We again seated ourselves on one of the nipa huts, I believe it was the same nipa hut that we sat ourselves the night before. Since I already had dinner, Ramil went on to order for himself. Jake as usual, ordered our favorite Coron Sling and was served to us after about 5 minutes of waiting. As soon as Cliff started asking for Allan’s whereabouts, Allan came in without Mona and Ian with him. As soon as Allan sat down, he was offered Coron Sling for which he took without hesitations.
The night grew long and fast. I realized that we were the only ones left at the grill, thanks to our hearty laughs that seemed to fill the entire place. Suddenly Jake thought of a tour around Coron town in his motorbike with me, again. I quickly answered yes, and I don’t know why. I guess I just like to spend the remaining hours at this place with him, or probably I just can’t get enough of Coron yet. We set off from the grill and this time, he brought me to the hollywood-like Coron insignia, located at the top of the hill. It was a magnificent sight to behold! He gave me this rare opportunity of seeing the town the way he looks at it, it was like seeing the town through his own eyes. Jake giving me the chance to view the place from the top also gave me that ecstatic feeling of being treated like a princess. A dream that unexpectedly came true! I loved the treatment, the ecstasy that he allowed me to feel, even if it lasted for only a few days. Of all the people that I come to know of, he was the only one who made me feel that way, a stranger at that. And from the hill where I stood at that night, from that moment on, I realized that’s where I left my heart. It was the dawn of October 24, 2009. And the rest was history…
This day was full of history in all honesty. A rendezvous of some sort, where after several long years of being apart, I was reunited with 3 of my best friends (Allan, Mona and Ramil), sharing this wonderful experience in Coron, Palawan with me. Of after losing faith in myself, I am now ready to rekindle my passion in the art of meeting new personalities. Thanks to Cliff and Jake! The people of this place also happened to remind me one of my favorite quotes from Nietzsche: thoughts are shadows of our feelings — always darker, emptier, simpler.
See more photos on why I left my heart in Coron, Palawan here.