Straight from the company's team building activity in Nasugbu, headed straight to the NAIA Terminal 3 to catch a morning flight to Busuanga. Upon landing in Coron, was picked up by our shuttle c/o DIY Coron, dropped off our bags at the Coron Village Lodge and immediately headed to the pier.
Our island tour went through the Siete Pecados - snorkeling site; Kayangan Lake - a lake amidst an islet; Twin Lagoon - 2 lagoons connected through a little hole in the island rocks; Skeleton Wreck - a Japanese-era sunken ship wreck; and Banol Beach - white sand beach with still indigent residents.
The Siete Pecados is a great snorkel site with lots of corals and fishes. We ate our packed lunch in the boat before snorkeling. I enjoyed my time going around the island and got too tired. I didn't notice that I lost an earring though - probably when I was adjusting my snorkel mask.
Then went to another island and hiked uphill towards the Kayangan Lake. There was a spot atop the hill where the view is nice, you can see the pituresque islets and sea in Coron - a staple photo op-spot and a little cave nearby too. The lake is my favorite part of Coron,30% Saltwater and 70% Freshwater; the lake is so cool and so clear. It was fun going around the lake with my flippers on.
Then went back our boat and headed to the Twin Lagoon. If to describe it technically, the Twin Lagoon looks like a Venn Diagram with a Set A and B, and the intersection between the two sets is small hole in the rocks that gets submerged in water if it high tide already.
We then went to the Skeleton wreck, there weren't mich pictures of it though because the ship wreck scares the crap out of me. It's a massive, sunken ship that's submerged in the middle of the sea. Only the tip of the ship can be seen through snorkel masks, but scuba divers can go deep into the rest of the sunken ship. I am scared of the ship because I feel like it is way to deep and that it can somehow suck me inside the sunken ship - which is crazy because those sort of stuff happens only in the movies.
Last stop was the Banol Beach, there weren't people in the beach when we went there. The sand was so white and so fine. Native tribes of Coron called Tagbanua - if I'm not mistaken owns the island where Banol Beach is at. According to our boatmen, the government granted the island to the Tagbanua tribe, not to be sold to anyone or any company. There was a little store managed by the Tagbanuans within the beach, price of chips and sodaa was 200% of its normal city price. Because it is a monopoly and you can understand since that island was way far from the commercialized part of Coron.
Our tour coordinator, Judith, provided us with suman and orange soda for merienda.
Took a trike back to our lodge, bathed, walked around a bit in the nearby spots, then ended the night with Sinigang na Baboy, Sizzling Tuna and rice for dinner. Pineapple juice for Mike and Strawberry Daquiri for me.
4AM wake up call, and traveled 1 and half hours to Salvacion, Busuanga - Mike and I rode a Toyota Revo driven by Kuya Danny Toledo. We had our breakfast in homey lodge and resto in Salvacion. From there, it took another 30 minutes to get to the small deck where the boats going to Calauit are docked. The boatride was another 15 minutes. Came into the entrance of the Calauit Safari and registered, had a 5-minute ride in the safari truck to the actual safari.
At the safari, we came face to face with giraffes, zebras, deers, crocodiles, procupines, musangs, wild boars, monkeys and turtles. Our tourguide was an old man, if I remember correctly, his name was Boy Cruz - probably between his 50s to 60s, upon asking him, we learned that he actually is a resident of Pateros - a small town next to Taguig. We fed the giraffes and had photo-ops with everything that we saw there. The wild boar part wasn't too enjoyable because he stunk. Good thing we came there at the morning, when the animals are roaming a lot across the land. The tourguide said that it is their feeding time and they're out grazing at that time. The later batch of visitors won't be as satisfied as us though since the animals hide before noontime.
The Calauit safari is an island of some 300,00 hectares which Pres. Ferdinand Marcos allocated funds with to make a safari within the Philippines. The animals came from Africa. As per the safari staff, after People Power of 1986, the Aquino Government stopped funding for the safari and even held the staff's wages. Since then, the government hasn't given enough funding to the safari despite the fact that it has the potential to become an ultimate tourist destination. Upon speaking with the Safari caretakers, the provincial government take long before giving them their salaries - up to 4 months, our driver further ellaborated that the safari staff even go through meetings only with coffee, so he always bring them pan de sal on Monday mornings when the meetings take place. I really hope that I can do something about it though, because the Calauit Safari is closest thing that the Philippines has to an African safari.
We went back to the lodge in Salvacion to have our lunch of Inihaw na Pusit and Tinolang Manok. We drove about 45 minutes to Concepcion Falls and an hour and half to the Maquinit Hotsprings. The hotspring temperature was measured at 38 - 40 degrees Celsius. Despite the hot and humid weather, we still stopped by.
Went back to the lodge which is around 15 minutes from the hotspring, slept for a bit, had dinner at Kawayanan Grill near the lodge - where the Banana shake is heavenly, had Fish Fillet and Ginataang Pague (stingray),
We walked to the town plaza, where they had a tennis court and watched a bit. Got too tired, walked to our lodge then finally slept.
Woke up early and drank Milo only then went to the public market which is roughly about 10 minutes by trike from our lodge to buy dried fish pasalubongs, then to Coron Harvest to buy kasuy. Took a bath, then had our last breakfast the Coron Village Lodge resto where they served longganisa, danggit, omelette and garlic rice. The lodge resto was so cool, the owner probably was a big traveler, they've got souvenirs from all over the world.
Our shuttle picked us up and brought us back to the airport. Then went back home to Manila.