So many things have been said about Palawan on how wonderful a place it is. Being dubbed as a “Last Frontier” is a well deserved tag along it’s name. Even with those expectation ahead, one can never truly be prepared on what you will actually see. It’s fortunate that when we were there, we were blessed with good weather. On our first day, one of our major activity was to climb Mt Tapyas. It’s a good chance to preview what lies ahead on our day of exploring the islands.
Mt Tapyas is one of the mountains in Busuanga. It stands low at 210 meters above sea level and offers a panoramic view of Coron Bay and adjoining islands of Calamianes. It has been developed as a tourist site so a stairs of 718 steps will lead you up to its summit.
The jump-off point to the mountain is not hard to find. One of the beauty of the quaint little town of Coron is that it’s easy to navigate the streets. Signs are everywhere to guide you. You’ll know you’re at the jump-off when you find a basketball court with a flight of stairs leading to the dominant cross at the top.
Climbing the flight of stairs can take you around less or more than an hour to reach the summit depending on your physical condition. There are numerous shaded stops along the trail. Make sure to bring water or some drinks to freshen up and cool down.
Best time to climb is about late in the afternoon in between 4-5pm where the sun isn’t that harsh. As you go up, the long stretch of shadows along the hills of Mt Tapyas will offer stunning views. And by the time you are on the summit you can wait for the setting sun on your right (when facing the Coron bay) which is the west across the islands.
I may sound like a broken record player whenever I see a stunning view, but this is really a breath taking sight. On your left is the large Coron Island dominating the view. On the center is the coron town. Pacing to the right are the rest of the Calamianes group of islands.
There are a couple of gazebos placed off-summit, which I thought are the best places to view the sunset. I waited there to capture the right light on the horizon. With the weather being great and the place virtually pollution free, I saw one of the best colors of the sky for sunset.
After shooting a while, I went back to the main summit platform where the cross is located. The other guys were there. Gail and Nina were resting on the cemented bench and the light continued to die down with dominant blue hues in the sky enveloping the night. We had fun taking pictures at the summit until the Summit Cross lit up with its orange hues. It was a clear night. There were a great number of stars visible in the sky, almost clumped together like a galaxy of their own.
It was dark when we descended the mountain. Even if there were lamp posts along the trail, some are too far apart some times. So it’s a good idea if you bring a flash light or head lamps to light your way.
When we got down and back to our lodging, we could still see the dominant glow of the cross at the top of the summit. As if a bigger presence is watching over the town. I’m sure most people from the town could see it as well. Climbing Mt Tapyas is a nice side activity when in Coron. It gives you a bigger picture of what awaits in every island on the horizon.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.