It seems I’ve been going back to a lot of places lately. At least 6 years after, and more air traffic lately in NAIA (our flight was delayed for more than an hour) I found myself bound for Francisco Reyes Airport in Busuanga. A new airport, wide paved road (and watch our for passing cattle) and a more bustling little Coron Town were some of the notable changes. We checked in at Coron Eco Lodge found at the quiet side of Calle Real (check my review here). With our time cut short because of the flight delay, we chose to forego the regular “City Tour” and head directly Mt Tapyas for the sunset I was looking forward to shoot again.
Climb to Mt Tapyas
It took 718 steps for at least 25 minutes with huffing and puffing in between before we reached the 210-meter high mountain summit. It was already way past 5pm when we started our assault so we were racing to the top to catch the setting sun. I just thought of it as an additional cardio exercise for the day. Aside from the regular sightseeing folks, there were people who were doing this as their cardio routine running up and down the stairs. Despite some people’s stair-climbing effort, everyone were all smiles and were excited with the view from the top. Not much has changed there. We have some tower and the cross and the viewpoint with some concrete benches. The familiar gazebos who played as foreground to my captures before remains for people to enjoy their sunset viewing.
Getting a New Angle
It’s my second time here in the summit and I didn’t want to repeat my composition before. The light is different this time around and there was a portion of kaingin (swidden or slash and burn farming) on a portion of the hill view. Nevertheless the view was fantastic as ever. The rugged terrain of the gigantic Coron Island on the left and the other Calamianes Island on the right amidst ray of purple twilight skies. Again the perennial gazebos became foreground to my composition. Funny as the twilight came, I was swarmed by a number of gamu-gamo (moths) on another side of the summit hill even crawling under my shirt, so imagine me running like crazy out of the hill with my tripod raised to the air. The main viewdeck had none of those creepy-crawling flying creatures and so I stayed there by the benches. I was fascinated with the cross and played around with it until the stars showed itself on a haze-free sky.
It took us half an hour to climb the mountain but it took almost a couple of hours to capture the landscapes from the summit. Yes travel photographers is a different breed of travelers. Most people don’t understand us and send people scratching their heads on what we were doing (like waking up so early or even staying up late at night). We find joy in capturing moments, fleeting as they are. On our way down the deserted steps another important thing reminded us, our grumbling stomachs saying it’s time for dinner. Oh I’m glad to be back in Coron.
Mt Tapyas jump-off is just behind the basketball court way up north San Agustin Street before Daven’s Place. There are no entrance fees.
Many thanks to Coron Eco Lodge for accommodating us during our stay in Coron Town.
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.