Coron Palawan can speak for itself in terms of its natural beauty. I’ve seen the wonders of Halong Bay, while I admired its thousands of karst wonder, it can’t really compare to how clear and spectacular our Palawan turquoise waters is. The best way to see the islands which is through day tours offered in town. Like El Nido, Coron have also grouped the sites to several island tours. We’re doing the Coron Island Hopping tour (offered by Coron EcoLodge) and has just visited Kayangan Lake. The only need in these tours is a comfortable swimwear (expect to be wet throughout), an open sense of wonder and fun.
The Twin Peaks Reef
Just fronting the Kayangan Lake boat port are two dwarf karst islets and a floating hut which serves as the anchor for our boat and the jump-off to the reef exploration down under. They call this place the Twin Peaks Reef. I decided not to set-up my underwater camera and just look what’s under first. There were some good set of corals but I had to go further to see more fishes like a huge anemone fish, bigger than most I have seen.
Banol Lunch Stop
The Coron Island Hopping tours usually come with meals. For lunch we stopped at Banol Beach (or Banul). There is a noticeable increase in the number of tourist as the beach area and huts were already occupied when we got there. Nevertheless there are still stilted dining cottages above the water available and just having the crystal clear sea view makes the grilled fish, grilled pork, veggies and fruits all the more tasty. Having a few minutes downtime just to lie down a bit or take a splash is a plus.
A beautiful small islet dotted with mangroves. It’s a fun island to be in as its perfect for picnics and camping is allowed. The sand is soft and the beach ideal for swimming. It’s so family friendly as I noticed a lot of them, even with toddlers enjoying place. We wanted to walk around the island but the tide was already high so we moved on after a while. Next time I’ll definitely try to stay here overnight.
I had to take our guide’s word who seemed passionate about the diving and snorkeling. He told me that Balinsasayaw Reef is one of his favorite snorkeling sites in Coron. As the 2nd to the last stop I set up my underwater gear and got into the water. The water is deeper and the corals around at least 10 feet but they are definitely in great condition and sprawling wonderfully on this side of the ocean. The fish isn’t as teeming as I would expect though but the common tropical fishes are there and I did enjoy swimming around admiring the corals. I freaked out when our guide picked-up a sea urchin. I didn’t know there’s a particular way to handle them without being stung. Snack was also served at the floating station of the reef.
Our last stop was the Twin Lagoons. There’s already a considerable crowd of boats there so we had to swim our way to the entrance. If you are comfortable in water, you can submerge and swim through the hole to get to the other lagoon. If not, go up by the stairs. I enjoyed this last stop. It’s relaxing and the environment feels so tranquil. What I did was prop a life-vest on my back and lay there on the water, afloat, just looking at the sky at the karst peaks. A soothing way to cap our Coron Island Hopping tour.
I really have to commend the local government here in Coron on how they preserve the reefs here. I noticed that no boat dropped anchor, most of the time they would attach themselves to a floating station or a buoy. This was one of the problems I noticed in El Nido and I hope they follow Coron’s example.
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.