Bulog Dos: Bewitchingly Beautiful

I was bewitched when I first saw the picture-perfect of Bulog Dos Island in Coron, Palawan as shared by a fellow blogger.  Immersing on its crystal-clear water in a solitude would definitely mean, “a taste of paradise” for me. Island hopping to Bulog Dos, Banana Island and Malcapuya Island is part of our much-awaited exhilarating Coron adventure.

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the captivating Bulog Dos, now for real

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Banana Island: Another Breathtaking Island To Explore in Coron

Banana Island is also known as Dicalabuan Island.This is our second destination coming from the unspoiled and amazing Bulog Dos Island. What first greeted us were the colorful flags along the long stretch of creamy white and powdery sand. The island has a touch of little development because it has several nipa huts, picnic tables and comfort rooms compared to Bulog Dos which was devoid of commercialism.

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water of Banana Island is so clear and with lots of friendly little fishes

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Coron-Day Two: Coron Island Loop Tour

I got up early to catch a photo of the much awaited sunrise in Coron. Only to discover that there was a tall mountain obstructing the view. Whew! I went back in our room and prepared our things for our exciting Coron Island Loop Tour.

We ate our breakfast at Teresa Bacsa in Coron town. Satisfied and full, we headed to the market and bought fresh fish, crabs, rice, charcoal and fruits. One good thing in hiring boat in Coron is that you can ask the boatmen to cook lunch for you. When we went back at Birang Guest House our service boat which was referred again by Ate Viring was already waiting for us near the little porch.

Rate of boat – P1,500

Our first stop was at Siete Pecados a small protected sanctuary which is also known as the islets of the seven sins. As we were sitting in the boat, sunlight was penetrating to the shimmering waters. So clear that we could see corals and lots of fish swarming together. And there went the adrenalin rush.

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islets of Siete Pecados

Me, my hubby and Froi dashed into the water.  Marie can’t join us because of her monthly period so she just stayed in the boat. The whole snorkeling spot was a sight to behold.  Wow! I was bewildered peering in what seemed to be a giant aquarium.

crystal clear waters

Marine life was so abundant. I’ve seen lots of corals of various shapes and colors and lots of fishes swimming everywhere. I tried to capture them in my hand but they swam so fast away from me. There were long spine sea urchins, so beware! First time I saw big fishes roaming in deeper part. Wishing to see them face to face but I couldn’t because I was only using snorkel and not a diving suit. My hubby and I stood in a big flat hard coral and snorkel again.

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the corals as seen from the boat

Boatmen are not allowed to use anchor to prevent corals from damaging. Good job guys, I salute you for your discipline! We can’t stay longer because our target is to visit eight scenic spots within this day. One hour is not enough here, but so long for the next spot!

How I wish we have underwater camera to capture the wonderful underwater scenery.

Entrance fee: P100

Kayangan Lake. I was held breathless as we passed two towering limestone cliffs. This was indeed the start of many nature’s surprises. The turquoise color of the sea was so clear and got more clearer as our boat docked on the shore. We paid our entrance fees to Tagbanua natives who were very accommodating and friendly. A little boy gave us a clear instruction how to go to Kayangan Lake and where to take the famous iconic symbol of Coron.

We took a climb to stone steps with wooden handrails. Halfway, I got too excited looking at the cove and the most photographed spot in Coron. And here was my photo from the vantage point.

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the most photographed spot in Coron

From the small cave, we took the steep trail in going down the lake. And there we saw the full view of Kayangan Lake, glistening and so inviting. The underwater limestone formations and small long pointed nose fish could be seen clearly while standing in the boardwalk.

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the clean and clear waters of Kayangan Lake

No doubt Kayangan Lake was dubbed as the cleanest lake in the Philippines. It was really clean and clear. After dropping our bags, the two hurried men immediately dashed into the water. I had a hard time going down fearing that I might hit those sharp rock formations. Funny, two foreign ladies pointed to me the perfect spot to jump and there I go! hahaha! Thank you ladies.

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we had a refreshing swim

This was my first time swimming in a lake. I was ecstatic because I could still see the bottom of the lake though I was swimming in deeper part. Such a wonderful experience wading on the water while communing with the lake’s tranquil charm. Foreigners were scattered everywhere. Take note, they dominated the area in great number than we Pinoys.

Entrance Fee:  P200

 

91 Beach or Atuayan.  I just can’t describe what I felt seeing more towering limestone cliffs which were covered with lush vegetation. They looked like warriors safeguarding the vast expanse of turquoise water. We passed by two wonderful white beaches, Smith and Banol wishing to set foot on it but Kuya Medis told us we will pay P100 each so off we went to Atuayan Beach for our lunch.

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our first time to experience immersing on a crystal clear water

As our boat approached the shore I could not hide my excitement anymore. I stood up hastily and took pictures of the beach. It was a small strip of fine white sand sitting at the foot of a towering limestone cliff. The water was very clear and the sand was very fine. Our boatmen cooked our lunch here.

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lost in paradise

I was overwhelmed and in awe.  I saw various kinds of fish, big blue star fish and the lovable two nemos busy playing in their anemone home. They were very cute. Though there were long spine sea urchins, we still enjoyed our snorkeling. Later, we eat our lunch in a wooden cottage. Looking at the dazzling water, this is where I saw the difference of Palawan from those places we’ve been. Beaches and lakes are both clean, crystal clear and are safe for kids.

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lunch time at Atuayan Beach

Leaving this enchanting place made my heart sank. I still want to spend more time. But we have to move on to another.

Shipwreck. The boat stayed in a deep part as evident to the color of the water, it was deep blue. And it gave me a scare. But thanks to our life jacket for encouraging me to brave this adventure. My hubby told me he felt a bit terrified when he saw the shipwreck. I was reluctant to have a peek but I will not leave this spot without looking at it. I was terrified just like my hubby watching the shipwreck. I grabbed his hand and we swam together.

I released my grip when we reached the shallow area. Marine life was also abundant; there were lots of fish of any kind and beautiful corals. I saw Kuya Romeo (the boat owner) dipping in the water wearing goggles only. How I wish I was like him, he was a good swimmer indeed. Still reluctant but it took me twice to view the shipwreck.

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taking some rest after our snorkeling

Just like what I did at Puerto Galera, I dared myself to swim with no life jacket. My hubby as my look out. It was so tiring but at least, I tried to overcome my fear of the sea. It was really challenging and fun! haha!

Entrance Fee:  P100

CYC (Coron Youth Club). This is a public beach with no entrance fee. According to our boatmen, CYC was once the best beach in Coron. But though there was no maintenance anymore, the water was still clear, shallow and is still ideal for swimming. Natural mangroves were abundant in the area. It’s nice to immerse on the water and enjoy the sun and sand adventure with the crowd.

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CYC is the only public beach with no entrance fee

Twin Lagoon. Boats dock on the first lagoon. The second lagoon which is hidden could be accessed through an opening underneath limestone rock on low tide and through wooden ladder on high tide.

All I could utter here is… WOW!  We were again astounded to see more and more fascinating towering limestone cliffs scattered everywhere. As we were approaching the first lagoon, there were many boats docked in the area. We could not wait to come close, so we jumped into the water with full of excitement going to the hole.

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we were standing in a platform where the space of the small opening below was getting thinner and thinner

But water was rising and so the space was getting smaller. We were instructed to proceed to the other lagoon so we could swim much easier coming from there. We took our climb in a small wooden ladder and there we saw the other lagoon where lots of people swim.

Hurriedly, hubby and Froi jumped so excitedly… hahaha! I didn’t join them yet. Amazed, I sat in the wooden platform and let my eyes perceived the beautiful scenery. I love the tranquil splendor of the lake. I was drowned much to the serenity that I didn’t heard my hubby calling me to jump into the water and join them.

Water was a bit hazy and brackish.  I didn’t  snorkel I just immersed myself into the water savoring the cool and warm feeling from the combination of fresh and salt water.

There was a queue of excited people waiting for their turn to swim in the hole. We waited patiently and when it was our time, we swam in a back float style very carefully to avoid the sharp jagged rocks then we were pulled by Kuya Romeo when we were near the entrance. It was a very swift move, and in next instance we were back to the first lagoon. Hahaha! It was so exciting and fun.

There were only few boats now in the first lagoon. Water was clearer here and so we snorkel again. We only saw one school of fish. This is one unforgettable adventure that I wouldn’t mind doing over and over again. I love it!

Entrane fee: P50 per head.

Barracuda Lake. My body was tired but my mind is still willing to move.Our last stop challenged us much when we took a treacherous climb in a thin and wet wooden ladder over sharp, jagged rocks. Whew! I was amazed when I saw our guide, a Tagbanua boy who crawled like spiderman from limestone to limestone.

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the treacherous climb

We were the last group to climb and it took us about twenty minutes reaching the stiff entrance because divers (all foreigners) had a hard climb due to oxygen tank at their backs. I asked the dive master (a Filipino) what they want to see at the lake. He told me that foreigners were curious on thermal condition of the water.

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the stiff entrance to the lake

Just like Kayangan Lake, the beauty of Barracuda Lake is revealed through up and down trekking. Nice adventure though.

I was amazed looking at stunning jagged limestone formations under the water but I got terrified for I couldn’t see the bottom anymore. It was too deep. Me, my hubby and Froi were left in the surface because the first group didn’t swim, they just visited the lake and leave. Divers submerged on deepest part. I was left in solitude and was scared to explore. Instead I just focused my eyes watching the luscious vegetation. I was overwhelmed by the tranquility of the lake. Oh I just love nature! I didn’t bother told my hubby about my fear. I let him explore the lake.

I was surprised to see the little “spiderman” sitting in one limestone and looking at me.  I had a little conversation with him and learned that there was once a large barracuda residing in the lake. But thank goodness that barracuda was no longer visible in the snorkeling area. I’ve learned from him also that the lake had a depth of 100 feet.  Whew!

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the awesome view of Barracuda Lake

I thank the little boy for he helped me fight my fear. I snorkel around with confidence and I enjoyed looking the massive underwater limestone structures. Barracuda Lake amazed me so much.  Later divers came up to the surface.  I was happy seeing them for I knew they enjoyed their diving experience. Wishing I was with them in their adventure.

Entrance Fee:  P100

I was really thankful for this wonderful adventure. Thank you Lord for making me see your awesome creations. There ended up our Coron loop. It was an amazing experience. Snorkeling, trekking, swimming and nature tripping, all in one adventure. I just couldn’t sustain my happiness.

Because we enjoyed a lot, we gave P300 tip to Kuya Medis.

If there is a place that I would want to go back, Coron is definitely that place. And surely, we will go back with our kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coron-Day One (Part 2): The Climb to Mount Tapyas and a dip at Maquinit Hot Spring

We were rejuvenated after an hour of rest from roaming around, buying souvenirs and foods in Coron town. By 4 pm, we prepared ourselves for our climb to Mt. Tapyas and a swim at Maquinit Hot Spring. We were fetched by our tricycle service which was referred by Ate Viring, the owner of Birang Guest House. Rate-P350.

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the spectacular view of Calamianes Group of Island as seen from the top

Before we turn right to Tapyas Road, we saw two foreign couple with big bag packs walking around. I was wandering, where are they going? From Tapyas Road we passed by San Agustin Street and up to Malvar Street. We parked near the elevated basketball court. Our driver pointed to us the start of the trail. It was the initial flight of steps near the court.  I took a deep breath to prepare myself for the climb.

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the breathtaking view as seen upon climbing up Mt. Tapyas

Going up was safe and comfortable because the steps were concrete and there were handrails. There were also flat landings and concrete benches for breather. We have no regular body work-out so going up was tiring. Ooopps! Except with Froi, an active mountaineer who took this activity an ordinary trek for him. Though we were sweating, we never sit on benches to take some rest. As we were nearing the summit, I stopped in between steps to admire the view. Whew! Coron is simply beautiful.

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i counted it…. 721 steps

It took us almost half an hour when we reached the peak. The giant steel cross warmly welcomed our arrival.  It was then that I realized, the climb wore me out.  I was sweating hard.  I took a deep breath to gain back my energy. I was surprised seeing the foreign couple with large big bag packs walking near us. Wow! They were indeed incredible mountaineers. I presumed, they started walking from the hotel to where they stayed.

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who was sweating so much?

At last the rewarding part had come. The spectacular view of the Calamianes group of island was so awesome. I enjoyed taking photos of those islands and the surrounding town of Coron.  We roamed around in the cemented view deck, looking at the views from side to side and stayed the most part in front of the cross.  We sat on benches for water break.

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the giant steel cross on the viewing platform

We waited for the sunset. But unfortunately, thick clouds obscured our supposedly “candid moment”. It was frustrating for I never had that glorious photo in my cam. Anyway, I still captured a nice picture of sunset.

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nearing sunset

Going down was easy. I counted the steps and upon reaching the last, I told them, “It’s 721.”  They were all smiling at me. At last our conquest had ended. My first mountain trek experience was so wonderful.  Though it wasn’t that adventurous like a real climb, still it delighted me for I was able to see one of Coron’s amazing places to visit.

No entrance fee here.

It was already dark when we reached Maquinit Hot Spring (25 minutes travel time coming from Mt. Tapyas) through bumpy and dusty road. Marie was left in the sitting area because she can’t swim because of her monthly period. My hubby and Froi hastily immersed on the hot water at 40 degrees Celcius. Because it was hot, I slowly submerged to the water then I slowly swim.  What was so unusual for a hot spring like this is that, the water was salty.

Though we missed taking pictures of this hot spring in broad daylight, the unusual experience was again rewarding. It’s good that we ended up our day in this therapeutic saltwater. Not only that the water soothed our tired muscles from our previous activity but seeing lots of foreigners in the area made me proud. I hope they are enjoying every minute of their vacation in Coron.

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the smalles pool in Maquinit Hot Spring

Entrance Fee:  P200/head

For our dinner, we bought food along the road near the guest house. Ate Viring allowed us to eat at the dining area in the second floor. We were so thankful to her for providing us plates and utensils. After our dinner, we went down at the porch for some social activity.  The sea breeze was cool and the water was so calm. The evening sky was blanketed by shining stars. Indeed, it was a wonderful night for a complete relaxation, a respite from a busy, noisy life in Manila. But my eyes were drooping and so with Marie. With the boy’s permission, off we went to our room.

We didn’t use our mosquito repellent for there are no pesky mosquitoes in the guest house.

I was so excited for our Coron loop the next morning. I was deadly tired that night. Sleeping was very easy for me.

Good night my beautiful and peaceful Coron.