Coron, Palawan - Day 1
Coron Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
March 24th, 2007 – by: Isabetlog
On the 20-seater plane bound for Busuanga, I find that everyone disregards their seat assignments as the passengers fill those in front, leaving only the doorside seat to me. The flight attendant takes her place up front to do her usual safety precaution song and dance. Strange how she instructs us to follow the lights along the floor when there are no light installations to speak off. Stranger still is the fact that she steps off the plane, lifevest on, never to be seen again on this flight.
In the seat pocket I find a small packet of popcorn and a juicebox which I consume in lieu of real breakfast food. The over-achiever of a flight "attendant" generously left them as a surprise prior to abandoning us. We take flight, soaring low over the mountians and seas of southern Luzon and in less than an hour's time, the islands of Palawan come into view below. The excitement builds as the landing gear pops out and next thing you know, boom! We're on the ground. At least one half of the plane is. The pilot couldn't get it to land flat on the runway, but was thankfully able to gain control in a few seconds' time.
Upon arrival, I hopped on a jeep that would take me to the resort where I was billeted at, the Sea Dive. A forty minute ride down a dusty trail with fields and mountains on either side filled what little view we had form inside the jeep. It was gorgeous, really, if only we could see more.
At the Sea Dive, I checked in and made boat arrangements for the day. The photos on the site dont make the place look like much, but it's actually quite pleasant and homey. It's along the waterfront, and the absence of enclosures in the dining area allows the sea breeze to battle the daytime sun and cool diners down in the evening. After an early lunch, I was ready to hop on the bangka (the local term for an outrigger canoe) and made my way to the eastern side of Coron Island.
The first stop was the Gun Boat wreck. Across the waters and through the mangrove channel near Tangat Island is one of the shallower wrecks in Coron, a submarine hunter about 35m long. The bow is found only 3 meters from the surface, perfect for snorklers and non-divers like me. Looking down from my boat, the dark form of the wreck is visible. Looks really interesting, I thought. But once I hit the water, and the clarity my mask provided sent a shiver up my spine. It's the first wreck I'd ever seen and despite the delightful sight of a school of small fish swimming out of their little nook in the wreck after disturbing their peace, it was mighty eerie. Propped up diagonally on the sea bed, only the bow, home to rust and barnacles, juts out from the treacherous abyss.
So la dee da, off to the corals I go. I'd never gone snorkeling before either and seeing the all this bounty underwater reminded me of my childhood when I'd go shop for fish for my aquarium in Cartimar, a shopping mecca for pets, plants, shoes, household appliances and just about everything. There were anemonaes, sea urchins and fish that came in all different shapes, sizes and colors, none of which I can name.
The next and only other stop for the day was the Coral Gardens some twenty minutes away. The water was so clear you could see a lot of detail from the boat, but going under still makes a world of a difference. Here, the undersea life is a lot more varied. There were striped fish, dotted fish, luminous fish, all sorts of fish! Made me wish I had done some research and learned just which kinds thrived in these waters. It was all so beautiful and I didn't have an underwater camera to capture any of it.
I may have spent a good hour exploring the area until the high tide came, signaling that it was time to head back and head for the Maquinit Hot Springs just a few minutes' ride from the resort.
It's as popular as the other attractions of Coron, a place where many locals have their picnics and a source of invigoration after a long day of aquatic activities. All I needed was 15 minutes in and I was good to go call it a day. And what a day it'd been!
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