Coron Family Adventure – Day 2

Coron Family Adventure – Day 2
Encounter with Zoo Animals, Exploring a Sunken Ship and More
by Danny Tariman

We woke up very early in the morning to our long boat trip to Calauit Island. This is our second day in Coron, Palawan.

The free-roaming giraffes in the wildlife sanctuary

The tourist van picked us up from the hotel at about 5:30am. We were taken to the wharf where the boat will take us to Calauit. We were supposed to leave at 6am per schedule, but for some reasons, we actually left at about 6:30.

It was a long trip. But thanks be to God, the sea was smooth all throughout. We just had to contend with the loud sound of the boat’s engine; it was not deafening, though. While aboard, the boat’s crew served our breakfast, and flowing instant coffee! Haha!

Calauit Wildlife 

We reached Calauit Wildlife Sanctuary at about 10:30am. After a quick registration process at the reception office, we immediately went out to meet the roaming giraffes, zebras, and others. We were quite excited as this is the first time we will have a live and unbounded interaction with these animals.

One of our first family photo in the island — with zebra in the background

We were not disappointed. From a distance, we immediately saw group of zebras roaming and feeding on the grass. We also saw the long-necked animals just wandering around. It was really a sight!

We quickly took photos with the animals. Really a one-of-a-kind experience.

The good caretaker also toured us around. There are other wild animals kept inside the sanctuary: monkeys, eagles, turtles, snakes, porcupine, crocodiles, and many more. You just have to walk about a kilometer to get a good glimpse of the animals around.

I love this activity: close encounter with a giraffe

Just before 12noon, we left the sanctuary to have our lunch at the Black Island. It was a short 30-minute boat ride.

Black Island & Bat Cave

The Black Island’s coast is so beautiful: wide beach, creamy soft white sands, and crystal clear waters. Perfect to beach bumming. We were told that this is called “Black Island” because of the rock formations which looks black from a distance.

The pristine beach of Black Island

We had our lunch in this island. It was a feast – I mean really feast: generous servings of seafood, fruits, and chicken! We had a good eat here.

But more than the food, we truly enjoyed the beach in this island.

In the island is another attraction: a bat cave, which is just a few steps away from the hut where we had our lunch. Inside the cave is a freshwater pool, which was very cold. I had dipped into the pool for few minutes. It was amazing to see a big cave in the island.
We moved on to our next destination after spending almost 2 hours in the island.

My family inside the bat cave.

Coral Garden

From the Black Garden, we had about an hour and a half boat ride to this amazing submarine garden. Wow! I was so fascinated by the colorful and huge coral formations in the area. I was with our children, while my wife was being “toured around” by our guide by pulling a rope where some tourists have just to hold.

We had a very enjoyable experience viewing the underwater scenery: corals of every kind: branching corals, plate corals, both soft- and hard-corals. Really captivating! My children and I were just floating on the sea with our life vests.

My daughter going for the free-dive at coral garden

After about 30 minutes of snorkeling, we moved on to our final destination for the day: the ship wreckage.

Lusong Ship Wreck

It was a short boat trip from the Coral Garden. All of us found our way to quickly jump into the water as this was one of the highlights of our trip. We really wanted to dive and see this famous Lusong ship wreck. We actually got assurance from the tour operator to make sure that we will visit the ship wreck.

My son at the ship wreck. Note the edge of the ship showing, with all the sea creatures that had grown on the ship.

The ship was lying on its side. It was about 12-15 meters long – I really don’t know. But it was quite long. The ship is already full of marine life: carbuncles, sea weeds, moss, and others attached to its side. Oh! There were plenty of fishes swimming in the wreck!

On the other side of the wreck is quite scary. It was very deep. I can’t see anything, except for the deep blue waters.

Feeding the fishes with seaweeds at the wreckage site.

We didn’t stay long here as the sun was setting down already. And so we left the place at about 5pm and headed back to town.

We arrived Coron town already dark, but it was good: we can see the lights of the town lining the shores, and the Cross on top of Mt Tapyas glowing bright.

It has been a long day full of adventures. It was another wonderful day, an experience of a lifetime in Coron!

I was trying to lure a porcupine who was hiding in a log, its natural habitat.
The entrance of the bat cave in Black Island
The colorful corals at the Coral Garden
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Coron Family Adventure – Day 1


Coron Family Adventure 1
Diving the Depths of Sea & Scaling the Heights of Mt Tapyas
by Danny Tariman

This was a very much anticipated family trip. We had long planned to visit this world-famous tourist spot, and finally we are going to Coron!

Coron at sunset, as viewed from Mt Tapyas

We know that we would have a lot of swimming activities in this amazing adventure, and so my family brought with us our entire snorkeling gadgets, including flippers or diving fins.

We arrived Coron at about 9:00am after an hour flight from Manila. We landed at Busuanga Airport which is about 30 minutes drive to the town. We couldn’t wait to land as excitement grew, as we view the beautiful island from windows of the aircraft.

After checking-in at the hotel, we immediately look for a place to eat breakfast. We wanted to taste local food, but it was a bit early for good restaurants to open. And so we settled for a good carinderia (a small eatery).

Our boat ride to the islands.

Since the start of our packaged tour will start at 4pm yet, we decided to do some island hopping activities. We approached the hotel’s concierge who was so kind enough to arrange for us a boat and a tour guide to take us to the islands.

Our tour guide Arjay (0927-2846263) fetched us in no time. He was very conversant with his task as tour guide, and even guided us in buying some food stuff for our lunch in the island. This is not part of the tour package, and so we have to organize the food too. We were so impressed with this young man who guided us in our tour – very courteous, always ready to assist, and has big dreams for his life.

Siete Pecados

This is our first stop. This small group of islets has a very rich marine life. With its very clear waters, I can easily see the deep. It is teeming with colorful corals of all sorts of species. We had a very good first-time experience for snorkeling in this place.

My daughter going for the free-dive at Siete Pecados

Our children enjoyed their free-diving to the depths of about 15-18 feet. I can see them reach the bottom of the sea, while I and my wife just enjoy skimming the surface of the water for our snorkelling.

Atuayan Beach

We had our lunch in this pristine white beach. Our tour guide cooked for us our lunch of seafood and salad! It was really good. The beach is just perfect for our lunch and after-lunch swimming. The water is so clear and clean, you can see your feet even in the deep! There was a brief rain shower while we were resting in this beautiful beach.

My family enjoying the creamy sands of Atuayan Beach.

Baracuda Lake

I never thought that in the middle of those rocky islands is a good, deep freshwater lake! The water was so clear too, you can see the rock formations lining the lake perimeter. I understand it was about 20 feet deep! While we were enjoying the swim, there was a couple of tourists who dived with complete gadgets – tank, suits, and all.

My son having fun underwater with a sitting pose for the picture.

The view was awesome: a background of greyish limestone, and emerald-colored lake!

From this, we decided to go back to town for our 4pm tour.

Town Tour

At 4pm, our designated tour guide arrived promptly at the hotel. Our first stop was the Town Hall, which was just a few meters away from our hotel. After a few photos taken, we went to the bay area – a reclamation area – where a nice boulevard welcomes tourists and residents alike. The view was good, you can see the Coron Island group.

The Coron Town bayview

We also visited a souvenir shop where an assortment of local crafts and goods are available. You may want to buy from there a watertight bag for your electronic gadgets’ protection while touring the seas.

Mt Tapyas

Mt Taypas is that little mountain overlooking the Coron town. At its peak is a Cross which is lighted as darkness sets in. This mountain is about 210 meters above sea level, not really that challenging for those to love to trek mountains. It has concrete stairs starting from the foot of the mountain, with a number of “resting areas” every 10-15 minutes of walk. It has around 740+ steps.

The greenery side of Mt Tapyas

We started our trek to Mt Tapyas at about 5 in the afternoon, to catch a good view of the sunset. A lot of tourists go up at this hour of the day, just to catch the sunset. We were not disappointed as the sun started to set. It was indeed spectacular view!

At the top, we toured around the peak. The view at the back overlooking rolling hills was a refreshing sight.

San Agustin Church

This Catholic Church is the church in Coron town proper. For those who tour Coron on a weekend, it is best to check the schedule of Masses with the hotel’s reception or concierge.

The interior of San Agustin Church

We dropped by this church, first, to offer our thanksgiving for the safe trip and for the good weather, and second, to lift up to God our personal prayers.

Maquinit Hot Spring

Our last stop for the day was the Maquinit Hot Spring. We left the church at about 6:30 in the evening, and reached this hot spring resort about an hour later, passing through unpaved roads with lots of pot holes along the way. It was a tough ride! Haha!

An early evening dip at the warm pools of  Maguinit Hot Spring

The visit was a good culminating activity for the busy day. Immersing our entire body in the hot pool somehow relaxed our tired bodies. But it was really hot! I would suggest that you immerse little by little so as to acclimatize your body to the really hot pool. I had the mistake of immediately jumping into the pool; it was a “shocking” experience. Haha! It was so hot I had to jump out of the water as quickly as I jumped!

But it was a very relaxing experience, and a good final activity for the day!

The beautiful marine gardens of Siete Pecados
My family photo at Baracuda Lake
A family pic at Mt Tapyas while waiting for the colorful sunset.
Maquinit Hot Springs by night