MY SOLO FLIGHT AND ARRIVAL AT BUSUANGA
Yes! This was supposed to be a barkada outing, but I was alone during the flight to Busuanga! hehe! It’s my first time in Palawan, but definitely not my first time to travel by plane alone; I’ve gotten used to going on solo especially during flights back to my hometown. And as a matter of fact, I also traveled alone during my first trip abroad hehe! :D
Anyway, we were six in the group, the first four went ahead with CebuPac’s 9:00am flight; while me and Jack booked for ZestAir’s 9:40am flight. Unfortunately, due to the super bad weather that day (typhoons Kabayan–Lando-upcoming Mina), Jack did not make it on time to the airport…and the rest is history hehe :D ..bottomline is, I traveled alone. Not a big deal actually. :D
Moving on, upon arrival at the Francisco B. Reyes Airport in Busuanga, I immediately texted my other companions who arrived earlier via CebuPac. They were actually waiting for me already outside of the airport, with the driver and the van that would take us to Kopi Doki. And so the Coron Adventure began! :D
OUR FIRST DAY IN CORON
I am posting again our itinerary for our first day in Coron:
(click here for the tour package details, complete itinerary, accommodation details and contact persons)
It was a 30-minute ride from the airport to Coron town proper and the weather was gloomy that day :( We were worried that we might not be able to carry on with our Day1 activities (especially hiking!); but thank goodness, we’re still able to stick with the itinerary! :)
Upon arrival at Kopi Doki (Kopi Doki) Guest Haus, (click here for the short review of it hehe), we immediately unpacked our things and prepared for lunch. We also prepared our things for the Day1 activities (hiking to Mt. Tapyas and dipping into the Maquinit Hotspring).
After we had our free lunch at Kopi Doki, we waited for about an hour before we headed to our first activity in Coron, which was hiking to Mt. Mount Tapyas! One hour was long enough! hehe bad weather!!! Well, despite the drizzle/rain, most of us still wanted to go with the hiking (buti naman! hehe), since we had nothing else to do (i suppose hehehe). We rode a tricycle from Kopi Doki to Tapyas road; it was a 10-minute ride (with stopovers in between). Then we started off with our hiking! :)
HIKING TO MT. TAPYAS
We started off by hiking along the Tapyas Road, a few meters away from the first step of the paved “stairway to the big cross”. As we went along the trail, we were informed by Ate Shawie (as we named her hehe; her name’s really Sharon), our tour guide, that it will take us about 734 (if i heard it right hehehe) steps before we reach the peak of Mt. Tapyas, where the Big Cross is situated. It was called Tapyas because accordingly, part of the mountain was ripped off (na-Tapyas in Tagalog) when a bomb was dropped (and exploded of course) during World War II. And the Big Cross? Well, accordingly, it was a gift to the town from Governor Reyes of Palawan, a local of Coron.
Below are some pix taken from the start of the hiking until we reached the peak of Mt. Tapyas :)
It is said that the Tapyas viewdeck is one of the best spots in Coron where you could have the magnificent view of the sunset. Too bad for me, we were not able to experience a beautiful sunset because of the (again) bad weather! (hmp! sunud-sunod na bagyo kase nung week ng trip na ‘to!).
After a few minutes of resting and cam-whoring at Mt. Tapyas’ viewdeck, we went at the other side of the mountain where we had a view of the Coron Hills. I was amazed by the sight! :) Really! You could really feel so close with nature with the fresh green color of the Coron hills. According to Ate Shawie, this is Coron’s version of the famous (Chocolate) Hills of Bohol hehehe (pwede..I’ve never been to Bohol, though! hehe still in my list for 2011 trips)!
The hike to Mt. Tapyas was kind of tiring, but not as tiring as the trekking that I experienced in Batad (Banaue) and Fidelisan (Sagada) last May hehehe. For one, the trail to Mt. Tapyas consisted of paved stairways plus there are handrails that could help you pull yourself up during the hike. Another thing, there are a lot of shady spots with concrete benches where you could take in-between stops. And one last thing, mineral water vendors follow you until you reach the peak of the mountain, ensuring you won’t get dehydrated or something during the hike hehehe! By the way, the mineral water is sold at PhP25 a bottle.. Good enough hehe :)
More cam-whoring at the Tapyas Peak:
After we’re done with all the cam-whoring at Tapyas, we started off with our hike back to where we started. The hike down the mountain was easier and faster, but for me, it was a little tormenting because I felt a sudden strain on my right knee, the same pain that I felt during the Batad (Banaue) and Fidelisan (Sagada) trekking; and I felt it when going down the trail… I guess there’s something wrong with my right knee..tsk tsk tsk!
Anyway, when we reached the end of the trail where the tryc was parked, we immediately headed to Maquinit Hotspring; it was a 15-minute smooth and rough ride from Tapyas.
DIPPING INTO THE MAQUINIT HOTSPRING
After the hiking that we’ve had, it’s time to deep into a relaxing hotspring called Maquinit! :) The entrance fee had just increased (effective Aug 1, 2011) from PhP100 to PhP150. Good thing, the entrance fee is included in our package! hehe! no worries! :D
The place is surrounded with mangroves, the way from the entrance to the hotspring was somewhat muddy (it’s not cemented), well, due to the bad weather that time. The place is said to be privately-owned and/but poorly-maintained, despite the increasing entrace fees that management charges :(. Anyway, when we arrived at the place, there were already a few people enjoying the warm water of Maquinit. And after a few minutes of rest, we then tried the warmth of the hotspring by dipping ourselves into the pool! :D relaxing!
It was such a relaxing experience! really! :D You have to slowly deep into the pool (para hindi mabigla yung katawan mo sa init ng tubig! haha!); feet first, legs thigh, then…. swimming time! nahh! It’s not a good pool for swimming because it’s just a shallow (waist-high??) pool of hot water. :D After about 30 minutes of “warming up”, we all got out of the pool already. :D
We barely had pictures during our hotspring experience as all of us 5 went dipping into it (hotspring) hehe! Nakakahiya naman utusan yung tour guide! :D I had few shots of the pool, but the lighting was poor as it was already around 6 in the evening (rrrr!!!). Nonetheless, the Maquinit Hotspring experience is worth the try! :D
After the Maquinit experience, we went home to take a bath and prepare for dinner! It was a 15-minute drive from Maquinit to Kopi Doki :D
FIRST DINNER AT CORON
Since free dinner was not included in our package, we decided to dine out at Macario’s Grill; a simple resto which is just 10 minutes (or less) away from Kopi Doki. Actually, it was Kuya Mark (the Tryc Driver) who suggested the place. :D We ordered for mixed veggies and grilled pork ribs! yumyum! :)
Food tasted good and the prices were within our budget naman.
We also ordered din some beer to help us get to sleep! hahaha! :D What a way to end the first day! :D