Monday, May 13, 2013

my travel notes: coron, palawan

"closing time. every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." this post is another wrap-up of my not-so-recent escape to the beautiful island of coron and it was a much needed break from my daily routine.

hope is a sustaining mindset that as i end this blog-posting series about coron, the colossal universe may unfold a new beginning which will bring another story, another marvel, and another experience in this life that has been in constant move since time immemorial. a little hope doesn't hurt, does it? especially how painfully negative the world can be, most of the time.

even if coron was only a hit-and-run circumstance due to some unfortunate events, it was something that i can look back with a gratifying and delightful feeling, an indispensable dose of positivity in this crazy world.

★ Getting There (Singapore to Coron and Cebu to Coron)

Singapore's Changi International Airport
Singapore's swanky Changi International Airport

Jetstar Asia from Singapore to Manila
Jetstar Asia from Singapore to Manila

Jetstar Asia at NAIA Termina 1
Jetstar Asia at NAIA Terminal 1

i was flying from singapore while breinn had his outbound flight from cebu to manila. i took jetstar asia's 6AM flight which reached manila at 10, of course in the same morning. manila is the closest international airport for coron with only an hour flight on a turboprop plane in between.

from NAIA terminal 1, i took the airport's shuttle (Php20 per person) to terminal 3 where breinn was, after his a little delayed flight with cebu pacific. we then, had our breakfast fill because we only took budget airlines with no complimentary food. with no idea what's coming, we should have taken it really slow because our flight to coron with air philippines was 3 hours delayed! it turned out that my prior headache due to their flight reschedules was far from over. there was no explanation given on why we were delayed except a repeated announcement on who could give up their seats in our flight, in exchange for a free domestic flight to be used at a later date. sorry, there was no way that would be us. we should better get to coron by hook or by crook. a boat might not be far-fetched but on second thought, that's already quite extreme. haha

air philippines is now called pal express after a seemingly countless name change and i hope it does not only come with a literal change. anyway, i don't want to further relive my agony that day when i spent too much time at airports so, i better stop airing my frustration this instant.

Busuanga Domestic Airport
Busuanga Domestic Airport

at 5:30 in the afternoon, we finally landed in busuanga's tiny scale domestic airport, my third and last airport for the day. spell exhaustion.

the airport is beyond basic with no automatic baggage carousel and a one-room arrival hall. (i really don't have a problem with it though) however, please don't get me started with the toilets because this area could use a whole lot of improvement. hello busuanga airport administration?

Busuanga Domestic Airport Departure
Busuanga Domestic Aiport Departure

on our return flight to manila, we came upon a close airport where we saw a queue of bags, patiently waiting for the departure door to open. this was the most basic airport i had been, so basic that a few enduring policemen manually checked our bags for security measures. it was quite an experience for us, especially that the men in-charge at the check-in counter were late and they were reprimanded by their supervisor in front of us. "kung marunong kayo mag-party, marunong din sana kayong gumising ng maaga." face palm.

★ Getting from Busuanga Airport to Coron Town

Cattle grazing in Busuanga, Palawan
Cattle grazing in Busuanga, Palawan

we didn't arrange for a pick-up service because that probably would have cost us an arm and a leg. what we did was we hopped on a public van at the airport which was at Php100 per person. as the van skirted its way with the setting sun tailing us, i was astounded when i saw a herd of cattle grazing in a meadow. it was such a refreshing sight and coming from a developed city at the start of my day, i couldn't believe i found myself in a breathtaking countryside at the end of my day. i easily get overjoyed with simple things that even this lush landscape alone, had made my long arduous trip all worth it.

traversing a long winding dirt road and potholes, we arrived at our accommodation 45 minutes after. at last!

in going back to the airport, we booked our transport through our hotel and it was still a van with the same fare. we only told the receptionist our pick-up time. one thing to note is to have a leeway since the van has yet to pick up other passengers, who may be on the same flight as you.

★ Where to Stay

Balaibinda Lodge, Coron, Palawan
Rooftop of Balaibinda Lodge

Balaibinda Lodge, Coron, Palawan
Balaibinda Lodge

since coron is a prime destination in the country, there is already a good number of accommodations to choose from, ranging from really cheap ones to exclusive yet expensive options. we chose balaibinda lodge which is situated at the center of the town, where everything is within reach and i mean everything because coron is a small town that you can even fancy a walk to get around.

it was a decent stay at a price of Php3,400 for 2 nights with complimentary breakfast.

★ Food

Food in Coron, Palawan
Chicken rice meal at a random side street food stall

Food in Coron, Palawan
A noodle soup at the same food stall

Food in Coron, Palawan
Homemade fries at Sea Dive Resort's Restaurant

Food in Coron, Palawan
The glorious lobster at Sea Dive Resort's Restaurant

Margarita at Sea Dive Resort
A glass of margarita at Sea Dive Resort's Restaurant

the food was divine but at a high price (except the lobster which gave hotel buffets a run for their money). even a roadside eatery required us to shell out an amount which i think, more than what the food was worth for. the prices were obviously jacked up for tourists. as a case in point, we wanted to buy a bottle of sunblock but when the man from the store told us the price, there was a subtle hesitation in his voice. he knew that we were "kababayan" and he certainly had an idea on what our reaction would be. in the end, we didn't buy the superfluously-priced sunblock and good thing, my mini bottle of sun play sufficed throughout the journey.

if i'd be visiting coron for a longer time, i might consider buying straight from the market and cook myself. surely, it doesn't take a cooking genius especially if it involves fresh seafood!

★ Getting Around

by the most part, you can get around the center of the town by simply walking although, there will likely be a swarm of tricycles and their drivers who will be more than willing to ferry you to your destination. since we were staying at the center of the town (i can't seem to stress this enough), the port where the boats for the island hopping start off, was just a quick stroll from where we're staying. it was that convenient. and here's a previous post with a bird's eye view of the town.

★ Safety

Coron at Night
Coron at Night

i felt safe in coron even at nighttime. it gave off an atmosphere of being provincial which in some way reminded me about my hometown where the only scary stories that we had, were about witches and otherworldly creatures. categorically, one may feel unsafe with that but so far, i haven't heard of true-to-life incidents relating to those stories. i'm actually more than scared of real people, if you know what i mean.

breinn's fear is however, far worse than mine. i'm somehow considering his fear to be bordering towards paranoia. well, on our first night, i was eager to find a relaxing place where we could hang out for awhile because i didn't want my whole day of flights to be the last thing i'd remember before i sleep. i have this feeling that my feet have a separate mind and that night, they led us into a narrow dark alley and unknowingly, into sea dive resort. breinn initially dissuaded me not to take heed of my feet but i was weak and my feet were not. so, off we went. the resort is built over the sea and i gladly savored the calming sea breeze that it offered. it didn't even matter if we had to wait because the resort's restaurant was fully booked when we arrived.

Sea Dive Resort at Night

Sea Dive Resort

and here are the rest of my posts about coron.


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