There are a few facts I learned about Palawan when I was in grade school. It was the island where migrants from nearby Asian countries settled. It boasted of caves. And it scared the wits out of my young mind that it was where people suffering from leprosy were exiled to. It was only many years later that I learned the facts of Palawan – it boasted of beautiful beaches, underground rivers, humongous limestone, numerous snorkeling and diving sites, and Edward Hagedorn.
I wanted to get to Palawan after feasting on Flickr photos and on Dante Nico Garcia’s Ploning which was shot entirely in Cuyo, Palawan. So when I got an invite to travel to Coron with my tennis buddies I did not think twice. Actually I did but after declining their two previous invites – Caramoan in 2008 and El Nido in 2009 – I wasn’t going to pass up on the opportunity and regret doing so.
So on the 3rd week of March I and 26 others boarded the Cebu Pacific flight to Busuanga. I wasn’t surprised that the Busuanga Airport was small and rather similar to the airports of Dumaguete and Naga. The 40-minute ride to Coron was like going on a safari sans the giraffes and the zebras and the elephants and the lions and the tigers. The land was huge and parched and barren. Of course there were trees. And mountains. And some cows. And lots of dung.
After checking-in at Princess of Coron where we were going to sleep for the next three nights we headed to our first day of island hopping.
The itinerary was:
1. Twin Lagoon. My first view of the Palawan limestone. It was everywhere. Breathtakingly beautiful.
2. Banol Beach. One of the best beaches I’ve been to.
3. CYC Island. A rather small island similar to Potipot Island in Zambales.
4. Skeleton Wreck. One among many Japanese war boats gunned down by the Americans at the end of World War II. It has since become a snorkeling site in Coron.
5. Maquinit Hot Spring. This should have been renamed Maquinit Very Hot Spring. My balls got cooked. Almost.