Some fear conquering, and a wedding

Coron | January 2016

Beautiful, breathtaking, Coron!

Beautiful, breathtaking, Coron!

I didn’t really grow up much of an island girl. I was born and raised in Manila by parents who like to travel to places with colder climates, so I never really had much opportunity to bond with the ocean until I started traveling with my friends. Nevertheless, I was always afraid of it. I know the basic swimming strokes which I learned in school, in a safe pool, but I never learned how to tread, hence my fear of drowning (which is a pretty rational fear I think) and my fear of not knowing what’s swimming by my feet (which I will admit, is a little less rational).

The spectacular view from Kayangan Lake. A bit of a climb, but worth it.

The spectacular view from Kayangan Lake. A bit of a climb, but worth it.

So I’m not really sure what it was – whether it was the encouragement of my friends, the beauty of Coron, or maybe me finally warming up to the sea that made me want to try exploring its deep waters (albeit with a life vest on at all times). Because I did. For the first time in my 20 *cough* years. And I loved it.

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Snorkeiling Kayangan Lake, and a sunken Japanese Warship

Snorkeling in Kayangan Lake | After snorkeling around a sunken Japanese Warship

I loved the food as well, which our awesome boatman Kuya Rodel prepared. His chilli crabs were divine, and he’s a pretty great guide as well. I got him for both days of our tours. I highly recommend him.  [info below]

Just look at that feast! And that was just for three!

Just look at that feast! And that was just for three! Obligatory rice and coke not included in the picture.

There was so much to see in Coron, so many places worth exploring, with waters clearer than any I’ve ever seen. It’s a gorgeous gathering of different islands and different landscapes that I’d definitely revisit over and over again.

It was also the perfect setting for the wedding of two of my closest friends, where I was a giddy and extremely proud bridesmaid.

The bridesmaid and the groom minutes before the wedding!

The groom and the bridesmaid minutes before the wedding!

It was a beautiful day, full of happy tears, laughter, music, and love among wonderful friends and family, with the absolute perfect background – where Jesper and Kriska exchanged their touching vows. It was quite something to see two friends I care so much about finally, (and actually) getting hitched.

The setting for Krisper 2016

The setting for Krisper (Kriska and Jesper) 2016

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Mercado!!! I love you both!

With the newlyweds at the reception!

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Mercado! I love you both!

My favourite part of the night: releasing lanterns into the sky with our wishes for the happy couple.

"I See the Light" by Ily Matthew Maniano

“I See the Light” by Ily Matthew Maniano

After the wedding, it was the reception on the island, then the open double-decker boat that led us back to town where we gazed at a million stars against a pitch black sky. Then the crazy after party, and then the even crazier after-after party that ended in the wee hours of the morning. It was an amazing day with great friends, both old and new.

The hotel we booked for the first few nights wasn’t the best, but my roommates definitely were.

With Silke and Teta on our boat

With Silke and Teta on our boat

However, on my last night in Coron, I insisted on staying in a beautiful hotel. Which I did.

Sophia's Garden

Sophia’s Garden Resort

Sophia’s Garden Resort had incredible personalised service (it only has 8 rooms), great food, a beautiful pool with a jacuzzi, and very comfortable rooms. It’s no wonder that it won Traveller’s Choice on TripAdvisor in 2015, with 4 and a half stars. I loved my stay there, and I wish it hadn’t only been for a night.

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The hotel's restaurant and swimming pool

Swimming Pool | Restaurant

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The pool and jacuzzi area at night – the hotel was beautifully lit

I found restaurants in Coron town a bit lacking in choices, so it was great having a good one right in the hotel. I had pasta and homemade carrot cake for dinner.

Breakfast at Sophia's Garden Resort

Complimentary Breakfast at Sophia’s Garden Resort

I loved my stay there and I would definitely go back. If you’re looking for a hotel in Coron, this is the one. My tricycle driver gave me a hotel tour around town, and this was the best, hands down.

All in all, this trip was amazing, I spent it with great friends, celebrated great love, and explored a great new place. Thank you for the memories Coron!

Coron | The details

The Hotel: Sophia’s Garden Resort – a bit farther from town and from the docks, but only 5-10 minutes on a tricycle

The Transportation – it’s pretty easy to get a van to any hotel from the airport for P150. No prior arrangements with your chosen hotel is necessary. As for going around town, it’s pretty small and walkable, and it’s really easy to get a trike for P10 anywhere.

The Airline – I recommend SkyJet Airlines. As far as I know they only fly out once a day, but the fares are more reasonable, and there’s definitely more leg room. Plus you get mamon.

The Tours – If you want to get a personal boat instead of getting on a joiner, you can get a boat for P2,000. There were only 3 of us on the first day. It was P2,500 for 9 of us on the second. It’s a bit more expensive, but you can choose which islands to visit and it will be at your own pace, which I recommend. I suggest Kayangan Lake (it’s worth the climb), one of the shipwrecks, and any beach with huts for lunch. Your boatman can suggest where.

If you want to hire the one I did, here is his contact information: Kuya Rodel +639308397176 Tell him I said hi!

Every island has an entrance fee of P100, except Kayangan Lake which costs P200 a head. Even when you think you are in the middle of the ocean and no one can see you, a boat will emerge out of thin air to collect.

Regarding lunch on the days you are on tour, you can ask your boatman to accompany you to the market or ask him to go on your behalf. He will cook on the boat for you. We spent about P250-P300 per person, and it was more than enough food and drinks for all of us.

Gear Rental – You can rent everything from snorkel masks to aqua shoes to flippers for P150. I suggest bringing your own stuff if you have them. The rental costs and entrance fees can really add up.

The People – Everyone in Coron is very friendly, hospitable, and always willing to help. They’re nice people, so be sure to be nice back.

If you’re planning a trip to Coron, be ready for a lot of ooh-ing and aah-ing! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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