Amazing Coron

Coron, a town in the Busuanga Island in Northern Palawan, can charm even the most insensitive among men. Its natural beauty can only be described as seductive, giving first-time visitors and repeaters alike a sense of wonder that is hard to shake off. In the summer of 2004, we went to Coron expecting to conquer nature. Instead, we felt like being coddled as children in the lagoons of Coron Bay.

Few places on the planet can amaze you like Coron. Its seven captivating lagoons, with beautiful reefs on the floor and outstanding limestone cliffs as the walls, will give you a vivid idea of what a paradise is like.

Among the names of the lagoons I can remember are Cayangan, Barracuda, Tanigue, Twin Lagoon and Abuyok. The water of Cayangan lake, for one, reflects the green color of the rich flora around the area.

Siete Pecados, or seven rocky islands, teem with colorful tropical fishes and corals.

White-sand beaches, partly covered by mangroves, can also be found in some of the 219 islets, serving as a perfect base for kayaking around the limestone formations where exotic bird species patrol regularly. One of these is the Sangat Island.

Coron Bay is also a treasure for diving enthusiasts, because it keeps in its bosom 26 Japanese shipwrecks that are now inhabited by various marine life.

Divers who brave the narrow passages of Sangat, Gutob, and Black Islands will be treated to spectacular view of some of these sunken Japanese vessels.

Other attractions in Coron include the Makinit Hot Spring Resort, where tourists can frolic in the pools of smoking hot salt water, believed to be therapeutic. I could hardly resist its heat at first, but something lured me back into the spring for a unique body pampering.

There is also the cross at Mount Tapyas, which can be reached by taking 719 concrete steps on the way to the top. Once on the top, climbers are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Island and surrounding islets.

The Tagbanuas, or the natives of Coron, make the trip to Busuanga even more memorable. They shine for their hospitality.

On our way by boat to our island resort from island hopping at night, I saw the clearest face of the sky, sprinkled with stars at their brightest colors. Truly, there was something in Coron that is hard to explain.

Coron can be reached by small Sea Air planes with daily 55-minute Manila-Busuanga flights. From Busuanga airstrip, jeepney service can take visitors on a 45-minute ride to Coron town, which is a jump off point to the islands.

Superferry also has trips to Coron, but such trips could take more than 12 hours.

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