January 25, 2014

Coron, Palawan: Majestic Malcapuya

Life surprises us with moments that take our breath away. This could be experienced with people, situations, or even places. When I started traveling again, I always believed that these breathtaking places can be found in other countries. I was wrong. I've been biased and just like Jon Snow (excuse my geekiness over Game of Thrones), I knew nothing at all. The moment we stepped on our first island in Coron, my eyes were feasting and filled with excitement. I never felt so happy and proud for having this in my motherland. I thought I saw everything the island had to offer on day 2... but I was wrong. Malcapuya proved me wrong.

The Port of Coron
We had our hotel reserve our boat for P1,400/pax (lunch included). We were only 4 so we had to pay a larger amount. The bigger the group, the cheaper you pay for the boat. Our call time was at 6am. But it was already 6:30, and our driver hadn't fetched us yet. We waited for another hour, worried that he might not come, until he showed up. We picked up Guian and Larry (the couple we met from the other tour), and headed to the port. The island was a 2-hour boat ride. The wind was strong as well as the waves but that didn't stop as from going. As we pushed our tiny boat to the open sea, our motor stopped. The driver and his assistant kept pulling the cord while the rest of us were trying to keep calm. We were afraid we would end up like Pi (from the Life of Pi). After a few more attempts, the motor came to life and continued sailing. Riding the boat felt like surfing because the current was on our side. The sun was up. The sky was pretty. I was appreciating every island we passed, hoping it was Malcapuya. 2 hours later, we've finally arrived.

Given the distance, the island was super secluded. We were the only guests that time, and a few locals, so we set up our tent, then explored the island. The sand was powdery white. Very fine. Kyla compared it to the sands of Boracay, only this one lacked the crowd. Guian told us to check out the view from the top of the small hill to see a better view of the island. I was never a fan of heights. I couldn't even pass the public overpass without shaking because of the see-thru steps. What more of hiking on uneven steps? But I realized that I didn't travel all the way from Manila just to miss this view, so I braved my way and finally saw what the fuss was about.

A little hike showing the other side of the island.

I just had to do the Titanic pose
It was worth it. Definitely. I could hear Ellie Goulding singing 'Anything Could Happen' in my ear. If we only had one more day, we would've just stayed here for the night. I finally experienced THAT moment.

When we got down, Kyla and I just sat on the sand, wishing our friends were there with us to experience the same bliss we were feeling. We went for a dip then went back to the tent.

Enjoying the powder-white sand

Like a beach bum
with our new friends, Guian and Larry 
Lunch was ready, and it was fantastic. The boatman prepared grilled Tilapia, squid, and pork along with diced green mangoes, tomatoes, onions and of course, shrimp paste aka Bagoong. I'm glad we got what we paid for. I was hoping to snooze for a bit on the sand, but the boatman told us that we had go back because the waves were getting strong. I had a last look on the island and bid farewell.

Going back wasn't as smooth as we came because we were moving against the current. Water kept on splashing on my face so I had to turn around and kept that balance for 2 hours. I even fell asleep! Good thing I didn't fall off when I twitched. We were almost at the port when I woke up. The boatman took a shortcut behind the mangroves (which was awesome by the way) until we got to the port. I felt so cold and believed I was going to catch a fever. We took a taxicle back to the hotel and said our goodbyes to Guian and Larry. When we got back, the hotel receptionist told us that we were the last batch to leave that day because the local authorities had to cancel all of the trips due to bad winds. Thank God we made it. Our flight was at around 3pm, and it was past 12. We haven't even bought our 'pasalubongs' yet! We were done packing and freshening up by 2. We had lunch at Cornelio's food haus (That's how they spell it), and ran to the market to buy some fresh Casuy. When we got back, out transfer was there and brought us to the airport on time.

Busuanga Airport was so small, the whole place was cramped due to major flight delays. We were lucky enough because Cebu Pac was on time. We even saw Larry and Guian, patiently waiting, for their 2-hour delayed flight. We passed out as soon as we boarded the plane.

Our back-to-reality face
There are so many reasons why this trip will always be one of my favorites. It was Coron that showed me what majority of the 7,107 PH islands had to offer. It has good (and unexploited) white sand beaches, hidden lagoons, lakes, coral reefs, scuba diving, sunken wrecks, friendly locals, and good food. Your 10k budget goes a long way.

Now i'm excited to see more of the PH. For those who haven't been to Coron, wait for the next seat sale and book! You won't regret it. :)