Hike, dip, and dive in Coron

Karla Rey for Yahoo Southeast Asia
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Visitors to Coron Island find famed lagoons, clear blue waters, and a treasure trove of underwater life, but many leave still craving for more. Contrary to popular advice to tourists, however, three days and two nights is more than enough to discover—and fall in love with—the best-known part of the Calamianes group of islands. Here’s a little guide for a Coron weekend you will never forget.

Day 1:

From the Busuanga airport, Coron town is a 45-minute van ride that costs P150 per head.  Upon checking in, you can immediately make your way to Mt. Tapyas. Hike up its 742 steps to the highest viewing point where a huge cross is erected. Do not forget to bring water and your camera.  It gives fantastic views of the town and the neighbouring islands, and actually encourages some quiet moments of reflection (or a chance to ham it up in front of the camera).

Depending on the time you arrive, you can wait for the sunset or you can explore the town and buy some souvenirs.  You can then head to dip in the Maquinit Springs to soothe your tired legs before calling it a day.

Day 2:

Since Coron town serves as a jump off point to several islands and dive sites, water activities abound.

If travelling as a group, you can rent an entire boat and decide on your itinerary. Make sure that you board the boat with your food and refreshments for the day. You can drop by the public market before the trip and even get your boatmen to agree to cook for your group.

If travelling alone, it’s the best time to make new acquaintances and join a group. Food is generally included in group packaged tours, which you can arrange with your resort.
Go diving in any of the famous World War II wreck sites that Coron is famous for. (Just make sure that your dive is 24 hours before your flight). 

For non-divers, you can do a full day snorkelling, swimming and the occasional trekking in between gorgeous sites.

Kayangan Cave and Lake, is what you see in most Coron postcards. One of the most photogenic places in the Philippines, the lake is considered one of the cleanest in Asia. Thanks to the indigenous Tagbanua people who look after the place, despite being the most visited (and photographed) site in Coron, it remains pristine.

Siete Pecados is a marine sanctuary. It is a snorkeler’s heaven bounded by seven islets, hence the name. More swimming, snorkelling and karst landscape gawking are possible between Barracuda Lake, Twin Peaks, and Banol Beach.

Finally, the Twin Lagoons, which are actually two bodies of water separated by karst walls. The novelty of this natural attraction is that the entrance to the inner lagoon is a small hole; big enough to swim through during low tide but is completely submerged during high tides.

By the time you get back to Coron town proper, you will be tired that getting those souvenirs beforehand proved to be a great idea. Or you can muster up some strength to get them now.

Day 3: 

Unfortunately, this day will be consumed with travelling to the airport then flying to the big city. While it may break your heart, feel grateful that for a weekend you have feasted your eyes, and perhaps nourished your soul, on nature’s boundless magnificence in this wonderful memory called Coron. You may start planning coming back soon. 

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