The Enchanting Waters and Dirt Roads of Coron, Palawan

7 0 0  S T E P S  T O  S U N S E T

The sun has begun its descent when we decided to drive to the base of Mt. Tapyas, yet another popular spot within town. We were told about the 700 steps we would have to climb to the top. No biggie!

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We attempted to count to 700, but somewhere beyond 250, we started panting until we were practically crawling and holding on to the railings for dear life. So much for being in your 20s!

The sun was descending really fast but we were still a couple of flights from the peak, although from our vantage point, we could already see the whole of Coron Bay, the limestone cliffs along the horizon forming a beautiful jagged silhouette.

NikkaCorsino_Coron_Two2Travel (14) Sunset that’s worth the 700 steps up, and another 700 back down with shaking knees.

1 4 0  K M  O F  D I R T R O A D  T O  C A L A U I T

Our final day in Coron turned out to be the one with the most (mis)adventures. For lack of anything else to do, we decided to head for Calauit at the northwestern tip of Busuanga Island on a motorbike. That meant driving 70 kilometers from Coron’s town proper, taking an average of two hours if you know the roads well enough.

And going there on two wheels was actually the cheapest, with day tours costing about P2,500 per person or van rental at about P10,000! Bicycles are also a great alternative, although expect the trip to take longer.

Calauit is a wildlife sanctuary home to giraffes, zebras, the endemic Calamian deer, wild boars and many others, most of which are roaming freely in the island. It is the only one of its kind in the Philippines, and the promise of seeing such a different landscape was too enticing to pass up.

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We had a very early start at 4 AM, but we had an extra hard time getting there because of a series of misadventures: a couple of wrong turns, a close shave with a snake, an engine that would conk out every now and then, and sloping dirt roads that caused us to fall from the bike twice!

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But five long hours after we set off, we finally arrived at the tip of Busuanga Island where we were to rent a boat across. The boat ride was over in just five minutes, and even before we could catch our breath, we were already ambling our way through the dusty paths leading to the sanctuary.

Calauit turned out to be everything we thought it would be. Its had a grassy, dusty landscape with verdant mountains all around.

Trees jutted out here and there, and completing this surreal sight were two giraffes towering over these trees. They were not on cages, of course; they were roaming freely around, just like the Calamian deer and the zebras. The whole point of Calauit was to make the whole island a protected area so that these species could thrive in the most natural environment possible. And what a sight it was. The five-hour drive, although by no means ideal, was so worth it.

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Meet Jimkirk, one of Calauit’s resident friendly giraffes whom visitors can feed with leaves.

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The sanctuary also had a pack of zebras that didn’t look too keen at being photographed.

Our stay may have been short, but Coron gave us more than we could have asked for. And it left us with even more things to come back to!

So When in Manila and raring for a getaway that’s out of the ordinary, plunge into the crystalline waters of Coron and trudge along its dusty roads. It’s a different kind of adventure awaiting the intrepid traveler in you!

MOTORCYCLE RENTAL: Boyet’s, 09282929884. Other motorbike rental shops are around town. Ask for helmets for all riders & prepare to surrender your driver’s license. Prioritize safety at all times.

ISLAND HOPPING: Coron Galeri is a good choice for small groups since they combine you with other travelers departing for the same trip so you don’t need to charter the whole boat. One-day island hopping trips start at P650 per person.

Follow more of our adventures on Two2Travel and on Facebook! 🙂

THE ENCHANTING WATERS AND DIRT ROADS OF CORON, PALAWAN

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