Thursday, May 9, 2013

Day 1: Coron Town

Once upon a time—oh, it's not that bad; just six months ago really—Mustachio was invited to go on a trip to an island called Busuanga. He would complete the ten-person troop for this 3D/2N trip. Mustachio isn't really into traveling in packs, but being an easy boy (only when he has the resources called money), he agreed to join the pack.


October 2012. The pack flew over the hills of Busuanga and arrived at the tiny airport of the island. We were still 28km from the town of Coron. (Twenty-eight kilometers is a long way, so arrange your airport pickup through your hotel ahead of time or take the van, for Php 150 per person, from the airport to Coron town.)

The town of Coron is in Busuanga Island, not in Coron Island.
Photo from Google maps.


This was an easy breezy trip, everything had been arranged by the leader of the pack. We were to stay at Patrik & Tezz Guesthouse in the town of Coron and the tours would be arranged by the guesthouse. For Php2000 per person, it would include airport transfers, two nights accommodation with breakfast, and tours (including entrance fees and lunch during the boat tour). Good deal, I say.

Patrik & Tezz Guesthouse sits over the water. The guesthouse has four fan rooms: two rooms that can sleep four (each room has a double bed and a bunk bed), and two rooms that can sleep two. All four rooms share two bathrooms. The guesthouse has a generator in case of brownouts.

The guesthouse has two resident pets: Muche (the dog) and Daddy Cat (the very fluffy, duh, cat). Both are friendly to each other and to the guests.

The town is just a short walk from the guesthouse. There you will find restaurants (a bit pricey for a small town) and carenderias (also pricey for a carenderia). On our first day, we had lunch at Trining Bacsa's carenderia (it says "Restaurant" on the signboard) and spent more than a hundred each for lunch. Too expensive for a carenderia, don't you think?

Coron Town

Trining Bacsa Carenderia/Restaurant

We thought so. Thinking ahead (read: dinner), we decided to just buy from the market and have it cooked at the guesthouse.

With the dinner menu settled, we rested a bit and waited for the sun to turn down its heat. Climbing all 700+ steps to the top of Mt Tapyas at two in the afternoon will turn our armpits into faucets. And taking a dip in the hot spring while the sun is high up? Do you want to boil? No, we don't.

At 430PM, the van came by the guesthouse to take us to Mt Tapyas. At the bottom of the steps that would lead to the top of the mountain, we were greeted by kids selling cold drinks. We said, "No thank you. Not thirsty yet." One persistent guy—let's call him Sanbuko because of his gelled up SonGoku-ish hairstyle—followed us all the way to the top of the mountain. Wise kid, he knew we'd all be thirsty by then, and by then his drinks would cost 10 pesos more. He made money from half the group. Good job, Sanbuko!

600 steps more (left) and Sanbuko (right)

Taking a breather

Almost there

So what's the point of going up Mt Tapyas? To get some exercise, to see the town from 500 feet above sea level, and to give Maquinit Hot Spring something to work on afterwards: tired muscles.

180-degree view

We walked the same 700+ steps down, then we piled into the van and went to Maquinit Hot Spring, some five kilometers from town. Because the entrance fees for all the places we would be visiting were already included in the package, we breezed right through the gate (after our driver/guide paid for the group, of course). The entrance fee is Php150.

At Maquinit, there are cottages for a picnic or to deposit your things in while you dip in the hot spring's salty water. The place also has toilets and changing rooms.

Cottages at Maquinit

Loosen your muscles by dipping in the hot spring

The word maquinit means hot. Does Maquinit Hot Spring mean it's a very hot spring? The water's temperature is from 38 to 40°C. There are three pools and one of the pools is said to be the hottest. Confirmed. I tested it. Because it was night, we couldn't really see what's under the water, but we could feel rocks, pebbles, and moss under our feet. Was it worth the dip? Yes. Or maybe I just like hot springs.

Coron Town and Coron Island:
Day 1: Coron Town (you're here!)
Day 2: Coron Island