Friday, May 22, 2009

CORON, CALAUIT and CALAMIAN ISLANDS GROUP TRIP.






















This place is located in Northern Palawan offering such an absolutely wonderful travel experience dated March 29 to April 1, 2002. This was where I deeply appreciated kayaking and snorkel at its best where limestone islands, lagoons, white sand beaches, jungle vegetation of towering tropical trees, plants and lianas were just but a common sight. Like mountaineering, the tour package offered an accomodation of tent by the beach where we only hear the sounds of the waves and the wind.


The tour was organized for us by Travel Impact owned and managed by Rolly Villanueva, Ding Capunitan and Ed Valenzuela. We were a total of 22 persons who boarded WG and A’s M/V Our Lady of Medjugorje on March 29, 2002 (Good Friday) at 4:00 P.M. in Pier 4, North Harbor, Manila. Rolly, Ding and Ed were with us during the whole duration of the trip. Ed’s wife and only 7-year old child were with us. There were also six Filipino tourists of different companies and nine in PNB Mountaineering Club, namely: (1) Glen R. Monterozo – an AMA Computer College graduate; (2) Dr. Genie Rosa F. Tagab of S.M. Lazo Medical Center; (3) Janet T. Lazarte of PNB GSD Accounting; (4) Jenny Ferrer; (5) Noemi Amador-Capunitan, (6) Benjie G. Autencio Jr. of PNB Training Office, (7) Elmar D. Portento of Raco-Haven Automation Philippines, Inc., (8) Manny Llesol of PNB Personnel Department, and (9) I. Glen was joined by his cousin, Joemar P. Ramos and tour cook, Totie Tubig.

Our ship arrived in Coron town at 6:00 A.M. and we proceed to Maxx and Baby Restaurant owned by Maximo and Baby Cruz for our breakfast located in Barangay 3 of Coron town. After our breakfast, we met the owner of the big motor boat we boarded in the name of Jimboy Palanca. The boat pilot was Greg Amit joined by his 16-year old son, Anthony and a certain 18-year old Nonie Abreau Cavillo to assist us during the trip. We had island hopping, snorkel, kayaking in Sangat Island, then in the Japanese ship wreck sunk by American bombers in 1944 of Lusong where corals were at its best. We visited also the fascinating and virgin Black Island where limestone and cliff rock formations were breathtakingly beautiful and an awesome piece of natural beauty. Finally, we went to Calauit Island to witness its vast wildlife of animals like giraffes, zebras, mouse deer and many others. Calauit island showcases upmarket safari camping – a vacation model famous in southern Africa and was adapted to the Philippines. We pitched our tents there to have our socials and overnight stay.

Day 2, March 31 was even more exciting when we visited the mystical limestone island of Coron. With more than 60 km around or 8,000 hectares land area and 14,000 hectares of sea area, it offers that rare combination of rugged coastline, impenetrable interior, clear aquamarine lagoons like Barracuda and Kayangan, white sandy beaches, bat and swiflet caves, coves, reefs, a stretch of undercut cliff faces and a strong, living culture. We had an ample time in Barracuda lagoon where we had our lunch and had a refreshing swim in Kayangan Lake. This lake is absolutely beautiful. Its hidden beauty and tranquility was somewhat seldom disturbed by human intruders. It offers such a haunting visual impact. The lakescape and the surrounding landscape are pared down to its barest essentials of beauty with strange allure. Tagbanua control the land and islands of their ancestors in Coron, having becoming the first Filipinos to win an äncestral domain claim from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. There is a permission required to enter Coron Island through Tagbanua Foundation and the Council of Elders of Cabugao. This includes the mystique Barracuda lagoon and the Kayangan Lake.

After Coron Island, we crossed through the dashing waves to the exceptionally picturesque island of Dibatuc where overnight stay will be more memorable but we missed it. I was really amazed on the shapes of rocks, still surprisingly sharp despite the scouring of wind and water down the centuries. Its white cliffs formation stood out against the blue of the sea and to add up the cloudscapes and the pattern of sand in its narrow coast line. Indeed, this island is a photographer’s delight. The serenity of the island offered much time for us to ponder and realize how beautiful the Philippines is. Our stay of two hours was only worth a minute because the place has put our senses to a complete halt and the only thing left was our sense of admiration. On the other hand, the location of the campsites were somewhat squeezed in the narrow corridor between the high water mark of a beautiful white sand beach and the towering limestone cliffs. Thus, not even a single hut and resort was erected. The place was wholly ours for complete and ultimate enjoyment.

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