Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The cerulean waters of Coron

WHEN we speak of Palawan, we think of rich marine life, iridescent oceans, and spellbinding sunsets. Eager to have a firsthand experience of its wonders, I spent the last days of June navigating the waters of Coron Island in northern Palawan.

On the boat ride to our first destination, I discovered that the sea looked picturesquely cerulean. This was exactly how most people described it. But like a kaleidoscope being rotated, I watched from a distance how the colors eventually transitioned into silver and turquoise. I feared that if I closed my eyes, even for a moment, I would miss the unfolding of the magic that rendered Coron truly extraordinary.

Clad in our life jackets and snorkel gear, our boat wandered from one island to another. Occasionally, we were allowed to disembark and frolic in the waters for a few minutes. Before being rewarded with a fleeting view of a clownfish, hovering near corals a few feet below me, I glimpsed the remains of the sunken Japanese ship in the Skeleton Wreck. If I’d been more adventurous, I would have ditched the life vest to gain a close up view of the ruins, including the very elusive Nemo. This proved a hundred times better than watching him through the glass of a giant aquarium.

As we moved past rock formations and limestone cliffs, I was briefly reminded of Sohoton in Surigao del Norte. Soon, we found ourselves nestled in the limestones that bordered and divided the Twin Lagoon—one of the most popular destinations in Coron. We docked on the first lagoon and climbed on a ladder built over rocks to reach the second one.

I savored how the water felt warm on my skin, despite the coolness of the shade cast by the towering limestones. I felt wonderfully infinitesimal. The grandeur of Twin Lagoon knocked the wind out of me; it was similar to how I imagined the fictional Neverland would look like. The sight filled me with happy thoughts that all I needed was pixie dust and I could fly.

In the next hour, we found ourselves ascending and descending more than 300 steps to reach the crystal-clear waters of Kayangan Lake. I felt my exhaustion growing, but as soon as we arrived at the peak, we were greeted by the most majestic view of the cove. Our tour guide dutifully explained that this was the image that dominated most of Coron’s postcards.

Finally, before calling it a day, we explored Siete Pecados aboard a glass-bottomed boat. Although exhibiting the features of a normal boat, we rode a 18-seater vessel that has a transparent glass bottom. This gave us uninterrupted views of the corals and underwater creatures, including the royal Blue Tang fish that greatly resembled Dory.

The journey back to the docks was swift; the sun still had no plans of setting when we reached the shores. I craved to witness sunsets in Coron, but unfortunately, we were off to a new adventure when it finally dipped into the horizon.


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