Thursday, September 30, 2010

Barracuda Lake

Diving wasn't part of our first visit of Coron itinerary (how awfully sad to be in the best dive sites in this side of P.I. and just stayed on the surface) but we insisted of including Barracuda Lake in our island tour even for the sake of sight seeing. To enter the lake, the boat had to pass more towering limestones nestling on top of the sea.

The dock couldn't accommodate boat this big so the passengers ( definitely divers, it's a Sea Dive's boat) may swim up to the dock or transfer by a small boat like ours.

This was the entrance of the lake. A nipa hut purposed as a guard house where the Tagbanua locals stayed and to whom entrance fees were paid . That yellow boat outside was ours.

Narrow wooden bridges and stairs that we had to walk on to reach the lake.

Imagine how dangerous it could be when an earthquake suddenly occur at this point ..over our heads and beside our elbows were countless jigsaw puzzled lime stones that were unusually on top of each other. As if ready to fall on us , any minute the volcano got irritated.

Almost there . . .

Welcome to Barracuda Lake, a haven for divers. The lake is also famous for its thermocline layers ( water temperature changes by the layer) and a cave under. Ofcourse its another claim to fame are the barracudas who are said to be residents of the lake. I had a small chat with a diver and gladly he showed me his photos he had freshly taken under the lake.

From his photos, I saw that under scenes were quite similar to the surface_ there were also fascinating rock formations of limestones. He got a photo of one barracuda but looked so small than what I would have expected to see.Thermocline was visible through the texture of water in his pictures. He was bubbling to share how on one point he felt being boiled then on another layer was chilling cold. He was using an Olympus (?) cam and he said not working so well at the deeper/darker areas which explained his dark photos. Overall he said, Barracuda lake is one of the best dive sites on earth.

Well, I say even us ( bystanders/sight seers) couldn't agree that this lake got its own identity and unique charm even on the surface.

Much that we would like to linger on, the boat was waiting for another island. Hope to see the barracudas on our return here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kayangan Lake

Of all the many islands of Coron, I'd say - Kayangan Lake is the most popular, the most visited and the most photographed. It also got the hardest trail to trek up and down the lake,  and yes recognized as the cleanest lake in Asia.

Entering the lake was dramatic as the boat went in through lime stone cliffs positioned like a real gate.

The boat docked and we had to climb a stone mountain to get down to the lake. The rock stairs were steep and irregular. It was not an easy trail. One had to go through hell to get to heaven. It was good that the day before this island tour I climbed Mount Tapyas, completed its 700+ steps, so I was confident I could conquer this one too.

Cuzin'  didn't agree with me but tried her best anyway.

After around 10-15 minutes of trekking, our guide told us to take the right ( or was it a left) turn and not to head down yet. Right there was the best view in the island. It was the spot where everyone took photos sitting in the big rock ( a bit dangerous in a cliff) with the blue lagoon in full background.

Corny-ness! But hey I wanted one of myself nevertheless. First of all, someone's picture in that over-exposed spot had inspired me to visit Coron. Posing was bit of a challenge cos of the edginess of the location. Plus the fact that people were q-ing to use the same spot. So we decided to give way to others and just get back on our way out after the lake.

Few feet across that rock is a cave. No long queue for this so we took advantage of the emptiness of the cave.

It has interesting rock formations but real dark. You have to point your camera up to the few white colored rocks to borrow a bounced light if you forgot to bring your speedlite flash. There_ I was trying to sound like I know photography, haha. When infact and real obvious  I wasn't behind the lens here, haha. It was my camera-genius brother!

After awhile we reached the lake and boy the sight was worth the effort!

The lake was quietly surrounded by limestone cliffs .

Right away we plunged into the lake and instantly forgotten the tedious trek we undertook to get here.

From the shallowest part I was sitting, I saw lots of small thin fishes.

There were rocks allover the lake even at the middle part which you can sit on to rest if you get tired of swimming. We left earlier than others to go back to the viewing spot.

With the crowd out, we had all the space exclusively for us.

Just one of me. I know, I know, I'm blocking the best view ever..haha.

There_ the very scenic view of the blue lagoon of the Ph.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Siete Picados Marine Park

Our call time for the islands tour was at 8:30 am. But we were all already up as early as 6:30 am. You know how excited we always are when we are on a trip. Getting to bed as late as earliest dawn doesn't matter . We always find ourselves up and alive the minute the sun lights our faces.

On our 3rd day at Coron Town, we were already quite familiar around town and somehow knew our way especially to the best place for breakfast.

We didn't stay a single night at Sea Dives ( divers' favorite accommodation) but we had all our breakfasts there. Best ever in town. ( check it out in my food blog later). So we headed to Sea Dive to eat and waited our boat. We asked our coordinator to send the boat right infront of Sea Dives' dock.

Then off we went to our first stop : Siete Picados.

Siete Picados Marine Park has seven sins? nah.. seven islets. It has lots and lots of bread-hungry fishes, lush marine garden and best spot to snorkel. You don't have to swim deep. Just take a peek below and you would be amazed how God has forgiven our seven sins. He loves us so much, he endowed us with so much natural wonders.

A live sea urchin, we took so much precaution not to step a single of it. First of all it is a living creature, second of all, it surely a pain in the foot to step on sticks that long. I'm not sure if this is allowed_ to take it out from the water, but it was just a quick one and really I was so careful handling it. It was so alive, it even had eyes staring at me. It was ticklish as it moved in my hand. After quick seconds, I let it go carefully back to its home_under the sea.

Onwards to our next stop : the world renowned click Kayangan Lake. See ya !

Monday, September 27, 2010

Full Moon at Makinit Hot Spring, Coron

After unnecessary lingering in our room, we decided to check Coron Town and see where we could start off. It was not a weekend and not even a peak season but I saw a lot of  local tourists and foreigners too. We decided not to go with the normal tide which was to avail a town tour with Mt. Tapyas ( a 700+ steps mountain trail) as a kick off and after which to go straight to Makinit Hot Spring to ease body pains from hiking up the summit of Mt. Tapyas. We decided to do it other wise to avoid crowded destinations.

We hired a local tricycle to go to Makinit Hot Spring for P300. If you are not under budget, you could avail of the package tour of P1500-P2000 per head which include transportation, entrance fees and snacks for Makinit and Mt. Tapyas.

On our way, we couldn't help but be amazed by the random sights of islands all over the town. We asked the trike driver for a little break for us to take photos.

Coron Town's soil is reddish and only a number of agricultural plants (like cashew) could thrive. It's endowed with minerals thu', like manganese.

In a short while, we reached our destination.

The pools were full so we ignored them first and headed to the sea. Makinit Hot Spring is quite unique in the sense that the source of  hot spring is coming ( from a volcano) under the sea. Later when we tried the pool. we realized that the water was salty.

Intricate mangroves roots frolicking on top of the red soil.

Across the sea was a nearer view of  Sleeping Giant which we first saw a lil' later outside our hotel window. Ofcourse, mountain shapes are always more deceiving farther. When you go nearer, real shapes show.

As it started to darken we decided to check the pool.

Oh my!! I envied the thickness of those skins for being able to dip in a 43dc hot spring pool. See_ I couldn't even get my toes in it. Cousin enjoyed foot soaking thu'.

Looking around I saw other envious activities such as foot massage and pedicure. Yees pedicure! I wonder where the cut nails were thrown.

I glanced back to the sea and saw wonderful thing was emerging. It was a full moon  and it was setting so pretty by the sea .

We were consumed by the beautiful sight of the full moon and was too late when we thought of taking photos of it. It was already hiding this way.