As soon as we started to approach Coron, we knew that we were going to like it... From the plane window, we could see turquoise pools and coral reefs in the ocean, bone-white beaches against the deep, green jungle, and all of the mountains that were shaped by the volcanic activity below. The airport was sat on a flat plateau amongst all of the scenery and was by far the smallest airport that we’ve ever been to. Forget about conveyor belts, this was just a grab and go free for all, so it was a real experience!
The half-hour journey from the airport took us through some of the most beautiful landscapes and unspoilt countryside! Every mile or so, there were small, shack-like houses that were made with wood that was most-likely sourced from the surrounding jungle.
The roads of Coron Town were busy and underdeveloped, and the car and bike fumes couldn't help but hit the back of our throats. However, the close-nit community and the friendliness of the locals made our stay very enjoyable. There was a great range of restaurants (Buzz Express had the best veggie burgers), cool bars (No Name Bar was the one for us) and plenty of dive shops. We weren’t lucky enough to do any diving, but we did manage to organise an all-day boat tour of the surrounding hotspots and Coron Island itself. This is where it just kept getting better and better!
The tour cost 1,600 pesos each and was booked through Calamian Islands Travel and Tours. At 8am, we were picked up in an air conditioned mini-van outside our hostel and taken to what was going to be our boat for the day. After climbing across two other boats to get to our own, whilst trying not to fall into the sea, we left with only six other people on board, which was really lucky as the boat had a capacity of twenty!
Our first stop was Kayangan Lake. The boat pulled into a small lagoon with towering, limestone cliffs that were topped with tall, green trees. Walking past a few food stalls, we saw local people chopping coconuts and selling other local produce. Some very steep steps lead the way up to an incredibly inspiring view of it all, with the turquoise water of the lake and rock formations climbing up the sides. We then got to use our snorkels to take a closer look at what lurked below!
The second stop was the Twin Lagoon, which was just a short boat ride away. This time, we jumped straight off the boat and started swimming in the direction of what looked like a small cave-like-archway in the rocks. We soon saw that you could swim right through it and out to the other side, which revealed more breathtaking scenery, turquoise water and stunning rock formations.
Then came lunch time, so we headed to "Beach 91" on the far-west side of Coron Island, where they had a pretty special bamboo seating area on stilts above the water! Being vegetarian, we loaded up on rice and seasonal fruit and vegetables, before enjoying the beach and relaxing before our next stop.
Following that, it was time for more snorkelling at a incredible coral garden and even a shipwreck! It's argued whether the ship was from World War II or just an abandoned fishing vessel. Nonetheless, it was very cool to see. Our next stop was CYC Beach and then our final snorkelling spot for the day.
At this point, we suddenly started to see lots of litter congregating on the surface of the water. It seemed to be a lot of the same things - plastic bottles, sweet rappers and plastic bags. But, our tour guide was quick to jump straight in and collect as much of it from the water as she could! She couldn't clear it all of course, so a few of us helped, which we were thanked for. Our hearts were warmed, as it showed us how much she cared about keeping her home beautiful and the oceans plastic free!